2015 Review & Gratitude

The farm is coated in a fluffy layer of snow today and the cold weather is welcome after a very long fall growing season. We didn’t get our first hard frost until the third week of November, which is a month if not later than previous years.

We did a lot this season – of everything. We met our goals for greens in terms of consistency and quantity, and that alone feels like a big deal. This was also the first year that I got to implement my all fields are the same size dream. And wowowow. It’s just as amazing as I always wanted it to be – drip tape from one field to another, remay rolled out and put on without a second thought to length, and easy planning for seeding and transplants. I highly recommend it for small farmers everywhere forever.

Stats for 2015:
24 weeks of salad/arugula seeding and harvest
2,716 lbs of salad
2,772 lbs of arugula
1,971 lbs of cherry tomatoes
21,000 lbs of produce total
31,200 sq ft (less than 3/4 of an acre) planted/seeded for harvest
7.3% increase in sales

In other words, we cultivated slightly less area (by 2,000 sq ft) and managed to increase our sales and cash crop harvests compared to last year. Cool, huh?

We have some big thank yous to hand out this year:

First. To Robin Kok, our intern, who suffered through some long days of weeding and greens bagging, Ke$ha and Hank III. You’re da bomb and this season would have suuuuucked without you. I will never un-see the fanny pack dance and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks girl.

Burns St Bistro, again, rocked it at our annual Farm Dinner and the first ever Asparagus Dinner. We love working with such talented dudes. Thanks guys for your continual support of local food and community.

A huge shout out to the Clark Fork Farmers Market (along with the Missoula Farmers Market, CFAC, NMCDC, MSLA Food Coop, and others) who made the Double Snap Dollars program a reality in Missoula this year. We’re so so proud to be part of a greater movement toward food security. Thank you for all the work you’ve done to make it happen.

This year Margaret participated in a program through WMGC to make the farm compliant with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards. We were audited a handful of times and checked all the boxes to be officially GAP certified! We couldn’t have done it without enormous guidance from Western Montana Growers CoopLCCDC, and the grant we received from the super rad Red Ants Pants Foundation. THANK YOU.

If you’re a young/beginning farmer in Western Montana, and you don’t know about the workshops and field days that the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition has been developing, check it out. They’re on the forefront of sharing knowledge and building community in the farming world of this area. We’ve had the pleasure of hosting both workshops and field days here at County Rail and think they’re the best. Thanks Annie and Bonnie for letting us be part of your successes.

Thanks to Audra Mulkern for involving us in her worldwide Female Farmer Project. We’re honored to be on your list! Look for Margaret and Coda on the cover of this seasons’ In Good Tilth (Oregon Tilth’s magazine)… for real.

As always, thanks to Steve Dagger for giving us the opportunity to farm this land and for all the work he does that makes this place a four-star farmer dream (orchard pruning, chicken caring, porch building, etc. etc. etc.). We are so grateful to be here.

Finally, the biggest thank you of all to our market regulars and wholesale customers who request, seek out, and continually support County Rail. Your dedication to small farms, local economy, and good food makes the biggest difference. You are literally our bread and butter (cuz we don’t grow those). Thank you.

Follow our instagram (@coutyrailfarm) for more photos throughout the year, and we’ll see you in 2016 – Happy New Year!



One thought on “2015 Review & Gratitude

  1. You guys rock. In 2015 your produce SUSTAINED us through the spring summer and fall, and just gets better every year. Sign us up for 2016! Also, coming from the guy who gets told I cut all of my county rail vegetables ‘like a spreadsheet’, I love the standardized fields and the stats. PRODUC(e/t)ivity!

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