Farming is a family affair for the Frys, who have been fixtures at growers markets for decades and venerable suppliers of vegetable starters for home gardeners.
"We have five girls," Suzanne Fry said, adding that with farming, "I could stay home with my kids and raise them in a good and healthy way."
She and her husband, Steven, started planting veggies on a small plot in Talent 22 years ago after they settled down on Rogue Valley soil.
This story launches a series spotlighting local farmers, growers and other food producers. Read this story at www.dailytidings.com/locallygrown and discover other eat-local stories, videos and resources. Also, post your comments and upload photos of fresh food you buy or grow. Send story ideas to Sophie Javna and Elisabeth Swarttouw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We've grown from a half-acre of farmland to about 70 acres through local support," Suzi Fry said.
Although their home base remains in Talent, the Frys also farm on land in Phoenix and Medford. As they say, it's "the dirt that grows your food."
At the Talent farm, dogs are the first to offer a greeting. They jump and lick and curl at your feet until Fry waves guests through the glass door of her home, which is full of family photos and paintings by local artist Betty LaDuke.
Large windows frame views of six greenhouses, and soon visitors are lured to the sun-absorbing buildings. Inside, the dirt floor and tables are covered with rows of little green seed starters, gently emerging, growing ever closer to the sun.
Co-farmer Sarah Wallace is one of three people now loading trays with differently combined soils. She casually navigates the nursery as if it were her own living room, arranging seedlings into little rows like a pleasant spring cleaning.
She lovingly tucks newborn shoots, cuttings and transplants into trays and places them carefully onto heated tables. "It's good, honest, go-to-sleep-well-at-night work," she said.
The farmers must spend tireless hours in greenhouses. Each single sprout, now filling the space with a sweet, earthy fragrance, adds up to a whole field of little green sprouts.
One sprout, like one family, contributes. "I think it's really important these days that we have a consciousness about what we do," Fry said, "and how it affects the whole."
Find it: The Frys say the best way to support their farm is through their weekly and biweekly Community Supported Agriculture program, in which a box of seasonal vegetables is brought to you or is available at a nearby drop-off location. Information on projected veggie availability, pricing and delivery options is at www.fryfamilyfarm.org.
The Frys also sell their produce and seed starters at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, the Ashland and Medford Food Co-ops, Shop'n Kart and Grange Co-op stores.
Their flowers are at the growers markets, The Ashland Food Co-op and Shop'n Kart. They also work with Joan Thorndike of Le Mera Gardens (541-857-8223), who sells fresh-cut flowers to local florists and provides flowers for weddings and special events.
Reach the Frys: 541-535-8044, www.fryfamilyfarm.org.