November 2021: County Rail is photographed and mentioned in the Missoula Current article about climate change and farming during smoke season.
“It was 2017 when I saw the picture of Tracy Potter-Fins, owner of County Rail Farm in Huson, Montana, donning her respirator while she farmed, fields stretching out behind her. Seeing that picture was a milestone for me. This is what it means to farm in climate change.”
January 2021: County Rail is mentioned and quoted in the Missoulian article reviewing the odd weather of 2020.
“Potter-Fins said the warm winter allowed her to plant about 300 peonies in November, which usually is out of the question because the ground is typically frozen by then.”
September 2020: Tracy is interviewed by NBC Montana regarding the early closure of Clark Fork Market when it reached capacity via Covid guidelines
Potter-Fins says she’s confident they’ll make changes in the weeks to come. “Luckily, we have a really solid team of market managers, and I think the health department really wants to see us continue and stay strong,” she said.
May 2020: County Rail is quoted in the Missoulian article about the Farmers Markets re-opening after Covid-19 shut them down in the spring.
“It’s really hard to predict because it’s so early in the season, so we decided to just stick with what we’re doing with our field plans and try to foster and keep relationships that we have with various distributors and folks in Missoula and our farm stand”
April 2020: Ari LeVaux, syndicated columnist, writes about how local farm stands could become a new link in the food supply chain, featuring County Rail Farm’s new stand in Huson
Prices are listed at the farmstand, but a sign says to pay as much as you can. In small town Montana, that often isn’t much. The original idea, first proposed by a County Rail farmhand last summer, was to offer unsold produce to the local community at a steep discount.
October 2019: Tracy and Arlyce Rosko (CRF 2018-2020) are quoted in the Missoulian article regarding the final weekend of the Farmers Market season.
“For the past month, it has really slowed down but we have such a dedicated customer base,” said Arlyce Rosko with County Rail Farm in Huson. “They’re really loyal so we have a pretty steady stream of customers no matter what.”
September 2018: County Rail was voted runner up for best Farmers Market Stand in the Missoula Independent for 2018! Coming in just behind our favorite breakfast sandwiches, Ninja Mike’s.
September 2017: Tracy was interviewed for Farm Commons’ first installment in their podcast series, called “Funds for Farms”.
I talk a little about grant funding, a lot about KIVA loans, and touch on how privileged we are to have been able to purchase land and grow food in Montana.
May 2017: Allegra (employee extraordinaire) was quoted in the Missoulian on the first day of the Clark Fork Market, when everyone was dreaming of asparagus.
“”I had people actually tell me they dreamed of our asparagus,” Barnes said, just as a customer came up to ask if she had any left. He disappointedly bought something else when Barnes told him they’d be out until next Saturday.”
February 2017: The Female Farmer Project published their interview with Tracy from the summer of 2015 along with some gorgeous photos by the FFP founder, Audra Mulkern.
“I think my greatest goal is to have a home and a space where friends/family/whomever can come and feel welcome, fed, and safe. While it can be achieved through many avenues, farming is especially suited to creating that kind of life. There’s always food, days (though sometimes long) are usually flexible, and guests can join in most tasks any day of the week. I really cherish being here every day, making a home with my animals and my family.”
January 2017: County Rail is featured and pictured in the Missoulian article about Kiva loans and the local farmers using them to finance their business endeavors.
“Kiva, an international nonprofit, allows people who want to make a difference in other people’s lives to lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students around the globe. At www.kiva.org, potential investors can take a gander at all sorts of folks and their dreams.”
June 2016: The Missoulian published a feature article on arugula and County Rail is quoted and prominently featured.
“Though you can find [arugula] year-round at just about every grocery store in Missoula, local farmers grow the good stuff from May to October. Fortunately, western Montana is home to dozens of such farms, and few, if any, grow as much arugula as County Rail Farm in Dixon.”
January 2016: Oregon Tilth’s In Good Tilth featured Margaret on the COVER of their winter issue, dedicated to female farmers and as part of an article on the Female Farmer Project and writer/photographer Audra Mulkern’s work.
“The biggest impediment to women entering into the field of farming unfortunately, is that there are a number of experienced farmers – male and female – who are unwilling to let women take initiative on the farm. I don’t mean running the farmers market or organizing the CSA, but allowing female interns to use large equipment, learn how to use the tractor, fix things.” -Tracy
January 2016: County Rail is pictured in the Missoula Independent article “Gallery Without Walls” about the Female Farmer Project and writer/photographer Audra Mulkern.
“Even while I’m looking at this project through a gender lens, their gender is the least interesting thing about them,” Mulkern says. “They are doing these super cool things with water rights and creating smart business models. There are women who are inheriting their family farms and turning the model of farming on its head.”
September 2014: County Rail is beautifully featured in Flathead Living: “Finding the Rhythm of Farm Life: County Rail Farm in Dixon Enters its Fourth Year of Growing Organic Produce” written by Molly Priddy and photographed by Greg Lindstrom.
For County Rail Farm owners Margaret De Bona and Tracy Potter-Fins, it wasn’t so much that they selected the land as the land reached out and grabbed them, offering an opportunity to slide seamlessly into the agriculture life in Western Montana.
July 2014: Producer Lacy Roberts brings us an hour of conversation with and about female farmers on MTPR’s “In Other Words: Women Farmers”.
September 2013: Photojournalism student Sophie Denison takes a look at County Rail Farm’s asparagus harvest and the Missoula local food system in her short piece “The First Green Thing”.
April 2013: Brooke Worley, talented farmer and friend, wrote up our story for Agrarian Trust’s “Farmer Profiles”. A slightly different version, “Buffalo Gals”, appears in Mother Earth News.
This story is a strong reminder of why transferring land from retiring farmers to new farmers is so crucial. Keeping the land in production, paying attention to soil health, properly rotating crops, cover cropping . . . so that it can continue to produce fresh healthy food. Farming is cumulative.
March 2013: “Get Your Farmer Jane On! Rebuild A Farm” in MaryJane’s Farm Magazine
Now knee deep in love with farming, it was only natural for Tracy to dig her heels into the fertile soil of Western Montana and establish County Rail Farm (countyrailfarm.com) with her partner, Margaret De Bona.
January 2013: “The Real Dirty Chicks of Dixon Montana” a short documentary by Cassandra James and Carrie Laben.
County Rail is a “feel piece” about two queer farmers who run a small organic farm near Dixon, Montana. The farmers, Tracy Potter-Fins and Margaret De Bona, are actually making a decent living, a rarity among organic farmers. The film explores their relationship to their food, their land, and each other while they work away throughout the harvest season mayhem.
April 2011: “All abOUT Farming” Margaret De Bona’s article in Missoula’s OUT WORDS
Queers have been seeking refuge in agriculture since the first lavender menace packed her tool box and retreated to the woods, and though today’s queer farmers continue to proudly wave the flag of DIY they have something more than solitude in mind.
February 2011: “How Does Your Garden Grow” Mel Fisher’s article in the Missoulian
It may look like winter out there, but when it comes to gardening, spring is right around the corner.It’s the time of year when Missoula’s gardeners are starting to plan for the summer’s crops.