Market flower vendor photograph

Jeff, Annie and Claire Main pose at their booth at the Davis Farmers Market in 2011. (Photo by Craig Lee)

Since 1976, good soil and good humor have been foundations of Good Humus Produce. But in recent years, the farm name is increasingly mispronounced.

Inspired by the vintage Good Humor Ice Cream truck, Good Humus (pronounced HUE-mus) refers to the nutrient-dense topsoil so important to farming.

The 30-acre Yolo County farm is run by owners Annie and Jeff Main and their three adult children. “As an organic farm, we rely on that rich soil,” Annie explained. “And from the very beginning, we did need good humor. It’s not an easy task.”

Claire, left, and Alison Main set up the Good Humus stand at the Davis Farmers Market in November 2023. (Photo by Wendy Weitzel)

She said the pronunciation wasn’t a problem when they started. But as popularity rose for the Mediterranean chickpea dip called hummus, people started pronouncing it HUM-mus, and spelling it with an extra M. The family even made T-shirts that included the definition.

In 1976, shortly after graduating from UC Davis, the Mains helped found the Davis Farmers Market and the Davis Food Co-op. Those outlets remain the core of their business. They also offer a community-supported agriculture subscription program.

Today, their three adult children are integral parts of the farm, which sits in Hungry Hollow, near the Capay Valley. Alison is a full-time farmer who heads up the floral program and handles field production with Jeff. Claire manages the shop, marketing, bookkeeping and the CSA – things Annie used to do. Zachary, a firefighter, lives on the farm and helps when he can.

The whole family, including grandkids, are regulars at the Saturday Davis Farmers Market.

“For us, the market is the pivotal point of our week,” Annie said. “We have been there so long that customers are friends, and checking in once a week is as important as selling vegetables. It’s really a part of our family life, that market.”

That’s why they decided to focus on selling locally. Its market booth offers a diverse mix of seasonal produce and flowers, coveted Royal Blenheim apricots and heirloom peaches. Depending on the time of year, shoppers may find fresh and dried flowers and wreaths, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, figs, grapes, lettuce and greens, melons, peppers, persimmons, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, strawberries, tomatoes and turnips. Specialty products include dried fruit, fresh and dried herbs and herb teas, and jams made from the farm’s bounty.

“It’s quite an opportunity to see who buys your produce, and to talk to them,” Annie said. “We are known in the community because of that market.”