News Stories About Greentree Naturals
Country Folks GROWER Western Edition – “Greentree Naturals: Growers and Teachers” January 2012 (Click here to read the article below):
Farmer Chef Connection - http://www.wibuylocal.org/farmers/success.html Profiles from around the U.S. show how farmers and chefs are connecting to use and promote locally grown produce. They highlight advantages and disadvantages and share ideas for success. Profiled in this PDF: Chef Holds Farmers in High Esteem: Growing for Market Greentree Naturals Organic Beef and Lamb at the White Dog Café: Neptune Farm
Farmer's Markets Today - "Is Organic Certification Right for You" By Diane Green / Greentree Naturals Certified Organic since 1992. Whether or not to pursue organic certification is still a hot topic of discussion among farmers who sell their products directly to consumers.
Mesa Verde Gardens - What We Do. About Ana Rasmussen - "Her gardening experience includes: growing up on a small farm in eastern Oregon, apprenticing at Greentree Naturals organic farm in northern Idaho..."
Mighty Mustard news story http://www.downtoearthnw.com/
Co-op Finds Rapid Success - Six Rivers is a community marketplace that caters to those seeking local products
Profile of Diane Green in "Sustainable Agriculture...Continuing to Grow"
AARP Magazine / Wisdom of the Elders By Bill Newcott, May & June 2009
The Farmers Friend - Diane Green
Word of Mouth / Organic Wine Tasting By Vicki Reich
From the Sandpoint Reader / Volume 4 Issue 35 August 30 – Sept 5, 2007
Click the link to read the article (below). Click this link to find out about upcoming Wine Tasting events.
On-farm Variety Trials: A Guide for Organic Vegetable, Herb, and Flower Producers
"Diane and Thom of Greentree Naturals in. Sandpoint, Idaho have been saving their own pea seed of a variety they like on their farm for. several years..."
Boise Weekly - A Beeper for Every Cow
"But Diane Greentree and Tom Sadoski of Greentree Naturals in Sandpoint see no need for the NAIS on their farm. As Certified Organic Farmers since 1992..."
Kuna Farmers Market Article - March 4, 2005
“A lot of selling your product has to do with eye appeal,” said Diane Green of Greentree Naturals in Sandpoint, Idaho. “I’ve seen some people come to market ...
Up Close and Personal with Plants - Sandpoint Insider, August 2006
Last weekend, I got up close and personal with plants far healthier than mine by attending a class called Art from the Garden out at the Greentree Naturals ...
Renewing the Countryside – 5/2005
On this website you will find stories of everyday people making a difference in their rural communities. The stories here are of farmers, artists, business owners, community leaders, non-profit organizers, youth and others who are living, working and playing in ways that benefit their families, their communities, and future generations.
Tips on how to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh all season - September 14, 2005
"The rule for most fresh produce is 10 days from time of harvest," said Diane Green, who owns Greentree Naturals with her husband and sells organic produce ...
NW DIRECT FARMER CASE STUDIES - Greentree Naturals is included in a group of case studies that are a culmination of a four year project to document Idaho, Washington and Oregon farmers. (PDF file available at link below)
Pacific Northwest INLANDER- 8/17/05
Organic Brunch Review by Paul Haeder
Profile: Diane Green
Diane and her husband, Thom Sadoski, operate Greentree Naturals , a small certified
organic farm nestled between the Cabinet and Selkirk mountain ranges in ...
Programs & People: Cultivating Success
New Farmer Development Project (PDF file)
Spokesman Review, The (Spokane): Tips on how to keep your fruits ...
9-14-2005 by Laura Crooks
These articles appeared in the Spokesman Review. Click the links to read them (below):
Additional news articles are archived at these newspaper websites:
- March 4, 2005 "Workshop Focuses on Farmers' Market Success" by Barbara Coyner
- April 16, 2004 "This Farmer is Full of Ideas" by Elaine Shein
- November 26, 2000 Story by Mary Barryhill
"Winter Is Not a Slow Season for Diane Green"
- May 18,1999 Story by Mary Barryhill
"Organic Gardening is Back to Basics"
- August 26, 1999 Story by Matt Broadhurst
"Turning Hobby Farm Into Business Possible But Difficult"
- July 30, 2000 Story by Hannelore Sudermann
- May 30, 1999 Story by Susan Drumheller
" Kids Will Reap More Than Pumpkins"
- November 21, 1999 Story by Julie Tetone
" Spirit of the West, Saving Ourselves"
- July 31, 1996 story by Leslie Kelly
COUNTRY FOLKS GROWER WESTERN EDITION - Greentree Naturals: Growers and Teachers
by Kelly Gates
Diane Green and Thom Sadoski are not just certified organic produce growers. They are also hands-on educators who teach other growers how to establish effective and efficient ag business plans, how to execute those plans and how to become contributing members of the growing industry.
The husband and wife team are more than qualified to instruct. Diane has an associate’s degree in horticulture and Thom has a bachelor’s in biology. And, they started Greentree Naturals of Sandpoint, ID, from scratch, evolving the company into a successful small acreage farm that has thrived for more than 20 years.
“We had always been home gardeners and in 1990, we decided to expand on what we were doing and establish Greentree Naturals,” Green told Country Folks Grower. “We were already selling some of our excess produce at the local farmer’s market, so we continued doing that. Then we started selling to local restaurants and working with caterers, and eventually opened a farm stand on our property.”
Despite their extensive knowledge of plants and growing — Sadoski boasts a background in plant biology and Green in horticulture and plant biology — Green chose to take a small business class to learn about the nuances of operating a company.
This formal training, coupled with many years of successfully operating Greentree Naturals ultimately inspired Diane and Thom to pass along their experience to others.
“I now teach a small acreage farming and sustainable agriculture class in the off season through University of Idaho Extension,” said Green. “I started going to conferences to learn about selling at farmers markets and how to sell to restaurants, and we began developing a local food system. We were one of the first farms in the region to work with restaurants and chefs and after a few years of experience, I ended up writing a book about selling produce to restaurants.”
Diane attended yet another conference to learn about community supported agriculture programs. Shortly thereafter, they started a CSA of their own. Greentree Naturals’ CSA is one of the oldest of its kind in the Inland Northwest.
The farm’s CSA incorporates a wide array of the fruits, vegetables and other items produced at Greentree Naturals. There are more than 80 varieties of veggies grown there. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are also part of the farm’s CSA package. So are eggs. And every other year, meat chickens are made available to customers too.
The farm also grows and sells a number of other products.
“We grow edible flowers, herbs and baby vegetables for many of the high end restaurants in the area,” noted Green. “We also grow and sell certified organic vegetable starts in the spring.”
In recent years, Greentree Naturals grew its vegetable starts in a small greenhouse structure attached to the owners’ home. As the plants began to grow, they would be moved to a hoop house and eventually, outdoors.
To create better efficiencies with this process, Thom and Diane are currently installing a 100-foot freestanding greenhouse. The greenhouse will enable them to keep vegetable start containers in the same location from germination until they are finished and ready to sell.
Greentree Naturals has also expanded into value-added products in the last few years. Along with individual types of vegetables, it now sells stir-fry packages complete with baby vegetables and a stir fry recipe card. Other new items on the inventory list include herbal lip balm and gardeners hand salve, each made using bees wax from a local bee keeper.
“Each year, we do a marketing assessment to determine what sells well and what doesn’t,” noted Green. “As part of this process, we plant several kinds of each vegetable and pay attention to which grows best. The climate continues to change yearly and we can’t control Mother Nature, so it’s an ongoing effort to monitor each variety every year and make changes whenever necessary.”
Certain varieties fare particularly well in Greentree Naturals’ extreme northern location — only 60 miles from the Canadian border. Garlic, for instance, grows in abundance there. As a result, it is one of the main crops at the farm.
According to Green, they grow six different varieties of garlic. Some of them are so popular that chefs from around the country order garlic from Greentree Naturals rather than from local producers in their regions.
“We work hard to grow fresh, nutritious, high-quality certified organic produce for our local community and sell to some customers in other places too,” said Green. “But we are equally committed to providing a place for organic gardening workshops, hands-on learning through agricultural related activities, and on-farm research. We are committed to forging partnerships with other farmers and educators, working together to create a more sustainable future for our community.”
To this end, Diane is presently serving as a consultant for the Sustainable Agriculture program for the Washington and Idaho Partnership 2020 project. She has also developed a training manual for the Cultivating Success program at the University of Idaho that teaches farmers how to develop on-farm curriculums for becoming certified instructors to work with apprentices.
Diane serves on a number of boards for organizations such as Rural Roots (the Inland Northwest Community Food Systems Association), the Idaho Organic Foods Advisory Council and represents small acreage farmers on for the University of Idaho College of Agriculture advisory board.
“I do a lot of the educational outreach outside of the farm, but Thom is very involved with our onsite education programs,” said Green. “In the future, we would like to transition the farm into being an educational center for teaching the next generation of small acreage farmers and producers and really focus on developing a local community food system.”
The goal, she added, is to pass along everything they have learned over the years so upcoming growers can benefit from their experiences.
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FARM FRESH FEAST - Sunday Brunch on the Farm Takes Fresh to the Extreme
by Laura Crooks - Spokesman Review - Inland Northwest IN FOOD
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
To call the feast my husband and I enjoyed two Sundays ago "fresh" would almost be an insult. Aside from the salmon, which was flown in from Alaska the day before, nearly everything was plucked from the gardens growing just a few yards down the hill.
The impressive culinary spread of garlic scape pesto, antipasto with sautéed kale, red leaf lettuce salad glistening with a light strawberry vinaigrette and spanokopita with a thick, creamy chard-and spinach-laced filling- not to mention the delicately poached salmon gracing a bed of garnish greens - boasted fabulous color, texture and flavor.
Just before inviting people to work their way through the outdoor buffet, Diane Green explained to her 21 guests that the feast they were about to enjoy grew out of her passion to educate people about the value of small-acreage farms and her desire to share the taste of fresh, local food.
This summer, with support from Rural Roots, a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable agriculture, Green and fellow farmer and chef Sora Huff launched Sunday Brunch on the Farm.
Every other Sunday through early September they are putting together a brunch for anyone who wants to taste farm-fresh food while learning a little about what it takes to maintain an organic garden. The menu at each brunch will change. It all depends, Huff explained, on what's growing in their gardens and what they can get the day before at the Sandpoint and Boundary County Farmers Market. The menu often isn't finalized until late the night before the brunch, Huff said.
Though barely 12 miles northeast of Sandpoint, it seemed as if we were disconnected from the "real world," if for no other reason that the fact that the cell phone screen blared "no signal" as we drove up the driveway to Green's home in the Pack River Valley.
Green, however, wants people to know that buying farm-fresh produce from local farms is very real, and very important. She and husband Thom Sadoski own and operate Greentree Naturals In addition to selling their organic produce at the Sandpoint Farmers Market, they also run an apprentice program to teach others the art of growing organic food. Now, they're in the very early stages of planning an on-site farm school with hopes of raising new farmers.
"We need the next generation to continue small-acreage farming," Green said.
In between the telltale "Mmmms" and comments about the various ingredients used in the brunch, Green reminded guests that they were tasting freshness. Even the eggs used in the spanokopita were gathered from her free-range eggs with their "perky yellow yolks" make a huge difference.
Before long, questions about what Green used for fertilizer cam up during the brunch. After explaining that they get manure from their chickens and goats, Green laughed. "Rarely does a table conversation with Diane Green not come to manure," she said. "I tried, I didn't bring it up this time."
Turning the attention back to food, guests praised the pea pods in the antipasto for their sweetness. "This is a great year for peas," Sadoski said.
We saw that for ourselves as we meandered through the gardens after brunch. "You can see the peas are growing out of control," Green said pointing to the tall plants at the south end of the garden.
Just below the house is Green's circle garden where she grows flowers and herbs. She and Sadoski were married in the middle of the circle.
Beyond that there are several rows of plants including greens, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, eggplant and more. Nestled between each broccoli plant is dill, which Green said draws the aphids away from the broccoli and also deters a worm that likes the vegetable. It's one of many tricks organic farmers use to keep their crops healthy.
While she and other small acreage farmers talk openly about long days and little time for rest and relaxation during the growing season, Green said, "You can't have a garden or small acreage farm and not love it."
She said people who go into small-acreage farming with the goal of making money rarely survive. "You gotta love it," she said.
The brunches have been popular, and Green and Huff are already talking about continuing them next summer. Green never seems to tire from spreading the word about small farms.
And though she works with Rural Roots to promote small farm operations and organic practices across the region, Green is adamant on her stance on what local means. "My definition of local is my community - Sandpoint," she said. "There are enough people in my community to support many small farms."
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Farmer Believes Less is More - We're Losing Farms Fast. Family Farms Are Being Sold for Subdivisions'
by Cynthia Taggart - Spokesman Review - December 2, 2001
FARMERS, LISTEN TO DIANE GREEN AND REJOICE. There is a future. The key is to think small. Diane says. We need more small-acreage farm operations like ours.'' Diane's two-and-a-half acre Greentree Naturals farm east of Sandpoint is such a good example of where farming's future lies that she just earned a Founder of the New Northwest award from Sustainable Northwest. The nonprofit organization based in Portland hunts for people in six Western states who create positive solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges.
She created a model for small-acreage farmers and is demonstrating how family farms can be successful if farmers are enterprising and look at multiple markets,'' says Matthew Buck, Sustainable Northwest's spokesman. She's blazing a trail.''
Sustainable Northwest has given awards to 116 people and corporations since 1995. It looks for innovators whose ideas are worth copying on a large scale. Diane diversifies, growing dozens of varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers. She sells to restaurants.
She's convinced some Bonner County farmers to cooperate rather than compete. She teaches at conferences, public schools and universities. And she takes on apprentices.
"Quality is absolutely No. 1 from her standpoint,'' Matthew says. "She shares her knowledge. She's not just out for herself.'' Diane looks more relaxed than success-driven in her loose dress and sandals. Long gray hair dangles down her back. White bulbs of garlic dry on a rack behind her kitchen table. A handmade wreath of dried flowers caps the doorway to her bathroom. A glass-case refrigerator of fresh flowers hogs most of the space on her enclosed front porch.
"It's odd to me to be referred to as a successful North Idaho small farm,'' she says, chuckling. "During the season, we work 12-hour days, seven days a week. It's hard work, but we still love it.'' The earth's magic has captivated Diane since she planted tulip and daffodil bulbs as a toddler with her mother, then saw them bloom the next spring when she was sick.
"It blows me away how we produce what we do,'' she says. "We start with a single seed.''
Travels as a young adult in a hippie school bus during the early 1970s took her to Colville, Wash., where she studied horticulture and took a job with the U.S. Forest Service. She was among the first women to work for the service in the woods determining seedling needs for reforestation. Diane found Sandpoint in 1986. She wanted to grow native plants to sell for landscaping and continue to work in the woods.
The acreage she found facing the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains had the deepest topsoil she'd seen. It was close to town, but just isolated enough to suit her. Diane moved in and married Thom Sadoski in her garden two years later.
The local farmers market naturally drew Diane. She set up a table to sell gourds she painted, dried flowers she arranged and vegetables from her garden. Life was blissful between her home garden and work in the woods. Then, in 1990, everything changed. Diane ruptured disks in her lower back opening a gate at work. The accident took her out of the woods and deposited her in an office. She hated it and began re-evaluating her future.
A workshop she'd recently attended promoted relationships between local growers and chefs. Diane visited Sandpoint's French restaurant and offered to supply organic produce from her garden. She had 37 types of salad greens, 60 culinary herbs, 15 varieties of squash, red, orange, yellow and purple carrots and much more to offer. The chef hired her. A year later, she added a second restaurant, then a third another year later. The fourth year, all three restaurants closed.
"That's what made me think about diversity,'' she says.
She rose to president of the farmers market in the early 1990s and immediately wanted better leadership skills. A friend steered her to the Heartland Center for Rural Development in Lincoln, Neb. The nonprofit center teaches skills to help small towns survive. Diane learned to recognize opportunities and defuse problems. Under her leadership, the farmers market hired a manager.
In 1994, she quit the Forest Service to turn Greentree into a full-time operation. For insurance, she worked part time at a greenhouse. The chefs who left the closed restaurants took her along to their new restaurants. For her regular farmers market customers, Diane began a subscription service. For $21 a week, customers received a full bag of her fresh vegetables no matter what time they arrived at the market.
She began the same service for fresh flower customers and delivered the flowers to businesses throughout Sandpoint. Diane encouraged other market vendors to do the same and a growers' collective emerged. By working together, farmers offered greater variety, a longer season and enough produce to satisfy demand. People began to ask how Diane accomplished what she did. Diane was happy to teach them. She taught at workshops and conferences, even at the Heartland Center. She explained her techniques to extend the growing season - makeshift unheated greenhouses - and gave tours of her farm. She encouraged diversity and taught how to grow a garden that satisfies many markets.
In 1995, a North Carolina woman visiting Sandpoint's farmers market wanted to work as Diane's farmhand. Diane's apprenticeship program was born that year. Now, trailers house a student or two every summer while they work and learn at Greentree.
Diane saw how people working together could benefit small communities. In 1998, she helped start Rural Roots, a network of small-acreage farmers, teachers, economic development specialists, consumers and other people interested in community food systems.
Rural Roots then collaborated with the University of Idaho and Washington State University to start a small-acreage farming and ranching certificate program. Diane often lectures for the classes and is becoming certified this semester as a farmer with whom apprentices can earn college credit.
"We share Diane's vision,'' says Theresa Beaver, the small-acreage farming and ranching coordinator for Rural Roots and the University of Idaho.
"She does everything she talks about. She's amazing.''
Diane's newest goal is to write a marketing book for small growers because she's certain small farms are the future.
"People go into farming because they have a passion for growing food,'' she says as two kittens wrestle by her feet. "If they fail, then what? They sell the land and once it's gone, it's gone forever.''
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Word of Mouth Organic Wine Tasting
From the Sandpoint Reader / Volume 4 Issue 35 August 30 – Sept 5, 2007
I am constantly amazed by the large amount of information I can glean from reading the small weekly paper you now hold in your hands. Just the other week, in amongst all the fun things to do on the calendar page, was an announcement for an organic wine tasting.
Not only did the event description boast an assortment of organic wine, but the event was being held at a local organic farm and they were going to serve little goodies to go with each wine. If you love good wine, good food, and admire beautiful local organic gardens like I do, how could you lose on a night like this?
I called and made a reservation for four. I was pleasantly surprised when the phone was answered by Pend Oreille Pasta, one of my favorite places to stop and get a treat or two or three when I’m in Ponderay. The woman happily took my reservation and told me the event was happening at Greentree Naturals on Rapid Lightning Road.
I got on-line and did a little research about the farm before we headed out. Diane Green and Thom Sadoski have been farming organically since 1992. They are very busy people. Not only do they grow and sell a wide variety of produce at the farmers’ market, to local restaurants, and through a CSA, they also give seminars and workshops, run an apprentice program, administer a growers’ collective, offer consulting to other would-be small acreage farmers, and Diane has even written a book. How were they finding time to host a fun event like an organic wine tasting? I couldn’t wait to meet them and see their garden and find out how they did it.
Jon and I and our friends Brian and Laura were a bit early so we stopped at the Pack River Store to check it out. I’d heard they had quite a deli for such a little market off the beaten path. They had a range of delicious looking food that I will have to go back and try. Instead of eating anything and spoiling our appetite, we got a couple of Laughing Dog beers and sat by the river to prime our taste buds for the wine (don’t laugh, a winemaker I know says it takes a lot of beer to taste good wine, or maybe it was make good wine, I forget).
We arrived just after 6 and were greeted by Thom. The property and gardens were more beautiful than the pictures on the internet and as we approached the flower and plant covered house, we met John and Valerie Albi from Pend O’Reille Pasta. John handed each of us a glass in return for our $10 fee (which was a steal for all the great food and wine we got). On the table was an array of delicious looking appetizers that Valerie made which were covered to prevent us from starting too early.
After the last of the twenty five or so guests arrived, Diane introduced herself, Thom and the Albis. John poured each of us a taste of the first wine, a Kenwood sparkling wine from California. We grabbed our first food pairing, a tartlet with fig and date tapenade, and headed for the garden.
The garden is below the house and you enter into the circle garden first. This part of the garden is composed of arcs of different flowers with walking paths between. The Monarda (Bee Balm) was in full bloom and was covered in bees while the willowy Perovskia (Russian Sage) got the most human attention. It was easy to see where Diane got the flowers for their bouquet subscription service.
We started wandering around the rest of the garden, poking our heads into the hoop houses with shiny eggplant, colorful tomatoes, and wildly shaped peppers growing in profusion, and looking through the fence at the different varieties of chickens busying themselves with farm leftovers.
We walked up and down rows of onions and leeks and potatoes, all the time bombarding Diane with questions about what we were seeing. Diane happily explained things I’m sure she’d explained a million times. It was very obvious, not only from her demeanor but from the beauty of the garden that she loves what she does. She told great stories about the farm. My favorite was about how her goat moans with joy whenever they feed him broccoli (imagine a goat smarter that some politicians)
With all this delicious looking produce around us, we started to get hungry. And, of course by that point, we had very empty wine glasses as well.
We gathered back on the deck for our second wine, a Sauvignon Blanc from Buena Ventura in Chile, which was well paired with fruit kebobs with fresh mozzarella. As we talked and ate among people who we didn’t know but who were just as interested in organic food as we were, the buzz of human voices grew and John gave up trying to announce each new wine and just told each of us as he poured.
My favorite wine of the evening came next. La Vielle Ferme Rose from France has been a summer favorite of mine for a while but I had no idea it was organic. It was a pleasant surprise and the shrimp skewers with pear Dijon glaze were perfect with it.
The evening continued with a Sangiovese from Di Majo Norante in Italy for which Valerie assembled an antipasto platter with olives, salami and this really yummy horseradish cheddar.
Next was a red blend called Cote Zero from Orleans Hill in California that was served with an intricate and tasty duck spring roll with plum sauce.
Last but certainly not least, especially if you have a sweet tooth like mine, came a dessert tray with brownie cheesecake and macaroon bars. Oh my god, I could have eaten all those damn macaroon bars. Oh yeah, and the dessert was paired with a lovely Petite Syrah from Frey Vineyards in California although I was much too in tune with the dessert to really appreciate the wine.
John and Valerie took orders for wine as the evening drew to a close. We said goodbye to our gracious hosts and took a last look at the garden. The discussion on the way home was about how great the food and wine was, how beautiful the garden was, how much fun we had, and how it really pays to check the calendar page of the Reader every week.
Vicki Reich lives in Sagle but makes sure she comes to town to buy her local produce at the Farmer’s Market. She loves to buy vegetables she’s never seen before and find great recipes for them. She’s never met a vegetable she didn’t like.
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