I have had so much fun this summer writing about the different farmers at the Homer Farmers Market. Some are easy to write about because they are eager to share stories, others not so much.
Paul and Jen Castellani of Will Grow Farm are not the sort to talk much about themselves. Mostly they just told me to thank everyone who supports the Market. They don’t have to brag, you see their story each week in their stand full of fresh, organically grown veggies.
Just imagine a farm family that Wendell Berry would describe in his prose praising caretakers of the soil and you would get the Castellani family. Starting with raw land of spruce and hummocks, they have carved out a life based on gardening about an acre of land to feed themselves and add to their livelihood.
That land is in the hinterlands, more than three miles off the Sterling Highway on a fairly dreadful road that Paul assures me is shorter on the way out than it is coming in. With their sons Leo and Theodore, they are off the grid in their house surrounded by gardens and wilderness.
This picture-perfect ideal of a farm family also sows the seeds of community. They birthed their dream of farming along with the Homer Farmers Market, starting out in 1999 selling mostly herbs.
Jen, Paul or both has been tightly connected to the board of the Market ever since, helping guide its growth and promotion.
They also started one of the area’s first CSAs (weekly veggie box delivery to members) and they are regularly asked to speak at the Homer Garden Club and divulge the secrets to their rich soil and amazingly healthy veggies.
Actually, I could go on and on about these guys; what organic truly means to a farm, how kids grow up at the Market. But suffice it to say, it is just so refreshing to know that people still value community, family and land.
So, don’t miss the chance to get to know them yourself down at the Market on Saturdays from 10 a.m-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.