Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our growing green thumb!

     Most of you may know that we are Organic Farmers that sell produce to at our local farmers markets.  We have been a farming family for over twenty five years.  We have grown a lot of food in that 25 years!  Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, we greenhouse grow most of our crops.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest is very wet!  Besides the rain that hampers our crops, it is also cold and foggy.  We have had many new challenges since relocating from Sunny Southern California!

But the Lord has been faithful to us and has allowed our crops to grow indoors in our three commercial greenhouses. 
We grow 300 plants of tomatoes, many of those heirloom varieties.  We train all of these tomato plants to grow upright.  This allows more air circulation as well as more room in the greenhouses.  We hand prune off every sucker and reduce the number of fruit that each cluster can grow, to three to four.  This gives us bigger and redder tomatoes.  Pruning and training takes many, many hours! 
Beets are some of our favorite plants to grow.  We love how healthful they are and how much our customers like them at the markets.  We grow them in plots of two hundred and harvesting and cleaning them for a market takes a lot of time. 
     We fresh pick all of our produce the day before markets.  Market harvests days are long and we start early in the morning and work late into the night.  All of our produce is washed in very cold water and then packed to stay cold and fresh for markets.  That has always been an important goal for our family.  Keeping produce beautiful has been a great selling point for our farm!

  We sell a lot of greens from our greenhouses.  They are our second biggest crop after tomatoes.  We love fresh salads, and the more varied the greens the more we love our salad.  We put in lettuce in large plots of 1000.  We harvest out the small plants for our baby salad mixes.  These are very popular for their ease, just rinse add dressing and you have a salad.  We love them as well for busy days when harvesting has us out late. 

We also grow a very nice English type of Cucumbers.  We trellis these plants up as well, as you can see in the left hand side of this picture.  They grow up so high that we have to use a picking ladder to reach them.  They are thin skinned and very mild tasting.  Our cucumbers are very popular at the farmers markets as well. 
     Swiss Chard is also very beautiful with a lot of different colored leaves.  These are very nice sauteed with olive oil and fresh grated ginger.  Our Swiss Chard grows year round in the greenhouses.  We replant it each late Spring for new plants with renewed vigor.  Our crops are also rotated to keep our soils healthy.  We use ample compost in our greenhouses.  All our soil being very rich and healthful makes our plants withstand bugs and diseases.  This is a very important aspect to organic farming.  Organic farming isn't just the absence of pesticides, it is the building of soil, rich in microbes that will strengthen the immune systems of the plants.  This gives the delicious flavor that is often missing in conventionally grown food.  We are also careful to increase mineral content in our soils.  Thankfully rainfall doesn't happen inside our greenhouses, but outside the soil does get depleted.  This is another blessing of greenhouse growing.

    Thank you for joining us for a small tour of our farm.  Next time we will return to the animals!         

God bless you all.

1 comment:

Gail said...

I wish I lived closer! Your garden looks fantastic!