Farmer Field Days are production-focused, on-farm workshops to help beginning farmers and ranchers get practical information that they can use to plan or enhance their own operations. The Community Food and Agriculture Coalition is proud to partner with area farmers who will share systems and techniques that have helped make their farms successful. On the third Wednesday of each month, we will visit a different farm during the afternoon to learn and see tools in action. After each workshop, we hope you’ll stay for a potluck social with other local beginning farmers and ranchers.
Farmer Field Days are geared toward those who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration – farm hands, interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and anyone currently in the startup process. Beginning and established farmers and ranchers are welcome too, and everyone learns something new at a field day. As always, field days are FREE!
Farmer Field Day hosts take time out of their busy schedule to offer a unique look at the systems they have developed to be successful in today’s agriculture. To best assist the farmers in hosting a successful field day, we ask that you register at least three days in advance. Registration for each field day will close the Sunday before the event. Walk-ins are still welcome, but we’d greatly prefer to have a good estimate of numbers in advance.
May 16 – 4:00
High Tunnel Design and Construction
Sweet Root Farm, Hamilton
Noah and Mary Bricker cultivate roughly two acres of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and berries at Sweet Root Farm. Their operation utilizes 3 un-heated high tunnels of different designs to extend the short Montana growing season, and a propagation house for starts. Mary and Noah will talk about the designs they selected, how they installed them, and some of the techniques, tips and tricks they have learned for managing these structures effectively for their production system. While much of the event will take place inside the high tunnels, please dress for the weather, as we will spend some time outside the structures as well.
June 20 – 4:00
Small Fruit Production & Using Urban Resources
Red Hen Farm & Orchard, Missoula
At Red Hen, Greg Peters and Julie Engh-Peters produce fruit, eggs and produce with the mission “to provide fresh fruit AND an experience. We want our family, friends and community to have access to local, organically grown fruit and produce in the freshest form possible while at the same time experiencing the peace and beauty of our farm.” Greg and Julie will talk about how they have pursued this goal with their crop selection, farm design, and u-pick and CSA marketing channels. They will also discuss some of the uniquely urban resources they have utilized in their farm’s fertility plan and how they use innovative approaches to attract visitors to the farm.
July 18 – 4:00
Irrigation Systems on a Diversified Farm
Foothill Farm, St. Ignatius
Foothill Farm is a diversified, certified-organic, multi-generational family farm in the Mission Valley focusing on fresh vegetables for wholesale, seed garlic and grass-fed beef. There are 70 acres which are made up of hay fields, pasture, 3 hoop houses, a propagation greenhouse, and 6 acres of vegetables, as well as chickens, milk cows, work horses and honey bees. Farmer Julie Pavlock will talk about the different irrigation systems they utilize across this variety of systems and how they worked with their local NRCS agents to design for water-efficiency and quality production at the same time.
August 15 – 4:00
Organic Seed Production for Winter Cash Flow
Fresh Roots Farm is a certified organic vegetable, small fruit, and seed farm located seven miles south of Polson, MT at the base of the Mission Mountains. Farmers Karl Sutton and Darci Jones specialize in cool and warm season annual and biennial seed crops, strawberries, and a variety of vegetables. Karl will talk about producing organic vegetable seed crops and how they have made this production a featured part of their crop mix so that they have products to sell outside the growing season. This field day is sponsored by the Organic Seed Alliance.
Salad Greens From Seed to Store
County Rail Farm, Huson
County Rail Farm is run day to day by Tracy Potter-Fins with heavy input from her partner Margaret DeBona on the big picture. They believe that good farming means healthy soil and healthy soil means healthy vegetables. Tracy will talk about their production systems for arugula and lettuce mix, which they sell at farmers market and grocery stores in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Come and learn how they have used efficient systems to serve this wide range of markets a consistent, quality product, while operating at a small scale. We will see firsthand how the farm continues this production into the shoulder season.