Located at the point where granite and limestone bedrocks collide, the farm is a tapestry of mixed forest, rocky ridges, and meadows that lead down to the Salmon River. In 2023 there will be around a half-acre under cultivation, where I grow a diverse mix of vegetables and herbs. The berry patch is growing slowly but surely! And this spring the orchard will be expanded.
The gardens are surrounded by 20 acres of old hayfields that are home to coyotes, foxes, birds, startlingly big snakes, industrious leopard frogs and turtles, and of course countless insects and other, even tinier critters. I let much of the fields remain uncut meadow, and they are slowly naturalizing as I endeavour to speed up forest succession by transplanting shrubs and trees with great humility and varying degrees of success.
I adhere to organic practices even though I'm not certified. In support of regenerative agriculture – a system that aims to restore soil health, and support the well-being of all farm creatures (humans included) – I integrate a variety of strategies. They include growing in permanent raised beds, no/low-till (using gentle, unmechanized practices as much as possible to limit soil structure disturbance), cover cropping, interplanting, tarping and keeping natural habitats in abundance for the local flora and fauna.
I've learned to make high-quality compost to increase the soil health without relying more than I need to on nutrients extracted from elsewhere. I rotate crops, support predatory insects and implement non-toxic interventions to cope with pests, mostly insect netting. I've yet to perfect cover cropping on this deep clay but it's an exciting challenge.
It's my belief that the best food comes from seeds that are locally-adapted, so I strive to use mainly open-pollinated varieties that are often heirlooms and always lead to delicious and nutritious veggies. Seed-saving and sharing is important to me, and I commit to being more organized to prioritize that from now on.
As a modern farmer, I want to live with the land I love, rather than on it, and leave it in better condition than I found it. My vision is to reinvigorate agriculture, so the eaters are just as connected to the land as the growers. I'm deeply appreciative of those who share these notions and bring this food into their home kitchens with the same passion as I put into growing it.
We’re a woman-run farm with a mutt-mascot named Charlie who continues to inspire everyone to keep their noses to the wind and stay curious. When Charlie’s not napping in the sun, he’s valiantly protecting the carrot crops from the vicious chipmunks who inhabit the fencerows or barking at strange cars that get lost on this dusty back road (sorry not sorry).
This farm got started as a join venture with my old friend Adrienne who had spent a few seasons learning the ropes at other market gardens. She taught me everything she knew about growing veg at scale since I was just getting back to the land after diverging from farming to become an ecologist.
Adrienne moved on from farming after 3 pretty gruelling seasons here, and Charlie and I are continuing on without her. We'll never forget her mad skills at connecting irrigation pipes, making morning coffee and afternoon cocktails with a smile, impromptu garden songs and get-at-it attitude each spring. I'm eternally grateful for her contribution here, and excited/terrified to keep going without her.