Spring On The Farm!

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Happy Spring!

What a spring we are having! Those early weeks of sun made us feel a little too comfortable with the weather and we were caught off guard by the weeks of solid rain that followed.  We've had to put a pause on getting the ground ready for planting because of all the wet, but with this week's sun all the farmers on the property are rushing to capitalize on these dry days. 

We prepare our ground in the spring first by mowing last year's cover crop (usually a hardy grass meant to help keep soil in place and add nutrients to the soil) then breaking up the thick roots with discs.  After a few weeks, the grasses decompose and we are able to use our tiller to prepare a smooth bed, add compost and organic amendments, and then finally plant seed or transplant small seedlings.  This process can take up to a month (or more when we're rained out!) so each week when I'm on the tractor, I'm not only thinking about that week's plantings, but looking out 4 weeks in advance to start the process of preparing the soil.  This week we are busy catching up and preparing planting spaces for all that will go into the ground through May! 

I shared this already on social media, but for those of you who don't follow us there, I included it here! This year we’re doubling our growing space but even at four acres, our farm is arguably still small. Growing this year was a big leap (and risk) as it means twice the expenses, twice the staff, twice the greenhouses, stress, and everything else too. It also means we hopefully double the amount of people we bring into our farm community and feed this season. I added up our CSA membership numbers this week, and holy crap, you all are SHOWING UP for us. We have just now reached the number of members we had last season, and we still have 6 weeks to go! I'm so humbled and filled with gratitude to have people that believe in our farm and make it possible for me to do this thing I love so much. You all give me so much confidence in the world, in this thing we’re trying to build, in my crew, and in myself!

We're sharing some awesome events coming up on the farm and in our community.  We would love to see you all there!

Three Cheers For Spring!
-Alice


Visit Us At The Farmers Market!


We are excited to announce that we will have a booth at theSnohomish Farmers Marketthis year! You can find us at the corner of Cedar & Pearl every Thursday from 3pm-7pm, May-September. Come visit and peruse our selection of farm fresh flowers and produce! We are so happy to have this new opportunity to connect with our local community. 


SAVE THE DATE: CSA Kick-Off Event, June 8th


If you're a member of our CSA program or just curious about what we do here, this is a great opportunity to come on down to the farm, meet your fellow local food enthusiasts, and learn a bit more about Lowlands!

We'll be giving tours, enjoying the (hopefully) nice weather, and also taking part in a special collaborative Pop-up Market with some of our neighboring farmers! Our friends atBright Ide AcresandChinook Farmswill be offering their incredible pastured meats for purchase on-site and we'll have some tender early summer veggies and fresh flowers available as well!

We are finalizing the details for the event now and will be sending out an update in the next two weeks, so mark your calendars and stay tuned!


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SnoValley Tilth Auction: May 19th


Join me at the SnoValley Tilth Friends of the Fields Benefit Dinner and Auction on Sunday, May 19th, at Carleton Farm in Lake Stevens for some great auction fun, a delicious dinner by Chef Caprial Pence, and a cause near and dear to us!  I am honored to be aMemberof the organization and the Board of Directors, working to vision and execute our important mission!  SnoValley Tilth is working up-close and personal with farmers in the Snoqualmie and Snohomish river valleys to support sustainable agriculture. We provideresources, training, networking, and are the voice for farmers in our region.I hope you'll join me in supporting this valuable work! More information can be found here: 
http://www.snovalleytilth.org/annualevents/auction/
I would be honored to have you dine with me! 

We'll also be auctioning off a CSA share to support the continuing work of SnoValley Tilth! 


Issues-That-Matter Panel Discussion: April 29th

Join us for an evening of discussion on disappearing farmland and food supply sustainability in our community!

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Winter Wonderland (or something)

What a surprising winter we’re having here in Western Washington! If there’s anything you should know, it’s that every type of weather has a profound effect on the farm. Though we normally have quite mild winters, we’ve recently been doused with enough snow to cause some challenges, however beautiful it may be. Today I’m sharing some glimpses from around the farm during these winter days.

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To say that the farm has been transformed into a magical winter wonderland would be an understatement. The stillness and quiet of falling snow and the blank slate it creates are overwhelmingly serene.

We like to leave our last planting of flowers to go to seed out in the field as a food source for the birds through the winter. Above are the airy branches of one of our favorites, Rudbeckia triloba. Beneath the surface of the snow, this perennial, like others on the farm, has stored up its potential and will start to grow again once the weather begins to warm.

It’s easy to spot the tracks of our resident coyotes, deer, and rabbits criss-crossing the landscape. The eagles stood watch over the lake and fields looking to catch a meal. Even the beavers and otters were out, coming up out of the lake through holes in the ice to play on the frozen surface.

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What they say about dogs loving the snow is really true! Stevie has been having the time of her life prancing, bounding, and rolling in the snow for hours on end!

The winter weather hasn’t been all fun and games. Snow, especially the wet and heavy kind we’re known to get, accumulates on greenhouses as it falls. With a heavy enough snowfall, the weight of the snow can cause the structure to collapse. With that in mind, I decided to head home early from a birthday trip just in time for nearly 5 back-to-back nights of snow. Each evening and each morning we cleared everything that had accumulated from the greenhouses. Lucky for us, all of our structures stayed standing through the “snopocalypse.” We’re thinking of many of our friends and neighbors who were not so fortunate and suffered big losses and heavier snows. Please remember to keep supporting your local farmers all year long!

Though the ground is still covered with a layer of snow, we’re busy sowing the first of our seeds on warm tables in our seed starting greenhouse. Inside the caterpillar tunnels our earliest blooming flowers are cozy, and slowly growing to put on a gorgeous spring display. We’re hopeful the snow will melt and our chance to get into the fields this spring will come on time. As the massive amounts of snow in the mountains, foothills, and valley begins to melt as days warm, we are truly hoping we won’t be hit with major flooding. For now, we keep planting, planning, crossing our fingers, and dreaming of the season ahead.

And That's A Wrap!

Farewell, 2018!

Winter is a special and cherished time here on the farm. Although the pace slows down as the days get dark, there’s no shortage of projects and planning for the year ahead. These cozy days of introspection and reflection are what fuel the season ahead.

This past year was a doozy, with big successes, set-backs, and plenty of sleepless nights. Like any “first,” I’m glad to have this initial farming season under my belt and behind me and ready to move on to 2019!

I wanted to take a minute before a new season sweeps us away to share some highlights of our first year. It’s humbling to look back on all we’ve accomplished - which was only possible because of our incredible farm community, rock star staff, supportive family, and cheering friends. Thanks for coming along on the ride!

For starters, our field went from a grove of decomposing poplar trees, to these piles of logs:

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To This:

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All in just a few short months!

We launched our CSA and our crew grew and delivered fresh produce to 68 members for 6 months of the year!

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I also took the leap and added cut flowers to our line-up of crops. The learning curve was steep, but the reward of a field filled with color, beauty, and beneficial insects was well worth the challenge.

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In addition to getting married myself (!!! more on that to come, I’m sure), I had the incredible privilege of providing flowers for SIX weddings this summer, with most of our couples ordering buckets of blooms and creating beautiful arrangements with the help of family and friends.

Allie & Joe: Chris Ward Photography

Allie & Joe: Chris Ward Photography

Brooke & Casey: Meredith McKee Photography

Brooke & Casey: Meredith McKee Photography

Brittany & Johnny: Sean Gilliland Photography

Brittany & Johnny: Sean Gilliland Photography

And who could forget the addition of our sweet girl, Stevie, who has quickly grown from a fluff ball to a confident and independent pup!

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These days, you can find me sitting at the computer plugging away at planning or getting our hundreds of dahlia clumps divided into thousands of individual tubers. All the work will be well worth it at the peak of the season when the fields are in full bloom.

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This winter we’re setting the foundation for a busy and productive season ahead! From making new connections in our community, to buying seeds, building greenhouses, and planning to expand our fields, there are hours of exciting work to be done!

I can’t wait to continue to share more of the ways we plan to grow and deepen our connection with our community, and keep you updated on the behind the scenes happenings of our farm

I hope you’ll continue to check-in throughout the season!

Cheers to the year ahead!