Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting started

We decided to start Hope Farms to show our kids that our food can come from a healthy and reliable source and to teach them how to work. We had no idea that Delyla would be our best gardener! The boys have all made their own rows of vegetables with the knowledge that they can eat or sell what they grow! What a great lesson huh?

Here are Matt, Alison and Paxton getting ready for our first local market. Just greens to sell at this market, but more is growing! There is a great little local farmers market in Eagle Nest and we plan to sell our produce there, in Taos and in Santa Fe. We also plan to sell to a couple of local restaurants. The movement towards eating more locally grown foods is a big deal here - thank goodness;)

Here are Jon and I with Dalton and Delyla. Mr. Dalton eats about as much as he picks. Gotta love a garden where it is safe for your kid to pick something and eat it right away. We heard a saying - All Natural, better than Organic. I think it is going to become our new motto. It is better than organic! You should taste this spinach---yummo!

Here is a picture of Hope, Peter, Gala and Delyla in front of the first wall of the green house. This green house is a life long dream of Matt's. We are going to fill it to capacity with deliciousness! It is alot of work, but we love it! The farm is named after Hope and she has had her hands all over this dirt. I must say, her rows are the most perfect!

Here are the girls at work...this is what it always looks like around here;) We use a method call lasagna gardening in which we create layers to constantly replenish and nourish the soil.

Here's Delyla saying "no" to any inorganic matter going into Hope Farms. She is the enforcer!

The second stage of the green house! The roof is going up! Within a few weeks of this picture, we have completed wrapping the green house and will begin planting it asap!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hope Farms Mission Statement

Owned and Worked by: The Batchelder and Bohannon Families
Directions: Left off of Hwy 120 onto Camino de Ruth – first driveway on the left
Please take a self guided tour of the garden, everything should be labeled. Feel free to try the spinach and radishes!
Mission Statement: Our ultimate goal at Hope Farms is to provide healthy food for our families and community while creating financial opportunity for our families and others. We want to build our community through working cooperatively with others to create something memorable for generations to come. Our hope is to make this world a better place by promoting a local food movement right here in Angel Fire.

What inspired us to build the garden? We wanted to show our children that our food can come from a local, reliable source with little negative impact to the environment therefore reducing our carbon footprint. One of our goals is to educate our children about gardening and teach them that they can be self sustaining. The farm makes use of the land resources that we have in a positive way that gives back by providing an affordable organic source of food for the community, and an additional source of income for our family.
Why organic? Why not? We experience so many toxins in our environment. Our garden is a pesticide free, inorganic fertilizer free garden. There is nothing better than walking around the garden with our children and knowing that they can eat anything we plant straight off the vine. Our children are safe to play and plant in the garden without being subjected to unhealthy chemicals.
Hope Farms, the name: We have lovingly named Hope Farms after Hope Evans Verhalen, Alison Batchelder’s mother. She is an inspirational person in every aspect of her life. We feel a sense of Hope when we are around her and we feel the same way when we work in the gardens at Hope Farms. We pray that the Farm can inspire others to be better to themselves and their environment to give Hope to generations to come. Hope is an acronym – “Harvesting Organic Produce for Everyone.”
Our method: Our method of gardening is based on the “One Straw Revolution”, by Masanobu Fukuoka (1978). It is also called Lasagna Gardening. This method uses a layering “system” to build the soil. In essence, we try to reproduce nature. There are so many benefits that result in maintaining the micro ecosystems within the soil. We are promoting sustainability by using natural materials that are around us such as organic fertilizers from farming neighbors, hay, pine needles. Thomas Jefferson believed that the power of our country is our soil. We believe the same thing and work hard to maintain the health and vitality of our soil by constantly replenishing it just as nature would. You might notice that we garden mostly in circles rather than rows. There is a method to our madness! There are great benefits to the circles such as, water retention, a pleasant aesthetic, as well as the therapeutic nature of circles.

The greenhouse: We are building a large green house that is very “green”. We have used almost entirely salvaged materials. A big thanks goes out to our great neighbor Darryl Brigham for giving us a ton of good material. The green house has been constructed by Matt and Jon. We are experimenting with planting fruit trees directly in the soil of the green house. We have two apple trees, Winesap and Fuji varieties, a Royal Ann cherry tree and an Elephant heart plum tree. We will be planting it with tons of tomatoes. We will also plant peppers, cucumbers, egg plant, peas, melons and soy beans. The green house will be heated in the winter to prolong the growing season with a donated wood stove. We have plans to use a rain catchment system to provide part of the water necessary for the garden.

The compost program: One of our goals is to spear head a new compost program with local restaurants. Hope Farms will provide a receptacle and the restaurants fill it with vegetable and fruit matter that we retrieve and place in our compost pile. We use eco friendly trash bags that are bio degradable and compostable, made from corn starch. A hassle free, mess free way of picking up and depositing compost. When the compost breaks down, we use it as a layer in our soil to replenish nutrients.

What we grow: Our main vegetable is a variety of gourmet potatoes such as Yellow Finn, Ozette fingerlings, Colorado Rose, Mountain Rose, Purple Majesty, Purple Caribe and German butterball. We also grow specialty salad mixes and Bloomsdale spinach. Black beauty zucchini, Jerusalem artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, a variety of squash, various herbs, beets, radish, carrots, peas, peppers and garlic fill our garden beds. We are currently selling our in season produce at the Eagle Nest farmers market on Fridays and intend to market our organic produce to local restaurants. We are also members of the Santa Fe Farmers Market.