Meet Your Farmer: Putting a face to the farmer at Appleton Farmers Market
Each Saturday morning in the summer, College Avenue in Appleton is bustling with people, strollers and bags waitingto be filled with fresh produce and local goods. You can also find a strong sense of community and hopefully some sunshine.
“I love meeting people and telling our sto- ry,” says Tracy Vinz, who owns Olden Organics Farm in Ripon with her husband, Richard. “I like to explain how we do what we do, invite cus- tomers out to the farm and give examples of how we use the produce personally.”
Tracy and Richard are fourth-generation own- ers of the farm, and this is their sixth year selling at the Appleton Farmers Market.
“My favorite aspect is hearing kids say they don’t like broccoli and then seeing them the fol- lowing weekend and their parents report, ‘Oh my gosh, farmer Tracy! They’re eating the broc- coli now!’” says Tracy. “If they can put a face to the farmer and make the connection that their farmer grew it, then they are more willing to eat the vegetables.”
Some other best sellers this time of year are mixed greens, spinach, romaine, carrots and beets. And if you help them put a face to the farmer, you may just be able to entice your kids with these too.
They also sell a variety of veggie and herb plants for those looking to get their hands into their gardens.
If you aren’t sure where to start in the kitchen once you’ve arrived home with your beautiful, fresh produce, Tracy recommends simply asking your friends.
“With social media nowadays, I think the best way to find new recipes is to ask the people around you,” she says. “Ask them what they bought at the farmers market and what they’re making for dinner.”
And just like life on the farm, there’s always more work than hours in the day, but it’s well worth it.
“There’s truly never a dull moment,” she says. This time of year is planting, planting, planting, explains Tracy. “It gets hot and heavy in June when we begin harvesting.”
Olden Organics hosted their first fall festival last year featuring kale, music, hayrides and a mini-farmers market. It was a wild success.
“We had nearly 400 people show up at our farm, all for kale,” says Tracy.“We may go the kale route again this year or possibly do Brussels sprouts; we’ll see.”
Tracy encourages people who are interested in under- standing where their food comes from to make the drive out to the farm and see for themselves.
“I can tell you that I grow great produce all day long, but you have to be there to really get it,” she says. “We are proud of the farm and want to show it off.”
You can also find Olden Organics at the Osh- kosh Summer and Winter Farmers Markets and the Green Lake Farmers Market.