The farmer’s market season kicked off in McKinleyville earlier this month, offering piles of vegetables of every shape and size, along with jams and jellies, barbeque, and live music. The weekly market, which takes place every Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the McKinleyville Shopping Center parking lot, gives residents a chance to get out and sample the wares of area farmers.
Mary Almquist was picking up some lettuce, green beans, carrots, zucchini, and maybe some strawberries and chard on a recent Thursday afternoon. Her favorite part of the market? “The wonderful fresh veggies,” she said. “I’m really happy that the farmer’s markets are happening now.”
She said the McKinleyviile location is convenient for her. “Sometimes it’s hard to make it to Arcata on Saturday.”
Loren McIntosh of Willow Creek’s McIntosh Farms (whose family also owns the McIntosh Farms Country Store in Valley West), said he does all of the local farmer’s markets. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people.” And he’s not just there to sell his veggies. “I like to shop at farmer’s markets, or trade. It’s a good opportunity to try new varieties.” McIntosh Farms specializes in tomatoes, cherries, guavas, grapes, apples, and more.
And for those who are looking for some tri-tip, the Wild Oaks Grill is barbequing. “You’ve got people that are coming for their veggies and weekly food, and I give them their meat and protein,” said owner Rob Dunn. “I think we’re at eight or nine years now at this farmer’s market. I like the whole feel of it.” Dunn’s menu features over ten items including homemade bacon and pastrami, and of course tri-tip. “Tell them to come on down and give us a try.”
The farm manager at Dow’s Prairie’s I and I Farms, Michelle (no last name given), said she’s happy to have a farmer’s market so close to the farm. “It’s pretty much in our backyard. We’re right down the road,” she said.
“My favorite thing is probably working with the community, no middle man, farm to table,” she said. She also loves being able to farm in this area. “It’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, being able to follow your passion. This community supports that.”
Mike Peterson of Willow Creek Farms says his 20-acre farm specializes in organic squash, corn, tomatoes, and melons. “I like being able to sell the veggies directly to the customers,” he said. “Tell them to come and support us. We’ve got early crops this year of squash and green beans.”
So eat your veggies. Eat them. They are good for you.