This Saturday down at the Homer Farmers Market folks are celebrating prolific vegetables. Yes, indeed, it is time for the Fourth Annual Zucchini Festival. There will be a Zucchini Recipe Swap at the Info Booth, Zucchini Car Construction at the Kids Activity Zone with Zandra, Zucchini Car Races at 1 p.m. and the Largest Vegetable Contest at 2 p.m.
Though zucchini will be showcased by many of the produce vendors, one of our area’s most exuberant producers won’t be there selling veggies. Lori Jenkins of Synergy Gardens will instead be there as the Chef at the Market demonstrating ways to cook that zucchini you just raced.
Lori and Wayne Jenkins moved up from much warmer climates in Georgia, but since growing food is in their blood they set to learning all about local gardening techniques and varieties right away.
To get her gardening fix while renting when they first moved here, Lori worked at Cookie’s Greenhouse and befriended local gardeners who let her plant in extra garden and high tunnel space.
They just bought the land for their farm a couple of years ago, but have already built it up enough to provide produce to local restaurants. They grow everything with organic methods, already experimenting with cover crops and making tons of compost with scavenged manure, spent grain, coffee grounds, rotted hay, lawn clippings and kitchen waste.
They have five total acres but only about 1.5 for production. It is intensive production, however, with one 12-by-30-foot hoop house built the first year and two 30-by-72-foot high tunnels in the works.
With all this gardening space they are focusing on extending the season for early greens and edible flowers as well as growing certain crops like garlic in abundance so that Lori can work on recipes for value-added product we all should keep an eye out for.
So, come on down to the Homer Farmers Market this weekend to race zucchinis, show off huge mutant veggies or learn Lori’s latest recipe. And always head over to Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays to support those exuberant farmers.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.