Ukiah Farmers Market Saturday, May 30th



From SCOTT CRATTY
Ukiah

May 29, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California

Friends of the Market,

Greetings. Tomorrow will be the first regular season farmers’ market without a big co-event (Cinco de Mayo, Human Race, Pastels on the Plaza, Art Faire Ukiah). Those fine events got the season off to a great start. However, if you like your farmers’ markets experience to be cozier, tomorrow’s market is the one for you.

Tom Brower, Mendocino Lavender, Ties a Sage Swag

The main difference between this year’s market and last is that we have more vendors and a much bigger selection. Indeed, I currently expect that this Saturday will be the first time we are not able to fit the farmers’ market vendors into one street. Neufeld Farm, Sky Hoyt, and Thompson Farm have volunteered to shift to a new block. It will be interesting to see if the customers are willing to cross the street to support them.

Come find out.

For this week’s food info, check out the trailer for yet another new movie about out current food system here.

Tomorrow we welcome back accordion music by market favorite Don Willis. We will also have some activities for the kids brought to us by Farmers’ Market Friends First Five.

Also, please note that the Ukiah Tuesday market will be opening next week. Tuesdays 3-6 under the Pavilion at Clay & School St.

FYI – Westside Renaissance Market (and Florist), carries many of your favorite farmers’ market vendor products. It is now open Wed-Sun. We will have a grand opening celebration 6/10, clear your calendar. There will be samples from the deli case and other goodies from 7-9. It will be fun.

This week’s recipe from John Johns:

Johns Family Farm Recipes

Artisan Goat Chevre Stuffed Burgers
Serves four (4)

2 pounds – John Ford Ranch Ground Beef
2 ounces – Shamrock Artisan Goat Soft Chevre, Plain
2 ounces – Sliced Green Olives with pimento

Hand form eight (8) 1/4 pound patties, place four (4) patties in front of you and place a half ounce of soft Chevre and a half ounce of sliced olives on each. Salt and pepper to taste. Place the other four (4) patties on top. Pinch edges together until sealed. Cook on the George Forman Grill at 350o or skillet on medium heat, until done. Enjoy!!!
~
Photos Credit: Dave Smith
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2 Comments

Aren’t Neufeld Farms from Kingsburg, CA in central valley? That’s not local. The fruit looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL but tastes like I get a Safeway. Are you sure they are for real? How can they have cherries from California when all of the Calfiornia cherries are gone, I think Washington’s fruit is almost gone too? I lived in the central valley and this time of hte year, cherries aren’t grown past may / june. I attended the farmers market for the first time and was so excited to see so many local vendors and then having lived in the valley, I know that’s not local. I’m just surprised at how far local stretches these day even in a small town like Ukiah. Please double check your definitions of local grown … I know how corporate the central valley farmers are and I would hope the integrity of the Local Grown stays with Local Farmers.

    Response from Scott Cratty, Farmers Market Manager

    Thanks for your comments and observations.

    Certified Farmers Markets are venues for farmers to make direct sales to customers. I.e., the person selling should be part of the family that owns the farm or someone who is on the farm’s payroll.

    There is no guarantee that items sold are organic, local or even fresh.

    However, as compared with other produce shopping alternatives, the farmers’ market provides lots more options and more information about specifically where things come from, and how they were grown – plus the opportunity to look the grower in the eye and ask questions. It also provides the buyer the option of supporting small and/or local, and/or family farms as opposed to buying whatever someone else elects to stock.

    Regarding superior information, vendors are required to post their farm information, including a certification of where they grow crops, specifically what they grow and how much they grow. Customers who are considerate of how far their lunch has traveled can thus skip over any farms from further away and patronize those closer at hand.

    Relative to Neufeld and cherries, their posted agricultural certificate indicates that they have 10 trees with an estimated 1,000 lbs of production from May through June. Not a huge amount and, as you point out, now out of season. So, it would seem that Neufeld Farm could have been selling the remainder of its production out of cold storage (which would be none to fresh) or …? Just how the cherries arrived at the Ukiah market is a question well worth asking Mr. Neufeld should they be on his table this Saturday. Again, I am glad that you pointed out this potential issue.

    Although nothing about a certified farmers’ market inherently guarantees that the farms present meet any specific definition of “local,” each market or association will have it own guidelines. The Mendocino County Farmers’ Market Association’s mission is to support production in “this and adjacent counties” and the Association is focused on supporting “locally grown and produced agricultural products.” The majority of producers are indeed relatively local. Out of about 25 agricultural vendors the Ukiah Saturday market has one vendor from Lake County, one from Sonoma, and two from further away.

    That said, in prior years survey after survey of Ukiah market patrons and non-patrons indicated that a lack of variety and insufficient selection was the number one complaint about and reason people do not regularly patronize the market. In other words, the local farms that do come to the market have access to fewer customer because they do not, by themselves, produce enough to interest much of the potential Ukiah customer base.

    When the new Ukiah winter market started this season lack of selection loomed as an even more substantial potential problem. For example, it was clear that the market would have no vendor with fruits at all. So, in order to increase the odds of our winter market surviving my wife and I visited markets in Sonoma to look for potential new vendors. Neufeld Farm was the only one we contacted that was willing to come to Ukiah. I believe with a fairly high degree of certainly that Neufeld’s presence did indeed help the local farms that attended the winter market because I encountered many customers who came for his dried fruit and then bought other things or who complained when he dropped out of the winter market for a period. Before agreeing to try allowing Neufeld Farm in the Ukiah market for the regular season I polled the entire 400+ market email list and, of the few customer who responded, most supported allowing Neufeld Farm to attend the regular season market as well.

    For my part, I am inclined to err on the side of allowing in some farms from further away to the extent that they make a significant contribution to the strength and diversity of the market (and follow the rules) and to trust in our customers to use their own ability to make choices to pick which fruits they prefer and which farms seem most worthy of patronage.

    For myself, after trying it once at an early winter market, I have not purchased again from Neufeld Farm. I trust that customers who place a high value on knowing the food source and keeping it local will make similar decisions, particularly when we have a more local provider who offers the products they want. Regardless, I’d much rather have a customer come to the farmers’ market and
    make a decision between Neufeld and another market vendor than continue going to a box store.

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