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Do you want to build a hoop house but need a little help?

We've built several styles of hoop house and can rattle off the pros and cons of each style. Round or square metal arches? Gothic or quonset style? Cattle panels? Roll up or down sides? HEATING?! Want to just HIRE these farmers to build one for you? Keep reading.

We can help. Give us a jingle and we can answer many of your questions over the phone and we are happy to travel to your farm for some real time advice. How else do farmers get to travel?! We love talking with fellow farmers, aspiring to experienced. Its the community we cultivate (he he) that will support us when we're down and give a big "Cheers!" when we make it through another season. 

Free 30 minute consultation over the phone. 

 

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Some say it can't be done... we're proving them wrong

Photo by Erica Wagner, 2015

When people say "you can't make a living from farming" I am always disheartened. People believe the stories they tell themselves. And why do people feel so compelled to 'only' make money from growing vegetables/grain/animals/etc? Is there an award out there for that? For limiting ourselves in our creativity and passion? We make a majority of our income from growing vegetables, but we each have other passions that also lead to income generation. Personally, I am also a birth doula. I support families during pregnancy and childbirth and LOVE doing it. I'm not getting rich doing either thing, but the satisfaction they bring me, the balance they provide in working outside, with my hands, producing amazing food for my community and the emotional process I help parents through in one of the most intimate and spectacular moments of their life. I feel whole and complete doing both 'jobs.' 

So why do we feel the need as farmers to judge one another on how we each choose to make a living. I am so fortunate to have no one to answer to when figuring out how to pay the bills, I work hard, sometime being pulled in multiple directions, trying to figure out the best balance for me in the moment. As for Greg, he has found happiness working alongside his best friend Isaak, who we decided could make our farming venture more fun, more productive, and more creative. We hope to make more money with him on board, but for this first season together as a trio, we're pretty darn happy to grow food together, have some good laughs, and continue to find out where each of our passions may take us. Of course, we each need to make money, but we have each committed to living a lifestyle that is simple and uncomplicated by the daily barrage of advertising, telling us what we need to buy next. We have lived this intentionally meager life for so long now, I can't imagine needing more money to live the life I want to live. Its the intention we set for our life and our business. Money isn't a bad thing, but we've chosen to not let it dictate to us how we should live our life. Follow your bliss. Take a stand for what you believe. 

If your interested in my work as a birth doula, you can find more information here.

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Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants = Less work for the tired farmers

Less work in the "I don't have another second of my day to sit down and research what the heck is wrong with my crops" kind of work. The Amish Farmer John Kempf is educating his community of farmers in a simple lesson, if the soil is healthy and well balanced, that plants will have what they need to withstand stressors from disease and fungus. YES! This is at the core of what we believe at Deep Roots Farm. That is why no man made chemicals are ever used on our farm. No way, not a chance. We know that what we do isn't a perfect science, but we also know that there will be failures and losses. We do what we can to make sure our soil is healthy, giving plants the best chance at survival and in return we reap the reward of fresh, healthy, nutrient dense, delicious food in the end. Give some love to The Atlantic article about Kempf here.

Kempf runs an educational website called 'Advancing Eco Agriculture' and it has a lot of information about the basics. I see that this farmer has a bright future leading the way towards better farming.

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2015 CSA: A New Season of Vegetables

As we sit in what could very well be a false start to spring, we continue to dream, plan, revise and begin. Even though we have been absent from your daily vegetable regime we still continue to farm? The winter comes with its own work and daily tasks. Snow = shoveling hoop houses. Below Freezing Temps = Hauling water 2-3 times a day for chickens and rabbits. December + January = seed orders and equipment purchases. February = THE BEGINNING. Its cyclical. We may not be hauling our wares to farmers markets, but we continue to make sales of storage crops to CSA members, restaurants and the Moscow Food Coop. 

We are opening our CSA now to encourage you to think about where your food comes from during our leanest season financially. I'm sure many of you are dreaming of warm summer days, fresh tomatoes and heaps of green salads. So, let's get started...

We are trying something new in 2015. A sliding scale CSA (with a minimum amount of course). Think of this as the tip jar at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. Doesn't your local farmer deserve a little extra? Don't you love the freshness you get from local food? Want to recognize the hard work? Blood? Sweat? Tears?! It is so hard sometimes to raise the price of food because we live in a country that does not highly value food in general. That's why we are so, so, so fortunate to have CSA members who do love the fresh, chemical free food they get each week and are willing to pay a little extra for the personal service. (Right?!) So, here's your chance to help change the food system created around Federal welfare for farmers and support your local, industry changing, anti-corporate, fresh food purveyors. 

You can sign up for a CSA share now and pay just the minimum amount if that's what you can afford OR pay a little extra knowing that Deep Roots Farm will be able to continue working hard, growing good food, and be able to buy our home (YES!! That's what we're doing with this little extra cash!!), bring on a full-time farming partner (Isaak Julye, if you don't already know Isaak you might recognize him from years of cashiering at Tonnemakers at the Moscow Farmers Market) and grow our business even more in 2015. Join us...

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Joel Salatin & I

Marci in the field 2013. University of Idaho photo.

Yesterday we attended the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture symposium in Nampa, ID. We were fortunate to be asked to give a workshop on beginning farmer topics along with information about low cost hoophouses and season extension. We had never given a presentation of such length and were a bit nervous about filling the time. But as we created our presentation, it came with ease, these were things we were so well versed in and so passionate about that filling up the hour seemed less daunting and more like too short of a session! As the room began to fill and we saw the faces of young farmers being reflected back to us, it became clear that people want this information, they are craving guidance on starting a farm. As we were beautifully introduced by a fellow young farmer, Jessica McAleese from Swift River Farm in Salmon, ID, all of the anxiety and jitters I felt beforehand melted away. I was among my tribe in that moment. I was talking to friends.

I look forward to breaking down the information we talked about yesterday and fleshing out some of the topics we skimmed the surface of here on our blog. Right now I am so inspired because the talk we gave yesterday was perfectly mirrored by the ever honest and passionate Joel Salatin. His 10 principles for starting a farm talk were exactly, on the money, what we covered earlier that day. SAY WHAT?! Did we plan that? Did we confer ahead of time? Sure, we had a great conversation the evening before and we talked with him about what we were doing and why we were there. He knew our talk was specific to young farmers, but the word for word list he gave was the same list I had in my head. So what does that mean? It means that we farmers are on the right track. It means that when we move to action with passion and attention, big things happen. It means that we are a tribe. We are a community that should continue to rise each other up as we do the hard work of growing food for our communities with integrity and love. 

I look forward to talking more with each of you reading this, to strengthen the threads of connection between us, to move knowledge of passion back and forth with intention. Please join us in this journey.  

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The 'End' of 2014 Farming Season

I say the 'end' because there is still a lot to do to finish putting the farm to bed and we'll be attending four more winter markets at the 1912 Center in Moscow and give a beginning farmer workshop at the Idaho Center for Sustainable Ag Symposium. But the bulk of the season is over. Now is our time to rest, rejuvenate and plan for next season. 

We begin planning right away. On our end of the season trip, the first thing we do in the car is make a list. What worked, what didn't, what do we each want to change. Then we rank each item in a scale of 1-5. 1 being must change or do away with with 5 being 'do more!' or expand that part of the operation. Its a really simple exercise that helps us capture on paper what just happened, when sometimes the season feels like a speeding train and we have just jumped off. What the hell just happened?! So to sit together and organize each our thoughts is really helpful before we take our respite into the wilderness. 

Once we return and hopefully the snow starts to fly, we sit for hours looking at seed catalogs, reading books and websites about what other small scale, direct market vegetable growers are doing and thinking, then we plan. We make our seed order, this year our plan is to have that done before the end of the year. And then we read some more. Mostly just for fun at this point. Since we miss most of the months other people get to enjoy reading in the sunshine or by the beach. Our days of rest and reading are mostly done under a blanket with a cup of tea. Ahh, sweet rest.


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We're teaching a workshop & Joel Salatin!

We're really excited to share with you that we have been asked to teach a workshop at the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture's annual symposium this November 18th in Nampa. We will have one hour to talk about beginning farmers, urban farming, low cost hoop houses and season extension, AND backyard chickens. It'll be a jam packed session, but we think it'll be exciting and worth every minute. Joel Salatin is the keynote speaker for the event. We farm very differently but have many of the same feelings about farming the way we do. 

So if you or someone you know would like to attend this awesome one day event, please go to the eventbrite site for details on tickets and more! See you there!!

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-sustainable-agriculture-symposium-featuring-joel-salatin-tickets-10944975717

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Adding Value to the work we LOVE

This hard scrabble life that we call farming is of unequalled value in our society. If you've eaten a meal today, you can thank a farmer. Farmers the world over work hard each day to grow food that is brought to kitchens and plates near and far. Some farmers believe the industrial hype of using chemicals and high technology to grow more, bigger, faster. That's not our farm. 

Our farm sees progress where others may not. In five years of tending our dear soil, we are just realizing its potential and see its future as it continues to grow and thrive. We think about our impacts, every decision we make has a consequence to something or someone. Making this work a delicate balancing act. We strive to create connection with food and community. We work to create a living for ourselves. Making money at farming should be a given, not an exception. I am not talking about making an exorbitant amount of money that will pay for a second home, lavish vacations and the like. But to be able to buy a modest piece of land to work, make our monthly student loan payments, and allow us to travel by car to destinations where we can walk freely with our basic needs on our backs (I'm looking at you Bob Marshall Wilderness). 

We began to dabble in adding value to our homegrown vegetables in the 2013 season. Seeing a desire for these products at farmers markets, especially around the holidays. We started with a fresh pesto that took off with resounding success. Adding to that, we began to scale up recipes that we had been using for our own home canned items that we eat almost daily. Our slow-roasted salsa has been in the development stage for nearly four years. We love its deep, smoky flavor and that you can dip a chip and come up with a full scoop each time.

Our pickled jalapeños and beets are something different and just perfect in our minds. The beets make a superb addition to an updated relish tray, appetizer with goat cheese on a toasted baguette or on top of a garden salad. The jalapeños are devine on top of cooked eggs, in tacos or anywhere your looking for a little more spice. (This ad brought to you by...)

Anyway, as farmers and entrepreneurs we are always looking for ways to add value to what we do. We analyze each square foots of space we grow food on and ask "how can we make this more profitable?" Well, cooking, spicing, canning it up makes food more valuable. We still hold our core values at heart, no synthetic chemicals, creating biodiversity, that we grow as much as we can on our farm for our preserved foods, and if we need more product to preserve, we support other local farmers who share our passion for chemical free farming. We also use our purchasing power to support other local businesses to order things we need (like jars, sea salt, sugar, etc). A special thanks goes here to Spence Hardware that has been helpful and supportive for many years. When I ordered a pallet of canning jars a couple of weeks ago, the enthusiasm for what I was doing was electric. Thanks Spence Hardware in Moscow, ID!! 

We hope that by adding value to the things we grow and consume, we can make our little urban farm a little more financially resilient in these times of uncertainty. That we can enjoy a life that includes more time with our families and friends, time to travel and explore, resources to purchase a small farm in Moscow and continue the life that we love. 

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Crop Mob on the farm!

You have the chance to join us for a few hours of garden fun on Sunday June 1st from 4:30pm to 7pm. We'll provide a desert for joining us! 

We will meet at 4:30 in the U of I blue parking lot along Sweet Ave near the new Parking & transportation building. We'll carpool from there to one of our farm sites for a couple of hours of a hands in the dirt work party. Many hands make light work!! 

You can find more details here https://www.facebook.com/events/1615342105356674/

Thanks to Moscow Food Coop for helping organize this event.

 

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Goats: CUTE OVERLOAD

Here come the kids! Fist set born February 26th, 2014. Wildflower delivered three beautiful bucklings (boys) in the morning. Within an hour all three were up and feeding regularly. Some beautiful kids in this batch. They will be for sale and ready for new homes in the end of April.

If interested in buying from us: We do not disbud any kids, we know the health benefits of horned goats and its essential role in heat regulation. All kids are bottle raised by us after 3 days of age. CAE & CL tested negative. All health records are available for viewing for dam and sire, but are not included in purchased kid health record packet. Naturally raised without the use of chemical wormers or supplements unless absolutely necessary and will be fully disclosed in health records. 

We raise Nigerian Dwarf goats for dairy production and cheesemaking. 

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Goats: 2014 Naming Convention

An FYI before you read: there is a graphic description of a health issue we are experiencing with one of our does. No pictures, just a description.

Well, here we are the end of February and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the goat kids. These girls are heavy with kids. Really heavy. They are mad that the weather is bad and have been making a break for greenery when the snow clears enough to see the ground. We have started doing midnight checks on them to make sure we don't miss a kid that may get cold in this weather.

While we believe in a generally hands off method of livestock rearing, we have seen a complication arise in our sweet Wild Flower that may require us to be present during her birth. She is showing signs of vaginal prolapse, meaning the lining of her vaginal walls are being pushed out by the kids getting ready to be delivered. This is not uncommon, but it is a potential for infection if not kept clean. The prolapse is not complete, meaning it comes and goes depending on what Wild Flower is doing. If she is standing on all fours or lying down, she's fine. If she is standing on just her back legs (like she standing up reaching for hay or forage: see below) the partial prolapse appears. So for now, we are doing what we can to keep her on all fours and stay calm during these last days of pregnancy. 

 Photo taken February 17, 2014. These girls are getting big, but not ready for kidding just yet. 

Photo taken February 17, 2014. These girls are getting big, but not ready for kidding just yet. 

While we wait, I am trying to pick out some names for these impending goat kiddos. I have read a little bit about naming conventions for goats and would love some input on name ideas. Some breeders name kids using the first letter of the dam (mother) or sire (father). Wild Flower (dam) on the left, Deirdre (dam) on the right and Fergus (sire, see below). I would like to keep the wild flower theme for Wild Flower's kids. I've thought of Clover or Tansy, but they do not use the first letter of dam or sire. It needs to be something the is no more than two syllables, something easy to holler across the pasture. Any ideas? Post a comment below and let me know your suggestions!

 Our herdsire Fluirse Feirm Fergus. What a sweet, sweet boy. Fergus likes long walks, sweet treats, and scratches behind the ear. 

Our herdsire Fluirse Feirm Fergus. What a sweet, sweet boy. Fergus likes long walks, sweet treats, and scratches behind the ear. 

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