This week we’ll really kick-off our summer fruit and berry season with (what looks to be) an abundance of blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches (Wednesday), apricots and apriums! Also this week: several of our local beekeepers have bottled their first honey of the season, and garlic harvest is underway.
|FRESH THIS WEEK: Cherries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Huckleberries, Gold Raspberries, Black Raspberries, Peaches, Apricots, Apriums, Tomatoes, Fresh Garlic, Zucchini, New Potatoes, Turnips, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Rhubarb, Cucumbers, Garlic Scapes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Shallots, Baby Kohlrabi, Radicchio, Lettuce, Arugula, Salad Mixes, Mustard Greens, Mizuna, Sugar Snap Peas, Shelling Peas, Sweet Peas, Snow Peas, Spinach, Radishes, Cilantro, Dill, Basil, Green Onions, Chives, Kale, Swiss Chard, Heartnuts, English Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Sunflowers, Plant Starts, Fresh-Cut Flowers.|
Live Music Featuring:
Saturday: Will Foster
Wednesday: Bill Bozly
Paradise on the Prairie
On the edge of the Rathdrum Prairie, in a dry field once housing old car parts from a repair shop, stands a little piece of paradise. The Berry and Nut Farm is relatively young, but the once weedy and abandoned field has been transformed into a lush, tranquil Garden of Eden, producing copious quantities of just about every variety of fruit and nut that grows in our region.
The Berry and Nut Farm is the vision of Joe Culbreth. After retiring as
a computer programmer, he set about pursuing a passion for growing that was cultivated as a child on his parents’ cotton, tobacco and corn farm in North Carolina. One of 5 children, he helped to tend a large garden and remembers his mother canning everything – even chicken. Now he is working with his wife (Sharon) and daughter (Coreen) to provide a similar abundance for his family and his community.
The Culbreth’s farm began in 2007 with a small English-style flower garden. Joe says he didn’t really intend to make it an English garden – he just wanted it to be pretty. But the circular beds and grassy walkways soon became the template for the rapidly expanding farm. Shortly after planting flowers, Joe had a desire to grow something “different” – something that wasn’t readily available in this area. So he planted nut trees – and a LOT of them: hazelnuts, heartnuts, English and black walnuts and pecans. Huckleberry plants also followed (though he considers domesticating the western huckleberry a long-term work-in-progress). Then there were cherry trees, 17 varieties of apples, hundreds of blueberry and blackberry and honeyberry bushes, grapes, pears, peaches, beds for propagating plants and vegetable and flower gardens. Joe and Coreen are now assisted by 2 employees on their 15-acre farm, and Joe says he still puts in about 10 hours a day. But that his new line of work is also his passion is evident from the pride in his voice when he shows off his bumper crop of gigantic blueberries and discusses the unique varieties of trees he’s experimenting with.
“Springtime – when you see the little buds on the trees – that’s when I get excited,” Joe says.
Inside the farm shop, cherries bubble in an old-fashioned steam juicer, while upstairs recently picked nuts hang to dry. Much of the bounty is transported to market on Saturday, where Sharon and Coreen and helpers build floral arrangements on-site, educate customers on how to care for the plant starts they sell, and proudly display their growing variety of fruits, berries and nuts. Just as it’s a family effort to grow and manage the farm, it’s also a family effort to make it profitable. As with any small farm, this is no easy task, but they push forward, with a love for their work and a vision for the future.
The Berry and Nut Farm is located near the northwest corner of the market. Their roadside stand is also open daily on W. Boekel Rd in Rathdrum.
Power of Produce (PoP) Club for kids!
Operated by the Inland Northwest Food Network, the program seeks to encourage children to make healthy food choices by empowering them to shop for, grow and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. Children between the ages of 5-12 are eligible to participate in the program free of charge. Each week club members will receive a token worth $2 to purchase a fresh fruit, vegetable or plant at participating farmer booths at the market, or they can choose to save their tokens to buy a larger item such as a fruit tree.
This Week’s Activity: This week at the PoP Club, our focus will be using our other senses to identify delicious fruits and vegetables. First we will have a “Guess the fruit or vegetable game”. Can your fingers identify the produce without the help of your eyes?
We will also be identifying different herbs and produce while tasting infused water. There’s no problem staying hydrated when water tastes like a summertime treat. Water infused with fruits, veggies, herbs and other botanicals bring you beneficial hydration without the sugars or artificial flavorings.
Spotted on the Farm…
Market News: Artisans and crafters wishing to become vendors must attend the Artistic Review Craft Jury coming up on July 21st. This is your last chance to gain entrance into the market this season. Please bring samples of your work and contact the market with any questions.