North Coast Growers Association — Winter Market

The Farmers Markets throughout Humboldt are one of the best ways to assure your produce (and other food items these days) is locally produced and as fresh as possible.  Other ways are joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture farm) or buying your produce at a farm stand.

Throughout the years winter has been a tough time to get local produce.  Sure, there are plenty of greens and other crops that grow year round, but the farmers market ended in the fall and didn’t start up again until April.  Even then, in April, the actual food items were pretty few and far between, it seemed that the farmers market was mostly a place to get plant starts.

Why not have a year around market?  For years many people thought that would entail having an enclosed space since the inclement weather was thought to be a major obstacle to an outdoor market.  As many of us know, though — the rain isn’t as bad as you think.  Surely that is one of the secrets of Humboldt that has kept the communities small — if the word ever gets out, we will be overrun!

Several years ago, a few persistent farmers and Henry Robertson of Henry’s Olives, made an arrangement to sell their items in front of Cafe Brio.  This was pretty successful, so a couple of years ago the North Coast Growers Association took on the Winter Market and it is now a blooming and bustling operation, and occupies two full sides of the plaza.  The produce choices have expanded as well, and now, when the regular market begins in April, there are a lot more food items available.

Listen here for the interview with Laura Hughes


Laura Hughes, North Coast Growers Association — Farmers Markets

I’m not sure if everyone knows — but the North Coast Growers Association brings us many of our fabulous local farmers markets.  Because I live on Humboldt Hill, my regular grocery buying market is Hendersen Center; my social market is the huge Arcata Plaza Saturday Market; and my new “imagine if I lived in Italy” market is Willow Creek.  I have made so many friends at the markets over the years and have also bought the best produce imaginable. I’ve bought tomatoes for canning (seriously, $20 a lug? super-bargain!), tomatoes for eating (no, I cannot grow cherry tomatoes — stop teasing me!), and every other item of produce that I can’t grow in my garden.

Farmers give you the opportunity to grow the things you enjoy and are successful at.  I’m thrilled that I grow the most amazing garlic — and that I don’t have to grow carrots because they always get those little maggotty things in them.  When talking with Johnny Gary from Organic Matters recently — he gave me a real insight by saying that it is actually easier to farm than to garden!  What?!  He explained that with his dense planting of crops, if an insect eats the outside area of his crop he still has a lot that has survived, whereas a gardener’s “outside area” is pretty much the entire area of the crop. Wow…I never thought of it that way.

Anyway, back to NCGA.  I had a chance to interview the ever amazing Laura Hughes!  to listen to the interview, click here.  Go to the website to find your closest farmer’s market and shop there!

Ed Cohen, Earthly Edibles…Artichokes!

Growing up Portuguese…or maybe because I grew up in the Bay Area near Salinas…we ate a lot of artichokes.  Some call them a sponge for mayonnaise…and I certainly don’t skimp when I prepare mine.  Later on I realized that some people dip the ends into melted butter, a little more upscale than my Best Foods Mayo.  I was so happy when I started seeing lots and lots of great looking and great tasting artichokes at Ed’s stand at the Farmers Market.  One of the nicest thing is that they are available in very early spring — so when I shop I can get both artichokes and asparagus (and a jar of Mayo!).

Some things I didn’t know about artichokes is…that Marilyn Monroe was the first Artichoke Queen (of course she was…) and that artichokes are our “state vegetable”…I have to admit…I didn’t know we had a state vegetable.  In Salinas, they sell T-shirts with pictures of artichokes and they call them Portuguese Pineapples…I definitely see the similarity in the way they look…but that’s where it ends.

Ed Cohen’s artichokes have really taken off — the day before he came in for the interview they planted 10,000 artichokes — so ladies and gentlemen — prepare yourself for having that option from early spring into winter.  YUM!

Listen here or check out the Earthly Edibles

Ivy Matheny, North Coast Growers Association

Farmers Markets are lovely events, lots of happy people shopping for fresh local produce.  In Arcata, there are booth surrounding the entire plaza and in the center, food vendors dishing up some fabulous grub.  While it seems like pure entertainment — it is actually the place where farmers can bring their goods to market and receive the proceeds for the products.  While Farmstands are becoming more popular with the larger operations, staffing on a regular basis can be tricky when farmers need to be out in the field doing farmer things.

One of the issues that comes up when people talk about Farmers Markets is the concern that not everyone can afford this lovely bounty.  The North Coast Growers Association’s Ivy Matheny is working hard to remedy this.  People can use their Cal Fresh funds at the market — and there are incentives for people to do that.  Want to learn more? Listen here and check out the happenings at the North Coast Growers Association website!

North Coast Growers Association Farmers Market

The eating local rubber hits the road at a farmers market — and the Saturday Farmers Market in Arcata is the best I’ve ever been to.  Whenever I travel I always make it a point to check out the local farmers market scene — whether in or out of the country, that’s the place to see the people who raise the food and share it with the rest of us!

So Jessica Eden and I decided to take a little field recorder to a Saturday Farmers Market in Arcata — and we started out with a bang.  Laura from NCGA asked me if I wanted to ring the bell — are you kidding?  I was like a kid in a candy store — and if you were at that market you were probably wondering why the bell ringer wouldn’t stop ringing the bell (just doin’ my job…)

We talked with lots of people that day — people waiting in line for peaches, farmers who were also shoppers, children with strawberries tucked into their red lips!  Listen Here

Potowat United Indian Health Services

I don’t really like to go to the doctor, I mean, who does?…but I have to say that United Indian Health Services Potowat is my idea of a dream health center.  Everything was so well thought out, the shape of the health center with a healing garden in the center, walking trails in a nature area so you can get your exercise in beautiful surroundings, the structure itself is based on local Indian design and the walls are made of concrete that were formed using old growth redwood timber — and you can go up and touch the sides and still not be sure that it isn’t made of the actual redwood.  It is perfect — and the things that pushes it over the edge to ultimate perfection for me is that there is a farm onsite.  Yes, I love a farm, I love to see things growing — I love to see farming and food production integrated into caring for health, what a brilliant concept!

To listen to the Head Farmers T Griffin and Ed Mata talk about Potowat, listen here.

David MacCuish, Winter Farmers Market

What is better than the Farmers Market at the Arcata Plaza?  Oh sure, I shop at the Hendersen Center market — after all I do live south of Eureka…but for an all out celebration of local food, nothing beats my weekly trip to the Arcata Plaza.  And now there is a great reason to celebrate, the Arcata Farmers Market is now open year round — sure, there aren’t any tomatoes, but winter is the time to eat up brussel sprouts, kale and chard — and there will definitely be some surprises like Jacques Neukom’s yacon — seriously –ask him about it, it’s like a jicama on steroids looking like a giant yam.  I am now growing my own — Jacques even said they do better on the coast than his Willow Creek farm (yay! can’t grow those tomatoes but I am now a mean Yacon grower!)  You know how this works, the more we support the Winter Farmers Market the bigger and better it will get — see you there!

Check out the website for the North Coast Growers Association

Listen to the interview

Paul Giuntoli, Warren Creek Farms

I have to confess…Paul Giuntoli is “my farmer”…he raises the potatoes I eat, the dried beans I eat…and most of the winter squash I eat.  So — I was a little intimidated by the prospect of interviewing him.  He is well known in the farming community and seems to know everyone’s name at the farmers markets — and come to find out…he was a breeze to interview!

To listen to a 2 part interview with Paul Giuntoli from Warren Creek Farms  Part 1    Part 2

2011 Farmers Market Season Update, Portia Bramble

Every year we invite Portia Bramble to give an update of the North Coast Growers Association certified Farmers Markets.  This year she talked about how the growing season went, and the addition of more providers of locally produced meats.  To listen to this interview, click here.

Little River Farm – John Severn

John Severn of Little River Farm out in Freshwater talks about making a living farming in Humboldt County and finding his niche raising greens — to listen to Part 1, click here.

To listen to Part 2, click here.

Little River Farm

140 Ole Hansen Road
Eureka, CA 95503-9422
(707) 441-9286

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