The 2014 Season at a Glance

Somehow the season has come and gone. And I feel really bad that I haven’t updated since April. So, before the year is over, I definitely want to share some of the highlights of our season. I have to say it was quite an intense year for us. It was an amazingly successful year, especially for it being just our second season, but it definitely was more intense then we could have ever imagined. We did four farmers markets a week throughout the valley, sold produce to 10 different restaurants, started selling wholesale to a local distributor, and sold produce to Southern Oregon University’s cafeteria and catering services. We were pretty darn busy. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we were harvesting and washing all day for market. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday we were at a farmers market. I have no idea how we had time to continue planting, weeding, rotating sheep and chickens, and everything else necessary to run a farm but somehow we did it. And we learned a lot. And we are so very grateful for everyone who helped support us throughout the season. We really appreciate it! 

One of our late Spring plant outs. 24 trays, 4,600 plants

Beginning of April- Our first seedlings are ready to plant. 24 trays-4,600 plants of mixed lettuces and brassicas. All in a good day’s work.

Our plant out

That same day- Transplanting the seedlings in our Mountain View Field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks later, and look how well those seedlings grew

Beginning of May- Look how well those same seedlings grew! We have already begun harvesting some of the crops here for market.

Beginning of May- Arrival of our 20 little lambs

Beginning of May- Arrival of our 20 little lambs. We got a breed called St. Criox, which are a hair breed, meaning they don’t have wool, they have hair. They are an old heritage breed and are well known for their tender lean meat, disease and parasite resistance, and good breeding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week later, our Maremma sheep dog arrived. Here is she only 8 weeks old

One week later, our Maremma sheep dog arrived. Here, she is only 8 weeks old. Luna is her name and she lives outdoors with the sheep and will protect the farm and hopefully chase away the deer.

Strawberries! We had so many strawberries this year. They are hard to pick but are an amazing crop

Strawberries! We had so many strawberries this year. Which is amazing because they were seriously the best strawberries ever! The catch is that they are super tedious to pick and very time consuming. But definitely worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Harvest

Beginning of June- We had a beautiful garlic harvest

Tomato madness! We had an unbelievable tomato crop this year.

Tomato madness! We had an unbelievable tomato crop this year…..thousands of pounds of beefsteak, New Girls, heirlooms, romas, and tomatillos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our sheep got spoiled with lots of extra produce that didn't sell at market

Our sheep got spoiled with lots of extra produce that didn’t sell at market

And so did the chickens!

The chickens got lots of extra produce too! They were also rotated throughout our old veggie patches to glean the vegetables and fertilize the soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luna's growing fast! Here she is protecting the sheep

End of June- Luna’s growing fast!

One of the many farmers market booths we did this season.

One of the many farmers market booths we did this season.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the NRCS we built another hoop house. We discovered what a big difference the hoop houses make in extending the season and protecting summer crops from weather and pest damage.

Mid September- Thanks to the NRCS we built another hoop house to help extend our growing season.

Mid October- Our ram arrives to breed the sheep. We might have 60 more lambs next year.

Mid October- Our ram arrives to breed the sheep. Hopefully we’ll get close to 40 lambs next spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last plant out of the season.....onions!

Early November- Our last plant out of the season…..onions and garlic!

The 2014 Wandering Roots Farm Crew!

The 2014 Wandering Roots Farm Crew! Thanks Sam and Kendra for such an awesome season. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet our new farm crew!

We are very excited to introduce Sam and Kendra who will be working with us for the entire 2014 season! They are both interested in learning more about operating an organic farm and all of it’s different facets. But they each come with their own experiences and passions. Sam, for example, loves working in orchards and has spent quite a bit of time working with fruit trees. Kendra, on the other hand, loves working with animals and is very interested in restoring native grasses and learning more about pasture management. Since we just planted an acre of fruit and nut trees and are getting sheep by the end of April, I feel like we have a pretty solid, well-rounded crew. Yea!!

Past. I grew up in Los Angeles left at 18 years old for Brazil to study martial arts. Then I spent almost three years traveling around volunteering/working on farms. I stayed on 14 different farms, in six different countries, some briefly and one in Mendoza, Argentina for a year and eight months. In Mendoza I took on lots of responsibilities becoming a farm manager. I also learned tons of other stuff in South America including natural medicine and diet, natural construction, meditation, and yoga. Present. I am excited to spend this year along the Rogue River at Wandering Roots Farm! Future. Farming! I am interested in owning my own farm one day soon.

Hi, my name is Sam. I grew up in Los Angeles, California but left at 18 years old to study martial arts in Brazil. After that, I spent almost three years traveling around South America. I volunteered and worked on 14 different farms in six different countries, some briefly and one in Mendoza, Argentina for a year and eight months. In Mendoza, I became the farm manager and took on lots of responsibilities. I also learned tons of other stuff in South America including natural medicine and diet, natural construction, meditation, and yoga. I am excited to spend this year along the Rogue River at Wandering Roots Farm! I hope to one day start my own farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be joining the Wandering Roots team this season as an intern with the Rogue Farm Corps. I am originally from Pleasant Hill, OR, and I have a background in organic farming and cattle ranching thanks to my family. This spring I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental Science and I am excited to apply my classroom learning about sustainable agriculture in a hands-on way during my time here at Wandering Roots. I discovered my love for farming last season while working at a smaller farm in the Willamette Valley and I am hoping to grow my knowledge through the RFC internship so I can continue farming in the future.

Hi, my name is Kendra. I will be joining the Wandering Roots team this season as an intern with the Rogue Farm Corps. I am originally from Pleasant Hill, OR, and I have a background in organic farming and cattle ranching thanks to my family. This spring I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Environmental Science and I am excited to apply my classroom learning about sustainable agriculture in a hands-on way during my time here at Wandering Roots. I discovered my love for farming last season while working at a smaller farm in the Willamette Valley and I am hoping to grow my knowledge through the RFC internship so I can continue farming in the future.

March Madness

This is a really exciting time to be in Jackson County, where we live. We are the only County within the state of Oregon that has the opportunity to ban growing genetically engineered crops. This is going to be a huge battle that will need to be won grassroots style. Syngenta, a Swiss multi-billion dollar chemical company has been growing genetically engineered sugar beets throughout our County. There have been many cases where their genetically engineered sugar beet seeds have cross pollinated with organic beet and chard seeds and completely contaminated the organic crop. So not only do the organic farmers lose their seed contracts, but their reputation is damaged and they are at risk of being sued for illegally growing Sygenta’s patented seed.

Sygenta has already raised over$250,000 for their campaign, 95% of which came from outside of our County. So you have to wonder, who is really supporting this measure? The actual farmers of Jackson County or multi-national corporations? What’s more, Sygenta can’t even grow genetically engineered crops in their own Country because Switzerland banned them in 2005.

We have joined up with Our Family Farms Coalition to pass Measure 15-119 and ban Genetically Engineered Crops from Jackson County. Please help spread the word and support in any way you can (donate, volunteer, etc). Their website is http://www.ourfamilyfarmscoalition.org

Are you registered to vote? This measure will be on the ballot May 20th. Vote Yes and Support our family farms

Are you registered to vote in Jackson County? This measure will be on the ballot May 20th. Vote Yes and Support our family farms

we support it

we support it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news.....I'm sure many of you want to know how the chickees are doing.....and they are awesome. But there was a little scare. One night, when they were about a week old, I went to check on them and noticed 5 or 6 chicks that had gotten their tail feathers pecked out and were bleeding. I quickly realized that this was a sign of overcrowding. So at 3am, in a panic, I woke Jeff up and he kindly helped me expand their space into the rest of the trailer.  I removed the injured chickees for a couple of days to heal and ever since then, they have been happy growing chicks.

In other news…..I’m sure many of you want to know how the chickees are doing…..and they are awesome. But there was a little scare. One night, when they were about a week old, I went to check on them and noticed 5 or 6 chicks that had gotten their tail feathers pecked out and were bleeding. I quickly realized that this was a sign of overcrowding. So at 3am, in a panic, I woke Jeff up and he kindly helped me expand their space into the rest of the trailer. I removed the injured chickees for a couple of days to heal and ever since then, they have been happy growing chicks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one week old and they are already their true feathers

One week old. They had already started getting their true feathers and tail feathers. Notice on her wings, the new striped feathers. This one is an Amercauna chick.

Three weeks old

Three weeks old. They are growing and eating a lot more. You can also see more and more of the true feathers coming out. This one is a Barred Rock.

We put in a little roost for them to start practicing and

We put in a practice roosting bar to encourage them to rest on the bar as they will do as adults. It’s amazing how instinctual things are, they jumped right on it.

Our neighbors, kianna (6 yrs old) and Taylah (8 yrs old) named every single one of the chicks

Our neighbors, Kianna (7 yrs old) and Taylah (9 yrs old), named every single one of the chicks. So sweet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather has been so nice. We finally got rain a couple of week ago that turned everything green. And it has been sunny and warm ever since. All the plants are loving it! The strawberries have started flowering

The weather has been so nice. We finally got rain a couple of week ago that turned everything green. And it has been sunny and warm ever since. All the plants are loving it! The strawberries have started flowering

And some of our fruit trees have flowered as well.

And some of our fruit trees have flowered as well. The plum and cherry trees were the first

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here, you can see the walk-in cooler on the right and the start of the construction

Not sure if you remember, but last fall we poured a concrete slab and built a walk-in cooler on part of it. This year, we have decided to finish the project and turn the rest of the platform into a certified kitchen where we can process all of our added value products like tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, jams, sauerkraut, etc…Here, you can see the walk-in cooler on the right and the start of the construction for the rest of the building

The start of the kitchen

Here is another view of the structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just got a roof on it today!

And here it is today, we just got the roof on this weekend!

And other farm stuff....We put a bunch of our seedlings outside to harden off before we plant them next week. We have to get them in before the expected rain Monday night

And other farm stuff….We put a bunch of our seedlings outside to harden off before we plant them next week. We have to get them in before the expected rain Monday night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna is slowly learning to operate the tractor.

Anna got her first tractor driving lesson🙂

 

 

The time of many projects

Is it only March? I feel like we have been working on projects non-stop since we got back from our vacation in January. Yes, it’s true. We took an extended vacation/honeymoon for the whole month of December!! We visited family, traveled through Mexico, explored, rested, and enjoyed every bit of the time off. But a month is a long time. We were so excited to get back into the swing of things and start the new season that we hit the ground running. And then everything just exploded: planting an orchard, working on the greenhouse, preparing for chickens, hiring employees, fixing the fence line….. craziness! But we love it. We’re getting things done and we’re learning a ton in the process.

We got bare root fruit trees!

We got bare root fruit trees!

And thanks to Jess, Siigo, and Carol, we got all 200 fruit and nut trees planted before the big rains hit

Thanks to the help of Jess, Siigo, and Carol, we got all 200 fruit and nut trees planted before the big rains hit. That was huge!

Thanks to all of our friends and family who generously gifted us these trees for our wedding

And thanks to all of our friends and family who generously gifted us these trees for our wedding. We are super grateful! We hope you can all come back and enjoy some of the delicious fruit!

We also planted over 200 blueberry bushes of all different varieties. There is nothing like blueberries

We couldn’t stop with the trees though. We also planted blueberry bushes, raspberries, and loganberries

After the trees were in, we moved straight into the greenhouse where Jeff installed the most amazing water heating system for the seedlings

After the trees were in, we moved straight into the greenhouse. This year we decided to install an amazing water heating system. Basically, the water heater circulates warm water through tubing on top of the table, the seed trays sit on top of the tubing, and a thermometer in one of the seed cells maintains the temperature around 70 degrees. 

As soon as Jeff finished installing it, Anna immediately started seeding

As soon as Jeff finished installing it, we filled it up with seed trays. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale, Chard, Lettuce, Onions, Leeks, Tomatoes, Eggplants, Celery, and more

Two weeks later and the seedlings are all tall, strong and healthy

Two weeks later and the seedlings are already so big.  These seedlings are growing twice as fast as they were last year without any heat. We could not be happier. Now, the catch is to find a long enough dry period to plant them before they get too big🙂

Once the big greenhouse push was over we changed gears once again. We had to get ready for our chickees to arrive

Once the big greenhouse push was over we changed gears once again. We had to build the chicken coop for the chicks that were arriving beginning of March. We decided to build the coop on an old mobile home trailer so that we can rotate the chickens throughout the pasture.

Getting closer....

Getting closer….

We still aren't fully done but we at least finished their brooding area in time for their arrival

After a lot of work, we still aren’t fully done but at least we finished their brooding area in time for their arrival

100 two-day old chickees!

And here they are, 100 two-day old chickees!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These chickees will grow up to be laying hens. We will sell their eggs at markets

We got these chicks to be our layers. But they won’t start laying until they are about 5 months old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deer have become a serious problem

Once the chicks settled in, we had to start dealing with our deer problem. We have an electric fence around the entire property but the deer are hopping right through it on a daily basis, munching on just about everything. We couldn’t risk it any longer now that we have all these fruit trees in the ground and are about to plant for the season. So, we added 5 more wires around the entire fence line in the hopes they won’t get through. They better not.

 

Jeff's getting more land ready for planting. Here, he's mowing in the overwintered cover crop

Meanwhile, Jeff’s been getting land ready for planting. Here, he’s mowing in the overwintered cover crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrapping up the season

The annual event- removing the pump from the river. This time, fortunately, was much easier now that we have done it once before

The annual event- removing the pump from the river. This time it was much easier since we had done it once before

 

We have an official farm sign now. It was made by a vendor from the Grants Pass Farmers Market and he did the most amazing job

We have an official farm sign now. It was made by a vendor from the Grants Pass Farmers Market and he did the most amazing job

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We planted another 3,000 strawberries for next year

We planted another 3,000 strawberries for next year. But we also kept the older crop of strawberries so we can compare the differences in production.

This year we decided to mulch the pathways between the strawberry beds to hopefully keep the weeds down

This year we decided to mulch the pathways between the strawberry beds to hopefully keep the weeds down. It’s always quite the battle. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have had an amazing cauliflower crop this fall. This picture Jeff is holding one that weighed about 5 pounds.

We have had an amazing cauliflower crop this fall. In this picture, Jeff is holding one that weighed about 5 pounds. And we were told by the customer who got it that it made a delicious cream of cauliflower soup 

This was all of the winter squash we harvested back in September. Now we are just down to a few crates.

This was all of the winter squash we harvested back in September. We had butternut, delicata, acorn, spaghetti, pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins, and decorative gourds. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had fun stomping all of our dry beans.

We harvested all of our dry beans, laid them out on a tarp and stomped on them until they popped out

Here you can see the beans popping out of their shell after we've stomped on them

Here you can see the beans after all of our hard work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parsnip love

Parsnip love. This was a fun surprise when we were harvesting

Most all of our fields have been mowed down, disced, and seeded with cover crop for the winter

All of our fields have been mowed down, disced, and seeded with cover crop. Doesn’t it looks strange?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our happy chickens eating all the farm compost

Our happy chickens eating all the farm compost. No wonder we get such amazing eggs

We've been getting some heavy frost

This was the onion/garlic field that we planted with our fall crops. It’s been hit with some heavy frosts, as you can see in this picture, so we shall see if it can hang on through the winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeff and I got married on September 21st.

Oh and some big news….Jeff and I got married! It was on our farm, we grew all the food, and we got to share it with most all of our friends and family. Best weekend ever!

Out in the fields

Celebrating out in the fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful Rogue River

The beautiful Rogue River on a crisp Autumn day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The heat is on!

I can’t believe it has been almost a month since I  last posted! I apologize for the delay. This heat combined with all the craziness of farming has distracted me from this site. So I will have to do my best to catch you up on the latest and greatest. Have I mentioned that it’s been super hot these past couple weeks? I mean high 90’s and low 100’s. It’s been a little intense. Luckily with all the irrigation running, we can easily hose ourselves down and cool off.

We also want to inform everyone that we are no longer doing the Josephine County Fairgrounds Farmers and Crafters Market on Thursdays. It was our fourth market of the week and we just felt that we needed more time on the farm to get projects done (such as the cooler we have been trying to build since the spring, our wedding that is coming up in September, and of course catching up on all the weeding, planting, trellising, etc.). So we apologize for any inconveniences this may cause our awesome customers but we hope you understand.

And now on to the picture show….

A very, very exciting step closer to building our walk-in cooler. Here, the frame was made, the concrete was poured

A very, very exciting step closer to building our walk-in cooler…we poured concrete for the foundation!

Smoothing out the concrete pad

Here they are smoothing out the concrete pad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ta Daa!  A perfectly smooth and flat foundation

And Ta Daaaa! One concrete slab

Building the frame for the 8x12 CoolBot cooler

Jeff, along with his dad and uncle, started building the frame for the 8×12 CoolBot cooler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of our onions and garlics are done curing

All of our onions and garlic are done curing

So now it's time to clean them all up. Here, my sister Julie is helping cut the dried stems and roots off of the garlic

So now it’s time to clean them all up. Here, my sister Julie, is helping cut the dried stems and roots off of the garlic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just started harvesting potatoes. The variety in the picture is a Colorado Rose.

We just started harvesting potatoes. This variety is called Colorado Rose

We also harvested our first Japanese Eggplant

We harvested our first Japanese Eggplant from the hoop house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also inside the hoop house, the peppers are quickly developing

Also inside the hoop house…peppers!

The tomato plants are huge with tons of green tomatoes. Any day now, we're expecting to see some  start ripening and turning red

The tomato plants are huge and full of green tomatoes. We’re expecting some ripe, red, juicy tomatoes any day now. I mean any day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what is this? An ear of corn? Yessssss!

And what is this? An ear of corn? Yessssss!

On a down side, the star thistle is out of control on the farm. We are doing our best at pulling it out but it never seems to end

On a down side, the star thistle is out of control on the farm. We are doing our best at pulling it out but it never seems to end. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a super fun visit from a local family we met at the farmers market!

We had a super fun visit with some of our Farmers Market customers who came to tour the farm. 

 

The monarch butterflies are loving the zinnia flowers!

The monarch butterflies are loving the zinnia flowers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The field where the garlic and onions were once growing has since been tilled. We will soon plant our fa

The field where the garlic and onions were once growing has   been tilled in. We will soon plant some over-winter crops such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots. 

We got a new farm kitty! Meet Charlie. He is 11 weeks, super affectionate,

And last but not least…we got a new farm kitty! Meet Charlie. He is 11 weeks old, really affectionate, and a ton of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Beetle Season

Everything is growing well. Irrigation is going smooth. Harvesting is keeping us busy. But oh my goodness, cucumber beetles. Never have we ever had such problems with cucumber beetles before. Not only are they everywhere, but they are mating and reproducing by the minute. They are all over the cucumbers, summer squash, and winter squash plants and are completely demolishing the leaves. Some pest damage is expected. In fact, we always plant 25% more than what we need, knowing that some will be sacrificed to the pests or elements. We just got these sticky traps with cucumber beetle pheromones to try to reduce the population but we shall see. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a strong cucumber and squash crop.

Potato field
A new field that we have started harvesting: lettuce, cilantro and soon to be green beans, broccoli, and potatoes
The potatoes are flowering! The All Blue variety was the most sprouted when we planted and sure enough they are the first to produce flowers
The potatoes are flowering! This photo is of the All Blue variety and sure enough the flowers are a pretty purple 
The strawberries are booming!
The strawberries are flourishing! See all the red speckles? Lots of people at market have told us that our strawberries are some of the sweetest ones around. Quite the compliment. 
Our garlic has been cut off of water to start the drying process
Our garlic has been cut off of water to start the drying process 
Harvesting the first of the garlic that was planted in October.
Here, Jeff is pulling one of the first varieties of garlic to set out and cure. 
Big, beautiful romaine lettuce
Big, beautiful romaine lettuce
Red leaf lettuce
This is our amazing red leaf lettuce. 
The lettuce is bigger than Jeff's head!
The red leaf lettuce is bigger than Jeff’s head! 
We have new summer residents on the farm! Jared and Holly are long time friends with Jeff and Anna and are going to be farming with us this summer. Wahoo!
We have new summer residents on the farm!  Jared and Holly have been good friends of ours for long time and now we get them for the summer. Wahoo! They have been helping us out a ton: planting, harvesting, and building things around the farm. 
More carrot art... a little bird face
More carrot art… a little bird face
A big plant out in the new summer field. Melons, basil, kale, chard, broccoli, lettuce, and sunflowers.
A big plant out in the new summer field. Melons, basil, kale, chard, broccoli, lettuce, and sunflowers.
The Cucumber Beetles are taking over! In one summer squash flower we counted 25
The Cucumber Beetles are taking over! In one summer squash flower we counted 30 cucumber beetles! Now imagine three whole beds like that.
They are eating the leaves to pieces.
This is an example of how the cucumber beetles are eating the leaves to pieces. 
Parsnips
Parsnips 
Broccoli yo!
It’s broccoli time yo!
Happy chickens enjoying the view
Happy chickens in our yard