We're in an era where the average age of US farmers is rising - only 6 percent of farmers are under 35, while 33% are over 65. That trend is a result of a tough economic situation for family farmers who compete with large scale corporate agriculture. There were 20% fewer beginning farmers in 2012 than there were 5 years earlier - not a hopeful future for our country's farming tradition.
But we like to think that we're bucking the trend! When HAH started there were only a couple of direct market produce farmers in Plumas County. Now HAH works with 10 produce growers total, half of whom have been farming for less than 5 years, and all but 2 of whom have been farming for less than 10 years (the USDA's definition of a beginning farmer). And they say you can't grow food in the mountains. Grow farmers grow!
Here are the newest additions to the HAH farmily.
Bike Basket Growers
Kari O'Reilly, Dax Albrecht and kiddo Acer are the down to earth family behind Shoofly Farm, named for it's location in Indian Falls near the historic Shoofly Bridge that spans Indian Creek.
Kari and Dax raise delicious free range meat birds and a flock of laying hens that produce a rainbow of pastel eggs (Ask them about their chicken-yard composting method, it's really interesting.)
This year Shoofly Farm is expanding from their homestead onto neighboring farmland. On this sunny, fertile land they'll be growing early season spinach, hot house tomatoes and a trial crop of celeriac for HAH.
You can find Shoofly Farm on facebook too.