We farm 20 acres in northwestern Washington state, USA. We use and encourage sustainable farming methods throughout our operation. Our operation includes:
1) diversified livestock production, including pork, eggs, broilers and roasters, holiday turkey production (some years) wool production, rabbits for meat production and breeding stock, and dairy products for animal feed.
2) fodder production, primarily local grass hay, with limited and/or future commercial production of small grains and other fodder crops.
3) limited fresh produce and herbs for culinary uses.
4) Books, magazines, articles and reports on various aspects of small farms, farm business and sustainable farming practices.
This website exists for three reasons:
1) to give our customers a lot of information about what we produce, how we produce it, and how our farming philosophies have developed over time;
2) to give small-scale hobby gardeners and livestock owners access to the latest information on cost effective, environmentally responsible farm production methods, farm management practices and small farm business optimization.
3) to serve as a repository of information for new and existing small-scale farmers and ranchers, who are trying to improve their family farm or ranch operations, particularly in terms of making that operation more economically, environmentally, and/or ethically sustainable.
Given these goals, our website is a collection of topic pages and articles about a wide variety of farming and ranching topics: livestock, gardening, market crop and fodder crop production, hydroponics and aquaponics, forestry, equipment, regulations, and financial/economic information. We hope that by providing all this information, anyone trying to feed either themselves, their families or their communities, will find answers here to whatever questions they're asking or challenges they're facing.
We are referring to methods which protect and promote "The Three E's": Environmental, Economic and Ethical sustainability. A farm that chronically erodes the soil, consumes non-renewable resources, and/or takes advantage of the owners, the employees, the customers and/or the community, may survive for awhile. But not for very long. Long-term stability and profitability demand that farms be managed sustainably, so that they may be an asset to their families, their communities and their landscapes.
We make no claims to have perfected these methods. This is an ongoing process, not just for us but for anyone and everyone trying to farm sustainably. We aren't even particularly accomplished at it yet. Many of our web pages will talk about where we goofed up, what we did wrong, and what we're trying to fix. That's human, an that's natural. All our most respected teachers and mentors along the line have told us repeatedly that we'll never "arrive" at sustainability. At best, we'll only get better at it over time.
So with one part excitement, two parts humility, three parts humor and seven parts patience, we hereby wish to share what we've learned along the way. All our web pages, all our blog entries, all the books and articles and PDF downloads you'll find on this website will have that sustainable farming philosophy as a foundation. We hope that by collecting and presenting as much solid information as we can, your questions about sustainable farming will be answered. Tour around our website, and please feel free to send us any questions you may have. We hope you enjoy your visit!
We are very excited to announce that we have released our very first self-published book. The Chicken Coop Manual is a full color guide to conventional and alternative poultry housing options. The book lists 8 conventional stud construction plans, 12 alternative housing methods, and almost 20 different design features which any flock owner needs to consider for best performance. We currently offer this book in PDF and Kindle formats; a print format is almost ready for sale. Please visit The Chicken Coop Manual page for more information.
After the chilly, damp, gloomy days of winter and early spring, we get tantalizing tastes of the nice weather to come in April. Yet May is when the warm growing season finally gets underway in the PNW. All the trees have finally leafed out, the garden seems to be bursting with new life, and the various forage crops start to come on strong.
May is also when we typically get our first batch of home-grown chicks, hatched out in some hidden nest out in the woods. The momma-hen will suddenly appear one morning with a fuzzy little train of chicks trailing behind her. Their chirping is always such a happy sound.
Not to be left behind, May is when many of the farmer's markets open after what seems an eternity since last fall. Many growers (us included) struggle to put together a good balance of fresh spring produce combined with storage crops from last fall.
The hectic pace of summer hasn't quite arrived yet, but we can see it coming. Very soon, we'll be craving every last moment of daylight during our long summer days, just to try to get everything done. For now, though, it's nice to enjoy the warm weather without quite so much work yet to do.
* To provide a wide variety of fresh and wholesome produce, meat and dairy products, craft items and forestry products to our customers.
* To grow, raise or otherwise manufacture all our products via materials and methods which are environmentally sustainable, economically profitable and ethically responsible.
* To deliver excellent product quality and outstanding customer service to our farm's patrons.
* To demonstrate that the small diversified family farm can be a vibrant, rewarding lifestyle, a responsible citizen of the community and landscape, and a viable economic enterprise.
* To share what we've learned about what works, what doesn't, and why, so that others may improve their own environmental, economic and ethical sustainability.