We are excited to announce the 2017 field days lineup! Our field days are geared toward people who are just at the beginning of their farm exploration – farm hands, interns, folks thinking about starting a farm in the near future, and those who are 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!
Field days are farmer led and focus on a production system or an aspect of operations on each farm. The farmer hosts 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.
In 2017, field days will be held the 3rd Wednesday of each month, in the afternoon. Specific times will vary based on each farm’s schedule. Check out the details below.
May 17, 4:00-6:30
Value Added Products to Diversify Farm Marketing
Lower Crossing Farm, St Ignatius
Jesse Hadden manages a diversified farm in the Mission Valley, raising pastured meats, eggs, and vegetables outside St Ignatius. Lower Crossing Farm sells their meat through a seasonal CSA. Jesse and his team, including his partner Jaimie, have increased their markets through a wide range of value-added products including pickled vegetables, homemade sauces and soaps. This season they will open an on-farm butcher shop and a food truck. Jesse will talk about using multi-functional infrastructure to increase profitability and stay flexible in a changing marketplace and give us a sneak peak at the butcher shop and the food truck. You must bring a change of footwear to tour the food handling areas. The Farm Walk will be followed by a potluck, so bring a dish to share!
June 21, 4:00-7:00
Grazing Management for Soil Health
Oxbow Cattle Company, Lolo
Oxbow Cattle Company produces grass-finished beef on pastures between Missoula and Stevensville. Owner Bart Morris uses management-intensive grazing rotations to raise animals while building soil health. We will tour several pasture locations and Bart will talk about their grazing principles and how they have adjusted their system to best fit each specific piece of land.
July 19, 4:00-7:00
Efficient Harvest and Post Harvest Handling
Harlequin Organic Produce, Arlee
Kaly Hess and Brian Wirak began farming at their current location in 2009. They have refined their systems and infrastructure every year since then, always improving the efficiency and quality of their harvests. Their certified organic vegetable farm, Harlequin Organic Produce, utilizes living mulches and conservation tillage to incorporate ecological principles into their production. Harlequin markets produce through the Clark Fork Market, Western Montana growers Cooperative and through a brand new customizable CSA model. Brian and Kaly will talk about approaches and equipment that they use to harvest, wash, pack and store large quantities quickly while maintaining quality, freshness and safety.
August 16, 4:00-7:00
Small-Scale Cut Flower Production and Marketing
Mighty Fine Farm, Missoula
Mighty Fine Farm is family run by Kathy, Adam, Hazel, and Rowan Sherba. Started in 2016, they sell flowers wholesale at the Westside Flower Market, offer flower CSA shares, and provide event flowers ranging from loose by the bucket to designed arrangements. Killing Frost Farm, run by Carly and Jamie Rogers grows vegetables with a focus on mentorship and direct-to-restaurant and cut flowers for wholesale and their own floral design house. Kathy and Carly will talk about their production systems and the creative ways they have found to market their cut flowers. More information about this field day coming soon!
September 20, 2:00-6:00
Managing a Cider Apple Orchard
Billingsley Cider Orchard, Stevensville and Western Cider, Missoula
Michael Billingsley planted his cider apple orchard with friends and family in 2012. He has been planting new trees every season on his orchard and others around the region. This year he and his partners opened Western Cider Co, producing hard ciders from his fruit and others’ in Montana and Washington. Michael likes to locally-source as much of the materials used at Western Cider as he can and will show us how to set up and manage a cider orchard in Western Montana. After the orchard tour we’ll take a behind the scenes look at the cider house in Missoula and you can sample the local flavors.