Nick and Jane Atallah along with 4 full-time workers.
Nick studied agriculture and irrigation at UC Davis. He taught Irrigation, Drainage, and Water Resources at the American University of Beruit in Lebanon and later worked with the USDA on international agriculture projects. When he retired in 1986 in Madison, CA, he started his own farm. A year later, he purchased a 20 acre farm and built 10 greenhouses that allow him to have an extended growing season for most of his crops. Nick says that the only drawback to using greenhouses is that they require constant attention. He must alter the humidity, temperature, and other controls on a daily basis. The greenhouses are made out of plastic which must be replaced every 4 years. Nick is very proud of his produce and tries to grow the safest foods for his customers.
10 acres; 11 greenhouses sit on 4 acres in Madison, about 80 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
All plants are grown from seed in potting mix that Nick makes himself. These plants are then transplanted into 5 lb. plastic bags filled with a different potting mix. Nick also applies his own inorganic fertilizer recipe with N, P, K, and micro elements called “Nick’s Mix.”
Drip irrigation with nutrient solution. Nick carefully monitors how much water drips onto the plants in order to conserve water and eliminate run-off.
Crops are hand weeded. Nick uses Round-up (an herbicide) on weeds that are not near his crops.
Madison Growers receives weekly shipments of beneficial insects from Holland, which are released into their sealed plastic greenhouses to manage pest problems.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »