Greentree Naturals Newsletter - Summer 2003
Summertime 2003 has been a busy one, to say the least! We have had three apprentices working on the farm this season. Having apprentices makes us look more closely at planning the daily tasks at hand, which made considerable improvements with time management for us.
Erin Foley came to us from University of Montana, and received college credits for her time here. Alicia Best came from Colorado, and fell in love with the NW, and now claims she will never leave. Ben Larson came from Pole Bridge Montana, and spent time here as a child. He lived off farm, while the girls lived in our two small camp trailers on the farm. Three, truly amazing young people!
Ben would often ride his bicycle 22 miles one way to work on Monday and Tuesday, and camp in a wall tent every Monday night.
Our set work schedule for the ‘kids’ is Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday is the biggest harvest day for getting the CSA’s ready, weighing produce out for the restaurants and general preparations for deliveries on Wednesday. Thursday is harvest day and preparation for the farmers markets and restaurant deliveries on Friday and Saturday. We set this schedule to allow off farm employment opportunities for an income, as we do not have a budget that can provide a stipend for our apprentices. We work with a number of other organic farms in the area that can pay wages, so we share our time with them. What we provide at Greentree is a structured educational opportunity, and basically room and board on the farm for 25 hours labor trade.
We held our forth annual, six-week organic gardening workshop series here at Greentree, which was held every other Monday. We are pleased with the interest our community has in learning about organic production. We are planning on expanding the workshop series next year by starting earlier in the season and going longer into the fall to provide a more thorough curriculum. As time goes by, we have decided to work towards developing a farm school opportunity that will meet the needs of more students and community members. We should be able to provide a certificate program through our association.
We hosted our second annual, organic wine tasting in late July with Pend Orielle Pasta’s, and had 35 people in attendance for this event! We sampled six organic wines and feasted on gourmet appetizers and must say that all who attended had a good time! We will definitely plan for our third annual even next year!
We also host a fundraiser for the Public Forum on Sustainability the tenth of August. This is a local fledgling organization that I feel could use some support to help them get going. Chef Sora Huff of Paradise Organics (a dear friend and colleague) prepared an incredible Sunday brunch for the 25 people in attendance. We had NW poached salmon, an assortment of Greentree Naturals fresh produce and berries served elegantly with organic coffee, incredible organic pastries and breads. They raised $250.00 from this happening. One of the finest aspects of this experience for me was working with Sora and deciding that we would have more on-farm feasts next year.
The nights are getting cooler as we close in on Labor Day. We are wondering if the corn will fully develop before the frost. We planted it a week or so late, which can mean a world of difference with any crop this far north. The garlic crop looks fabulous this year. I have been busy making garlic braids for orders to ship out, and most afternoons these days, are spent cleaning garlic. We clean every single bulb by hand, so this is a very long and drawn out process. Bean harvest is still upon us, which always has us looking of into the distant mountains thinking about the peace that comes with winter.
We have been working pretty much non-stop for 12 weeks now, and are most certainly looking forward to a time of rest. We often wonder how we do what we do, and can’t really describe the amount of energy and drive that it takes to meet all of our accomplishments each year. One of our apprentices told us they had never seen anyone work as hard as we do. I am certain that every small acreage farmer experiences what we do when it comes to long days and on-going projects. I keep telling Thom that one day, things will be easier. For now, our financial challenges will keep us clearly defining the difference between needs and wants.