Warming Up for Summer!

“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings.” 

― W.E. Johns

 

Happy February!

With more and more daylight coming our way, spirits are beginning to rise here at Raven Ridge. We’ve started to see some snow melting, making us anxious to get into the field. Every day brings about some change in the farming world. In the summer we may be more aware because our lives are directly linked to the field and task at hand. This past month we’ve been excited about seed orders and infrastructure improvements. 

Here’s what else we’re excited about: 

Somers Middle School Career Day February 17, 2017. Nathan presented to the middle schoolers about farming and how we got into farming. We had some AWSOME thank you cards and some intrigued future farmers!

Free the Seeds on March 4th, 2017! We will have a booth with pictures and information about our farm and CSA program- if you have friends that you’re trying to convince to get a CSA share or you are interested, this is a great event for you. Details about the event: http://freetheseedsmt.com/

CSA Early Bird Signup!!! Get your share before March 1st, 2017 to get a discounted rate. After that, prices raise to $600 for a full share and $350 for a half share… Get the deals while they last! Tell your friends too!

On another note...

We are investing in ourselves as farmers. Right now, without doing the act of farming, it can become difficult to make these investments. One of the fundamental values that we believe in and practice is to farm smarter, not harder. Farming is labor and time intensive. You have to have drive and self motivation to be successful. That being said, in the community of small scale agriculture, there are new ways to farm “smarter” being developed and shared. 

This season we are implementing some of those techniques. Here is a short update on our changes that we are excited about!

Walk-in-cooler… We are so excited to be able to offer not only the highest quality product that we can create but the most fresh! This also means that we can grow more food to store, therefore providing our happy farm-ily with winter delights of storage crops (beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, winter squash). 

Processing facility… With the intention to produce more food this season, we realized that we want to be able to have the proper infrastructure to accommodate our scale-up. The new barn will contribute to the flow of the farm with food from the field coming in the south (or far) side and going into your hands on the north (or closer) side. There is more space and which will allow for more organization!

Harvesting containers… With the walk-in-cooler we need to maximize space. Having containers that systematically stack while full of delicious food AND nestle away when being stored is a huge advantage to our operation from the previous years. *The new containers can either “nest” or “stack” which we think is pretty fantastic. 

Caterpillar tunnels… These are similar to the smaller “hoop houses” that you have seen around the field in the past, but they are so much more than that! They are more structurally sound with metal framing rather than PVC hoops. Instead of burying the plastic, which involves digging a trench and reburying it, we drape the plastic over the hoops and tighten with a rope Plus, these are almost double the length of the previous hoop houses we’ve used… If you like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, or any of the other heat loving crops we grow YOU will be especially excited about this!

Flame weeder… Some of you may know this, others may not but we have a tremendous amount of weed pressure here at the farm. Since the land has been grown organically for 20+ years there is a lot of weed seed that has been spread. The flame weeder will aide us in killing weeds in the beds before planting and before the seeds have germinated. This minimizes our time hand weeding so that we can spend more time growing food to feed our wonderful families!

Silage tarps… This goes along with the flame weeder as part of our weed control. We plan to have a system of laying tarps over sections of the field prior to planting. This heats our soil and kills weeds that try to germinate. Before planting we remove the tarps, shape our beds, and flame weed- all so that our desired seeds have the best fighting chance to grow. 

Greens harvester… We know that greens are always desired but our past practices are extremely time consuming. We will be experimenting with the greens harvester to get our customers more of what you want. 

Nathan's truck loaded down today from a trip to get a BIG BAG of potting mix from Peaco Peat Moss & Soils in Big Arm, MT. The company supplies potting mix for organic growers and we are excited to get started with seeding our onions this week with great potting mix!

Nathan's truck loaded down today from a trip to get a BIG BAG of potting mix from Peaco Peat Moss & Soils in Big Arm, MT. The company supplies potting mix for organic growers and we are excited to get started with seeding our onions this week with great potting mix!