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

 

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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!