There’s a new farmer in town, and you’ll want to make sure you gobble up everything she has to offer. Actually, Sheri Hurley isn’t a new farmer per se, but is new-ish in cultivating vegetables in addition to fruit. Hurley Farms “took roots” in 2006 when they began growing fruit for jams and a small portion for the Chef’s Market. As their business grew, so did their offerings of produce, and in 2012 Sheri expanded her garden with a bounty of greens, veggies and more than 200 chickens.
While the core of her business has been in jam and preserve production, Sheri realized the potential for growing more than just fruit. Hurley Farms has more than 4 acres planted — one of which is dedicated to syrah — and the rest is prime for greens and berries, especially the area that borders the Napa River. Sheri’s farming practices are organic, although not certified. She is not a fan of synthetic fertilizers so the soil is a healthy mix of compost and sandy loam. One glimpse of her farm and you can see that everything thrives under this system.
The selection at Hurley Farms is vast. There are more than eight types of lettuces, six kales, Swiss chard, mustard and dandelion greens, arugula, radishes, onions, shallots and garlic. This summer, they’ll produce more than 10 types of heirloom tomatoes, green beans (including Romano), pickling cucumbers and those for eating, peppers and squash.
And the chickens. Happily cackling in and out of their expansive coop, munching on the surplus from the garden. As a result, golden eggs are plentiful.
Fruit trees and bushes are also an integral part of Hurley Farms. They have 12 Santa Rosa plums, peaches, nectarines, raspberries and blackberries — and next year, blueberries, too.
In addition to their production of jams, they also make mustards, sauces, flavored vinegars and shrubs, a fruit syrup persevered with vinegar. And what also makes this such a charming profile is that both the farming and the food production is a family affair. Dad Jerry helps Sheri in the gardens while mom, aunt, sister and daughter all help in the kitchen with production to canning and labeling.
Most of these items can be found at the Market for just a couple more weeks, on Saturdays only. In between and after, you can find them at the farm, 2083 Silverado Trail, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Also at the market this week:
Today, the Napa Humane mobile will be back with all types of furry friends looking for a forever home while offering everyone a smiling face. John Kelly and Jennifer Jekel will bring us the music. And on Saturday, stop by Koochie Kardz! A portion of your purchase of pet-themed cards goes toward supplying the Napa Fire Department with oxygen masks for our four-legged “heroes.” Music provided by Jacob Green.
The Napa Farmers Market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May through October, in the Oxbow Public Market south parking lot. The Farmers Market accepts WIC, CalFresh food stamps through EBT (electronic benefits transfer) and the Senior Nutrition Program (available through WIC). For more information and upcoming events, visit NapaFarmersMarket.com or visit the market on Facebook.
Simple Braised Greens
I have been fortunate to work with many of the gems at Hurley Farms during my farm-to-table classes in their kitchen. One of the most popular items for sale at the market is Sheri’s braising mix $3 per bag. Filled with kale, chard, mustard and beet greens, it’s a highly nutritious combination and so easy to cook with. Add this to your plate of grilled fish and fresh pasta for a delightful summer menu.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 bags Hurley Farms braising mix
1 clove garlic, minced
⅛ tsp. celtic sea salt
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
A splash of Hurley Farms vinegar (berry balsamic, fig, etc.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add greens, stirring to coat with oil. Continue to stir until greens are barely wilted. Add garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Continue stirring until greens are tender. Splash and serve.