and he has to account for every bushel.”The markets vary from year to year,
and Allen says, “A lot of our wheat is going to brokers out of California.
All brokers are kind of quiet.” Naioma continues, “This broker on the west
coast has not been willing to share with you whether it is being exported
or where it is going. But you're not dealing with him this year, and your
buckwheat will be going back to Europe.”
With a bit of a grin, Cliff describes another new marketing channel
they've been having some success with: “They're buying wheat, some of
them now, ya know, for organic juices.” Allen explains, “Ya, I got a buyer
who is buying it and juicing it. It's big in California. I just sell them the seed,
then they grow it in flats.” Naioma continues, “Those natural foods stores
usually have little flats of wheat grass growing, and they just snip it off with
scissors.”Cliff says, “Well, they grow it, you know, for the juicing. They want
a certain variety because it grows much faster than the other varieties. It
takes off. Some wheat comes up and just lays there. Others are real vigorous
and just come right up. That's the varieties they want.” Finally, the grins
turn to real jokes, as these true wheat farmers find it amusing to think of
drinking wheat. Cliff says with a twinkle in his eye, “They say a little shot
of vodka goes pretty good with it!” And Naioma jokes, “An all grain drink.
Well, you know how interesting Boulder is, and that's where all the juice
bars are. The guy who is juicing it has a big market throughout Boulder,
and he says there are some real bars that serve it so you can have the green
grass juice and a shot of vodka.”Allen is more realistic. “I think that alcohol
would kill the protein. So much for it being good for you.” Joking aside,
this conversation illustrates that the Bensons produce high-quality organic
crops that are sought after by specialty buyers, and they are clearly proactive
in seeking new marketing opportunities.
Naioma explains other diversifications. Allen does customwork for other
farmers. “Allen has had to develop a manure-hauling service. He has geared
up the equipment to do that. Cliff started by buying one spreader; to spread
on our ground and what do you have now, two spreaders?” Allen replies,
“Well, one and a half, because I didn't want to have two complete headaches.
I went in with another guy who has a feedlot.” Naioma says, “But then you
have a belly dump [truck] that you haul.”Allen explains,“If it's a long haul. I
do it for other farmers. Conventional.”Naioma says, “But you usually work
two loads for you, one load for me. Or for cash, right?” Just another way to
add to the farm income, to diversify and to stay in business.
Naioma explains how she built up their marketing opportunities. “The
way I pushed our marketing was by going to the 1992 Natural Food Show
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