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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Digging Life at Inyoni Organic Farm: Nick Batty Reaps Delight Offering Locally Grown Food

Mar 01, 2012 12:20PM ● By Susan Aimes

Nick Batty

More Collier County residents than ever before are shopping at the Third Street South Farmers’ Market, in Naples, where Nick Batty has been selling produce from his five-acre Inyoni Organic Farm since 2002. By 2006, a dozen or so fresh-air vendors patiently waited on Saturday mornings, December through April, for several hundred shoppers to stroll through the market located behind Tommy Bahama’s, in Old Naples. Today, Batty notes that nearly 50 regular vendors see an estimated 2,000 shoppers every Saturday morning throughout the entire year. “I’m guesstimating that 60 to 70 percent of my customers come every week and about 5 percent of them have been to the farm to see where their food is grown,” says Batty, who offers farm tours.

Relationships with local chefs are also important to the 10-year veteran of farming. “Chefs appreciate dependable farmers that can consistently provide high-quality food,” advises Batty, who initially put his degree in horticulture to work in a 10-by-10-foot plot just off Rock Road, near the gated community of TwinEagles. Although Batty does sell some produce to two Naples restaurants, Bamboo Café and The Bay House, most of his vegetables are sold at three local farmers’ markets: Third Street South, the Market on Marco Island and St. Monica’s Farmers’ Market. He also sells produce at For Goodness Sake Organic Marketplace & Café, in Bonita Springs.

Batty good-naturedly offers a dose of reality for city dwellers that idealize farming as a romantic occupation: “When I come outside in the early morning to dig in the dirt, I look up and see the birds singing in the trees and the moon still hanging in sky. Then I look down and see a couple hundred fire ants crawling on my leg. I hose them off and get back to work,” he quips. Still, Batty likes being able to live out his dream. “Farming is a business, and I wanted to be in the business of farming so I could find out if I really had it in me to be successful at making a living by growing food for the local economy,” he muses. “Along the way, I discovered that there truly is something unexplainable about being in contact with the Earth and involved with its cycles.”

For more information, contact Nick Batty at 239-980-3605.

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