Quiet harvest, but the food is still fresh in Scandia

Scandia Farm and Garden owner Pam McNeil stocks veggies at her roadside stand near Poulsbo. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
Scandia Farm and Garden owner Pam McNeil stocks veggies at her roadside stand near Poulsbo.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

POULSBO — Kitsap's recent spate of "radical weather" has been a good learning experience, according to Larry Bazzell, who grows more varieties of produce than two hands can count.

Unusually low temperatures left Bazzell with a smaller yield than normal, though Scandia Patch, the plot he works, still managed to produce a good crop.

Beginning in June, Bazzell grew and sold potatoes, onions, squash, beets, carrots, green beans and lettuce, among other produce, from his Scandia roadside stand.

He'll sell corn and pumpkins in October before readying next year's plants.

Harvest in Scandia will pass quietly this year with the hiatus of Scandia Valley Farm, a place traditionally full of school groups and families on a hunt for pumpkins.

For health reasons, and because much of their crop was stunted due to cold weather, owners Ken and Mary Lou Jensen are sitting out this harvest season, leaving only two other farms open to visitors.

Bazzell said his stand still gets up to 50 customers a day. He may sell at farmers markets in the future, but roadside places like his offer buyers an even more direct connection to the land their food comes from.

"People always want fresh, local produce," he said. "I take people in the field and pick stuff for them. They say it doesn't get any better than that."

Bazzell began as a caregiver for longtime Scandia farmers Dwight and Pauline Droz. Scandia Patch opened in 1966, and closed from 1996 until 2003, when Bazzell began replanting.

Near the southern edge of Scandia sits Pam McNeil's Scandia Farm and Garden, a 24-hour, year-round stand that runs on both the honor system and the many contributions of neighbors.

McNeil sells salsa, chicken and duck eggs and several kinds of fruit. She sells fresh and dried herbs, jams and homemade pickles. In October, she'll offer Norwegian flatbread. Her stock changes depending on the time of year.

"Pretty much every day I put something new out," she said. "We can never keep enough eggs."

Mason bees helped her fruit trees yield despite the cold weather, and other products McNeil was able to buy from growers in Yakima. She also grows a garden on site, and co-ops with several others. Scandia Farm and Garden has been running for 15 years.

Terry Shreve lives in the area, and said he visits the stand every couple days. He was originally drawn by McNeil's salsa, but now he comes for other things too.

"I like chickens that aren't real caged," he said. "And their fruit is way better than the store."

McNeil said she sells roughly 10 pints of her homemade salsa per day. She said the Scandia landscape draws customers in.

"They feel like they are coming out to the country, but they are only five minutes from Poulsbo," she said.

Both Scandia Patch and Scandia Farm and Garden accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition vouchers. Call Bazzell at (360) 621-3315 to see what is currently available at the farm, and find it at 633 Scandia Road NW. Find Scandia Farm and Garden at 419 NW Blomster Way.

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