The end of summer weather also means the end of veggie shares and farmers markets, so hopefully you have enough of the goods canned, frozen or dried for the winter ahead. And, if not, never fear: fresh local veggies can actually be found in the valley clear through December, which, as those of you who have ever tried to grow tomatoes in Jackson know too well, is no small miracle.
Huidekoper Ranch, tucked away in Wilson, grows vegetables on a couple of small plots, two greenhouses and a pump shack that has been converted into a microgreen nursery. Their setup allows them to grow produce in soil partially through the winter. In the autumn months, they are able to sell root vegetables grown outdoors as well as greens grown indoors long after the farmers markets and veggie shares are finished.
The ranch is organized based on the Parisian market garden model, which originated in Paris in the 1800’s. This method works by using plenty of fertilizer and attention to soil quality to obtain the greatest yield possible from a limited space. The market garden model is bio intensive, productive and efficient, and eradicates the need for tractors and broad acreage. Which, farmer Alex Feher and ranch manager Nate Fuller quickly realized, is perfect for a place with scarce fertile land, a short growing season and other limitations.
Feher, fellow farmer Brent Tyc, and Fuller are also carrying on a cool valley tradition– Virginia Huidekoper, Fuller’s grandmother, ran the first garden operation that sold to local restaurants out of the ranch in the 1970’s. Fuller likes to think his grandmother, who also started the JH News and Guide, would be proud that they are putting the land to use again. Now, the ranch sells their produce to countless restaurants and grocery stores around the valley. Buyers love the Huidekoper produce for its vibrant color and flavor, which Feher says is a direct result of close attention to soil quality.
To be sure, the ranch’s produce is some of the tastiest in town. Whether you grab a carton of lettuce from the Apsens Market or order an avocado toast topped with spicy microgreens at the Healthy Being Juicery, you will definitely recognize its outstanding quality and taste. Save the cans for February.
Where can I find Huidekoper Ranch produce?
Find fall salad mix, arugula and spicy microgreens at:
Find mircrogreens, red and golden beets, rainbow and orange carrots, French breakfast radish, hakurei turnips, salad mix and arugula on the menus of restaurants around town: