Pilgrim Produce, a farming program being run on Unaaqtuq’s land, sold its first crop of produce in Nome yesterday.
Bags and bags of fresh vegetables harvested from Pilgrim Hot Springs made their way by truck to the Green Energy Solutions office in Nome.
Tasha Lee, a laborer with Bering Straits Development Company and Unaaqtuq, listed off the pounds of vegetables available for sale in green mesh bags.
“There is chard, there is butter head lettuce and romaine lettuce. There was rhubarb, but we sold out. There’s parsley, there’s kale, and a little bit of cilantro that we are giving away,” explained Lee.
As the sole farmer running the produce stand, Lee was selling vegetables on her own from about 9am until later than 5pm yesterday.
By 11:00am seven customers had purchased about 15 pounds of mixed greens and herbs. One customer even came back a second time to buy the last of the rhubarb at $5.00 per pound.
Whatever was not successfully sold from Pilgrim Produce’s farmers market stand, Lee says the leftovers most likely went to those who couldn’t come by in person. “I plan on buying the rest of it myself and bringing it to family members of mine,” Lee said with a chuckle.
Regardless of how many people were able to buy produce yesterday, there will be other opportunities to buy vegetables grown at Pilgrim Hot Springs. Lee says the goal is to have produce for sale, on a consistent basis, throughout the rest of the summer.
“I’m hoping for once a week but it depends on how the produce is growing. So depending on how much we have will depend on how many times we are able to sell it”
Lee says next time customers could have more than five types of locally grown produce to choose from, such as onions, potatoes, celery, carrots and squash.