As a farmer, it is hard not to be eager for summer to come. It seems there is so much time in the winter, in the spring it seems like the plants should be growing faster, and all along harvesting roots and leaves, wondering when the fruit will come. As the field crop manager in my first year at the farm school my nervous anticipation has been doubled this year since these, for me, are unproven circumstances. Zucchini was the first to come, and early, harvesting in the first week of May! That track maintained and by early July we were already harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, winter squash, and apples. While I might take occasion to ponder, with some serious concern, the remarkably early timing of this drought season, instead now I would like to express gratitude. It is important to acknowledge that the Grange Farm School is struggling financially through our still bumpy start-up and that this delicious bounty is here only because of significant contribution from many members of our community. On that note I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few contributors in particular.
In April we were the very fortunate recipients of an extremely generous donation of compost from Cold Creek Compost. In Mendocino County it is well known that compost is very important for building soil and that if you don’t make your own, Cold Creek is the place that does. Owner Martin Mileck is well regarded as a generous supporter of community, and has proven that with the donation of 47 tons (!) of compost to the Grange Farm School. This compost is helping to build soil, fertilize and mulch a total of 3 acres in the Forsythe field and the Butler project orchard, which in turn is providing healthy, local food to our school program, our local community at market and at local food banks (http://www.gofundme.com/sponsoraplot) . Big thanks to Cold Creek Compost!
Moving forward in the growing process leads us next from soil prep, to planting, and then…to water and our need to thank Dripworks! We are in the position of responsibly sharing a large reservoir with a number of other agricultural projects here at Ridgewood Ranch. This has led us towards applying the most water conservative methods we can: drip irrigation. Dripworks donated 8000 feet of t-tape for our vegetable crops and with out that… visualize dead plants. We are extremely grateful to these amazingly generous businesses and to be in such a supportive community.
-By Tim Ward