Vendor Profile from the Boulder Farmers Market Newsletter

Vendor Profile: WeeBee Farms 2014
By Karen Beeman

WeeBee Farms is famous for our 30 different types of garlic which we sell from August to October or November. These are grown at our farm now, but are the same garlic types that have been passed down for many generations for over 3000 years, starting near Central Asia.

In the Spring we sell vegetable and flower plants for home gardens. Next year we'll start selling more of our pollinator-friendly flower seedlings in the interest of helping bees and other pollinators in Boulder county. We use homemade compost for fertilizer, which we get from our llamas, goats, horses and chickens. We use organic soil mix for the plants, organic cover crops and organic seeds. I have been keeping bees for 20 years, and am very committed to keeping honey bees and native pollinators thriving.
Located about 10 miles north of Boulder, near Hygiene, we grow garlic on about an acre (on our 27 acre farm), and have a greenhouse and cold frames where we start our seedlings. We get a lot of produce for our family from the big vegetable gardens, and our fruit trees when we have lucky years. We don't sell from the farm- only at the Boulder Farmers' Market where we're enjoying our 18th year. So many wonderful customers have been coming to us for many years, and lots of people are just now getting to know us as they plant gardens or learn about garlic.
I started WeeBee Farms in 1995, while still working part-time at my advertising business in Denver. Starting off selling a few garden vegetables I quickly zoomed in on a niche after tasting six types of garlics sent to me by an Oregon farmer. After that I named myself the "Garlic Queen" and haven't looked back. My son was born in 2002 and now he sells pea plants and flower seedlings in the Spring and "lemon cucumbers" in late summer. My husband Jock helps quite a bit now too since retiring from his cabinet business and he also grows hay to sell and to feed our animals. Jock is the "Wee" (his last name is Little) I am the "Bee" and our son is a little WeeBee.

The garlic we're selling now:
We have had the biggest crop in 18 years! Thank the 10 inches of rain last September, a snowy winter and moist Spring for that. We usually sell out by early October, but this year it looks like we will have plenty of garlic until November 1st or beyond. Here are two of our biggest sellers:
Inchelium Red - mild and sweeter. Can store to January or longer. We're giving out tastes of this one at the market for the next 3 weeks or so.
Chesnok Red- very flavorful and pungent. A great medicinal garlic with a high Allicin content.

There are 4 reasons I love to grow garlic
1) The uniqueness and history of the different varieties. I love being a part of something that's been going on for thousands of years- it helps connect me to what's real
2) The sensual experience of touching and smelling the garlic, and seeing the colors and shapes of the bulbs and cloves
3) Being able to have and eat the different garlics and enjoy them at their peak of flavor.
4) The joy of sharing my love of garlic and of nature with my customers at the Farmer's Market.