I have heard that visitors from out of state marvel at the veggies we are able to grow here. Just hang out by the gardens at the Baycrest Overlook and you will hear all kinds of oohs and ahhs. It’s easy to impress someone who came here thinking we all lived in igloos.
But even as an Alaska gardener, every year that I watch our garden grow I can’t help feeling a little bit of awe myself. There is a touch of amazement and pride that is inherent in successful growing here. I see it even in our most accomplished Farmers Market producers. Every week I keep track of what veggies are available at the Homer Farmers Market and every time I am impressed.
Paul Castellani, who has been working the soil on his farm for more than 20 years, calmly pointed out to me last Saturday that he had sold out of carrots. Carrots before July. In Alaska. Awesome. I recognize that little hint of amazement and pride even in someone as experienced and modest as Paul.
At the opposite end is Bob Durr who is quite happy every week to brag about what he has going on. Bob is always happy to push the envelope, bringing in ripe tomatoes before July, as well as cucumbers and zucchini. He has every right to be proud.
But what I really love is when I see how much these farmers are appreciated. Last week I spotted Carey Restino with an almost empty booth. It was still early in the afternoon, but she had to send her workers back to the farm to get more produce. You don’t want to harvest it if you aren’t going to be able to sell it, but you have to guess what will be enough to keep your customers happy.
And we have appreciative customers.
That’s because when you bring home all that produce you get that same feeling that mixes amazement and pride. You are supporting wonderful people and getting stunningly good food.
So head on down to the Market this Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. or Saturday from 10 a.m. to -3 p.m. and get a dose of amazement and pride yourself.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.