Terry Andreotti looked up at the rusty scale. It weighed in at a little more than four pounds.
“Two there, three there. That’s five dollars even with the chard.”
Dressed in a bright orange Giants baseball T-shirt, Terry Androetti is one of the people behind Androetti Farms — based in Half Moon Bay for 85 years now on an 80-acre property. Every Sunday she makes the trek to Belmont to sell her fresh and seasonal produce at the Belmont Farmers Market.
With dirt-stained hands and potatoes holding down her cash in her makeshift register (a wooden box), Androetti told Belmont Patch about the family business.
“There’s Farmer Frank, that’s my son. He does most of the farming now. My husband Dino is behind the lines. My daughter Halley, she’s in sales.”
They grow everything from Italian dry beans, around 2000 pounds year, to Swiss chard, artichokes, lettuce, broccoli and much more.
Everything is hand-planted, hand-fertilized, hand-hoed, and watered by hand, said Androetti. She paused to sell kale to a customer.
“What we don’t sell we feed to the chickens,” she said.
The prices are not too expensive either, broccoli $2 a bunch, potatoes $1 a pound, lettuce $2. “We usually we go with market prices, not Safeway prices. We’re a lot cheaper, a lot fresher.”
Andreotti Farms started going to farmers markets in the 1920s, the first market being on Alemany Bloulvard in San Francisco when Dino’s father started the business. The family at the time would wake up at 2 a.m. to make the trek there from Half Moon Bay. Later they sold at a market in Pacifica and now they sell in Redwood City, at College of San Mateo market, and a roadside produce stand in Half Moon Bay.
That rusty scale doing a lot of the work is the original scale the family used in the San Francisco market.
“It gets certified every year,” she said.
In 1972, the family farm won Best Farmer of the Year out of 350 farmers there, Androetti said with a smile. If it weren’t for farmers markets like the Belmont's, then America would risk losing its small farms, she said.
“If people don’t shop local, they’re going to loose their small family farms. This is the only place they can make money. They can’t take it to a commercial market where there’s a middle man.”
She spoke about an instance where she brought her product to a large commercial market and only received $6 in profit since they took 20 percent.
“They won’t let you use wooden boxes anymore to ship your stuff, you got to use cardboard. So you can only use them a couple of times and they cost you now $3 a box. We just can’t do that,” she said. “This [farmers market] is helping the farmer out a lot. It keeps us local. We’re close by. So they know that if there’s a problem, they can come to us.”
Andreotti Farms also does school tours for children from kindergarten to fourth grade for farming field trips. Androetti said they bring in a bee keeper to talk about pollination, they talk about the different horses used for farming, and even have a rooster crowing contest.