Q&A Part 2 With Local Albany, Oregon Sustainable Farm
For those of us working 9-5 jobs at desks, going home in traffic in our cars every night, ordering take out for dinner, and then settling into the couch for a typical night at home watching our new best friend (aka Comcast TV service), we’ll never quite know just how hard it is to work a farm. Sure, you get to be outside, communing with nature, enjoying the experience of working the land, but truth be told, farming is way beyond difficult. We sat down with Kimberly from Deep Roots Farm a few weeks ago, and picked her brain about life on the modern organic farm. Here’s what she had to say.
Planet Matters Blog Question (3): You mentioned that at first, the current farm site was a neglected nursery and had been abandoned for a number of years. When you originally looked at the property, how daunting did the initial preparation and cultivation appear to be? In hindsight, was it even more work than you had imagined? Was there anything about the previous property’s use as a nursery that made the transition to a farm any easier?
Deep Roots Farm Answer: “As we were still farming the 2 acres we began farming on, we weren’t in a terrible hurry to clear the areas still in nursery stock. There was enough open ground to keep us busy for several years, and over time, the land was all brought into row crop production…”
(cont’d). “… The great thing about it being a defunct nursery operation, it essentially sat fallow for at least 5 years, and wasn’t heavily managed prior to that, so we weren’t worried about any chemical residues in the soil.”
Planet Matters Blog Question (4): You are raising your girls on a working, family farm. How do you think that their closeness to the land, and their early introduction to hard work has (or will) shape their values, personalities, etc.?
Deep Roots Farm Answer: “Our family motto is ‘Hard-work, discipline, and sacrifice.’—said with a smile and a laugh, of course. I believe we all have a calling to work. It is easy to get bogged down by the ‘burden’ of work, but when we are able to realize the work that is our calling, and give ourselves the opportunity to be fulfilled by that work, we can find joy.
“We strive every day to be better role models for our kids. To help them to see that we need to approach a task with the attitude of, ‘I want to do this!’ Knowing that in the end it, the completion of a task will bring us joy and satisfaction—whether that satisfaction is in the form of a comfortably clean room, a well prepared meal, a compliment on the richness of a tomato, or even a paycheck.
We can only hope that they continue their current paths towards becoming positive and thoughtful young ladies who are not afraid of a little hard work.”
Planet Matters Blog Question (5): Do you guys have a favorite crop that you grow, or one that has presented an interesting challenge, and why?
Deep Roots Farm Answer: “Golly, this changes over time. Escarole used to be one of our faves, but the task of converting the masses into escarole eaters was too hard a row to hoe. Speaking of hoeing, garlic was a favorite for a while, but the weed pressure was too intense, and the cost of growing it became too high—plus all the kitchens switched to the pre-peeled, pre minced stuff, and we just can’t compete with that.
“Potatoes are still a favorite of mine even though we had to give up growing them for a while due to disease and pest pressure. I just loved the digging-for-treasure aspect of the harvest. I like to classify my favorites as: favorite to pick, favorite to sell—what I am most proud of as a grower, and favorite to eat.
Favorite to pick: onions and peppers
Favorite to sell: Tomatoes of all sorts: beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, Roma tomatoes (I would love for everyone in Portland to have a jar of sauce made from these on their pantry shelf—it’s sooo good), mixed flats of cherry tomatoes; bunched greens; strawberries
Favorite to eat: raspberries, sweet corn, tomatoes of all sorts
Thanks Kimberly and Deep Roots Farm! This was a great interview!
DID YOU MISS PART ONE OF THE INTERVIEW FROM LAST WEEK? READ PART 1 OF THIS INTERVIEW NOW.
[Photo Via: SDO LLC, a PDX Digital Marketing Firm]