Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 4:49 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Farmers' Market Local farmers provide plenty to brag about


Every week I brag about how important and wonderful the Homer Farmers' Market is down there on Ocean Drive.

And I plan to do it again.

This week I was talking to a friend at the info booth and she showed me her beautiful bag of rainbow chard. "This would be $5 in Florida," she said referring to her winter home. "Here it's $2.50."

She was amazed that in a place like Homer, where it seems like it should be much more difficult to grow than Florida, the fresh produce was going for half the price.

But it's not the prices that make me proud of our Market. The fact that our farmers have such competitive prices just shows their business sense. Personally, I would prefer to brag that we paid our farmers like we pay our CEOs, paid them millions for a harvest.

But I can brag that despite the fact that they keep their prices low and have a challenging climate to grow in, their dedication never seems to lag. You can see it in the glowing head of pak choi, the towering basil plants, the packed salad bags and bunches of baby garlic.

This is only the second year that the Market has opened at the end of May, yet the farmers are getting their crops up and going earlier in order to have produce ready.

Dan Dorval of Luba's Garden said that last year on June 19 the only vegetables he was selling were rhubarb and onions. This year on June 18, he was selling kale, Asian greens, pak choi, spinach, chard, beet greens, radishes, mustard greens, onions and rhubarb.

Now that is something to brag about.

Dan and Luba have a new high tunnel to aide their new growing endeavors, as do many of the other vendors at the market. Emily at Twitter Creek Gardens not only has a new high tunnel in the works, but also a greenhouse and root cellar.

So come down to the Market on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3p.m. to see what creative crops are growing and support our dedicated farmers.

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan. She can be reached at kyra@ sustainablehomer.org.