The summer is moving along at an incredible pace. The fireweed is already blooming, rather than waiting for August. The snow across Kachemak Bay is more sparse than ever.
And production down at the Homer Farmers Market continues to ramp up.
A perfect example is at the Lucky Star Gardens booth. Gardens evolve as the summer goes on and Cindy Bolognani (McKenna) keeps up with a quiet grace and always a gentle smile. The impressively vibrant lavender and other herb starts that filled her booth earlier in the season are now going to give way to veggies like cucumbers, beets, radishes and lettuce.
Later in the season Cindy is known for her garlic. She plants it late in the year, overwinters it, babies it through the summer and then brings in some for us all to enjoy at the Market. She tries to save some over to use as seed for the next year, but she admits that she and her family eat too much of it to always successfully save enough to replant.
Though everyone loves to eat Cindy’s veggies, on the ground she is a one-woman show. Her gardens are at 1,100 feet and so they get early snow in the fall and late snow in the spring.
But that doesn’t stop her from having 4,000 square feet in cultivation with two greenhouses and two hoop houses and gardens galore outside.
Since it is difficult and expensive to get certified organic in Alaska, Cindy does the next best thing. She has been certified as “Alaska Naturally Grown” for five years now. For the nine years she has been selling at the Market she has been selling organically grown produce, but for folks who are dedicated to buying healthy, chemical-free produce, this label helps show her commitment to the cause.
Farmers change and grow, crops change and grow, and so does the Market.
Don’t forget that you can find Cindy and our other fine vendors at the Farmers Market now on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. as well as the regular Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. down on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.