Haystacks Farm Preserving Freshness One Bite at a Time
Nestled in the hustle and bustle of Layton sits Haystacks Farms. Started by Delaney Nalder almost 11 years ago, this little two-acre farm has become a favorite for farm fresh produce.
Nalder has always had a background in agriculture and grew up on a small hobby farm in the Ogden valley. She later left the farm to attend Utah State University and graduated with a degree in food science.
“My dad told me that food will never go out of style, so I thought ‘wow! I’ll always have a job because we all need to eat,” she said.
“He approached me and said, ‘Why don’t you just plant some tomatoes or something and start selling it?’ So, I did, and I loved it!” Nalder said. “I could take my kids over there and they could ride their bikes or do whatever they wanted while I worked. It was a great opportunity.”
Nalder planted several varieties of vegetables but has found her niche in pickling cucumbers. Compared to your typical slicing cucumber, pickling cucumbers are shorter and bigger around. They also have thinner skins and black spines, which makes the final pickled product look better.
Planting is a family affair at Haystack Farms, and with the help of her husband and children, Nalder starts planting cucumbers in the first part of May. Harvest season starts around the end of July, and she can usually pick cucumbers every other day.
Compared to farming in Ogden, Nalder said growing produce in Layton has been a completely different experience.
“Where I grew up in Ogden, the weather is so different and much colder that we really couldn’t grow much,” she said. “But down here it is amazing what I can grow because the dirt is really good and the temperature is higher.”
Nalder first started marketing her pickling cucumbers and other produce on KSL Classifieds and had a booth at the Kaysville Farmers Market. Both of those efforts were highly successful, and her customer base has grown large enough that she now only sells her produce through customer orders.
“I have a pretty big list of clients, and my people will usually start calling me in March to make sure they are on my list,” she said. “My customers can tell me how many they want, and I can compare it with other orders, when the cucumbers will be ready, and then work out a time for them to come back and get their produce.”
By selling her produce through custom orders only, Nalder has more control over her schedule. She no longer has to spend long days at the farmers markets and can have her customers pick up produce at a time that works best for both. Another perk is that she can get her customers exactly the type of produce they need for the recipe they are using.
“Depending on the recipe they are using, some people want smaller cucumbers, and some want larger,” she said. “There’s not going to be a big difference in taste, it’s just personal preference. They just let me know what they want beforehand and as soon as the cucumbers are ready, I give them a call.”
Over the last few years, Nalder said she has noticed a shift in the demographics of her customers as the younger generation is becoming more interested in canning and preserving their own food.
“I have had a lot more customers who are probably like 25 and younger. I think more people want to know where their food is coming from, and I think for a lot of people it is also their heritage,” she said. “They have their grandma’s pickle recipe and all those memories associated with it, so they want to be able to make them for themselves and continue to pass the tradition on."
A hidden benefit to farming in a busy city is that it allows Nalder to educate people about agriculture and help them experience life on the farm.
“I love to help people experience agriculture, and I especially love when kids get to come to my garden. I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “The whole experience of taking them out to my garden and having them try a fresh cherry tomato or see the horses and really have them experience agriculture is just awesome.”
If you are interested in learning more about Haystack Farms or getting on Delaney’s customer list, email email@example.com.
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