Hope Valley FarmThis coming Sunday is the last week that one of our produce vendors, Hope Valley Farm, will be at the market until the spring. To kick off our new series of blog posts spotlighting vendors, our intern Jenna spoke with the owner, Rich Rugen. Here is their conversation:

How did you get started?

“We started Hope Valley Farm 25 years ago as a result of a desire to move from Long Island to the Adirondack mountains and do something positive to make a living.  We found out people would buy flowers readily and we put up a greenhouse.  Then we added another and another until we got to eight.  And we kept adding to our open field production of vegetables.”

What is your favorite product?

“We have several favorite products including 6 varieties of Garlic, Tomatoes, Lettuce, and of course, the Annual and Perennial flowers!”

What do you feel makes you unique?

“Our “Uniqueness” is centered around our vegetables being “Certified Naturally Grown” and free of “GMO” contamination. We are also the only flower and vegetable farm located in Hamilton County.”

What does the Schenectady Greenmarket mean to you?

“The Schenectady Greenmarket is our favorite market because of its great diversity and the extensive interest of the attendees in the way we grow and in our ecological principles.  The loyalty of so many faithful customers week in and week out is especially gratifying!  Also, the market has a policy that doesn’t allow vendors to “buy in” products from other sources, so that makes Schenectady Greenmarket a pretty honest farmers market.”

What do you love most about what you do?
“Aside from treading lightly upon the earth and growing food without the use of chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers, we love interacting with our customers about how we produce their food and how to use those veggies.  We are particularly proud to say that we do NOT grow any of our vegetables using genetically modified seed or seed treated with chemical fungicides.  No foolin!”

Thanks Jenna & Rich. Make sure you check out their awesome produce (they’re located under the stairs on the lower level of Proctors) and say hello THIS Sunday!