The night before the last Market the wind howled and even snow fell, an abrupt reminder that this May was unseasonably warm and not to be taken for granted.
And though the day was brisk and windy down at the Homer Farmers Market, vendor booths were still stocked with lush greens, garlic and onions, beets and potatoes, flowers and herbs.
If there is one farmer who doesn’t take anything for granted, it’s Robert Heimbach. You can pick him out at the Market because he displays his produce in Rubbermaid totes and never has a tent. Don’t let that fool you into thinking he isn’t dedicated about growing food.
On the contrary, Robert is dedicated to everything about food. He is dedicated to providing affordable, fresh healthy food (“I have diabetes in the crosshairs” as he put it) and believes that people used to store-bought food just don’t know the real flavor of good food.
Robert has been dedicated to selling veggies since before the Market even began. He is planting constantly throughout the season so that he has a continuous supply. Last year he quit selling at the Market in November.
Yes, Robert is the one you see late in the year with a burn barrel to keep warm still selling veggies. One of the reasons he can do this is because of his 40-foot root cellar. He would say root cellars are the key to a stable society in Alaska.
He’s dedicated to soil health. He uses no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, loves compost and believes that the only trick to vibrant soils is more, more and more.
He intensely grows on under two acres, using any technique for warming the soils and protecting his crops, from his high tunnel to low tunnels to fabric row cover.
Robert believes in pushing the limits in all directions. Intense attention to inputs, recycled materials everywhere, individual customers and restaurants, he will do whatever he can to grow more, more, more.
So come on down for more, more and more at the Homer Farmers Market on Ocean Drive this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p..m.
Kyra Wagner is director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.