I can be a lazy gardener, I have to admit. Things I thought would go to my refrigerator go to seed instead. Luckily, I also happen to live in a place that is full of amazing farmers and foodies like those at the Homer Farmers Market.
Talking with Rick Steffen, standing in front of his amazing lineup and variety of veggies, he will happily share with you his wealth of experience market gardening. New to the area, however, he is still getting used to the climate. He hasn’t figured out yet how to fit three plantings into one year, though it is obvious that he has figured out a lot of the tricks for successful growing. For example, he will be bringing fresh corn to this week’s Farmers Market.
The stories farmers tell are stories of community. Rick likes feeding people. So does Robert Heimbach, who saw me digging for the cash for his carrots and told me that an IOU would be fine. Of course I have known Robert for years, but he says he has often given veggies out with a mere promise of repayment. He says that he reliably gets paid someday. Even tourists have sent him money in thank you cards from far away.
People are dedicated to good food. At Lori’s booth a customer stated that she wasn’t going to let Lori sell out of garlic braids before she got hers this year. Actually, upon further thought, she had better get two. You know, to replace the one she didn’t get last year. It’s so fun to see people who really appreciate fresh food.
Like Nancy Hillstrand of Coal Point Seafoods. For years Nancy has been inviting vegetable growers to use her facility to process veggies. A vegetarian herself, you can imagine her delight last week when they processed 2,000 pounds of veggies — steamed, vacuum-packed and flash frozen. That’s a new record for local food preservation here in Homer.
A huge thank you for all of the hard work and dedication on the part of the farmers, customers and various community supporters who are working go to grow a thriving local food economy. We can do this.
The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. too as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.