by Laura Steiger, Outreach Team
Nelida Martinez (at right) and her daughter hold armloads of organic produce grown on her farm in the Skagit Valley.
“Me gusta mucho crecer las plantas, producir buena alimentación, para alguien más. Me gusta mucho, este trabajo es mi pasión!” says Nelida, owner of Pure Nelida Organic Produce.
Translation: I like to grow plants and provide nourishment for everyone. I like it a lot, this work is my passion!
Photo courtesy of Pure Nelida.
Pure Nelida: A 2019 Next Step Grant and Loan Recipient
The story of Pure Nelida began 30 years ago when Nelida Martinez learned to cultivate fruits and vegetables in the fields of California.
For many years, she and her family worked and lived under the hot sun while being exposed to pesticides.
Nelida’s personal interest in organic food comes from her son’s diagnosis of leukemia and her suspicion that the disease arose due to the many years the family spent working in the pesticide-ridden fields of California. Despite a long battle, Nelida ultimately lost her son to the disease.
After moving to Washington, Nelida enrolled in bilingual sustainable farming courses, developed a business plan for an organic farm, and gained experience with organic farming with the assistance of Viva Farms in Skagit County, Washington state’s first bilingual farm business incubator.
Nelida’s passion as a farm owner has her always thinking of ways to improve her farming methods and expand her farm. She is currently farming on nine acres and plans to lease five additional acres.
(from left) Alex Perez from Northwest Agriculture Business Center, Nelida Martinez from Pure Nelida, and Jean Rogers from the Co-op’s Farm Fund, gather to present Next Step grant and loan funds to Nelida.
The funds will be used to purchase and construct a large durable greenhouse that will help Nelida expand her business and increase efficiency on the farm
Unfortunately, this past winter windstorms destroyed the greenhouse she used to start her plants. Next Step grant and loan funds will be used to purchase and construct a large durable greenhouse that will help Nelida expand her business and increase efficiency on the farm.
Pure Nelida currently sells produce to the Puget Sound Food Hub, which delivers fresh produce to our stores. Nelida is also working to expand into more wholesale markets. Among other products, the farm sells berries, tomatillos, kale, chard, onions, corn, potatoes, and jalapeño, chili, and bell peppers.
Edited and reprinted with permission of Pure Nelida Organic Produce and Viva Farms.