Featured Grower: Nash’s Organic Produce

By April 27, 2010Featured Grower
Terra Organics works with an abundance of great local farms, run by some wonderful people. As important as it is for us to bring you local, quality, organic produce, it’s also valuable to share information about the great growers that make our snacks and meals that much better.

This month, we’re focusing on one of our favorite growers: Nash’s Organic Produce. They’ve generously contributed a delightful history of their farm, organics as well as interesting details about organic consumption and their produce.

Nash’s Carrots are the best in the world!

How Nash’s Organic Produce was founded

Huber founded Nash’s Organic Produce in 1979 with small garden-sized plots that he either rented or borrowed.

Nash Huber grew up on a small family farm in South-Central Illinois. In those days, all agriculture was organic, but during Nash’s youth, the chemical-based system that we know today became established in the Midwest. Nash majored in chemistry in college and did research in high-fructose corn syrup after he graduated. But he was not happy working in that field, and in 1969 he moved to the Pacific Northwest, settling down in Sequim, Washington. A few years later, he started farming in Dungeness where the climate allows agriculture year round. Nash wanted to produce healthy food for his new community and for the environment, and he knew that meant growing it organically, the way his grandparents had taught him to do.

The crew in Nash's grain field

Huber founded Nash’s Organic Produce in 1979 with small garden-sized plots that he either rented or borrowed. As a founding member, he sold his produce at the year-round Port Angeles Farmers Market. The business grew slowly from there, as local folks came to know his quality produce and as he became active in revitalizing the North Olympic Peninsula’s farming community. He gradually leased larger parcels of land, and hired people to work with him, expanding the operation. Nash also started selling wholesale into the Seattle area, building a reputation for his famously sweet carrots! Finally, in 1996, he and his wife Patty were able to purchase 10 acres of their own in Dungeness and build a packing shed and greenhouses.

PCC Natural Markets, one of farm’s wholesale customers, stepped up to the plate at Nash’s urging and formed the PCC Farmland Trust. The Trust’s first purchase was the 80 acre Delta Farm in Dungeness, and Nash has a long-term lease on that farm. The farm has continued to expand, and today Nash and his team lease over 380 acres from nine landlords.  Approximately 60% of that land has conservation easements on it and is protected from future development.

Nash has made a conscientious effort over the years to diversify the farm.   In addition to growing over 100 vegetables and berries every year, Nash’s also raises eggs and pigs, and has an extensive grain program, including wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, triticale, oats, and rye/vetch for cover crops. Commercial seed crops have become very important as well, securing seed for the farm’s own use and diversifying what the farm sells.

Irrigating Veggies

Nash’s Organic Produce not only grows food, it grows community. Nash works with a dynamic and innovative group of young people who have chosen organic agriculture as their life’s work, and who are poised to be successors of the farm. Some of these young farmers have been working for Nash for over a decade. They manage the planting, harvest, grain operation, sales, Farmers Markets, the Farm Store, and the general infrastructure and maintenance of the farm, the land it manages and its equipment.  Nash believes that training new farmers is as important as growing crops.

Educating the public to appreciate about local food systems has always been a priority for the farm.  Whether its participating in the annual Fall Harvest Celebration, hosting school tours, or doing outreach at local events, Nash’s works hard to educate and empower people to take back their food system and improve the quality of their lives through healthy food.

Nash’s carrots are the best!

Nash’s Organic Produce also takes pride in the farm’s practices to protect the environment. Nash’s was the fourth farm to be certified organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture decades ago. Today it is also certified Salmon-Safe and is committed to improving the quality of the soil it manages through composting and cover cropping.

The farm also strives to develop and produce organic seed, in partnership with Organic Seed Alliance and Washington State University. With their help, the farm is developing some varieties of its own, and reviving many heritage grains and vegetables. Work is in progress to develop a local grain mill to create organic flour for local bakers.

In 2008 Nash Huber was awarded the American Farmland Trust Steward of the Land Award for 2008.  He was the first organic farmer, vegetable farmer and WA State farmer to receive this national honor.

Nash’s has also helped lead the North Olympic Peninsula’s Farm to Cafeteria movement, which has recently celebrated some successes in their efforts to improve the quality of food served in local school and hospital cafeterias.

The farm is also proud that it is a long time member of the Tilth Producers of Washington, the State’s premier organic and sustainable farming organization.

Nash’s was recognized for the organic agriculture efforts with the Vim Wright Farming & the Environment Award in 2006 from Farming and the Environment.  In 2008 Nash Huber was awarded the American Farmland Trust Steward of the Land Award for 2008.  He was the first organic farmer, vegetable farmer and WA State farmer to receive this national honor.

Grain Harvest

Vegetables and fruits, including: apples, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries, arugula, artichokes, beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, cilantro, basil, parsleys, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, green onions, parsnips, peas, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, raab, rutabagas, spinach, sunchokes, summer squashes, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Grains & Legumes, including: wheats, barley, rye, buckwheat, triticale, oats, green & yellow field peas, cover crop seed.

Pork, eggs.

Seed crops including, spinach, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, beets, cilantro, kale.

What do you supply Terra Organics with?

We round out the late fall, winter and early spring product line for Terra Organics, when Tahoma Farms doesn’t have as much coming off their fields.  Nash’s supplies bunch beets with greens, leeks, raab, sunchokes, parsnips, carrots, leeks, dandelion greens, parsley, rutabagas, turnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beets, rye, wheat, and triticale.

How can people get more involved with Nash’s?

Nash’s Organic Produce hosts legendary barn dances twice year!

Protecting local farmland is critical to the future of our food system.  Without the land, there are no farmers. Nash’s encourages people to support local Land Trusts, (such as the PCC Farmland Trust, North Olympic Land Trust, etc) which work to protect farmland.

Nash Huber was a founder the nonprofit, Friends of the Fields, which works to protect farmland in Clallam County on the North Olympic Peninsula. Faced with rampant sprawl, this small group of citizens has protected 151 acres in perpetuity so far. Regardless of the fact that we can grow food year round, Clallam County has lost over 70% of its viable farmland, and action must be taken to protect what remains.

Nash’s Organic Produce hosts legendary barn dances twice year!  The public is welcome to join in the potluck and dancing fun the first Saturday of May, and the first Saturday of October!  The public is also welcome to visit the farm during the Clallam County Harvest Tours, held the first weekend in October.

Stop by the Farm Store in Dungeness if you’re in Sequim!   360-683-4642

Nash's @ Farmers Market

Nash’s Organic Produce sells at the U-District and Ballard Farmers Markets year round in Seattle. On the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll find the farm year round at the Port Angeles and Olympic Medical Center Farmers Markets, and seasonally at the Port Townsend, Kingston, and Sequim Markets. The Farm Store is open year round in Dungeness (1873 East Anderson Rd., Sequim) and has monthly educational displays about farming and food systems, and hosts a lending library.  Nash’s also has a Summer/Fall and Winter Farm Share program (CSA) with pick up points at all the above-mentioned farmers markets.

Nash’s wholesales its produce to Organically Grown Company and Discovery Organics.  The farm also provides an extensive product line to PCC Natural Markets in Seattle.

Our products are also available at Sequim’s only on-line farmers market, www.sequim.locallygrown.net.

The farm sells direct to restaurants, coops and stores on the Peninsula and in Seattle.  Call 360-681-7458 for more info.

What’s one thing everyone should know about Nash’s?

Nash’s Carrots are the best in the world!

What should every consumer of organic produce in general know?

Voting with your dollar is power in America!  Actively supporting local farmers is critical for so many reasons.  Encourage your favorite grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries to buy from local farmers.  Businesses will continue to respond to consumer demand for healthier food.  Not only are you doing farmers and the environment a favor, but your local economy as well!

Tilth Producers of Washington (www.tilthproducers.org) has wonderful online resources for finding local farms in your region, or for learning more info about organic farming, internship opportunities, agriculture related policy issues, etc.  Tilth also hosts an annual Farming Conference the second weekend of November.  In 2010, the conference will be held at Fort Worden in Port Townsend.  It will be on the East side of the State in 2011.

Organically grown food doesn’t contain Genetically Modified Organisms, so if you want to avoid GMO’s, buy organic!

Purchase organic whole foods (fresh, bulk, etc) instead of organic processed foods…your wallet will thank you!

Every action taken to support local, organic agriculture will make a difference in your community. Get to know the hands that feed you!

Tahoma Farms and Nash’s Organic Produce are ‘sister farms’, as both have roots with the PCC Farmland Trust

Author Terra

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