Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest

14
April
2008

A Ramble Through Plum Forest Farm

A grove of plum trees bordering the northern edge of the property inspired the naming of Plum Forest Farm on Vashon Island, owned and operated by Rob Peterson and Joanne Jewell.

Vashon Island, isolated and yet near massive mainland urbanization, is amazingly pastoral. Depart from the ferry and it is felt immediately. To drive the two-lane highway into town is to inhale/exhale deeply and relax.

PurplePlumFarm3 of 68.jpg Not sure that Vashon would identify itself as a farming community, but that definitely characterizes the place. A morning stroll around Plum Forest Farm with Rob was an affirmation for those of us who are interested and supportive of small farming. We would happily have put on our gloves and gone to work.

Warmish spring sunshine bestowed its energy upon all of us, plants, animals and people.

Each and all are thriving there. IMG_4569.jpg

Locals purchase eggs and produce in season from Plum Farm’s roadside stand. Eggs and chickens have been a mainstay from the beginning in 1999.

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A hand full of Scarlet Nantes PurplePlumFarm62 of 68.jpg are appreciated for their sweet flavor, especially during winter when fewer fresh vegetable are available (or, we’ve been trained to believe so and thus expect produce from all over the world to tide us over during that time).

Livestock and crops are integrated so that the moving around of stock is beneficial to both plant and animal life. Several Scottish Highland and Hereford cattle graze in pastures on the farm.

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Vashon Islanders purchase CSA shares and pick up their weekly bounty of seasonal produce right from the farm. The responsibility for providing abundance and variety all year long to CSA customers is taken seriously. CSA: Community Sustainable Agriculture.

Asparagus on its way. IMG_4616.jpg IMG_4618.jpg

Garlic, beet greens, chard and kale starts are in the greenhouse. Flavor is enhanced by winter’s frost, but consumers savor these ‘greens’ all year long. PurplePlumFarm29 of 68.jpg IMG_4607.jpg

Marion berries, Rasperries, Teaberries, Italian plums – an array of fruit grown on the farm are sold at Vashon Island Farmers Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays when in season.

Five acres produces this variety, and more. In addition, Rob and Joanne and their young daughters, Mira and Rose, are hosting an intern who’s working with them and learning about organic farming through the WWOOF project. WWOOF, an acronym for WorldWide Opportunities On Organic Farms, is a potentially planet-changing program of volunteer farmers worldwide. Presumably, some interns become organic farmers themselves and will eventually mentor others. In addition to the food they’re producing on Plum Forest Farm, this mentoring of new farmers is commendable.

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Thank you both for that. Small farms are growing and producing a remarkable array of food, and many are committed to doing it without pesticides. Farmers Markets are in full swing, a perfect place to buy local produce and support regional farms. Consider rambling on over to Vashon Island some Saturday or Wednesday and buy fresh, seasonal, local from the market and roadside stands there, an especially good idea during June’s berry season. Bring gloves.

Photos: P.B. & S.S.


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