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Willoway Farm offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Heirloom Vegetable Shares, Heirloom Flower Bouquet Shares and brown and blue egg shares. In addition our vegetables, herbs, and flowers can be found at locally at weddings, local restaurants and local shoppes whom support local vendors.
I met Jacqueline Fulcomer from one of my Podcasting friends Dr. Anh who has a podcast called Food as Medicine and it’s such a coincidence because Jacqui used to live right near me here in Montana just 6 miles away in Fortine where I worked as a teacher.
Tell us a little about yourself.
As you know I’m Jacqui, I live in Fredonia ,WI about 45 miles north of Milwakee. My partner and I manage an 8 acre farm… where we have about an acre and 1/2 of vegetables cut flowers and herbs tat we manage organically. We also have about 75 young apple trees on our hill that we graft every spring. We own root stock, we sell to CSA clients… Community Supported Agriculture. Then we also sell to local chefs… we also sell to one local school and attend a local market as well.
Willoway Farm and CSA Sales
- CSA =Community Supported Agriculture
- local chefs
- local school
- farmer’s market
I’m so glad you explained CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. Now do you have a podcast?
We do have a podcast… it’s called Willoway Farmcast…. took the pod out and added farm… We started doing it as a newsletter for our csa members… it started out on Soundcloud and we have a couple of episodes out on iTunes. We haven’t put an episode yet this year, because I forgot how to upload them… This year we will have
talk about what’s in the basket and what’s happening on the farm…
We also encourage people to ask questions so we can actually repeat them, and answer them because if one person has that questions chances are someone else does too! And we enjoy doing it, at the end of the day, sometimes we just post sounds of the farm, sometimes we’ll just post from the farm to give people a little ear shot. Part of it’s because:
A. we don’t feel like typing after a day of gardening
B. it’s a way people can simply listen to the podcast and don’t have to be locked into the screen from picking up the basket….
People like their ways, listening while driving or doing dishes, my two biggest places to listen are running in the woods or driving…
Tell me about your first gardening experience?
You know… I grew up in NJ, and my parents were not big gardeners… I grew up in a neighborhood, my dad enjoyed growning blowers… we got a little cabbage patch kid gardening kit, it was like the first time I grew vegetables… IDK how old I was, we didn’t [pant it at our homebase, my parents did have a tiny little sea shore shack that they rented out, they let me put my cucumbers and whatnot in that sandy garden, It was so exciting to plant something and come back and eat the cucumbers…
As a child I didn’t really like other veggies but cucumbers were it for me… After that I was always drawn to doing outdoor work in nature… and when I landed in WF MT, 1999 spring, I can’t even remember sometimes….
My room mate attended and had been to Purple Frog Gardens in Whitefish, and she brought me over the and this was one of my first roommates. I started volunteering at Purple Frog Gardens and Pam was like, you know I’d be happy to pay you.
On the weekends when I wasn’t working for the forest service I was working in her garden with the her chickens adn the apple trees and whatever she needed help wiht.
And Pam from episode 118 was just an amazing guest on my show in February I think! If you want to hear more about Purple Frog Gardens she’s been doing this for years and talks about community and volunteers and just tons of great tips there! Do you want to tell listeners just a tiny bit about working for the USFS in case they’re interested?
Well, you know, I when I left Rawling NJ where I was raised, I left at 18, went to Paul Smith College beacsue they ave a forestry program and I basically wanted to get paid to work in the woods that was my dream! So once I landed in MT, because of my experience with the forestry classes, I did get a forestry position and I did that for 4 summers, 3 summers in MT, once in Alaska.
That kind of work was mostly labor, I was also working on the fire crew in Alaska, did get to do a little traveling. otherwise, when I was working in Montana, it was more local they did not fly us out… it wa rellsy a lot of expereiences and it showed me what I was capable of doing, I got to be chain saw certified.
it was all htese things, if you had asked me in Rawling, NJ in high chool, if you would ahve asked me if I was ognna be runnig a chain saw or even simply skiing down mountains, I didn’t grow up doing that stuff… You know I put yourself there. Sometimes you have to put yourself in places and make things happen and that’s how I landed here wher eI am. When I moved to Montana, I didn’t know anyone but I just put myself there, but things happened pretty quickly. The only thing I didn’t like working for the USFS was I was a peon in a govt type world, I could workin the field and I can see thngs that are planted and south facing
leaving 5 trees per acre, they weren’t growing back, but all the money that is being spent, for people to plant the trees, check to see if they’re growing, man their not growing because it’s a south facing slope in MT, and there’s droughts and dry periods, and it’s easy to see something’s don’t work, and the only way to make changes you have to talk to people in Washington, DC …
Some management I know is good in the Forest Service, some maybe not the best ane the people in Washington DC, are not always in tune with what is happening locally. That made me think… maybe I don’t want to keep pursuing forestry and I don’t want to be in an office later and I don’t want to not have a voice… and Pam said, to me after maybe my 4th season working there, “hey have you thought about farming?”
I told her “No.” I felt like I couldn’t earn enough income from farming… and not that money wasn’t that I was going for… I simply was nervous about it. It seemed like, at that point she was building her farm up to be something and it was a lot of years of investment and the return often comes later down the road…I think I just started dating Dan…those things didn’t fall into place yet. Because of my experience with the USFS, thinking that was maybe not the route…
I turned my cheek towards organic farming. Because it was still outside work and it’s awesome! Besides other things:
- You’re more in control of how you manage the land
- it’s your creativity in gardening and farming
- being innovative with ideas and making it work
- just a plan
- and all that good stuff
So I graduated from forestry work, so I don’t pick up a chain saw anymore! Whenever I ran a chain saw, I always wore chaps, I’d never run my chain saw without protecting my legs, I’ve seen many men not wear their chaps!
I’ve always been afraid of chain saw, I barely pick Mikes up to carry it … forget run it! And there’s the whole tip a tree over, and is it gonna fall on you and that part!!!
Whenever I ran a chain saw, I always wore chaps, I’d never run my chain saw without protecting my legs, I’ve seen many men not wear their chaps!
You know Mike and I met on a mountainside planting trees up here… I love your whole thing about put your self out there…. I wuld have never met Mike or found this place I still remember driving up from Missoula and then from Whitefish to here… and thinking that I was in the middle of nowhere! And thinking there were trees everywhere and I lived at Murphy Lake for the 3 weeks and knew nothing about Fortine and Eureka and I remember walking into the old antique store that used to be the Fortine store when it was still in the old antique store and being so ecstactic to be able to get bagels! and Milk! Muprhy Lake is still one of my all time places to go in the whole world!
How did you learn how to garden organically?
I learned a lot there, she was doing multiple crops from hops to apple trees. She was just planting her apple trees! I loved the way she fed her chickens! More like whole griains! We’re not doing that
we purchase our organic feed from Cashton Farm supplies it’s a non-soy certified organic feed for our layer chickens. Pam did feed her chickens soy at the time. There were a lot of things happening on her farm, and she also grew flowers, not a lot at that time, but some.
Just being at a job and getting face to face with soil, was a little more intimate, a different intimacy then working for the Forest Service you’re more engaged in helping things grow and understanding how the soil works. After a while me and Dan did move to Wisconsin and he’s from Fedonia, WI… and Montana’s great but it’s very seasonal. Me and Dan met at a ski mountain restaurant so I worked at the Forest Service during the summer but the problem with ski towns is they’re great but if there’s no snow in the winter, people aren’t really coming and then your income goes down. For me there was a little bit of instability and moving to Wisconsin, we discussed and having family around can always be helpful so we decided that would be good move.
Upon moving to Wisconsin, because I’d been working on an organic farm for years, I was like I need to find one right away, I can at least trade for food. We looked around and we found Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin and we arrived in the fall in Wisconsin in 2003 and they had an open house
Garden Student Program it began the following March, and we enjoyed the open house and the overview of the course. At the time, Dan and I didn’t really have a next plan, so we were like let’s try this. So we did the garden student program for 5-6 months, that program had
- tons of paper work
- workshops for things particularly interested in learning about
- plus teaching you the ins and outs of growing marketing
- growing organically
- large scale
- smaller scale
So you worked every day on the farm! It was good! It really gave us a good beginning. They had a bulletin board with
- tons of flyers
- people adveristind help on farms
In the spring in 2004, I saw a flyer for some land in NE Pennsylvania and they were looking for someone to farm the land biodyanmaically and it caught my eye because it was in a town my parents have land maybe a half hour from…. and we thought maybe we would just do like a trial period doing what we just learned
- where were just paying rent
- where we having invested so much
- ended up go there
There was a field that we plowed under about an acre garden, with raised beds about 4 feet wide, I forget how long our garden bed was… there were 4 sections. We grew our vegetables and flowers, Dan built a greenhouse to start all of our stuff. That summer we sold to chefs and a farmers market. We did not have a CSA that summer, but it was a great expereince!
We learned a lot and I was like hey I think we can do this!
We lived in an old barn, we simpley had to spread biodynamics crops on about 80 acres for the rent on the land. And it was a beautiful place, so our overhead was really low! It was a beautiufl place! That was in 2005, I was probably in my late ’20s and we were planting tulip bulbs. And you just get inspired to plant the apple trees. Me and Dan really wanted to grow fruits and vegetables, but part of me wanted to do that on our land! Instead of doing it somewhere else, because we don’t stay young forever, I didn’t want to be much older parting apple trees, you can do it, and it’s just a little bit harder, and you don’t see the return as soon!
So I was anxious to settle down, I started looking for real estate to settle down in Wisconsin. And in December 2005 I found place for sale, and it was for sale on a Thursday and it had this wonderful south facing slope, and we looked at on Saturday and Monday we put a bid down…
OK, you have already dropped a ton of golden seeds in the first ocuple of questions… A couple of quick things for listeners… I think back in 2012, I wanted applied to this Communications Program at Columbia University and I really wanted to go and I found this website in NJ Website of farming opportunities from the Farm Preservation Site, but that never worked out…
But I think you taught listeners a lot about there are opportunities out there where you could learn about selling to chefs, selling at the Farmer’s Market and then the other thing. I tell people this all the time, and they think hty’re gonna build a house and I’m always telling them you should spend a eyar on you r porperty and get to know it, where is that south facing hillside, our house is passively designed, mike new that ,we’re on a hill, we’re never gonna flood, the garden’s down in the south part, I’m always like why don’t we plant over here, by the kitchen but that’s not where you want to plant it’s on the north side of the house and where are you gonna get that sun, first thing in the morinng, how longs it gonna last, we kind of have a hill we’re up against so our sun comes up later then in town… that’s great tips for listneres…
Also when Mike and I bought our first investment property when I was teaching over in Browning, I walked into the house and I knew just like you did, on day 1 the price was right, the location was right, I mean you’re never gonna get 100% I mean we would have liked 2 bedrooms and it only had one bathroom but still, people are still amazed we made as much as we did but we knew, just like you did because you had been looking and then my last thing
… moving by family is what a great thing! My parents were like you’re gonna be so far away and never come home and I was like no I’m gonna come home, and you never realize how much youre gonna miss it! And I’m lucky if I go home every other year beacuse it is so hard to make a living here….
I’m from NJ and Dan is from Wisconsin and lots of people make the move to Montana and stay there, but for us… we have 2 kids here, and they help out immensely, and we couldn’t do it without that family help… we had to get to know that community… we had a wonderful dairy farmer, he was the one who loaned us some equipment.
They wanted to see that farm get a new breath of life and after we came there, becasue we were only there for one year, she had a new couple farmes, there’s still doing their stuff, they have sheep there, and they’re doing vegetables and flowers and I’m taking credit for it because the landlord is an organic farm inspector so she’s really involved in that realm and she’s really into biodynamics… but that just created that opportunity that we needed!
And beause land is so expensive for lots of young aspiring farmers so there are more and more incubator farms providing situations like that…so it’s good for inspiring farmers or ogranic farmers to know…
The other thing about our property, was it
- had the out buildings
- hill top where you see 360 degrees
This is kind of going back a little bit, but that December when we found it on sale, we had actually visited Wisconsin in September, because Dan’s grandpa was dying and the farm that we ended up purchasing. His parents live in the village of Fedonia is great because they can pop over and help out. We drove by this property, when you’re looking for place to live, you take a Sunday cruise and see what’s out there. And Dan said, “Look at that place and said I’d live there!!! And three months later here I am and I had to drive to the address and there was no picture on the website… so when Dan came to the property he was like, yeah, I don’t know if I can say no?
When we were looking for the property we didn’t have a lot of money saved up, his parents helped make it happen by, allowing us to take out an affordable mortgage that we could afford. So his dad has an excavating business and he owns part of farm, and has a shop there, he has the bigger equipment.
The first summer we were there in 2006, we didn’t sell yet, but we laid out the infrastructure on the farm:
- laying out the irrigation
- building a greenhouse
- feeling out the land first before we jumped right in
- different soil testing
see what we had…
That’s awesome! I’ll bet they are so glad that they do becasue they get to be by their grandchildren…
5 miles, it’s almost their north house, it gives them the space, they don’t have the neighbors… can’t even see from…
That’s the coolest story, I could live there and 3 months later there it is for sale!
Yeah, things kept happening, and even before that when I was in Pennsylvania, I was taking the training for being an independent certified farm inspector. That was my side gig beacuse I felt the value in being up to date in standards in organic standards would be great, here I am I would be
- visiting other farms
- learning what they do
- what doesn’t work
however what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another and really farmers are pretty nice people, espeially organic farmers! And once I finihsed my training and I had lived in Wisconsin and then I started getting work, I got to drive around Wisconinsn and get familiar with a state I didn’t really know.
I did inspect certified farms for 8 years, organic dairies and some processsing facilities…
Could you tell us a little more, how long did that take you that training? Like a year, 3 years, people are probably like, I can be an organic farm inspector? I’m gonna check that out.
- 3-4 days
- different parts of the country
- have to apply to be accepted into the training usually requires hands on experience in organic production or a degree in sustainable ag
so they know you have a background, you might not have ever farmed, but you might have a background in organic coffee processing like the packing of it, and all that kinds of stuff. You might decide you want to check organic coffee processing. Different kinds of people can pursue that career,
- 3-4 days
- lots of overhead projections
- lectures and stuff
- farms or processing facility visits
- what you would look for as an organic inspector
- take an exam or test
Usually you know if you completed your certificate. Typiucally you do whatever programs you want to do. I eneded up taking the training for all of the programs, because organic dairy is going to have ocmopletely have didffenet then a crop production farm. Then you typically find an inspector who will take you on as an apprentice, then you attend various farms with the inspector you shadow them and then typically after the 3-4th one you feel ready you write the report and that inspector will check it over and make sure its fine.
There’s options that let you work for various certified inspections many different ones what all follow different USDA Organic Standards, they typically have their own guildeslines that they create within the agencies guidelines depending on what they are looking for. Some organic agenices only have in-house inspectors, and maybe work part time. Other ones will higher independent ones, you kind of get on a list.
With the IOIA, you are indepentdetn and you get your name on the list and say this is what I am, agencies will call you up so you can start to sceduele inspections you go to farm and paying attention to detail
eyes, ears, your nose to get a good sense of the farm and of course go through the paper work, audit it… then you write a report
I always need to edit
there were 2 challenges:
1. I’m runnnig a farm here and the time it takes away from farming
You try to get 3 inspections in one day in an area to maximize your time, sometimes it’s only 2 because sometimes it can take a while, but when you’re gone your gone and you can’t do anything on your farm… when you have a farm there’s never nothing to do. And then when you get home, you have to edit that report and go in your zone on the computer and exit the farm again… so for me, it was mostly about time.
It was fine in the beginning, then I had a child… once I had my first child, I have to take care of my child, do stuff on the farm, I was nursing him… 6 months after he was born, which you can pump your milk and all that good stuff, but once I was pumping my milk, less on what he was demanding. I’m on an inspection, I’d like to pump my milk…. finding places to pump on the road is not always convenient, this is personal, I felt like my milk production went down because he wasn’t with me all the time. …. so that was that and
then when I got pregnant with my second child, a little girl…I was due July first… I was like OK, we’re gonna have a summer baby… I said I would do inspections this year but I owuldn’t be close to the due date, after she was born, she didn’t want a bottle… I was like well I can work with her and make her want it, I can say forget it, maybe this is telling me it’s time to stay home with my kids and not try to do everything, so I dropped inspections, so I thought what else can I dod to fill that void?
So I decided to focus more on flowers, I had done a few weddings. So I just decided to explore that more, it was the right choice, but it is an adjustment because now I have to market another part of the business, I have to push a little more to market the flowers
I would love to as much income, as I earned when I did part time inspections…
I could ask you a lot more inspectinos? Can you not bring a child on an inspection, you’re talking to someone that never had a baby… it seems like that could be the kind of thing that you could take a baby along? But no?
No, becasue you never know when they are gonna need you and a farmer’s time is valuable, you can’t take up more of their time then they ahve and you have to be efficient…
That might have been a good question, you never know someone might have thought that and that’s valuable to know farem’ers time is improtatn… You
You have to be efficient… you may be tempted to talk about stuff outside the inspection, if there’s any moment, you have to bring it back, and it’s your time too, and I want to get back home, 1-3 hours from my home…
Another thing listeners will be excited about is that you chose flower…
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
It’s early in the year.
Last year was a little bit different then other years… only becasue it seems the weather’s changing in SE WI as it is in other places so the season has been cahnging a little bit, we mananged to get th high tunnel, like a greenhouse with super large hoops pretty high from the gorund level. It was our first one.
High Tunnel Crops
- heirloom tomatoes
- hyacinth seeds
We put it up in the fall of 2014, so we were able to use it in 2015. That being said it was our first year we could put crops that like heat, we put a bed of peppers in there all sorts of heirloom tomatoes in there. And then I also put hyacinth seeds, which is typically used as a cut flower
dahlias in there
there is a big difference when you put things in a greenhouse, there’s a difference between how things go in a high tunnel or green house or out in the firled.
sublte things, in a high tunnel, tyupcially htey’re not getting any rain water, just geting well water from us, and sometimes it makes me wonder if there is any difrerence in what you need, trace minerals you get in rain water water out of your well? I actually this winter shoveled piles of snow there, cause I was like gosh darn it, I’lll bet that snow has something in it that the well water doesn’t… Mind you snow doesn’t have a high water content… I want some rain water in there…none the less we have tomatoes through November, which I never had before, but it didn’t get blight, becasue you’re not getting rain water splashing back at my plants. So all of my tomatoes in my greenhouse were beautiful. That was an extra bonus we got more yeilds form there
was a warm summer, in the fields but in prior years it takes forever to ripen in WI, depending on the weather, some summers are more rainy or cooler them others. But this past summer was so awesome in that respect and I was able to grow these hyacinths seeds, so hummingbirds were flying thorugh our high tunnels and it was fun to be visited by them as we were working in there and , we planted lemmon thyme
could be planted out side, but in zone 5 it could have grown outside, but being in a high tunnels nice to have a few perennials, especialy herbs
I really enjoy gronig herbs, and putting them in our csa every week.
Those are the crops that we palnted, mostly because of the high tunnel
in the field not as much….my peonies always do really good…
Now my peonies come up in the spring and then they’re done.
All peonies are perennials I think they really like to g through a winter. In Alaska has peonie businesses up there. there are so many types
My peonies have to have ants pollinate them..
ants do help them open up, peony buds are really sugary, sweet sap, if you don’t have ants they’re not gonna blossom. It’s one of those symbiotic relationships.
That being said
- peonies can be early blooming
- mid season blooming
- good for cut flowers
having in your garden
My peony season can last 4 weeks
coral in color, for whatever that, I haven’t found any coral ones that bloom later
can be cut and stored in fridge and then you can whip them out if you want to use them in a flower arrangement… A few years ago, I did a wedding for Jacqui Donovan, from a band called Blessed Feathers check them out, she was getting married July 6th wanted pastel colors, including coral, saved a bunch of coral peonies for her to put in her wedding bouquet:
- I cut it,
- I dry stored it,
- warpped in papter
- cut again in water shortly before you want to use them
so July 6th she was able to have them even if htey would have bloomed late May… so you can kind of extend peony season, they maybe bloomed the 3rd week of june! and I was still have a few weeks later and put in arrangements. They’res a lot of awesome flowers and vegetables…
So 2 things I want to say really quick. Have you read The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook? I interviewed him last fall in epsiode 102 and when I was looking for a place in NJ I used his book for developing a business plan. But when he came on he talked about how growing tomatoes in a high tunnels is the only way to go!!
Also in February I interviewed this guy Andrew Malucelli from the NRCS and he talked about a program where you can get money to put up one of those high tunnels. The deadline was February 19th, and he came on Feb 15th.
Was it Equip? (I said no, but it is… the same program) IDK, he’s from theNRCS, and we applied and we’re waiting to find out, so if we get them we’re like you and won’t really be able to use them till next year… I really like that part a bout you said you put perreneials in them, and you put it in your CSA and boquets, is that one of the products you sell to chefs?
Sales to restaurants and chefs
we sell the lemon thyme to chefs, but the oteher herbs I put into bouquets…
- lemon thyme
- pineapple mint
- anise hyssop
- flowers to leaves
mints are really lnice,dual colors
scents like lavendar, I also want to mention with the high tunnel, I’m still trying things out… this year, I decided to grow ginger and turmeric. I don’t htik Im gonnna get a big yeiled. When you grow ginger and tumeric, the best thing is when you get it go keep it in 70º temp. So I have it in my high tunnel, but it’s not 70º in there all the time and it takes 6 months to harvest ginger and tumeric and this year I’m simply tyring it out, and maybe in years to come I can improve. I heard of a woman in the NE Unitd STates and she’s doing it using walk-in coolers and keeping the temp at 70º somehow all insulated and the ginger and tumeric is never exposed to the sun. Because you’re growing the roots, needs the warmth, doesn’t need the light, so that was intersting to hear. The people who sold me the certified and organic ginger and turmeric told me that one of their clients was doing that. That was extremely interising, I would love to learn more info about…
were getting a wind turbine this year too, not a very big one it will enable us to get off the grid a little bit, at this time we don’t plug in any walk in coolers, we just have a little fridge beacuse we don’t want to spend a bunch of money
But when we get a turbine, we might be able to get a walk-in cooler whether it’s for tumeric and ginger, or need one designated for flowers
what have you
to really extend some of your crops
you can use an air conditioner
the elxtric costs not very green to us. When I grew up in NJ, mywhole house was air conditioned except my bedroom becasue that was my bedroom and I dont’ want to be responsible for putting more of those nasy carbons in the air so why would I want to do that on my farm, so staying small and
we couldn’t do it if we had 100 shares
we have 35 we break into different. That’s the way we do it, it’s all harvested friday afterenoon, that’s our Friday evening, we don’t go out and hang with people
Sometimes we shift it to morning or afternoon
that’s how fresh our is and decdiing to be small scale and not having big epuimpent, but when we get this wind turbine, it’s on our property just has to be put in place, maybe it will change things, we can extend a few things
Where are you gettin gyour ginger and tuymeric, I atalked to Jenhy Jackson and she said it was a place in Hawaii…
or just helpful
ginger and tumereic
open a few
didn’t think of it
renown one has ginger lilies
Yes so they’re cut flowers, like the plant but must be slightly more cultivated for the flowers. Boy are they pretty!
Gonna be a challenge to grow it, really gonnna hve something that nobody local has. and the tumeric and gingerroot seems to be really hot right now.
I was wondering, because I haven’t had anyone talk about ginger wihtou the tumeric etc.
tey must be in the same family? Same heat? IDK if they ahve the same venefits, I don’t really know about the helth benefits.
We grow the same
encrouage the native plants, use a lot of permacutlure plants, there’s elderberries, we didn’t plant a bunch of cultivated varieies. We wanted to stay with native plants. our borders hae the native plants and then as you get closer to the inside. To keep the insects in, we have our birdhouses, we like nanimals and want to work with nature as much as we can… creates a deep till community and using a broad fork that’s the scale we chose if you go bigger you just can’t really do it at that scale…
grow it locally that nobody has…
pretty hot items
grown pretty similarly
they must be in the same family
they like the same heat
same health benefits…
i don’t want to take
we don’t just grow the flowers and vegetables
lots of permaculture ideas how we set up our farm
didn’t plant cultivated
stay with as much native plants
massive cultivated farm
slowly creeps back to nature
borders have native
more domestic stuff in center
important to keep native pants and native insects
birdhouses we like animals
work with nature as much as we can
farming is not always inherently working with
frenxch intenstive gardening style
hand planted and hand hoed
scale we chose
go bigger really can’t dod it at that scale
we have a Wellness Weekend in june coming up
- doing with a local nutritionists
- flower crown
We’ll have 3 dinners served with local food
local garden club for their fundrainsers
when you have a small farm you have to do a lot different things to keep it going!
We just had aiTunes giveaway last month with Anastasia Cole Plakias’ new book
The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us about Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business! and she talked about that farms have to do different things and really focus on education, but also events was a big part of their success and make their business turn a profit and that it is possible to create green jobs and build a sustainable business. I love your passion for the environment, you’re gonna totally resonate with listeners… and today it’s May 4th and already there’s a huge wildfire already in Alberta, Canada today and I love your passion about the environment!
I’m gonna skip down Mike gave me this new thing for the middle of my show called Get to the Root of It! So are you ready to get to the root of it?
Which activity is your least favorite activity to do in the garden.
You know, because everything is so hand done, this is my least favorite, I usually don’t have to do it but I did because Dan was gone… it’s spreading manure, cuase we do it with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. And I can’t hold as much compost as Dan can… it’s just one of those monotonous jobs. You shovel into the wheelbarrow, and haul it down, and then shovel it out nice and even on that garden bed. I really don’t have to do it very often, but this spring and last fall, I had to do it a little because Dan took a job in NY, building the first emission air scrubber on the international cement production plant for LaFarge Cement Company.
What’s an air scrubber?
It cleans the emissions, it is a place that produces cement. It’s the biggest company in the world for cement, and this is one of the main plant for cement in the United States. The air scrubber has been used in Germany since the 1990s. With Obamas legislation over the last 7 years first one to be built in America, FINALLY this is the first one to be built in America. The emisions is from producing the cement and it goest htorugh pipes etc. and there are multiple windows and the little scrubbers will come out and clean that exhaust so once it enters the atmosphere it will be a little cleaner. All the blueprints comes from Germany
Dan and his brother… building it and they still are because he had to come back to the farm.
What is your favorite activity to do in the garden?
I love it’s kind of a combo
I love harvesting!
I love it cause your seeing what you bring in, and I love the wasy my hands smell when I come back in whether it’s
- flowers or herbs
It’s really lovely and of course I like arranging the flower arrangements collecting things knowing what is good to harvest and putting it together. I love sharing and being able to take something from our land and taking it to consumers that are going to be using it after!
I love selling to chefs cause I know they’re gonna make something amazing out of our food and there are gonna be a bunch of people eating it that night or the next day!
It feels good to be spreading nutritions and bearuty beyond our property in that way! So those are the things…
I love the way you said what’s good to harvest. That’s a big skill, and a lesson I learned last year, but I need to move on…
What is the best gardening advice you have ever received?
It is, make sure you find time yourself.
because with farming… anybody who is managing land, gardening, on a large scale, there is never nothing not to do!
we run a business
- maket it
- grow it
- plan it
- teach it
- host things at our farm
At the same time everythings got to grow quickly and then nature throwing stuff at you. It’s importatn to find an activity your passionate about that may not be part of what your doing for living and take time to do it, whether it’s a
- a hike every week
even if you have kids…you have to find time for yourself or else you’ll burn out…
Yes, or you’ll start to resent it!
And it beomes less enjoyable and you always want to keep that enjoyment there…when you are self-employed, not just farming and gardening, when you’re self-employed there’s a lot on your plate and a lot of hats you have to wear!
A favorite tool that you like to use? If you had to move and could only take one tool with you what would it be.
well, it would probably be a spade fork
that’s what I use to weed ___ out of my perennial beds…. the more perennial beds,
Dan would say a hand hoe, but for me I end up doing the later part of weed suppression, the actually forking out… even tho when I’m 75 forking weeds out might be a bit more challenging…
Oh, yeah that’s what I was gonna say, you didn’t want to plant the trees when you were older, Mike just planted our orchard and he’s 63…
You can I just wanted to reap the benefits before that.
Yes! Mike’s been dreaming aobut this ever since I met him and he would have surley done it sooner if we could… we finally dug a well, or maybe the orchard came first and then the well? IDK, they were around the same time… the same year?!y
A favorite recipe you like to cook from the garden?
I can’t I cannot, repeat a recipe off the top of my head…
Nobody’s giben me a reipe yet hardly! But what do you like to cook?
simply theres a few things I like doing,
when you have all the ingredients at hand… whatever we’ve harvested… So we harvest food, but when you grow the non-perfect stuff ends up in your fridge a lot
put it all together, there are ways to cook food
- cook the onions in longer,
- garlic in at the end of sauteing
- fresh flavors
- the fresh herbs
That’s all you really need to make something.
something we do that is pretty easy,
- foil packs on the grill
- parchment paper if you don’t like to use foil
- salt and pepper
- throw it on the grill and let it cook for a while
- however long you like to roast things
- flavored up with your herbs…
archives of recipes
we can send stuff
I always thought if I made a cookbook, it would be the 3 color cookbook.
And when you throw the beets in there everything turns colorful!
A favorite internet resource?
Well with Facebook I am a part of some Facebook groups. I check out that, and in Facebook Groups you can type in the search button and they will find it in that thread and you can see what otehr people have said.
I like that, if you’re in a Facebook group the search bar really does looki things up like if your looking for tomato blight or aphids on my cucumbers there’s that little search bar, it’s not perfect but it’s good. I love Facebook Groups!
If your part of groups your already in that group and people are very generous they’ll put links up there! I’ve haven’t looked at a lot of online searches, but I can pintpoint I have a lot of books on my shelves.
A favorite reading material-book, mag, blog/website etc you can recommend?
Companion Planting book by Rodale.
jr rodale of encyclopedia organic gardening. Taht encyclopedia is an old book but it’s super applicable to what we do today
it’s a philosophy of gardening! It’s written by Wolf D. Stori, book i read a long time ago in 2005 and I took to it! It’s great! It’s another book we’re influenced by becasue we do have a hill. It’s simply amaxing, for more then 40,000 these Asian farmers worked these feilds repeatedly, it’s just amazing how the terraces work how skilled those people in China, Koreas and jApan, and they have been in growing organically…French incentive organic farming, and Japanese framing, ideas come from all alter
I’m sure you know a lot of good places, there are pleaces like
is a good website… I can give you the links for organic farming…
Cool I have th resources for Moses and ATTRA, but I ‘m gonna order that book because our place is on a hill, and I would like to put some stuff alon that hill…
Final question- if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?
Well, I think local, is pretty important that’s where you educate people kind of people….at a sort of grassroots level…
Its’ local, you have to educate the people next door as much as the people 40 miles from you. Maybe I’m diverting but even on Facebook, you can learn a lot through Facebook, sometimes it’snot the place to discuss things, and sometimese, talking direct to a person is where you want to talke about things… people have minds made up….
Anyway maybe I’m getting off topic…… local level educating people only way your gonna help people in their minds, be aware what’s happening locally… etc were’e all connected we all got to care….
I know you are one of my avatars out there like the person I want to talk to about this, I know you have to get goring watch the kids etc….
Do u have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?
I wish Dan was here, he’s full of it! He’s a bit of a philopsopher!
I was thinking what did you say earlier that was the perfect answer for htis…. education is important from young to old… really exposing and helping others get back to nautre…learning about where their food comes from, the doesn’t just show up from the grocery, thing about, people and farmers, is food is very much a part of humanity, where would people be without food?
Now we connected through Dr. Anh who has a podcast called Food as Medicine right when I first launched and she finally came on my show and she lived and worked here in Fortine, MT where I live and Mike and I met!
How do we connect with you?
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