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…” Continue reading
Q&A Part 1 With Local Albany, Oregon Sustainable Farmer
Planet Matters Blog Question (1): How are decisions made as to where crops are planted? Besides the obvious, like starters beginning in green houses, or working with the sunlight, how does the family organize things over the many acres of land?
Deep Roots Farm Answer: “Next season’s plan is always in the back of our minds as we are planting crops for our current season. Crop location is mainly determined by what was previously growing in a given location, as we try to always rotate into a different type of crop (e.g. this year’s tomato field may be planted to spring peas, and then to strawberries in mid-summer).” Continue reading
Do Small Restaurants Really Make an Impact?
It’s easy to think about farms, and concepts like “sustainable agriculture” as being entities or issues that are just a bit too large in scale to fully digest in your brain. But the truth is — they’re not. In the case of Deep Roots Farm and Laughing Planet Cafe in Albany and Portland (as well as Corvallis and Eugene) respectively, the partnership is not of a grand scale, but the positive impact is felt in a deep and meaningful way, on both sides of the fence.
What does this mean? Well, for Deep Roots Farm, this means direct to customer and direct to market relationships are viable. With a few restaurants to serve produce to, as well as a few trips weekly to any of three area farmers markets, and Deep Roots Farm is able to run a successful operation. And for Laughing Planet, a few partners in supply like Deep Roots, and their commitment to sustainable practices, and sourcing produce locally for the good of all, grows from a theoretical “good idea” to an actual practice. Continue reading
Deep Roots Farm & Laughing Planet: A Perfect PDX Partnership
Deep Roots Farm is a fresh-market produce farm — one that specializes in a several choice crops, grown for local consumption and sold in the city of Portland, just about an hour away from where the food is cultivated and harvested. They specialize in strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, gold potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, butternut squash, and sweet onions, though they do grow more depending on the season.
With three trips to local Portland-area farmers markets each week, and just a few direct-to-restaurant distribution relationships in place, Deep Roots cultivates land over 70 total acres and practices sustainable agriculture. The farm itself began in 1998, and besides the family (including their daughters), Deep Roots employs 5 people to work the land. Albany, according to the family, has become a bit of a hotbed for family farms with a similar model, whereby crops are grown and then sold directly to market.
According to their website, Deep Roots “prides [themselves] on practicing environmentally responsible agriculture. Through scientific data,
ecological accounting, community integration, and good ol’ fashioned common sense, [they] feel [they] are legitimately making progress toward production that can truly be sustainable.” Continue reading
Laughing Planet, A Partner With Deep Roots Farm
In the past week or so, we were given the opportunity to take a short trip south of Portland and into the heart of the Willamette Valley, somewhere in between Albany and Corvallis. The purpose of the trip was to get out into nature, so that we might get to shake hands with one of Laughing Planet’s most productive partners.
Deep Roots Farm is a family operation that defines the idea of sustainable agriculture, while simultaneously disproving the idea that a small-scale operation can have a meaningful impact on those around them. Just an hour or so out of Portland, this local grower supplies only a few businesses in Portland, and shows up weekly at 3 of the city’s finest farmers markets.
In part 1 of this multi-part piece, we look at some pictures of the trip to Deep Roots. More pictures later in the week appear in Part 2, and then in the upcoming weeks, we’ll have a brief interview with the family behind Deep Roots Farm. Stay tuned for more! Continue reading