From sunup to sundown, farmers care for the plants and animals that feed us all. Even with the abundance on farms today, families throughout West Virginia face financial and transportation barriers to accessing fresh produce. Mountaineer Food Bank has been supporting and partnering with local farmers to get farm-fresh foods into the homes that need it most.
Sourcing fruits and vegetables from local growers allows Mountaineer Food Bank to provide high-quality produce to local families in need while supporting our local agriculture. One of our recent partnerships is with Mountain Harvest Farm, LLC.
Mary Oldham and Chico Ramirez own and operate Mountain Harvest Farm, LLC. Their farm is in Monongalia County, West Virginia. They have been farming in the great state of West Virginia for 10 years. Chico has been working in agriculture his whole life with over 20 years of experience. Chico grew up on his family's farm in Honduras. Mary became interested in agriculture while working at the college community farm.
On their farm in Monongalia County, they grow over 30+ varieties of vegetables under Certified Naturally Grown practices. Mountain Harvest Farm started partnering with Mountaineer Food Bank through Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective and has been selling to Mountaineer Food Bank for over one year.
“Working with Mountaineer Food Bank has been a good market opportunity for some of our more popular crops such as sweet potatoes and carrots that we can produce in higher volumes even though we are a very small farm. The income helps our farm and we like the idea of providing food for a diverse range of people in our community through the MFB boxes. [Farming] is a never-ending learning experience and is stressful, but is important and therefore fulfilling. Take steps to mitigate risk when you can. We hope that [consumers] get both joy and health from [our products]. We take pride in what we grow and how we grow it.” -Mary Oldham, owner
Mountain Harvest, LLC is Certified Naturally Grown, which is a peer-certified community-based national program alternative to the USDA Organic program. They were awarded a national "Hispanic Farmer of the Year" Conservation award from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for 2022.
Mountain Harvest Farm, LLC would like to offer business advice to fellow farmers and producers: “You will need more infrastructure, equipment, and labor to achieve your goals than you think. Diversify your markets and crops to balance risk. If one fails, hopefully you'll have another that goes well. Strive for work-life balance because the days are long but the years are indeed short.” -Mary Oldham, owner
Mountaineer Food Bank formally thanks Mary, Chico, and Mountain Harvest Farm, LLC for their contributions this past year. You have been a pleasure to partner with.
If you would like to nominate a farm for our monthly Farmer Spotlight, please fill out the survey in the link below: https://feedingamerica.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0IX2D1jnNyj1cCG