Featured farm: Nash’s Organic Produce

I love hitting the road, checking out other neighborhood farmers markets and local farms, to get inspired and see what they are doing.  But I didn’t expect what I found at the Port Angeles Saturday market.  I went down, with the intention of getting some fresh produce and maybe some ideas on what to make for dinner.  I knew that Nash’s Organic Produce would be there, as his farm is one of the leading farms in the community, with a wonderful variety of produce, enthusiastic, knowledgeable young workers, and inspirational leadership.  Oh, and did I mention, the BEST carrots in the whole world.  I am not exaggerating! Try them yourself and you will agree.  (Grown for only part of the year, and available until they are all gone).  But I digress.

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So I went down there and found Nash’s booth at the center of the small market, his trailer clearly marked and bursting with life.  At the end of his trailer, a cook stove and demo area was set up, with a jar welcoming donations for a Farm to Cafeteria program.  A man in a chef’s jacket was chatting with a shopper, his enthusiasm evident from a distance.  While they talked, I browsed the produce.  I grabbed a bunch of parsley, some spinach, a few zucchini, some arugula, and a 5# bag of Nash’s carrots.  As I finished paying, I noticed he was done talking.  I asked about the program and a little about his background.  The program was in it’s infancy, really just a idea right now, but there were plans for a meeting between Nash’s, Friends of the Field, and the local school district to talk about incorporating fresh food from local farms into the lunch program.  He had worked with Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, where they were successfully doing just that.  I shared with him my interest in similar ventures in Los Angeles, but how it seems the system works against us. 

We finished up our converstation and he gathered his ingredients for a  cooking demo, featuring what’s fresh this week on the farm.  He spoke directly to the crowd, and a handful of ladies stopped to watch and listen.  Reaching them where they were at, he convinced them making a roasted peach salad with balsamic vinegar was as easy a trip to Safeway.  “Here I’m using balsamic vinegar, but you could use apple cider vinegar.  This one was purchased at Safeway, just down the street.  They have started carrying more of these type of products, to compete with Whole Foods or Sunny Farms.”  His dialog flowed as he tossed together the salad.  I was so impressed and rather inspired, as I have shrunk away from doing cooking demos, as they seem so formal and speech-like.  His was more like a conversation between friends.

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That night, we visited the agricultural booth at the country fair.  Nash’s shared a booth with WSU extention, educating the people the importance of eating locally.  Nash’s farm is a leader in this community, putting out the word, raising awareness, educating the young and the not-so-young, and improving the quality of food locally.  And i’t not just me who thinks so.  They recently were the 2008 recipient of the American Farmland Trust annual Steward of the Land Award!

I always look forward to coming into town, eating some of the best carrots on earth, and getting inspired by Nash’s! 

To keep up with the progress of Nash’s Farm-to-Cafeteria program, check out their website at http://www.nashsorganicproduce.com/ or join them on facebook at “Nash’s Organic Produce”.

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Categories: check this out!, travel

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