Catching up with Natalie Smith

Last year, Passable posted an interview with Natalie Smith, a farmer working in Roberts Island, Yarmouth County. Since our last interview, Yarmouth has found a permanent home for its farmers market, and Smith’s CSA has grown from 17 families to over sixty. We checked in with her recently.

So how many people do you have in the CSA now, both as buyers and producers?

This year so far we have signed up 65 families with half of them to be supplied 52 weeks of the year with veggies and meats! We have 8 main producers with vegetables, meats and fish and have added some others that will provide some of their surplus vegetables based on them having advantageous locations to grow certain crops such as tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers and eggplants!

How are things going with the farmers market situation in Yarmouth?

The new home of the farmers’ market in Yarmouth has so far a tremendous success! The community has really welcomed us and so many new faces have appeared on a regular basis and lots and lots of young families! The location is truly deserving of a farmers market as was originally a farmers’ market back in the mid 80s and those positive memories have stayed with some. We have been able to develop new vendors, like an inhouse creperie, a full time winery, Annapolis Highland Winery and a micro-brewery, Rudders Ales. Our existing vendors have certainly kicked it up a notch and have created wonderful inviting displays of their products and local entertainment brings it all together! We also now have a market manager added to our team and this is going to make a difference in helping to develop our market and enable us to maintain the high standards we have established and keep it fresh and fun! Our tagline that we live by at our market is, ‘Close to Home, Fresh in Season’ and we hope to keep it that way! In Yarmouth the Yarmouth Farmers’ & Community Market has been a wonderful success this summer season and with the market being a year round venue, our community is excited to know that they will be able to get local fresh & storage produce, meats, fish, baked goods and prepared foods weekly.

What’s on the calendar for the fall and winter?

The weather has been nice and crisp to get those fall veggies sweeter. It’s been and up and down growing summer season and not all of our crops did well with the cooler and damp weather, but we managed (all of our farms) to make the food baskets full!

We have been busy over the last month planting more onions, spinach (inside the greenhouse and out), kale, hardy lettuces, kohlrabi, mustard greens that will supplement the root veggies like carrots, winter turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beets. Our crops of brocoli, cauliflower, cabbages were not as large to harvest as we had hoped and next year need to plant much more and more extensive use of row covers for protection.

This summer we got lots of practical and educational support from Agrapoint and Dept. of Agricultural specialists for sustainable gardening meeting at each others gardens for hands on problem solving!

As this will be our first winter membership season we know there will be some lessons learned to look forward to and feel very blessed to have such supportive members!

You can find out more about the Yarmouth Farmers Market here.