If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, we’re joined by a young business based out of beautiful Tuscarora, Nevada, 7R Produce! Owned and operated by the brother and sister-in-law team of Julia Trowbridge and Jordan Wright, 7R Produce is delivering traditional and unique varieties of produce and seedlings to their customers! We’ll include a list of some of the fascinating produce/seedlings Julia and Jordan are currently working on at the bottom of this blog!
Thank you for joining us this week, Julia and Jordan! We’re excited to chat about the interesting world of agriculture with you both! However, before we do that, let’s learn a little bit about your business and how it came to be!
For those who may not know, what is 7R Produce?
Julia- “We’re a specialty produce nursery! So, we’re trying to work with the unique seeds that you wouldn’t find in the big stores right now.”
Jordan- “The things we’re the proudest to showcase in the Elko area is our Basque peppers and tomatoes. We decided since Elko has such a big Basque community, the people who are from the country or have some nostalgia for it would appreciate what we’re getting!”
After the pandemic started, people were very interested in setting up backyard gardens. So, we decided that if we were going to do this, we needed to hit it while it’s hot.”
Wonderful! Now, how did this whole venture get started in the first place?
Julia- “I have an undergraduate degree in biology. During my senior year at UNR (University of Nevada Reno), I needed one more biology elective, so I happened to take a plant physiology course. I really enjoyed the class and the instructor, and I asked him if there was any room in his lab to help do research. He was working on a specific plant that I was really interested in, but he, unfortunately, didn’t have the funding. But he told me that he happened to know that a new plant breeder was coming to UNR for the first time in almost twenty years. So, he sent me over her way, and I ended up getting a master’s degree underneath her. Throughout that time, I did some fieldwork and interned at a greenhouse at UNR, so I knew that kind of work is what I enjoyed.”
When I came back to Elko, I started looking around at different jobs, but I wasn’t seeing anything that I was liking or that I knew I’d be happy in. I mentioned to Jordan’s family that what I really wanted to do was open a greenhouse and a nursery because Elko seemed to be lacking one. Jordan was interested and wanted to be a part of it, so we started to collaborate.”
Jordan- “I grew up on an almost six thousand acre ranch, so I figured why not set aside one acre to start growing some stuff!”
Why do you believe quality produce, greenhouses, and people like you who care about agriculture are essential to our area?
Julia- “For being such an agricultural/mining community, the majority of the agriculture seems to be animal-related. There seems to be a lack of the plant focus. People want higher quality plants when they do purchase them. They want to make sure they’re looking good from top to end. That’s just not something you get when you purchase from a grocery store.”
Now, we mentioned at the start of this article that you’re a young business. At the time of this feature’s publication, 7R Produce is about a month old. What has already been a pleasant surprise for you at this stage of your journey?
Julia- “I think it’s been the community support! We had a preset amount of seeds and produce we thought we’d sell before we started, but we’ve honestly sold out very quickly; it can be hard to keep up with demands. Everyone is so excited to get a unique variety from us. So, we’re putting in a new greenhouse, and we’re looking to establish a pickup location in Elko so we’re more convenient for the community.”
What’s been something you’ve already had to put a lot of thought and work into figuring out?
Jordan- “One thing that’s been interesting, right off the bat, is noticing what’s going to grow well here. You’re a plant warrior if you’re growing in Northern Nevada because it’s hard!”
Julia- “Yes, Northern Nevada’s growing season is extraordinarily short and difficult. Anyone that has a garden or has tried to garden will tell you that there have to be extra steps involved compared to other places. So, we’re trying to figure that out so we can best guide people and pick varieties that are going to be successful.”
Well, we hope that you both will be nothing but successful with what you’re doing! We’re sure many of our fellow Nevadans are already enjoying the fruits of your labor! Before we let you get back to your seeds, is there anything else you’d like to share this week?
Julia- “If you’re interested in gardening in Nevada, or maybe you tried before and failed, the gardening community is very positive! Everyone I’ve talked to has always been willing to share their tips and tricks, and we’re willing to do that, too. The best thing you can do is reach out!”
The list of unique Basque produce/seedlings 7R Produce is working on:
Choricero pepper (Pepper used to make Basque Chorizo)
Gernika peppers (Best enjoyed fried, salted, and with an ice cold beer)
Piquillo de Lodosa peppers (This pepper is so famous in the town Lodosa, Spain that there’s an entire day dedicated to it)
Ginduilla peppers (Best picked green and pickled)
Doux de Landes peppers (Sweet, foot long peppers that can be made into a tasty Basque piperade sauce)
Rosa de zarautz tomatoes (Pink, heart shaped tomatoes with sweet and low acidity flavor)
Negro de aritzkuren tomatoes (Known for having a smokey flavor)
Basajaun red tomatoes (Huge, red heirloom tomatoes that are perfect for easy slicing)
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See you around, Elko!
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