Occasionally, I am asked where I get all my great deals on organic produce. The vast majority of what I acquire comes from one man: Vik.
Vik’s family has an organic farm in Wapato. They primarily market to restaurants and stores; the Saturday Redmond Farmer’s Market are the only place you can purchase from them directly.
It is easy to tell that Vik has good produce when you get to the market. His stand is always busy. He has many first-generation immigrant customers, which may not seem significant until you realize that the people who grew up in the ‘old country’ comprise the majority of those who know what this stuff is supposed to look, smell, and taste like. Most of us Americans, who grew up eating supermarket produce, have no idea what the real stuff should be like. If you want to find the best vendor at any market, watch where the newly transplanted population gathers. (Here, the biggest immigrant groups are the Indians and Asians.) At the Redmond Saturday Market, a major vendor of quality fruit and vegetables is Vik.
He also sells in bulk. This is important to people like myself, who tend to think of their canning goals in terms of cases, versus individual jars. Many farms won’t sell in bulk. They make more money selling by the pound, versus the box. Better profit margins. Most small farms also don’t plant in the kind of volume that makes bulk sales attractive. But with Vik, I can order 700 pounds of tomatoes and know that he can do that for me without any problems.
The only caveat is that I have to be flexible on the timing. Since none of us controls the weather, I’m often rescheduling my canning days because of the harvest variables. Sometimes things are ready early; more often, they’re delayed. However, I’d have that problem if I was harvesting from my own garden, so having to be ready to change plans is just part and parcel of this whole home canning gig.
If you want good, organic produce, and want to purchase it by the pound or by the box, I highly recommend that you get to the Redmond Saturday Market at 9:00 (when it opens), and visit my friend Vik. Tell him I sent you!