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Hey…that’s my farmer!


So there I was…at a stop light on Broadway Ave which cuts right through the heart of Boulder. I’ve got my left elbow out the truck window and tapping my right hand on the steering wheel as I listen to some groovy tunes on local radio, KBCO. I look to my left and take a double take. “Wait a second…I know those two. They’re my farmers!!” Pasted to the outside of Alfafa’s Market, is a billboard sized photo of Abbondonza owners, Rich Pecoraro and Shanan Olson. I was beaming with pride to know my farm, my farmers were being recognized so highly in their community. And it’s true…there is a lot of respect for these two. They are the soul of the farmer’s market and the growing community in Boulder. After missing the Wednesday market the week before last, a competing farm told Rich that the market is not the same without them and that it lacks a little energy and zing when Abbondonza is not present.

A big part of that respect is due to their knowledge about seeds…Over half of Abbondonza’s business is dedicated to seed saving from locally adapted crops. Meaning, they test a variety of each vegetable they grow to determine which is best suited for the Front Range climate. The ones that thrive will later be given a whole crop. They’ll let all the plants bolt (bloom) and go to seed. They package the seeds selling them to backyard and large-scale growers (you too can order them from their website). They see it as more than just a business opportunity but something all farmers should be incorporating into their practice. It’s a whole other story for conventional farmers who are hog-tied to ag giants like Monsanto and Cargill for seeds. But organic farms can build self-reliance and security if they too saved seeds. Rich has been at it for close to 35 years getting his start on organic farms in the late 70’s and later learning about seeds when he worked for Seeds of Change in New Mexico. Homework assignment…Find out your farmer’s story!

p.s. Wondering what Abbondonza means? It means “abundance.” But what makes that even cooler is, “Abbondonza” is Rich’s grandmother’s maiden name. Way!