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Archived posts for the ‘Grand Island’ Category

A spring Farm Report

Cultivating onions at 47th Ave Farm's Grand Island Farm – photo by Matt GiraudJust the other day, I was out with my draft horses – Dixie and Daisy – cultivating garlic on our Grand Island farm. The sun was in and out, but dry enough that the horses easily stayed on top of the field as my 1920s-era cultivator churned the soil and weeds under my feet. We went back and forth, back and forth, the simple mechanics of the cultivator keeping time, slowly weaving a thread of broken earth into the land.

That simple, uneventful pleasure is definitely not something I’d have been able to enjoy this time last year. As you may remember with the same shiver I do, last winter featured snow that wouldn’t go away, rain (and mud) well into the spring, and a lot of brrrrrrrrrrr!

In fact, we couldn’t even get onto the fields until April last year, setting our planting and harvesting schedules back. Or more accurately, we couldn’t start working the fields responsibly: laying a heavy tractor on muddy fields compacts the soil, squeezing out the oxygen that micro-organisms need to feed the plant and that plants need for a healthy immune system. You can’t have healthy produce without healthy soil, so despite the delays it would cause, we knew we’d want to wait out the mud and do things right. I’m glad we did, but it sure made us long for typical Oregon winters!

Like this year, which by comparison, has been mild and relatively dry. Yes, we had a little snow a last month, and for sure, the low snow pack may come back to haunt Oregon agriculture later, but for now, it makes harvesting easier.

…And we’re already out there planting for summer: Sugar snap peas, fava beans, delicate spring greens like spinach and lettuce. The greenhouse is full of baby plants and the drier weather means we’ll be planting our red tropea onions, spring carrots and early potatoes ahead of schedule! We’re definitely glad to have less mud, and happier plants than we did last year.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the garlic. The sun pops out and warms my smiling face – and I aim the horses and the cultivator down the edge of the next field. What will this beautiful corner of the planet offer up next?

Let’s find out!

The magic, transmogrifying greenhouse!

By Matt

From empty house to greenhouse at 47th Avenue Farm

Shazam! One of our new Grand Island greenhouses transforms before your very eyes from bare bones to bring-on-the-bounty! (Click the image to see a larger version.) Thanks to Eric Contey for the images, as well as much of the muscle behind this miraculous transformation…

Farm Work Party This Sat September 3rd at Grand Island!!

By Matt

Grab your gloves! Everyone is invited to the September CSA Farm Work Party…

Sat. September 3rd (always the first Sat of the month, June-Oct)
10 – 2pm for Workin’ and 2pm-4pm for Potluck BBQ
Grand Island Farm 18400 Lower Island Rd, Dayton OR
RSVP to Laura

Join us to learn more about our Grand Island farm and hang out with the horses (Bonnie & Patty). At this late-summer work party the focus will be on building new tables for our soon to be built green house. There will also be other projects like moving the horse fields, weeding our newly planted winter crops, and much more.

You are welcome to bring family and friends- there will be things to do for folks of all ages and abilities. Kids are welcome to come help work or just hang out. We’ll provide snacks and drinks. You’ll get to sample all sorts of tasty treats from the garden. Please bring your favorite gardening tools and dress for the weather.

To celebrate all our hard work we’ll have a potluck afterward – bring something to share and/or put on the BBQ.

Reply to let us know you’re coming if you can. Any Questions call Laura at 971-645-3293. Hope to see you there!

Directions from Portland:
Mapquest will tell you to come down 99W which works fine.
You can also come via I5 is a bit faster and you get to take the Wheatland Ferry ($2).

  • Take I5 south to exit 263 (Brooks exit)
  • At the end of the off ramp go right onto Brooklake Rd NE 1.6mi
  • At the T turn right onto Wheatland Rd N 3.2 mi
  • After the S curves turn left onto Wheatland Ferry Rd .5mi
  • Take the ferry across the Willamette River $2
  • Get onto Wheatland Rd NW 1.1mi
  • At the T turn right onto Wallace Rd NW (OR-221/Salem-Dayton Hwy) 2.4mi
  • Turn right onto SE Grand Island Loop 1.3mi
  • Come over the little bridge and onto the Grand Island
  • Turn left onto SE Lower Island Rd and we’re the first place on the left.

McMinnville Food & Farm Forum – Join us!

We hope that you can join us at a public Food and Farm Forum this Tuesday from 6-8:30pm at the McMinnville Community Center (600 NE Evans St., Room 103).  There will be a meet and greet followed by a panel with Representative Jim Weidner and Susan Sokol Blosser, both candidates for House District 24.  This is an opportunity to discuss food and agriculture issues with the candidates to highlight for them your concerns and thoughts, and to hear from the candidates where they stand on these issues.  I’ll definitely be asking for their thoughts on the Grand Island quarry!

Tomorrow – Tuesday, September 28th – McMinnville Community Center, Room 103 – House District 24

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by Friends of Family Farmers, Slow Food Yamhill, OSALT

Bike Tour on Grand Island!

Join us this Sunday, Sept 19th at 1pm for a Bike Tour around Grand Island. You can see our new farm, meet our great neighbors, have a lovely bike ride and even swim in the river if the sun is shining. All the info is here. Hope you can come!

Help Protect Grand Island!

By Laura

Great article on the front page of the Oregonian today about the proposed gravel quarry on Grand Island and the threat it poses to farmland. We’ve been blessed in the Willamette Valley in general and on Grand Island in particular with world class farmland. As a matter of public policy we’ve got to ask the question –  what the best and highest use of that farmland is. Should we mine the gravel for short-term gain or protect this our prime farmland for future generations? If you support the latter, then click here to help us out!

Progress at Grand Island

By Laura

Borrowed a grain drill from our neighbors at Oakhill Organics to seed 15 acres of cover crop at Grand Island last week with Bonnie & Patty. My friend Neal McCool brought his mules to help too. What fun!

Cover Cropping with Bonnie & Patty

Plowing on Grand Island

By Laura

Spent a glorious sunny day down at Grand Island with my friend Neal McCool learning to plow with his mules Bart & Bonnie. The mules with a walking plow are much lighter on the ground than a tractor would be, but even so – those are some amazing soils down there! Where else along the 45th parallel could you be plowing in January?