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!

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

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

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.

Henry’s Olives

Bucket of olives and peppers

Bucket of Red Hot Olive Deliciousness

Henry Robertson cures olives and you can find him at the Saturday Farmers Market in the center of the plaza — you can find his olives at other places if you just can’t wait.  They are sold at the North Coast Co-op; Wildberries; Eureka Natural Foods and are also available in many local restaurants where they are featured on the menus.  We visited Henry on October 30th and found him at work preparing some extra spicy olives.

Click to listen to our interview

Basket of lovely olives in various stages of ripeness

Basket of lovely olives in various stages of ripeness

Jennifer and Henry and hot peppers

Jennifer and Henry and hot peppers

Olives, up close and beautiful

Olives, up close and beautiful -- don't they look like grapes?

Slicing into an olive

Slicing into an olive to determine if it is fully cured

Another slice of olive

Another slice of olive

Last slice of olive to look inside

Last slice of olive to look inside -- a sampling of olives are taken from each vat to check the curing process

Farmers Market, Humboldt – Portia Bramble

We had a chance to catch up with Portia to get the update of the 2010 growing season — click here to listen.

To listen to the interview with Portia Bramble:

This show aired on the KHSU Homepage on July 31, 2009

To find out more about the North Coast Growers Association and Certified Farmers Markets in Humboldt County go to: