Farmers boost local economy at Arcata Farmers Market

unnamedBy Lauren Shea
Flapjack staff

It was a cloudy Saturday in Arcata, California around 11:30 in the morning when people filled the Arcata Plaza to spend time and shop at the farmers market. The market was filled with the smell of hot tamales and Humboldt Hot Dogs.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Arcata Plaza Farmers Market was set up in the Arcata Plaza where farmers in the North Coast Growers Association from all around Humboldt County sold farm products. The Outreach Coordinator for the North Coast Growers Association, Colleen Austin, talked about the history of the farmers market.

“When the farmers market first began, the farmers were selling their produce and other products out of the back of their trucks,” Austin said. “It started back  in 1979 and has been going on now for about 40 years. Now, there are about 120 members apart of the North Coast Growers Association.”

Only people who are registered with North Coast Growers Association are allowed to sell products in the farmers market. There were many products offered at the market including produce, meat, eggs and hot soup. Austin also organizes field trips for schools to visit local farms to learn more about farms and the practices of farming. The market sells fresh and local Humboldt grown produce and GMO-free foods. The farmers market supports local farmers, the local economy, and healthy families. Humboldt county’s climate allows for optimal growing for produce. There is also some other benefits to shop at the farmer’s market.

“You can use a CalFresh card, a statewide benefits food card, and food assistance at the market,” Austin said. “It also allows you to earn market match tokens that you can use at the farmers market. Members are encourage to use CalFresh at the farmers market and even get $10 to start off with.”

Austin has been living in Humboldt County for about 10 years, previously from the Seattle area. The North Coast Growers Association also hosts five certified farmers market seasonally and year round in Fortuna, Garberville, Eureka and McKinleyville.

Ginger Sarvinski, a farmer from Ferndale, sells products from the Sarvinski Family Farms at the market. The Sarvinski Family Farms sold meats, vegetables, fruit and flowers. The meat is raised in Ferndale and the farm grows produce in Pepperwood. Her husband’s family has been running the farm since the 60’s.

“Back in the late 60’s after the flood water had receded, Spike and Mildred Sarvinski saw a rich layer of silt that mother nature’s flood had left behind,” Sarvinski said. “The Sarvinski’s along with their nine children decided to grow some of the finest produce grown on the North Coast.”

Sarvinski has been working in the farms for about 10 years. She comes to the Arcata Plaza Farmers Market every Saturday and also goes to the other farmers market under the North Coast Growers Association.

“The farm stand is found in Pepperwood, California on the north end of the beautiful Avenue of the Giants,” Sarvinski said. “You will find a variety of fresh, organic vegetables.”

Lisa Zierer, a farmer at the Flora Organica Farm and Nursery, grows certified organic produce and plants in McKinleyville. She has farmed in Humboldt County for 14 years, and is previously from the New Orleans area. Zierer sells at the market every Saturday.

“We grow certified organic produce such as lettuce and brussel sprouts,” Zierer said. “We also nurse plants such as Dallas Prairie.”

Among the other items sold at the market, there was also other fruits, vegetables, wine, honey, olives and finishing salts. The Arcata Plaza Farmers Market occurs every Saturday in the Arcata plaza year-round. For more information on The North Coast Growers Association and the farmers market, visit www.humfarm.org.

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