As you’re meandering around the market, we’re sure you often wonder “what’s their story?” Our vendors all have unique, individual, and interesting stories of how they started, what keeps them going, and what they love at the market. But sometimes, they’re hard at work on the farm (or in this case, in the greenhouse) or your arms are just too full with a fresh market haul to have a chat. Well, that’s what we’re here for! We recently sat down with Scott Epple of Gull Valley Greenhouses to bend his ear for you. Lettuce introduce you…. see what we did there?
How did this all start for Gull Valley?
My Father-in-law had a wee tiny little greenhouse on his chicken farm as a hobby. He sold to little farmers’ markets at first and then gave up chickens and moved from Barrhead to Lacombe 25 years ago. Now, we’re 3 miles south of Gull Lake at Aspen Beach. We currently have 3 acres of greenhouses and within the next year we’ll be building another acre.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the CFM family?
It’s a family. Everybody, for the most part (like every family!), gets along and if something goes wrong we have each others’ back.
What’s your favorite item that you produce? Why?
Flat beans! because it gets me in trouble every week: ‘Where are they? Why don’t you have them?’ Usually they’re gone.
They’re pretty popular?
Yeah! The flat beans, well they’re Italian Romano beans, are that one draw that brings people in every week. They’re so hard to pick; they grow 20 feet tall in the greenhouse so we use scissor lifts to pick them. But people love them so we love growing them.
Do you have a go-to recipe that highlights that item?
My wife steams the beans. Slices grapes, fries onion and bacon, and tosses is all together with feta and a little mayo for a cold salad. Is it ever good. It’s sweet and salty, that’s our favorite. The kids loves it too.
Three quick tips that you want to share with market guests?
1. Cream of the crop on Thursday, it’s relaxed and we’re fully stocked. 2. Never put basil in the fridge, it’s picked fresh so you can leave it on your counter for up to a week. And place our mint in a little water on the counter and it will keep for weeks, months, it’ll even grow little roots. 3. Never put your tomatoes in the fridge. Words of Wisdom you live by:
Pile it high and watch it fly! You want a beautiful display for people to shop from.
What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that’s not from your booth?
The Vietnamese sub from Le’s Vietnamese. Or the Tom Yum soup from Shef’s; they don’t always have it but it’s really spicy and really good.
If you could be a vegetable, what would you be?
Oh…. well I kind of look like an eggplant, LOL
No you don’t!
I’m stumped. Hm… maybe a pepper. Good, strong, full of vitamin C. More vitamin C than an orange, eh?
We certainly don’t think Scott looks like an eggplant, but a good, strong farmer he certainly is. If you haven’t tried his Italian Romano beans, make sure you stop by Gull Valley Greenhouses on Thursday so you don’t miss out.
Learn more about the history of Gull Valley Greenhouses.