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Farmers Market opens Saturday

June 16, 2014

Elan Boehme, 7, (l) and Ella Boehme,11, are local students learning a bit about agriculture thanks to Bishop Creek Farms. The two girls will be helping out at the Bishop Farmers’ Market this Saturday. Photo courtesy Sue Chudy

Local residents will be heading to market in Bishop with fresh, local, organic goods this week.
The Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers’ Market in Bishop kicks off at 9 a.m. this Saturday on Church Street behind Bishop City Hall between Warren and Fowler streets.
The Mammoth Lakes Farmers’ Market will kick off Independence Day weekend, and is being held in honor of past Mammoth Mayor Skip Harvey. “Skip’s Outdoor Market” will be held from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 2 at the Mammoth Luxury Outlet Mall.
The ESCFM is home to a number of local growers, each with their own unique niche.
This year, the Farmers’ Market is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and continues to build on the foundation of a small-town, home-grown sum-
mer market.
“It’s not the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, it’s Bishop, it’s small and it’s dependable. We’re there every Saturday,” said Martin Freeman of Seismic Gardens, who has participated in the market off and on since it opened in 1994. “This year we’re planning to have some new forms of entertainment, like gunny sack races for the kids, so there’s more entertainment there than just the market.”
New elements for the Bishop Farmers’ Market also include a weekly drawing for a basket of produce and other goodies donated by the farmers and others in appreciation of the community’s support. To enter, residents can simply fill out a ticket and drop it in the designated box.
Freeman said that part of the charm of the market is the friendly atmosphere fostered by the sellers. “We all like what we do, and we all very much want to promote local agriculture, and we have a really dependable crowd of 150-200 people who come every Saturday,” Freeman said. “Other than it being a really nice place to be on a cool Saturday morning, you see a lot of people you know there, so there’s socializing. And there’s fresh vegetables and fruit and a lot of it is organic.”
This summer, residents will have the opportunity to pick up anything from homegrown fruits and veggies to fresh eggs, thanks to the following residents who will be on hand this Saturday.

Courtesy the Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers’ Market:

Martin Freeman and Dori Cann – Seismic Gardens
Martin Freeman and Dori Cann have been running Seismic Gardens in Big Pine since 1994. They use various backyards and empty lots around the community of Big Pine in order to bring residents a wide variety of vegetables and melons, all grown naturally using only organic techniques. Martin and Dori sell at both the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes ESCFM venues. The two expect to have cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, Japanese summer turnips, Bright light chard, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Martin also serves on the ESCFM Board.

Rick and Lauralee Devore – Apple Hill Ranch
Apple Hill Ranch is a family affair. Rick planted his first tree on barren land that is now Apple Hill Ranch at Wilkerson Ranch, some 25 years ago. Apple Hill Ranch is a “You Pick It” fruit orchard. Rick and crew have been selling at the Bishop and Mammoth Lakes Farmers’ Markets since their beginnings and offer fruits, veggies, berries and jam.

Chuck Schneider – International Heirloom Tomatoes
Chuck Schneider will be showing tomatoes under the name International Heirloom Tomatoes. From seven different countries there will be 28 different varieties of tomatoes, including red, green, purple, gold, steaks, brown, orange and yellow. All tomatoes are vine ripened, organic and grown in Bishop.

Steve Baldwin and Bruce Willey – Bishop Creek Farms/Two Rows Farm
Bishop Creek Farms is a CSA (community supported agriculture) and market farm started in 2011 by Steve Baldwin and Bruce Willey. They grow all the usual summer vegetables with an emphasis on early season greens thanks to their three 90-foot greenhouses. In 2013 they started an agricultural education program with a local home schooling family and this year Ella, 11, and Elan, 7, will be helping sell produce at the Bishop Farmers’ Market under the programs new name, Two Rows Farm. Steve, Bruce and the interns will be there with chard, kale, lettuce, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, cabbage, garlic, onions, leeks and more.

Dennis and Kit Niehans – Sonlight Farm
This is Dennis and Kit’s Sonlight Farm’s fifth year with the Bishop Farmers’ Market. They have been in the Owens Valley for more than 40 years and were owner/operators of Sonlight Outdoor Maintenance for 27 of those years.
“We’ve always grown our household produce organically, and now maintain a commercial garden that is dedicated to grow everything without pesticides, artificial fertilizers and herbicides. Although we have an old orchard, it is our goal and intention to plant and grow non-GMO and non-hybrid food. There is such an abundance of information and access to seeds of fine nourishment that has been feeding people for generations… and WE get to grow them in our day and time,” they said.
The Niehans added that they appreciate the camaraderie of the local market, from both their customers and fellow vendors. “The growing season is something fine to look forward to, indeed. We’ll bring our best and we hope to see you there!”
Casey and Marci Boyd – Boyd Farming and Livestock
Marci is a third generation farmer from Fallon, Nev. where she was raised on her family’s hay farm/cattle ranch. Casey has not been in the game as long, but was born and raised on a small farm in Bishop with only a brief hiatus to Reno to pursue a degree in Rangeland Livestock Production. The Boyds started gardening more seriously in 2009 to try and grow more of their own food. They have expanded a little bit every year to where they are today. “Our goal is to provide local, sensibly raised products to the Eastern Sierra. To accomplish that, we raise a variety of garden products that are seasonably available in our cold-desert climate. In 2010 we set out on a venture to provide a local grass- fed meat,” they said. The Boyd’s started with pasture raised Dorper sheep and have now added pastured poultry and eggs as well. Casey also serves on the ESCFM Board.

Tom Wise and Sarah Land – Wiseland
Tom Wise and Sarah Land combine their efforts to produce a variety of seasonal fare using only organic methods of production. They do their gardening the original way: good old ingenuity and hard work (no motorized implements allowed at Wiseland gardens). They enjoy the challenges and gifts of the Owens Valley. Wise also serves on the ESCFM Board.

Craig and Sue Chudy – Curly Cuke Gardens
Craig’s love of gardening and the outdoors began at an early age under the guidance of his grandfather, Grandpa Joe. When Craig is not pouring concrete, he is in the garden tending to his wide variety of veggies, literally A to Z, asparagus to zucchini, fruit trees and a melon patch. Together the Chudys also grow flowers, herbs and chickens and ducks for eggs, which will be available at future Bishop Farmers’ Markets.
Sue is also the marketing director for the Eastern Sierra Certified Farmers’ Market. For general market information or for those interested in joining or selling at the market, or selling non-produce items or entertaining adjacent to the Bishop Market, contact Sue at bishopfarmersmarket@gmail.com or (760) 937-6768.
For additional information about Skip’s Outdoor Market in Mammoth Lakes, contact Cleland Hoff at cleland@mammothluxuryoutlets.com or (760) 914-2000.

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