August 2010 Edition - Radish Magazine

radishmagazine.com

August 2010 Edition - Radish Magazine

“It is an incredible amount of work,”

says Randy. “And then add to it that before

market, you’re going to pick everything, cool

it down for a couple of hours, wash it and

load the truck.”

Randy rises at 5 a.m. most mornings to

begin planting, weeding and watering. He

often rests during the hottest part of the day,

then resumes field work in the late afternoon.

Randy calls the business a “hobby gone

out of control.” It’s clear from the way he

talks about farming that passion for healthy,

local food is the foundation for their work.

“We started out wanting to grow what

we eat,” Randy explains. “We had been gardening

for years and years — decades, really.

And finally we bought this little place. It’s eight-and-a-half acres. We bought it

with the idea that we would grow all our own food.”

The first seeds for Let Us Farm were sown. By 2008, they were selling produce

at the Geneseo Farmers’ Market.

This year they moved to the Freight House and Trinity Markets. Business is

growing at an exceptional pace. Randy says it’s all because of the “savvy” farmers’

market customers, smart shoppers who know what to look for when it comes to

clean, good-for-you foods.

Let Us Farm’s leaves are certified by Certified Naturally Grown

(naturallygrown.org). In simple terms, Randy tells patrons that his lettuces are

“cide-free,” meaning that they’re grown without herbicides or pesticides.

And like all organic farmers, the Hooveys nurture the soil.

“Because we don’t have enough to do,” Randy says wryly, “we make our own

potting soil” with earth-derived additives like kelp, which actually contains all the

elements of most multivitamins.

After harvest, the leaves are field washed with clean water. Customers are

encouraged to carefully clean the leaves with water once more before eating them,

and Randy jokes that if they find a piece of straw in the bowl, “it’s free.”

This year, market-goers just might be able to find the Hooveys’ beautiful,

delicious varieties of lettuce much later in the season than conventional growing

would allow. Thanks to a grant from the National Resource Conservation Service,

Let Us Farm began constructing a hoophouse in mid-July.

“Last year, our last picking was Dec. 3. We don’t know until we get the

hoophouse put up what we’ll be able to do. But we would hope that it would

extend our season a little later and allow us to begin a little earlier.”

Like most farmers’ market growers, the couple finds fulfillment in providing

healthy, clean food to the community. They agree that one of the best parts of

farming, in fact, is connecting with eaters on a one-on-one basis.

“I have the most fun … when I load the truck to go to market. I’m always

amazed by how much we can put together,” Randy says. “And then of course I

love interacting with the people at the market. People enjoy it so much. Most

people have never been able to create their own salad. And you can’t get half the

kinds of lettuce at the store that you can get from us.”

For a list of some of the lettuces grown at Let Us Farm, visit radishmagazine.com, or

send an e-mail to LetUsF@yahoo.com for more information.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL

FARMERS MARKET WEEK

AUGUST 7TH AT THE FREIGHT HOUSE

FARMERS MARKET

LIVE MUSIC BY THE FIYAH

PETTING ZOO

FACE PAINTING

BALLOONS • CORN ROAST

At 10AM join o n us s as Mayor Maa or o Bill B ll Gluba Gl

ba presents a

City of Davenport Proclamation recognizing the

Freight House Farmers Market for outstanding

service to the community.

Open Year Round

Tuesdays 3 pm to 6 pm • Saturday 8am to 1pm

421 W. River Dr. • Downtown Davenport, IA

— Along the Scenic Mississippi River —

www.freighthousefarmersmarket.com

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