Photos by Ty Swenson
Master growers at the High Point Farm Stand display their harvest for sale on July 17. PLEASE CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR MORE.

SLIDESHOW: High Point Farm Stand exemplifies knowing where your food comes from

There was a time, long before preservatives and a highly-coordinated food shipment system in the United States, when people could simply swing by a local farmer’s field, find his or her stand, and buy the freshest produce imaginable. Looking beyond the stand, customers could see the very fields where their fruits and vegetables were grown.

Today, with the exception of farmers markets, those fields are mostly replaced by a semi-truck delivering from far-flung locations. When that carrot was pulled from the earth is anyone’s guess.

Hearkening back to yesteryear, the newly opened High Point Farm Stand in West Seattle’s High Point neighborhood allows you to buy fresh fruit and veggies only a few feet away from where they are grown, and handed to you by the people who grew them.

When it comes to knowing where your food comes from, it’s right up there.

Located at 32nd Ave. S.W. and S.W. Juneau St. is the High Point P-Patch, one of 80 community gardens in greater Seattle supported by Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. Two of those p-patches (including High Point) have expanded with the Seattle Market Gardens program to provide Farm Stands and an ability to accept food stamp payments in addition to the always-accepted cash. Every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m., the master gardeners of High Points P-Patch open up the stand for sales. It will be open every Wednesday through Oct. 9 (and started on July 10).

Stopping by the High Point Farm Stand on July 17, customers were greeted with broad smiles and welcomes from five growers - all of whom immigrated to the Seattle from Southeast Asia - who were proudly displaying their haul of kale, beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips, mixed greens, green beans, zucchinis and onions. Prices ranged from $2.00 a bundle for most veggies to $4.00 a pound for potatoes, salad greens and green beans.

While our language barrier made interviews difficult with the growers, P-Patch program staff coordinator Bunly Yun happened to be there to help explain the farm stand and what it means to the High Point community.

Yun said the farm stands are a collaboration between the City of Seattle, Seattle Housing Authority and non-profit support.

The goal, he said, is “to help low-income families here to produce this farm-fresh produce, to provide fresh food to this community that people can access.”

Of the income generated from sales, Yun said 60 percent goes back to the growers and their families while the other 40 goes back into the citywide P-Patch program for seed, compost and gardening supplies.

“Mainly (the growers) joined this program to benefit their community and benefit themselves with socialization, exercise … growing fresh produce and having fun seeing people in the neighborhood” Yun said, translating the general consensus from the growers.

For anyone using food stamps, an EBT card reader is set up at the stand and those who qualify can also take advantage of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program, where $10 spent in food stamps at the stand gets you an instant additional $10 for even more fresh goodness.

Yun encouraged all West Seattleites to come shop at the High Point Farm Stand, where you can support local growers, low-income families, and see with your own eyes the patch of dirt from where your beets were drawn.

“I think this program is really helpful,” Yun said, “to provide local residents access to fresh produce and to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

The High Point Farm Stand at 32nd Ave S.W. and S.W. Juneau St. will be open every Wednesday through October 9th from 4 to 7 p.m.

To learn about the Seattle P-Patch Market Gardens, visit http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/ppatch/marketgardens

To learn more about the Fresh Buck program, please see the Herald’s prior coverage.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.