Vendor Profiles – Get to Know Your Moss St Market Vendors!

Umi Nami Farm

Madoka Yasumura, who represents Umi Nami Farm at Moss Street Market, has watched the market grow over the last fourteen years. When they first started plenty of people believed that cucumbers grew shrink-wrapped. Today people have become more trusting of the Moss Street vegetables offered and often ask for new uses for the products that they eat and use.

At the Moss Street Market, as with the Umi Nami Farms, the customer is able to question the producer about the method of production and the way they farm. The unique advantage of a farmers market is that those questions and concerns are asked and answered immediately.

Madoka knows her products well, “Shoppers usually want to know whether something is organic or not. The questions are usually intelligent and well thought out and demand honest answers.”

Stallholders like it because they get appreciation for their efforts. It is amazing to watch how quickly the rapport is build up with their regular customers. Madoka states “It was different when we started, we were apprehensive at first but we quickly found out what was needed, and the Moss St. atmosphere was lovely.”  It is reassuring that people come back time and again and tell us how much they like the products, this is a real confidence booster.

Madoka is very popular with her customers and the other stall holders because she always has an infectious smile and a good word for everyone. Through her and her fellow staff members, the Umi Nami farm has brought their special brand of farming right to Victoria’s doorstep. Madoka is confident about her role in the market. She is always available for a chat or to show a customer how to properly prepare and use Japanese vegetables. So next you come to Moss Street seek her out and say Hi or Konnichiwa. She answers to both

SunTrio Farm

New to MSM this year is SunTrio Farm, they specialize in greenhouse grown hot crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers. Moss Street vendors and patrons alike are ecstatic to discover these beautiful organically grown treasures appear at our doorsteps. What a treat to have fresh and delicious local tomatoes the first week of May!

SunTrio Farm is owned by three brothers ~ Michael, Frank and Dennis O’Brien. From a family of ten, the brothers had their introduction to growing food at a young age as they grew up tending their subsistence garden as boys in Ontario. The brothers branched out into different professions before coming together to create Suntrio in 2008. Located in Saanichton, SunTrio Farm is 4 acres of greenhouse and outdoor farming space. In addition to the hot crops they also grow strawberries, basil, salad greens, sprouts, and field veggies too.

SunTrio is our only organic greenhouse operation in the area and is in transition to certified organic (IOPA). They hope to gain full certified organic status this summer. All crops are grown in soil without the use of artificial lighting. Tomatoes, peppers and cukes and started around Christmas time. The greenhouses are maintained at a temp of around 70° and by April the first tomato begins to blush. The same plants are grown until late November and then replaced by new starts the following month to continue the cycle…that is tomatoes nine months out of twelve! At the peak of the season the tomato plants reach over 25ft and the cukes weave up to the ceiling and back down again on vines over 16ft long!

In addition to their MSM booth in Farmer’s Row you can visit Suntrio’s lovely indoor farm stand at 8214 East Saanich Road from May – Nov 9am-8pm daily.

Cheers to the O’Brien brothers for helping us eat closer to home and gain a greater sense of food security on the Island!