Meet your farmer!

hunter-orchards-peaches.jpg

Peaches? Nectarines? By now everyone's familiar with Hunter Orchards, and we know lots of you were looking for them this week. Read on to find out what's up with Hunter Orchards now! Because the booth has always been so busy, we conducted this farmer interview via phone. In true farmer fashion, Nicole took questions while sitting on the back of a tractor.

Previously owned by John Tannaci and Kirsten Olsen (this year's market manager), Nicole and David found their way there from Philadelphia three years ago. Many years prior, David had taken a road trip through the area and fell in love with Mount Shasta. When the couple wanted to relocate back to the west coast, the original plan was to find some land, build on it and start a farm. They called a real estate agent, and Hunter Orchards had just been listed. The rest is his, and her, story.

Hunter Orchards' main crops are peaches, nectarines, prune plums, apricots, Anjou pears, apples, and the pumpkin patch, a tradition that thankfully they've chosen to carry on. "We love all the people, especially the schoolchildren, that come out every year. It gives us the opportunity to help educate people about where their food comes from and maybe inspire them to grow some of their own!" Nicole and David also have a large covered hoop house in which they grow spring veggies for the pre-market season. This allows them to grow crops earlier in the season in a climate like ours.

And there are the jams: Kirsten and John first started this with four flavors, and Nicole and David have expanded this to four more, with an eventual plan for more products.

"Part of this is that we love being able to get people a little bit of the taste of what we grow all year 'round," says Nicole, "and the other side of that is that it's a way for farmers to find a way to survive financially and preserve the food we grow. The reality of farming is that not all the produce that you grow looks perfect and beautiful and you need to find another outlet for it other than just turning it back into the land - while it's a great way to add biomass to the soil, it's also great to find ways for people to eat it!"

We know many people were looking for Hunter Orchards this past week at the market, and Nicole wanted to talk about why their time at this year's market has come to a close. This past April, a late ice and snow storm covered every single branch and bud, and by that point, all the trees had blossomed. Hunter lost 90% of its peach and nectarine crop this year because of it.

"I really appreciate that you are focusing on this issue so the community can know what it means to have fresh, local produce - you’re dealing with the seasonality of things and all that comes along with it. It’s on us to educate the public about what that means and why, when you go to a grocery store and you try to buy a peach in the off-season, they don’t taste as good."

She also adds, "Leaving the market this early is definitely strange."

Nicole and David give thanks for how welcoming and supportive the community has been since they took over Hunter Orchards, and are looking forward to all the visitors during this year's pumpkin patch. The Patch opens October 1st, and is open every day in October from 10am to 6pm.

See you there!

The market continues this year through October 16th, and although we're so sad to see Hunter Orchards go so soon, all the rest of our wonderful farmers are still out there representing.

We'll see you Monday. Fall produce is making its way into the booths along with this cooler weather!

jam on it!

jam on it!

Market Season in Full Swing!

As can be seen by the lack of recent blog posts, we've been very  busy with the 2016 market season. It's been a bountiful season so far, with more variety from our local producers and new vendors bringing their products to market including gourmet mushrooms, freshly milled wheat flour and wheat berries, fabulous wood crafts for the table, colorful aprons, potholders, and other sewn items for the kitchen. Our returning vendors have also diversified their offerings, with new varieties of veggies and fruits as well as value-added products including fruit and veggie-based popsicles (which have been a big hit on the hot days).  This year we also developed a new logo for the Mt. Shasta Farmers' Market, which is proudly displayed on our new banners and also on our organic farmers' market t-shirts which we have for sale at the info booth. 

The market is thrilled to continue our Market Match program for CalFresh SNAP (EBT) recipients. For every dollar of CalFresh exchanged for market tokens, we offer an additional voucher good for one dollar to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. We are matching up to $15 per CalFresh customer per market day. That means lots of extra fresh produce!  Our EBT-using customers love it, our vendors love it, and we love it, too. Seeing the looks of delight on people's faces when we tell them they can get an extra $15 to spend at the market is one of the best parts of working in the market info booth.

This year, the market continues every Monday until October 17th, which means there are still plenty of opportunities to explore the market and stock up on local produce from Siskiyou County farmers. 

Hope to see you on the boulevard next week!

The market team - 

Phoenix Lawhon Isler, Kirsten Olson, and Nancy Swift

 

Getting ready for another market season

 

Spring has arrived and the days are getting longer. Like busy bees, the Mt. Shasta Farmers' Market management team is working behind the scenes to prepare for the upcoming 2016 market season. All the little details add up to a long list of of off-season tasks that we're ticking off of our lists, which we couldn't do without the support of Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI). We're looking forward to our earliest market opening day this year -  Monday, May 23rd! 

We've also created a new website and posted our market vendor application packet online for both new and returning vendors to download. Click on the Join Us menu tab for more information. Returning and newly applying vendors are invited to attend our MSFM Vendor Orientation Meeting on Wednesday, April 20th, upstairs at Burger Express in Mount Shasta. This meeting will be a chance to go over the application process, rules and regulations governing the market, and of course to get to  know your fellow market vendors. 

Our farmers are also busy planting their crops, after a wet winter and early spring. Despite the earlier start date, we will have at least four farmers selling veggies at the first market, plenty of plant starts for sale and of course delicious food from our local food producers. 

This blog will be the place to get regular updates on what's happening at market, recipes, farm profiles, and more news from the Mt. Shasta Farmers' Market. 

We're looking forward to seeing all the returning market farmers and vendors, our regular customers, and new faces who will be joining or shopping the market for the first time this year! 

Thanks for your support!  

The MSFM Team  - Phoenix Lawhon Isler, Kirsten Olson, and Nancy Swift