Name and farm: Brian Hoover, owner of Patrick’s Garden Produce. It’s 50 acres in Camino, with about 15 acres of berries, 15 of garden vegetables and 20 acres of apples and pears.

Brian Hoover of Patrick’s Garden Produce shows off some fresh-picked carrots from his farm in Camino. (Courtesy Patrick’s Garden)

When did you start selling at farmers markets? When I was about 3 years old, with my dad, Patrick. Dad passed away (about five years ago) and I took over the farm. We’ve been doing the Saturday Davis Farmers Market for more than 30 years.

What’s your philosophy? Freshness, flavor and quality. That’s why there’s a line at my booth. I pick everything the day before. We don’t use any pesticides. We’re not certified organic but … I’m building that relationship with a customer. They’d rather know me and my practices over a piece of paper. People know where it comes from. People think that’s really important.

Why do you like selling at the Davis Farmers Market? It’s big and it’s busy, and people like good quality produce there, and variety. It’s a very diverse market in produce and shoppers.

There’s a reason we’re still doing it after 30 years. It’s just a good family outing – parents and kids. It’s that little town where you can walk or bike to the market. It has anything from goat cheese to breads to all the different types of stuff. There are lots of reasons to get out of the house.

People love shopping at farmers markets. They get more creative with cooking. “Let’s see what we can make with purple peppers” or whatever. It gets them out of comfort zone with stuff they wouldn’t see at a store.

What makes your farm unique? The elevation (3,500 feet). What is so good is it allows us to grow a lot of the fall crops in the summertime: broccoli and cabbages in summer and fall. What makes our berries so good is the high elevation creates more acidity. They are longer-growing. That’s what creates a lot of the flavor, and sugars and tangs that you don’t get in the Valley. Even our tomatoes – people wait for them because there’s more flavor. The flavors dance a little more in the higher elevations.

What’s your biggest challenge? Weather is big up there. It’s beautiful, then you get a hailstorm or late frost. Hail and late freezes are a big thing. Snow acts as an insulator but it melts, making cold days. That’s dangerous.

We had 2 inches of snow last Saturday (May 11). Two days before that we were sweating.

What do you sell? apples (15 varieties), beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, currants, herbs, kale, lettuce, logan berries, marionberries, nectarines, olallieberries, onions, pears, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, tomatoes and winter squash.

What are your best sellers? Our biggest are berries, apples and pears – and the carrots too. They all come in at different times. Berries are always first and people are stoked around the end of May and into June, then carrots in July, and apples and pears in September.