In 2011, Everyone’s Harvest received $16,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to support small-scale farmers to expand their businesses to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and value added products to Everyone’s Harvest Certified Farmers’ Markets. Through the FMPP program, Everyone’s Harvest led a Farm Scholarship program for Everyone’s Harvest farmers. Four farmers were chosen to be support in 2011 through 2013. Farmers have received equipment, supplies, and one-on-one professional farm consultations to guide their farm expansions.
Work completed so far is listed below, yet there is so much more that can be done. Everyone’s Harvest has been blessed to support the farmers through the USDA FMPP Program but sees the need and desires to support the farmers more. To support buying equipment, supplies, plants, and seeds to assist Everyone’s Harvest small-scale farmers please consider making a donation to Everyone’s Harvest. When you make your donation put in the memo “Farm Support” and your entire donation will go to supporting the farmers. Another way to support this project is to buy the new produce coming to the markets from the farmers’ expansions. A lot of the new items have come from farmers’ market customers’ requests.
Tu Universo Organics
Tu Universo Organics expanded their farm production in 2012 to include organic kobocha squash and organic culinary herbs; dill, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage. Look for these new items at the Marina, Pacific Grove, and Natividad Certified Farmers’ Markets. In 2013, Jose Nunez, owner of Tu Universo Organics is excited to continue his farm expansion to grow organic Adirondack (purple) potatoes and organic salad mix with edible organic flowers. Everyone’s Harvest through the FMPP Program supported this expansion by providing seeds, plants, equipment, and supplies needed to grow these new items to bring to market.
Rodriguez Ranch is going to expand their farm business to include organic blueberries. Currently, growing strawberries and raspberries are their specialty. Everyone’s Harvest in the winter of 2012 through the FMPP Program bought 300 organic blueberry plants for Rodriguez Ranch. Plans are for the blueberry plants to be planted in early 2013, after the soil is prepared—ideal for the plants. Blueberry plants take three to five years to become established before a harvest, so we all must lick your lips and wait a few years to see the fruit of our efforts. Organic blueberries will be well worth the wait! We estimate by 2016 Rodriguez Ranch will be producing at least 3000 pounds of organic blueberries a year.
Mountain Oak Farm
Mountain Oaks Farm traditionally grows and sells flowers and bulbs. They live in Carmel Valley where they have a lot of land to expand their farm business. Jamie Collard, owner of Mountain Oaks Farm has for years been cultivating and harvesting honey for personal use. Through the FMPP Program, Everyone’s Harvest was able to support the expansion of their honey making efforts to go commercial. In late Spring 2012, Everyone’s Harvest purchased 13 bee hives for their business. Honey is expected to come to the Pacific Grove Certified Farmers’ Market in the spring of 2013.
Chia Her Farm grows specialty Asian greens following traditions learned from home in Laos in South East Asia. Many Marina Certified Farmers’ Market customers love Mr. and Mrs. Chia’s bittermelon, okra, yam, and sweet pea leaves. If you have not yet tried these Asian specialties it is worth scoping out—it is nice to learn that the leaf part of all of these plants are edible! The leaves come in huge bundles, providing plenty of greens to cook up and eat. Unfortunately, these specialty leaves can’t be grown year-round in the Central Valley where Mr. and Mrs. Chia farm. Through the FMPP Program, Everyone’s Harvest was able to purchase a hoop house for Chia Her Farm so they could grow these specialty greens in the winter. By purchasing a hoop house, Chia Her will now have an additional ? of an acre to farm during the winter. This will allow them to produce an additional 2000 pounds of bittermelons, okra, yams, or sweet pea leaves. Also, Everyone’s Harvest was able to purchase a new six-row seeder that will cut their time spent sowing seeds in the field from a few days to a few hours. This will help Chia Her become more efficient in their farming.