About Bushes Bunches
The longest lasting farm stand in Alaska
History of Our Farm
- 1920s: John “Frenchy” DuFour staked the original homestead in 1914. He came up from the Lower 48 and worked on the railroad and as a miner.
- 1956: Bruce Bush’s father bought the farm from a guy named George Johnson who had owned it for a few years.
- Bruce’s sister Nancy started a little vegetable stand. The kids needed to do something in the summer to earn some money. A little table with radishes and lettuces earned them $4.65 the first day. By the end of the season they made $2,000.
- The next year we built a little wooden stand, and we kept expanding every year. By the time the 1960s hit, we were rolling.
- 1988: Bruce took over the farm, except for the greenhouse. The greenhouse was taken over by Bruce’s niece.
- 1988: Bruce started a farm stand near the Parks Highway. A popular destinationfor locals and visitors alike, it operated every summer until 1999 when it had to be moved because the highway widened.
- 2014: We re-opened the farm stand at its current location, 2355 North Old Glenn Highway, Palmer, Alaska.
The Four Seasons of Bushes Bunches
Bushes Bunches begins planting their seeds in late March or early April every year. All seeds are started in heated greenhouses. One greenhouse is heated by natural gas and another by woodstove. The mega doses of sunlight which Alaska enjoys are a critical component of seed growing success. Our plant nurseries are active all summer, but the big push is in early spring. Our farmland is turned over and tilled each spring after threat of snow is hopefully gone (in 2013 we had nine inches of snow on May 18, ugh!). Alaskans should not plant into outdoor fields until after Memorial Day or May 31 due to possibility of late frost.
Once the plants are transferred to the fields, it is Mother Nature’s job to take over most of the work. We do have irrigation, but nature provides the plants with tons of sunshine, up to 18 hours per day over the summer solstice, June 21-22. Our growing season is short, but our sunlit days are wonderfully long.
It is during summer that we open up the farm stand door to sell plant starts and the first, early season vegetables to farmers. Our farm stand typically opens the last week of June and remains open until mid- to late October.
Come late July to early August our lettuces, radishes, early potatoes, kale, turnips and kohlrabi start making their first appearances. The store fills to the brim with produce and customers. We love them all!
In September we are bursting from the cornucopia of vegetables coming off the farms. It is during fall that we will get our root cellar and canning crops out to our CSA folks. The store stays open through late October to accommodate all our cold weather crops. Cabbage, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips come off the fields in abundance. If you are looking for bulk quantities of root crops, fall is the time to get them, or you can pre-order on our subscription service. Produce is sometimes available into November if nature holds back on freezing weather.