CERTIFIED ORGANIC FOOD & FORAGE
We are heartened by evidence that diversified, ecologically minded, organically guided agriculture is a sustainable model for the community, for the planet, and for the farmer. It is not easy. We are not perfect. We learn and evolve with each passing season, and we hold our responsibility as stewards on the horizon: we strive with heads up and eyes open, nurtured by good food and grounded by the unknowable.
On our land, Soil is a Proper Noun, the heart of the farm, and the arbiter of our actions. We invest in our soil through luscious cover crops, diverse and extended crop rotations, minimizing soil disturbance, and by applying as much compost as we can afford. Investment in the soil is an investment in the future of our farm.
“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” — Wendell Berry
Disease, Pests & Weeds
Every farmer faces challenges. We choose to address these challenges proactively through preventative measures and controls. Crop rotations break pest cycles, cover crops and flowers provide habitat for beneficial insects, floating row covers establish physical barriers to pests, and vigorous, resilient crop varieties tolerate negative pressures.
Without the use of herbicide, our weed management strategy relies on fast action and long-term thinking. Weed management is most effective and least disruptive to our soil when tackled at the earliest stage of growth. A 1950’s Allis Chalmers cultivating tractor, a selection of hand hoes, and a four-burner flame-weeder are the basis of our weed management, and when used at the right time (timing is everthing), and in the right sequence, weeds are not an insurmountable barrier to production. Weed control is THE single most labor-intensive (and expensive) cultural practice on the farm. ‘This year’s weed is a hundred year’s seed” goes the adage; we are constantly reminding ourselves that time spent now will save us time in the years ahead.
No synthetic sprays are used on our farm.
In our soil, in our pastures, in the riparian area that meanders through the farm, and in the hedgerow along our fields – biodiversity is our greatest ally. Prior to our time here, this land was in conventional commodity crop rotation, and monoculture was the norm. These early years represent a shift in paradigm as we support the GOOD (fungi, microbes, pollinators, predatory insects, etc), rather than fighting the BAD. The good is a beautiful chaos. It is not always neat and tidy, but it is vibrant and full of life. We allow many plants to flower as food and forage for beneficial insects. We celebrate the raptors and resident herons in our pastures, and we look forward to establishing four acres of native habitat along our creek.
Early each spring, regional seed farmers are celebrated as we flip with great admiration and anticipation through colorful catalogues. Buying regionally adapted, organic varieties connects our farm to a sustainable food system, supports other organic farms, and encourages resiliency within the Pacific Northwest climate. We prioritize and wholeheartedly support seed farmers who maintain and improve open-pollinated varieties while focusing on flavor, beauty, and adaptive traits.
We choose to raise heritage breeds of animals that are well suited to life on pasture and which thrive within a system of intensive rotation. Disease (worms, hoof-rot, etc.) resistance, unassisted birthing, efficient feed conversion, cold-hardiness, slow growth, vigorous offspring, multi-use (meat, wool). These are a few of the traits that we hold in high regard as shepherds, herdsmen and herdswomen. We currently manage an expanding flock of Black Welsh Mountain Sheep and are investigating pig, beef, and poultry breeds that are well adapted to wet climates, and capable of reaching full potential on pasture.
If you have any questions about our practices, please ask us!