by Jean Rogers, Farm Fund Administrator
Remember September? We can't stop reminiscing about the fun we had together!
To kick off Eat Local Month, the Co-op and Sustainable Connections hosted the Hootenanny to Benefit the Co-op’s Farm Fund at Boundary Bay Brewery.
All ages gathered together to celebrate community, dance, enjoy a delicious meal with ingredients specifically sourced from local farms, and to present the Local Farmer Awards.
photos by FotoMataio Fotografia on Instagram @fotomataio, courtesy of Eat Local First
We are thrilled to present the 2018 Local Farmer Award winners and tell you a little about each one.
As the late harvest season winds down it’s a perfect time to highlight the winners of the Local Farmer Awards, announced at the Farm Fund Hootenanny in September.
All the farmers who were nominated were fantastic, and selecting the recipients was a tough decision. As one nominator said, “pretty much all around classy group of people no matter where you turn.”
Congratulations to everyone who was nominated by their fellow farmers and local eaters.
2018 BRIGHT SPOT FARMER AWARD
Sumas River Farm
Some wonderful local farmers that add spark to our local food system were nominated, so we created a new award.
It is an honor to announce Helen, owner of Sumas River Farm as the recipient of the first Bright Spot Farmer Award.
Helen's many contributions run the gamut: delicious and unique produce and berries, participation and support for many food and farming events, sharing the history of Whatcom County farming, dedication to social justice, and the all-around warmth she brings to the work she does. Helen has worked tirelessly on her beautiful farm in Sumas, and brings dedication and positive energy to every project she is involved in. Well deserved, Helen, we appreciate you!
2018 NEW FARMER AWARD
Jen Finch & Colin Fischer,
If you’ve been to Wanderwood Farm’s booth at the Bellingham Farmers Market, you’ve probably seen or tasted their delicious produce and enjoyed a warm reception from these friendly folks.
Wanderwood got a big thumbs up from fellow farmers who nominated them for the New Farmer Award. One person said, “Jen has long been a part of the farmer and farmers market scene. They are a great addition to the farming community: active in the Bellingham Farmers Market board, and really have their act together.” Congratulations, Colin and Jen, and here’s to a great future for Wanderwood Farm!
2018 INNOVATOR FARMER AWARD
Griffin has brought a unique, ambitious, and valuable new endeavor to our local food system and is bringing new products to the marketplace.
Specializing in apples and grapes, Sauk Farm just received its organic certification, which makes it one of the only organic apple growers on this side of the mountains. Griffin has also put a lot of effort into the infrastructure of Sauk Farm. The processing facility has a cider press and a certified organic dehydrator, which Griffin generously shares with other farms. Look for Sauk Farm ciders and dried and fresh apples (available seasonally) at the Co-op. Welcome, Griffin, and thanks for your creativity in bringing local, organic apples and grapes to our plates and glasses!
2018 MENTOR FARMER AWARD
Anna & Geoff Martin,
Osprey Hill Farm
Osprey Hill Farm is a mainstay of the local farming community and has grown steadily as a premier organic farm in the South Fork Valley.
Anna and Geoff have shared their expertise generously for many years with new farmers in Whatcom County. One nomination stated, “Anna is so generous with her time in supporting beginning farmers. Every season she teaches Cloud Mountain interns about the importance of business planning. Her passion for sharing her experience with young farmers is inspiring.” Anna has also been a mentor for Sustainable Connections’ Food to Bank On program for the last seven years, and is a participant and an original member of the Puget Sound Food Hub. Thanks, Anna and Geoff, for your stewardship of local farming!