Sylvia Yock faced a dilemma. After suffering a stroke and a seizure a decade ago, she was terrified of speaking publicly.
The trauma of her medical condition left her shaken, and changes to her body made it difficult to talk. That’s when her husband, Raymond, had an idea. A hydrangea farmer in Harbor, Raymond made his wife go outside every day to sell flowers to strangers.
And it worked. Sylvia slowly regained her confidence. Today, it would be hard to imagine Sylvia struggling to communicate as she runs the largest business at the Brookings Farmers Market two times a week.
“Probably about 10 years ago, I had a medical problem and the answer was for me to start selling so I could talk to people,” Yock said. “We started really small and grew to this.”
This is Sylvia’s Farm Fresh Produce, which sets up every time the farmers market is open. Inside, one can find a variety of fresh vegetables, many grown at the Yock’s 150-acre farm in Brookings. While hydrangeas are still the main crop, fresh vegetables are always coming out and are for sale in Brookings.
“Everything’s popular,’ Yock said. “It depends what season it is.”
And for Yock, the best season is coming up in a couple of weeks – strawberries.
Strawberries will be available as soon as the wet weather passes and will remain available until late in the year, when the rain again causes problems.
Yock said she hopes that will be soon because not only does she love selling the strawberries, she loves eating them, too.
“They’ve already got blooms on them,” she said. “As long as there isn’t another heavy rain, we’ll have some soon.”
Yock laughed as she recalled dozens of customers who said they weren’t interested in strawberries, until them got them to try one. One taste, and they became regulars.
Laura Yarris is a regular customer, who also helps Yock sell the produce twice a week. Her favorite – the delicata squash.
“They taste lovely when you roast them up,” Yarris said. “A bit more savory than the pumpkin, but the same texture. Every time I’m at work, I take some home with me.”
While the delicate squash is going out of season, there is still plenty of produce to explore. From the traditional favorites like tomatoes and peppers to greens, cabbage and fresh fruit, there is something for everyone when Sylvia’s Farm Fresh Produce is open.
And soon, Yock’s favorite will join them as fresh strawberries become available. That’s a day even Yock can’t wait for.
“As soon as the sun starts shining until the sun stops shining, we’ll have them,” she said. “They’re delicious. You must try them.”