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
It’s a transition time on the farm. Our team is pulling out wilted remains of the high season crops as these cold nights are too chilly for tender leaves to survive. Anthony and Aaron’s dry-farmed tomato pilot with New Girl’s was a success, producing intensely sweet fruits as predicted. There is still kale, other winter greens, beets and sunchokes in the fields and you can find those in the Farm Market throughout this fall.
This time of year, it’s all about cover crops and bringing resources to the soil. The team has planted cover crops across our acreage and in and among what veggies are still growing. Cover crops produce nutrients that the soil needs to support spring and summer vegetables. They also help sequester carbon by pulling carbon through their stems and roots and sending it down into the soil. We invite you to come on our monthly virtual farm tours to learn more about how regenerative farms like ours are highly reliant upon a strategic cover crop system.
We are certainly missing our volunteers this year who are usually on campus in droves to help grow food and steward the land. We have begun to welcome small numbers of volunteers back and we’re following strict safety protocols in order to do so. It will be a while still until we can host the large groups that we used to love so much, but in the meantime, we continue to bond with those small families, couples and individuals who are generously giving of their time help keep our farm viable.
Lastly, we continue our restoration initiatives in earnest as we strongly believe in the critical role of restoration on a farm. Highly integrated restoration helps with promoting ecosystem services, creating habitat for beneficial creatures; restoration helps mitigate invasive species; and areas that are well managed can sequester carbon in a significant way.
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.