Ardy (Harris) Gillespie

Photo Contributed

Ardy (Harris) Gillespie, owner of Harrisdale Farmstead will be selling produce at this week’s Produce in the Park.

Stop by the Atlantic City Park for Produce in the Park this Thursday from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and enjoy Flag Day celebrations one day before the official holiday. You’ll find patriotic accordion music, a flag ceremony by the Atlantic Elks at 6 p.m., and children’s activities honoring the flag and armed forces throughout the evening.

As always, the market will feature local produce, baked goods, locally made crafts, and the chance to buy dinner.

• Look for produce vendors to be selling radishes, asparagus, lettuce, snap peas, cilantro and other herbs, tomato plants, and more.

• Baked goods vendors plan to sell caramel pecan rolls, cupcakes, breads, turnovers, and chocolate-chip cookies.

• Other locally made products for sale this week include rugs, doll clothes, superhero canvases, granola, locally raised meats, and a new scent of goat milk soap—lavender.

Featured Vendor Profile: Harrisdale Farmstead

Ardy (Harris) Gillespie graduated from Atlantic High School in 1963 and spent 37 years working on the Nutritional Sciences Faculty at Cornell University focusing on family food decision-making processes and community nutrition. Her husband Gil was in the Development Sociology Department where he focused on community development around agriculture and local food. Five years ago, Ardy and Gil moved to Harrisdale, Ardy’s fifth-generation family farm, where she and Gil now operate Harrisdale Farmstead, a small-scale local food production enterprise producing food for local sale.

At Harrisdale Farmstead, you’ll find a variety of fresh vegetables including spinach, asparagus, and bok choy, along with fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes including blueberries and elderberries, pasture-raised lambs, and honey bees.

Besides producing fresh, healthful, and tasty food for local people, Harrisdale Farmstead goals include helping people appreciate the quality, nutritional, and economic benefits of a wider range of food crops that can be grown here. Ardy and Gil believe a vibrant local food system both fosters public health by supporting good nutrition and creates economic opportunities for local people in growing and processing food.

The couple are involved in a number of local food projects throughout Cass County. Ardy is currently partnering with Brun Ko Farm and the Nishna Valley YMCA to pilot a local food “pick-up” at the YMCA on Wednesday mornings and afternoons. Ardy is also part of Healthy Cass County, a community-focused network which promotes the health of county residents. Gil serves on the Cass County Local Food Policy Council.

Contact Ardy and Gil at HarrisdaleFarmstead@gmail.com or 712-243-3310 to learn more about the pick-up produce pilot, visit the Harrisdale Farmstead, join the Harrisdale Farmstead email newsletter, or enjoy passionate conversation about local food systems. Or, stop by their booth at Produce in the Park on Thursdays.

Produce in the Park June 13 Highlights:

Market Host: Atlantic Elks. The Elks will be welcoming folks to the market and selling a meal of BBQ beef, coleslaw, baked beans, and a drink for $8.

Entertainment:

• BINGO with the Atlantic Public Library

• Patriotic tunes on accordions by Janet Hoegh and Allison Berryhill

• Flag Ceremony by the Elks at 6 p.m.

Games: Join Atlantic Park and Recreation for yard games

Guest Chef: Ardy Gillespie of Harrisdale Farms will be sharing Bok Choy Salad samples and recipes

Featured local organization: Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS)

Local Business Raffle at Chamber Booth: For each vendor purchase, market participants will receive one raffle ticket. The more vendors you buy from the more times you’ll be entered to win!

Kids’ Table:

• Free Produce Snacks for Kids: Snap peas from Rolling Acres Farm

• Kid’s activity: Atlantic Rock Island Society Enterprise (ARISE) bomb drop and United States Armed Forces Flag display

• Flag-Day-Themed Market Scavenger Hunt: Mini American Flag prize for participation

Produce in the Park can be reached at produceintheparkatlanticiowa@gmail.com and found on Facebook @ProduceInThePark. Market Manager Brigham Hoegh can also be reached at 712-249-5870.

Produce in the Park is held every Thursday evening throughout the summer in the Atlantic City Park from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. (note: no market will be held on the July 4 holiday).