Our Certified Organic farm is at the heart of everything we do. It’s the reason we are all here — why the land was first secured long ago as part of King County’s Agriculture Preservation Program. It is a source of inspiration for our staff, volunteers and for the entire community to embrace. Our work revolves around the food we grow, and the farm practices that we employ to regenerate soil and contribute to climate solutions.
What’s Happening on the Farm
Squash are blossoming, kale is flourishing, and all across the farm, food is coming to fruition. But as food comes up, so do the weeds! This time of year, it’s all about the weed pressure and staying on top of bindweed (Morning Glory), Ranunculus repens (buttercup), reed canary grass, and more. Weeds thrive on the warm sun alternating with summer rains.
Because we grow using regenerative practices (without chemicals), removing weeds in the growing areas is a priority so that veggie starts don’t have to compete for sun or water or get choked out by over-growth. One technique our farmers use is managing the field edges. Keeping weeds from going to seed and preventing edge creep can help protect the whole field.
We are certainly missing our volunteers this year, who are usually on campus to help grow food and steward the land. As we plan for safe ways for our volunteers to return, we rely on hand-tools and our farmers’ expertise to keep our summer and fall crops growing.
Where does the food go?
Much of the produce we harvest from the 21 Acres Farm is sold through the Farm Market. Some of the food goes to our kitchen to be used as ingredients in classes or for volunteer educational programs. Produce is also used for food-to-go offered in our seasonal deli in the Farm Market. We pair delicious dishes with recipes, tips and cooking ideas for people to learn how to make tasty food at home. There’s no better way to educate about the value of local food than by eating it! During the summer, the kitchen staff preserves berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other warm season crops to enjoy during the winter while also teaching people how to can their own food. Produce is also distributed a number of ways in our community. Some is donated each week to a local organization that distributes food to families in need. We also provide some of the harvest through Farmstand Local Foods, a regional food hub, to nonprofit organizations. And, we’re most happy to provide bulk produce to home canners who pre-order to make sure they have the quantities and varieties they need.