Homer Farmers Market: Booths are brimming

I didn’t even get to the Homer Farmers Market until 2 p.m. It used to be that if you weren’t there right at 10 a.m. when it opened you simply didn’t get any of the good stuff. But that was years ago.

It’s almost August and the booths were brimming. The dark maroon of one lettuce next to the bright green of another. The white salad turnips next to the spicy red radishes. The bags of peas next to the bags of beans. The tender zucchinis next to the giant ones. The cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, beets, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions and herbs. It’s all there.

It is true that sometimes I saw things on the farmers’ signs that were no longer on their table. Both Rick Steffen and Lori Jenkins had sold out of carrots. Lori showed me the stack of totes that had been full at the beginning of the Market. It’s a tough balance for a farmer: to hopefully not take produce home, but have enough to meet the demand.

For example, I witnessed the sale of Christina Castellano’s last artichoke a little after 2 p.m. That prize lasted long past the 10 a.m. rush. Rick Steffen says that for this week’s Market he has so much romanesco (that beautiful bright green spiral cauliflower-like veggie) that he is sure he won’t be able to sell out.

You can see the abundance on the Alaska Food Hub too. At the beginning of the season there were more sold-out veggies by Monday than there were still available. Now it is the other way around. The Food Hub is more predictable for farmers. They don’t need to harvest until they get an email saying how many they sold, so no harvest goes to waste.

Both locations, online and down on Ocean Drive have new farmers bringing new products to the scene. Robinette Farms had quail eggs alongside their cabbage and kohlrabi at the Market. On the Food Hub you can e-meet Upstream Gardens and see their unique Gotu Kola starts alongside their peas and kale.

Our local farmers continue to grow.

Now is the time to take advantage of the abundance.

The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. too as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. down on Ocean Drive.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.

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