There are always two-sides to a story and one side is this; that the Western Washington growing season in King County has been challenging even to those who have known it for decades and maintain the heritage of the region.
Profits and donations of food were down before the season started officially. Early growers made minor gains overall with a lengthy series of heavy rain, cloudiness, and peculiar disturbances in locally known patterns.
It was not the year to try to start a small-business related to small-farm production in King County and expect to balance the books.
The other side of the story is that it was one of the best years to learn the realities and challenges of learning the cycles and systems of the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Green River Highlands, more specifically on 39 acres of Alderwood AgB and AgC soil, translation, ROCKS everywhere.
BUT, after way more than 500 human hours removing rocks and installing an irrigation system, the land is giving the Farm Incubator Program participants some results!
Not only are vegetables sprouting from newly developed farm land in King County, we are also learning how to compress time using the hoophouses heat to speed-up seed sprouting to catch a late season (with a potential heat opportunity till late October), taking advantage of knowledge from the local community and Bob Tidball, from T&M Berries in Kent. Thanks Bob!
Deer, Cabbage Moths, and other usual suspects of Northwest agriculture are starting to come on like Leary at his first press conference. Wow! At the August 13th Farmer Leadership Council meeting we posed the question to the 2011 Cohort on how to address the “when nature attacks” situation.
They took charge and came up with a variety of tactics, some from home and some newly aquired! They dear keep coming, and we actually had an Elk (?) a few weeks show up and walk the edge of the farm…..what? Well we are living and active in thier habitat and that was something the farmers are getting from Seattle Tilth; that there are methods of working with and around nature, our local ecology, that support healthy, active, and sustainable food systems.
We are looking forward to continuing through the 2011 – 2012 winter season and finding ways to extend the season; both to learn, and to balance investment costs. Please keep up with our blog and let your friends know about our work! Look forward to meeting you at a market near you!