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We love our local Farmers Market! Along with the fresh produce, homemade goods, flowers, hand-roasted coffee, local meats, pastries and skin care products you will find a multitude of characters with a passion for small-scale farming, delicious food and direct-to-market goods.
Christina Castelanelli and her partner, Wes Gregory, serve as caretakers of the historic South Fork Ranch in the Salmon River backcountry, located about 2 hours from McCall. From Thanksgiving through May, the road to the ranch is closed and the only way Castelanelli and Gregory can leave is by plane. But Spring comes earlier there than in McCall, and the lower elevation allows her to start flower seeds in her greenhouse as early as February. She continues to plant every two weeks through July.
“I try to focus on flowers that your grandma used to grow,” she says, “Ones that bring back memories, like sweet peas, zinnias, dahlias, cosmos.”
“People love the natural feel of these flowers. They’re flowy and vibrant and the bouquets are a lot more alive. These are different than the flowers available in the supermarket,” she says. Many of the flowers she grows don’t transport well, which is why they’re not found in the grocery stores. Eighty percent of flowers in the U.S. are grown outside the country and imported, she says, and they are sprayed heavily with pesticides when they cross the border.
Although she grew up farming, last year was her first as a dedicated flower grower. Castelanelli, who has a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering, says her experiences last year taught her what people like to buy, what failed to grow, and what took a long time to bloom. Castelanelli works with local florists, hotels and restaurants in addition to the Farmers Market. She also offers flowers for weddings, from full-service flower arrangements to her “buckets of blooms” option available for DIY brides.
Her favorite flower? Dahlias, particularly the dinner plate dahlia. “They’re so high maintenance, but still beautiful. I’m addicted to growing them now; I’ve got dahlia fever.”
Learn more about Southfork Flowers, order an arrangement for a special event or sign up for a bouquet subscription: southforkflowers.com.
The McCall Farmers Market operates Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm in the dirt parking lot next to Salmon River Brewery & Hotel McCall.