The St. Pierre family of Goosefoot Farm in Fairbanks was selected by the Alaska agriculture community as the 2019 Alaska State Fair Farm Family of the Year.
The award, which is sponsored by the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union, was established by the Alaska State Fair in 2000 to honor an Alaska farming family and show appreciation for all the hardworking Alaskans committed to agriculture.
This year’s winners are Brad and Christine St. Pierre, along with their children Aviva, 8, and Silas, 3. The family grows vegetables, fruits, berries, honey and hay on their 25-acre farm in Fairbanks. While Christine St. Pierre was born and raised in Ester, Brad St. Pierre is originally from the Lower 48 — but he now calls Alaska home.
“We are surrounded by an amazingly supportive community that values what our farm does,” Brad St. Pierre said, in a news release. “We love working hard together to help bring real food security and healthy fresh food to the people of Fairbanks.”
A first-generation farming family, the St. Pierres sell to a diverse array of individuals, schools and businesses, as well as through their Community Supported Agriculture — a way to buy local food directly from farms — and at the Tanana Valley Farmers Market. They are developing a new 7-acre field this year, and have plans to cultivate it next year.
“We love to see our kids growing up on a farm,” Christine said. “We love to see the smiles on people’s faces when they see and taste our produce, we love to watch the change of the seasons, and we love to eat delicious food.”
In addition to working the farm, Brad has volunteered as the vice president of the Ester Community Association for the past five years. He is currently serving as the vice president of the Alaska Farmers Market Association, and is the general manager of the Tanana Valley Farmers Market.
The Alaska State Fair Farm Family of the Year awards committee, which is chaired by the Alaska Division of Agriculture, reviews nominees and selects the winning family based on its production of quality Alaska Grown products, community and agricultural organization involvement, and overall image.
“It was especially gratifying to help the Alaska State Fair board give this year’s award to a young farm family,” said Division of Agriculture Director David W. Schade, in the release. “Our state has a proportionately large number of beginning farmers, and when I look at the St Pierre family and the new generation of farming families they represent, I feel confident about the future of agriculture in Alaska.”
Recent award recipients include the Olson family of Alaska Berries in 2018, the McCollum and Pinkleman families of Northwest Land & Livestock and Delta Meat & Sausage, Inc. in 2017, and the Plagerman family of Scott Plagerman Farms in 2016.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.