We started off 2014 moving the rest of our farm from our previous site in the Fraser Valley. Which included a trip in a very large moving van, traversing the internationally renowned Coquihalla Highway at the peak of winter weather (nothing gets your blood pumping like trying to make it up Larson Hill in crazy winter conditions, while the semi truck you just past starts sliding backwards down the hill!). Then a mid-spring trip back to the old farm to transport our cooler, and conduct our last cleanup.
Then there was the 4 month-long task of installing & repairing farm infrastructure: pump-houses, wells, pumps, trenching irrigation mainlines, building roads, installing fencing, building our 3000sq ft greenhouse, setting up electrical systems, installing irrigation lines and several grey water systems, working with BC Hydro to get power hooked up (which is always a treat! /shesaidsarcastically), building an indoor wash station, and more!
As well, we planned and implemented a small 2 acre vegetable program which went really well. All the crops we grew performed great. We're starting with some amazingly nutritious soil here, which helps. We did however deal with a few more pest populations than we thought we would, but nothing too serious as to decimate a crop. But continuing with crop rotations, good weeding practices, and compost tea applications we'll be able to reduce those pesty's over the next few years :)
Then we started markets at the end of Aug (which was the last time you heard from us!). This was a change for us, as normally we start our market season in early May. We attended two markets a week at the provincially renowned Vernon Farmer's Market (they won an award for the best large farmer's market in BC last year!). Wow, was a great market, we really enjoyed it. We quickly built a loyal customer base, who commented constantly about how great our displays were, how clean and fresh our product was, and how happy they were to have another Organic vendor at market. Also mid summer, we received our official Certified Organic Status (yay!).
As well, we paired up with a new project that started in Lumby this year, The Monashee Community Co-op store. What an amazing project this is! It showcases almost 100 local vendors, and in its first six months amassed a couple hundred members. Not bad for a volunteer run operation! We've been providing them with our local produce twice a week since the end of Aug, and its proving to be quite the partnership. We really enjoy, and are inspired by, the amount of passion that is put into this project, and we happily look forward to supporting it further in 2015. Thanks to all the folks who make this amazing local co-op a reality! <3
Then came the big mid-year decision, which threw a monkey wrench into our already laid out 2014 Farm Plan. Towards the end of Aug we were presented with an opportunity to plant 2 acres of garlic. We worked with our investors, and the project was given the green light. So, at a time of year when we were already overloaded with work, we began the 2 month endevor of sourcing and purchasing seed, popping & planting the cloves, and finally mulching 2 acres of garlic. We managed to plant approx 120, 000 cloves of garlic in that 2 acres, no small feat for 2 people! But we did it :)
Unfortunately that meant that our fall duties suffered. We lost the last 5 beds of carrots and beets, which we weren't able to get into winter storage before the freezes came. As well, we were caught with our greenhouse not sealed tight for winter when the first week-long freeze came (low's of -15 to -26!) which meant the greens we had planted in there suffered. We did however get the greenhouse locked up tight before the next freeze came. Which is good, as we cut back all the greens and are now waiting on the regrowth (we'll have some fresh greens come Feb & Mar!).
And now we are at the end of 2014; exhausted, happy, hopeful, excited and ready for a rest! We are attending the indoor Vernon Winter Market once a week now, with all the storage crops we managed to get in. Carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, cabbage, winter squash, pie pumpkins, onions, shallots, potatoes, oh my! Which is an easy & pleasant endeavour this time of year.
We've got some big plans in the works for 2015. We'll be entering into a joint venture with our most trusted friend and investor, and will be going big with the garlic. We'll also be continuing our vegetable production, as we love growing veggies, and will continue with sales at the Vernon Farmers Market and at our local Monashee Community Co-op store. We'll also be starting our first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in this region (we've done the program in the Fraser Valley the last 3 years and loved it!). We also have some exciting projects planned, like our rocket mass heater system to heat our greenhouse for next winter, and building a barrel washer for root crops.
A huge heartfelt thanks goes out to all our supporters. We could not do what we do, without you! We've had a very warm reception here in Lumby, with many people telling us we are the most exciting project to happen to this area for a long time. And people love our product and our philosophy, which makes us think all this hard work is well worth it! We love what we do and it shows in the products we produce :)
Wishing you all a happy, warm, special holiday season and a happy new year!
Shauna & Nevin Gavigan
|Bin Washing Time! :)|
|Shauna enjoying her new indoor wash station :)|
|Wow! Look at all this garlic seed :) (this is 1/8 of what we had in total!)|
|Galic Planting Time :)|
|All planted! Now we just have to mulch it :)|
|Sorting out the first 2/3 of the winter storage harvest in our cooler|
|Mulched, labelled and ready for winter!|
|Getting the greenhouse ready for winter|
|View of Bessette Creek from the east side of the property|