Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Garden Hose, an Urban Farm Stand, Opens in NE

She may not have walls yet, but Nikki Harding (above), does have a toehold in the up-and-coming urban ag scene that is currently taking root in Northeast Portland's Cully neighborhood. The definition of vivacious, she's working to establish a small scale urban farm supply stand providing locally sourced chicken feed, bedding straw and seasonal plant starts and seeds as well as seasonal vegetables from nearby urban farms like The Side Yard Farm and Simpson Street Farm. I'm particularly enamored of the tangerine-yolked eggs she pulls out of the cooler that are on par in flavor, color and richness with the best pastured eggs I've found in town.

Small businesses like Nikki's, which include other farm supply stores as well as urban farms growing straw, vegetables and even grains on plots as small as 50-by-100-feet, a plethora of farmers' markets (more than 60 in the metro area at the height of the season) and retail stores built around local suppliers, are contributing to the city's booming agriculture scene. Farm supply outlets like hers are supported by residents who are turning their yards, front and back, into productive gardens, as well as raising chickens, goats and the occasional pig. And, of course, all of it adds to the vitality of our local economy, not just as an incubator for small businesses, but in keeping local dollars circulating here and contributing making ours a more vibrant community.

On a stretch of NE Simpson just west of Fernhill Park, her farm stand hours are from 10 am till 6 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. The plan is to build a structure, hopefully before the rains come, on a corner of the large plot that's planned as an extension of The Side Yard Farm. Until then, look for her smiling face under the shed roof, surrounded by the bounty of her neighborhood.

Details: The Garden Hose, NE 48th and Simpson. Open Tuesdays and Fridays, 10 am-6 pm.

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