Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2009 Local Farm Walk Schedule Announced!

Tilth Producers of Washington and WSU Small Farms Team present:

2009 Farm Walk Schedule

Monday April 13 - Terry's Berries, Tacoma

Recordkeeping in a Diversified Vegetable & Fruit Operation, 12:30pm-4pm

Terry's Berries is a 20-acre diversified organic vegetable and fruit farm that markets produce through an extensive CSA, on-farm store and farmers markets. Terry will share the specific recordkeeping tools she uses to plan, stay organized and track information during her extended production and marketing season. She will share her forms, systems and ideology, including CSA planning and tracking, organic certification records, greenhouse planning and planting, capturing harvest information, and ways to use records for planning future farm improvements. (Organic)

Monday April 27 - Lopez Island Farm, Lopez Island

Pastured Pigs and Soil Fertility, 10am-1pm

Bruce Dunlop is a grass farmer and meat producer who utilizes rotational grazing to optimize soil nutrients. Pig manure fertilizes fall-planted pasture which feeds sheep in subsequent years. A Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) farmer grant is helping Bruce compare soil fertility in plots with pigs pastured under different rotation regimes. See and discuss early results of this on-going research with Bruce and WSU faculty collaborators Tom Schultz and Craig Cogger. Sheep breeding, offal composting, meat production, processing, and marketing methods, and the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative USDA certified mobile meat processing unit will also be discussed. Special Note: Attendees should plan to board the ferry from Anacortes at 8:50 am and board return ferry from Lopez Island at 1:50 or 4:55 pm. Roundtrip fares: passenger: $10.95; vehicle + driver: $26.60; bicycle surcharge: $2.00. See for shuttle information. (Sustainable)

Monday, May 18 - Monteillet Fromagerie, Dayton

French Cheesemaking in the Walla Walla Valley, 12:30pm-3:30pm (followed by optional wine & cheese tasting)

Monteillet Fromagerie was the first artisan cheese farmstead in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeastern Washington and features a Grade A dairy and cheese making facility. On 31-acres, Joan and Pierre Louis Monteillet intensively manage pasture for Alpine goats, East Freisan-Lacaune sheep, poultry and pigs. Throughout the production of traditional hand ladled chevres (goat) and brebis (sheep) milk cheeses, the Monteillets strive to foster a lifestyle that is creative physically and spiritually, as well as economically. Following the farm walk, Joan will host an optional cheese & wine tasting for an additional $15. (Transitioning to Biodynamic)

Monday June 8 - Crown S Ranch, Winthrop

Organic Animal Husbandry, 12:30pm-4pm

Crown S Ranch is a 120-acre, pasture-based organic farm owned and operated by the Sukovaty-Argraves family. Engineers by training, Louis and Jennifer have combined innovative, modern technologies with sustainable, old-fashioned practices to create humane, economically and environmentally-sound animal husbandry systems that are "better for the animals, better for the environment, and better for you." Farm Walk participants will discuss techniques for integrating cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens and lamb using management-intensive pasture rotations. Come see their solar powered chicken train and learn about nutrient recycling to minimize off-farm inputs (closed farming system), on-farm organic hay, grain and feed production, and meat processing. (Organic)

Monday June 22 - Estrella Family Creamery, Montesano

Artisan Cheese Production, 12:30pm-4pm

Estrella Family Creamery is a 164-acre grass-based dairy located in the Wynoochee Valley of Southwest Washington. Kelli and her family make twenty different types of aged cheeses by hand, several of which have received national and international awards. Cows and goats graze in organically-maintained pastures and are fed alternative forages such as oat hay and fodder beets. Tour the farm and see the cheese making operation, including five separate cheese aging rooms, each with its own unique environment. The Estrellas sell their cheese at Seattle farmer's markets, local retail stores, and an on-farm store on Saturdays. (Organic/Sustainable)

Monday July 13 - Let Us Farm, Oakville

Organic Mixed Vegetable Production and Farmer Transition, 12:30pm-4pm

Steve Hallstrom and Cecelia Boulais have converted a defunct 80-acre dairy on the Chehalis River to a productive organic mixed vegetable farm. Produce is sold through farmers markets and the Olympia Food Cooperative. Steve and Cecelia strive for sustainability through utilizing summer and winter cover crops and field rotations; conservation tree planting and habitat strips. Tour the greenhouses, hoop houses and fields. See innovative farmer housing including a converted silo, milk-tank suite and dining parlor. In partnership with Cascade Harvest Coalition's FarmLink Program, Steve and Cecelia will share how they "grow farmers," and discuss their plan to transition the operation to the next generation. (Organic)

Thursday July 30 - WSU Field Day and Organic Farm, Pullman

Current University Research and Teaching in Organic Farming - Eastern Washington, 9:30am-1pm

Come discover the latest research and hands-on teaching methods being tested at the Washington State University (WSU) Organic Farm in Pullman, including a four-year study of diverse winter and summer vegetables grown in unheated, unlit field hoop houses to increase production efficiency. The farm operates a 105-member fruit and vegetable CSA, selling to the local community. Students provide the bulk of the labor as part of their academic program. Tour the farm with the farmers, researchers, and students guiding the discussions. Visitors will be introduced to current student projects and faculty research plots. (Organic)

Monday August 3 - WSU Field Day and Organic Farm, Puyallup

Current University Research in Organic Farming - Western Washington, 1pm-4pm

WSU Puyallup's experimental organic farm highlights a wide variety of organic practices and research plots. The organic farming and nutrient management research team has partnered with berry researchers to evaluate day-neutral strawberry varieties. The organic strawberry trial will run for three years and early results will be shared during the farm walk. Pastured sheep have recently been added to the system, helping researchers understand soil quality and fertility changes with the addition of pasture to a vegetable rotation. Pastured poultry have been part of the experimental farm since its inception-chickens and mobile chicken tractors will be on display. Other topics include Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for food safety and drip irrigation. (Organic)

Monday August 17 - Alvarez Farms, Mabton

Large Scale Diversified Vegetable Row Crops, 12:30pm-4pm

The 120-acre Alvarez Farm is located in the upper Yakima Valley, with its rich volcanic soil, relatively moderate climate, and abundant irrigation water from the Yakima River. Hilario and Soledad Alvarez grow over 200 varieties of vegetables and melons, including a large diversity of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, peas, beets, green onions, corn, okra, garlic, summer and winter squash, peanuts and more. Produce is sold throughout the Yakima Valley and through farmers markets in the Puget Sound region. More than 120 varieties of peppers and 50 varieties of tomatoes are grown from seeds harvested from their own crop. By taking soil tests every three years, the Alvarez family carefully monitors key soil indicators and organic matter content to ensure the long-term health of their farmland. Farm Walk attendees will see the entire operation, learn about soil monitoring and improvement, and how to make water-based pest spray using garlic cloves. (Organic)

Monday September 28th - Blue Dog Farm, Carnation

Berry Production, Static Composting, and Raising Children while Farming, 12:30pm-4pm

Owners Amy and Scott Turner will share information and host discussions on a wide range of topics while we tour their dynamic community-rich farm. These farmers will share how they are changing Blue Dog Farm into a more diverse and integrated farm by combining vegetable and fruit production with animal and feed production. With berries as the main crop, attendees will see a variety of weed and disease control practices for small acreage fresh market blueberries and raspberries. Another main highlight at Blue Dog Farm is the static aerated pile method for composted mulch. Learn about the benefits of different compost ingredients, equipment, recordkeeping, testing, and best final use. Amy and Scott will also talk about the challenges and benefits of raising children while actively farming. (Organic)

Farm Walk Logistics - Complete details at

* Beverages are provided.
* Cost is $10 for Tilth Producers members; $15 for non-members; for student group rate, inquire at (206) 442-7620
* Driving directions available at
* Register on-site or pre-register by mailing a check with your farm walk choice(s) to:

Tilth Producers of Washington
PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145

Tilth Producers Membership is encouraged to help support the Farm Walk Program. ($45 regular or $30 low-income) Member benefits include a subscription to Tilth Producers Quarterly, a Directory of organic growers and resources, discounts for farm walks and the annual conference, free listing in Tilth Intern Placement Service, Directory and email news. For more information: (206) 442-7620 or

Tilth Producers of Washington promotes ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable farming practices that improve the health of our communities and natural environment.

Tilth Producers of Washington
P.O. Box 85056
Seattle WA 98145

Nancy Allen, Administrative Director

Visit the Tilth Producers website:

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