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Market Watch: Blue House Farm Features Great Greens

Blue House Farm, based on the San Mateo County coast, brings its produce to the Albany farmers market, which takes place Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. on Solano Avenue just west of San Pablo Avenue.

Albany Patch takes a look at the people behind the Albany farmers market. Read . Lyal Michel, who grew up in Albany, is now back in his hometown to sell Blue House Farm's organic produce. 

How did Blue House Farm get started?

The owner is Ryan Casey. It was about eight years ago that he and a long-time friend by the name Ned Conwell—they'd been through the Santa Cruz farm and garden project and studied farming and agriculture there—they started off leasing a little piece of land in Pescadero, just wanting to get a farm going on their own. They started on only a couple acres, and it's been growing every year. The operation moved last year, and now we're farming about 35 acres of organic farm in Pescadero.

What sets Blue House Farm apart from competitors?

It's all organic. We grow probably the largest variety of crops possible in the coastal environment of Pescadero. Stuff turns out really well there just because we don't use pesticides. The leafy greens, strawberries, and all these things are really happy to grow down in Pescadero. The climate is really well suited for it, so we can grow these big bunches of kale and chard for a really long season, pretty much all year round.

Where can customers find your products?

We do a whole bunch of markets. There's this one here in Albany, we do a couple in San Francisco—there's the Alemany Market, we do the market on Haight Street, we do one in the Mission. We also do markets in Lafayette, Castro Valley, and more.

We also have a CSA program, which stands for community supported agriculture. That's another way to get some produce from us. The CSA members pay $23.50 a week for a delivery of assorted, fresh, organic produce.

Where are the CSA program delivery sites?

There are drop off points in the city (San Francisco) and throughout the Peninsula, but right now I don't think we have any drop off locations in the East Bay.

What's it like working at the Albany farmers market?

I grew up in Albany, so it's always fun for me to work here.

I always sell a ton of kale here. I have some people who come here every week and buy 15 bunches of kale, so that's a big thing here. I sell a lot of strawberries here. I think I've had a lot of nice conversations with people here. The market's still pretty slow—it's early in the season—and I see the same people every week.

I insisted that I would work the Albany farmers market. We do eight right now, so I'm like, 'I have to do Albany.' It's my home city. I don't want to miss the chance to see my kindergarten teacher, and my first girlfriend, and all my old friends.

What are your prices like?

I try to make sure they're comparable with what other people are selling for. We do strawberries at $3.50 a basket; the kale and all the greens are $1.75/pound. I think it represents a pretty good price for this fresh, organic stuff that's been harvested yesterday afternoon.

Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for an email alert when we write about the Albany farmers market

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

4545 July 12, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Blue Horse Farm is in front of all competitors because of Lyal Michel & his gifted & beautiful wife Katie.
4545 July 12, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Lyal Michel & his wonderful wife, Katie, make shopping big fun, and I hate shopping.

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