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Nurseries, farmers seeing early spring boost

Apr 20th, 2010 | Category: Growing, News

by Brita Adkinson
COUNTY – Early spring’s  warm and sunny weather has brought benefits to local nurseries, as residents prepare to start their gardens, and to farmers, who are getting an early start to the season.
“The warm weather has given us quite a fast start,” said Terry Maczuga, farm manager at Cloud Mountain Farm in Everson. “Usually, at this time of the year, our ornamental plants are still in the greenhouse, but now they are already planted out.”
Maczuga said many customers who in the past mainly focused on ornamental plants, now come and want to buy fruit trees and berry bushes, putting in more plants that provide food.
“This year, with the very early spring, we have already sold out some of our varieties of cherry and apple trees,” Maczuga she said, adding, “Last year we had snow this time in March!”
At Alm Hill Gardens in Everson, much of the produce is grown in the greenhouse, providing food all year around, however, farming has progressed further than normal here, too.
“When the days are sunny, we sometimes get a freeze at night,” said Farm Director Clayton Burrows, “while, in cloudy weather, the nights stay warmer.” Burrows continued, “However, with the warm weather we are about 10 days ahead, this year.”
Alm Hill Gardens, managed by Growing Washington, a non-profit cooperative, has more produce ready than usual, for the opening of the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturday, April 3.
“We are planning to sell salad mixes, for example, Asian Greens,” Burrows said, “and we will have baby onions, baby carrots, lettuce, kale and chards for sale, too.”
He added that Growing Washington’s Food Bank Farm, located on Guide Meridian near Lynden, also has fresh produce ready earlier than usual.
Sunseed Farm in the Nooksack’s South Fork Valley near Acme will also have more produce for sale than before, when the Farmers Market opens. “We definitely got plants into the ground early this year,” said Nick Guilford, who, with his wife Yarrow Pospisil has farmed here since 1997.
“Right now we are mainly selling garden starts,” Guilford commented. “We don’t have produce ready yet.”
Most of their produce is sold at local health food co-operatives and at Terra Organica in Bellingham. Guilford said they are aware of a trend toward more home gardening. “These days we see a lot more people digging up their front yards and planting a veggie garden,” Guilford stated.
When the Farmers Market begins, Sunseed Farm will mainly offer garden starts, including pea, onion, kale, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce.
County resident Amanda Smith said her family has been visiting several nurseries in Whatcom County for the last few weeks. “I go out on the weekends, looking for deals on food-producing plants,” she said. “The weather has been wonderful and it gets you in the mood for gardening.”
In addition, she said, “I think a lot of people are realizing self-reliance is a good way to go. It’s nice to support the local nurseries, and I’ve also got good plants to grow food. I feel like the early spring has a lot of people feeling this way.”

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