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Country Life Wednesday, March 11, 2020 • lyndentribune.com • ferndalerecord.com

Dairy • A8 Gardening • A8

Two local flower farms Darigold touts FIT Milk get ready for this year as ‘future of fluid dairy’ Demand drives new expansion of market, including $67 million Boise investment By Calvin Bratt editor@lyndentribune.com

Triple Wren Farms is now the full-time work of Steve and Sarah Pabody. (Courtesy photo)

Flower beauty is Double and Triple inspiration By Elisa Claassen for the Lynden Tribune

   WHATCOM — While signs of spring are starting to show in pink blossoms in trees and daffodils in yards, serious commercial gardeners have been at work through the winter planning and preparing for growing season 2020. It is more than ordering seeds or picking up a few plant starts at the farm stores.    Two local farms are among those selling their

wares on different scales of operation. One sells as a growing and thriving business and the other prefers to stay smaller and manageable as a hobby farm. In a touch of coincidence, one has “double” in its name and the other “triple.” Double J Flower Ranch, Everson – Jade (and Joe) Sines    Gardening with parents in childhood was a “type of discipline.” It was then. It isn’t now.    As an adult it is “fun.” The teacher by school year with the Bellingham School District uses her evenings, weekends and summer vacation for Double J Flower Ranch north of Everson.    The farm is still in

relative infancy. Jade Sines sells flowers and and some veggies through her Facebook account, website (https ://doublejflowerranch.com/), small subscription basis and from her roadside stand at 2666 Lindsay Rd.    In February, heat mats and lights were set up in the house. The green house “was full before it was finished.”    “Joe bought me the Floret book,” Jade said. The book, award-winning “A Year in Flowers” by Skagit Valley farmer Erin Benzakein, was meant to be a plan for the future garden for the couple. “When I got to See Farms on A7

  SEATTLE — Calling it “the future of fluid dairy,” Darigold says consumer demand for its FIT milk product is strong and growing rapidly.    That means it’s time for market expansion.    Launched in the Pacific Northwest last year, FIT has doubled in sales and distribution over the past six months. This milk product delivers 75% more protein and 40% less sugar than traditional milk.    Also, to support this growth, Darigold Inc. will invest $67 million in its Boise, Idaho, facility in 2020.    FIT was developed in response to consumer trends that demand “better for you” milk products, while staying goodtasting and convenient. Using ultrafiltration, FIT is designed to give consumers the taste they want while being lactosefree and high in protein without introducing anything artificial.   Darigold announced in February that it recently broadened the FIT product line to include

whole milk as well as offering 2% white and 2% chocolate milk.    According to Duane Naluai, Darigold’s senior vice president who is behind the new product, “FIT was inspired by our farmer owners’ desire to revitalize fluid milk. They, more than anyone, know Darigold must provide consumers with new and relevant types of milk that preserve the wholesome and nutritious foundation which makes milk great in the first place. The positive consumer response we have received gives us confidence that FIT is bringing consumers back to fluid dairy.”    The investment in Boise will not only expand FIT, but will also serve as a platform for relaunching other classic Darigold beverages.    The investment includes a major capacity expansion as well as modern aseptic packaging to produce FIT as a shelf-stable product that can be shipped and stored without refrigeration. This project will generate 15 new positions in Boise. It will also reduce the company’s environmental footprint as it relates to water use, plastic and corrugated materials, and overall energy use.    Many of the local farmers who supply the milk and sponsor the development of FIT are based in Washington state.    Tony Veiga, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Washington’s board of

directors, said: “This is yet another example of innovation coming from the entrepreneurial spirit of our farmers, building on a tradition of constantly striving to provide more nutritious products in more sustainable ways.”    The first production run using the shelf-stable packaging is anticipated in fall 2020, marking the first of its kind in the Northwest.    “It’s an exciting time for dairy, as innovation is inspiring increased demand among consumers,” said Karianne Fallow, CEO of Dairy West, See FIT on A8

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020 • lyndentribune.com • A7

Farms Continued from A6

page 40, you realize it’s a ‘to do’ book,” she said.   During her “previous life” inside Nooksack city limits on a double lot, Jade always had dahlias, raised beds and a multitude of patio plants. Now — after the family moved from Bellingham where their property was taken by eminent domain for commercial activity — she is able to expand on the 40 acres that had been her husband’s childhood farm.    She points toward areas where flooding takes over in wet seasons, an orchard, a 25-by-120-foot large flower and vegetable patch and another 10-by50 separate garden. A third space will allow sunflowers to flourish with sweet peas. More than 1,000 bulbs from Holland and Burpee were planted as well. Jade’s 2- and 4-yearold grandchildren and great-nieces enjoy playing on the grounds with dog Annie.    Joe had no idea how far his new bride of two years would take this gift. “It opened a door,” she said. With Joe’s general c o nt ra c t i ng / c o n st r u ction background, his next gift to Jade was a sizeable greenhouse. (Jade’s blog, accessed through her website, has the materials and steps for its construction.) That was only January 2019, just over a year ago.   Today she continues to test new plants and strategies. “I saw the opportunity and took it,” she said of the work, which also applies to her hobbies and interests. “I’m a selfstarter, according to my friends.”    Her 2020 flower season has dozens of listings, from Agastache Arcado Pink to Zinna Will Rogers. Flower subscriptions will start in late June 2020. Weekly costs are $150 for 10 market bouquets or $75 for bi-weekly and five bouquets. She also has had flower calendars, seed, DIY buckets, vase bouquet subscriptions, café Mason

jar simple arrangements and subscriptions, and special order bouquets. Her revised website has the ability to pay with PayPal, Visa, Amex, Mastercard and Discover.    For customers in Bellingham, she has arranged for a pop-up shop at West Coast Pops, 2010 N. State St., Fridays this summer from 1 to 3 p.m.   A “gorgeous new” farm stand, evolved from an initial old upgrade dresser, sits at the roadway. Jade has taken floral design classes from former florist Cheryl Jackson, a professional designer with over 25 years of experience, in addition to reading articles, chatting with farmers and trading seed with other farmers. She is now learning to make hand-crafted gifts from her flowers using resin.    She and Joe are talking about upgrading their barn into possible class space. She speaks highly of her collaborative husband: “A woman can blossom with the right support.” Triple Wren Farms, Custer – Sarah and Steve Pabody    “The truth is, you have to have well-prepared ground before you plant,” Sarah writes in her current blog.   “Who are you? I mean, who *are* you? What makes you get up and go? What puts a fire in your belly? What truly, deeply motivates you to action?    “Your heart is the beginning and ending of all you imagine. It matters WHY you’re doing what you do. It matters who you are!   “When we started farming, my goal was to bring in extra income. It was basically a side hustle that uses the resources I either had readily available (water, soil and space), could get for free (hello library books + Google!), or cost very little (seeds in small quantities are pretty cheap). We were on a tight budget, barely mak-

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Jade Sines is the driving force behind all the growing going on at Double J Flower Ranch near Everson. (Courtesy photo)

ing it each month, and I was very motivated. And whether you’re similarly motivated financially, or if you’re motivated by the sheer beauty of flowers, or the epic struggle of coaxing the earth to cooperate with you as you grow at scale, your passion and motivation are the heart behind what you do. As you flush out your specific goals — not vague/ broad ones (“learn to grow flowers”), but very specific ones (“succession plant sunflowers for every week of my growing season” or “successfully plant, grow, and journal about these 8 kinds of flowering annuals”) — spend some time thinking about the WHY behind your WHAT.” Feb. 26, 2020, Sarah Pabody   While Triple Wren Farms seems virtually to have come out of nowhere, it has jumped its own share of hoops to get where it is. With a growing social media presence, especially on Instagram and Facebook, the farm has a large following outside of Whatcom County mostly, but locals are joining the

fan base, even though it is a private flower farm with no storefront hours.   Last season, Triple Wren opened the farm at 2424 Zell Rd. for a one-day visit for the public through brilliantly colored dahlias. This year, other events are planned for private and public visits for U-pick blueberries and pumpkins.   Https://www.triplewrenfarms.com/ discloses an online store, blog, fresh cuts, wedding flowers and even events and workshops. Recent blog posts include a series on business plans for flower farms. Much of what is available in the store are dahlia tubers in specific color palettes. The workshops, like and unlike Floret Farms, not only show how to grow flowers but how to literally enjoy time in and around the beauty of flowers doing yoga or listening to speakers combined with gardening/farming.    The family relocated to Washington initially for Steve to work as a pastor, Sarah said. (Now he is full-time in the business, which includes family and

Try this Shamrock Smoothie! Courtesy of Emily Kyle at EmilyKyleNutrition.com, this is a healthier greener alternative to other seasonal drinks

Yields 2 Ingredients: 2 frozen bananas, 1 cup baby spinach (packed), 1/2 avocado (pitted and scooped), 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 cup plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Directions: Pour ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Optional toppings: Dairy free plant based whipped cream, raw cacao nibs/vegan friendly chocolate chips. Substitutions: Variations of this recipe include kale instead of spinach, water instead of milk, and medjool dates/strawberries/green apple for sweeteners. Protein powder can also be added to boost the nutritional value of your drink.

employees.) After “babysitting a farm,” as she referred to it, in Skagit County, they found their own place near Custer where they are now located. It had not been lived in or farmed in a few years, and it took time and work to bring it to blooming life, let alone the many brilliant colors they are now known for.    Sarah had taken their children to a library story hour and had seen a flower gardening/farming display set up by the librarians. The books caught her eye, and this is where it has taken her — her own business. What they have learned, they are sharing in turn with others who want to take the same path.   Their flowers are shipped across the country and to wholesale florists and markets in Seattle. Fabulous glamping

tents are set up for camps and workshops geared for adult students. Tickets have already sold out for a special Cultivate Women’s Evening event with bestselling and award-winning author/artist/entrepreneur Ruth Chou Simons at the farm on July 25, involving worship and biblical teaching. Another event combines the enjoyment of yoga in the flowers at sunset. As other events are planned, fans can follow on social media.    Sarah serves as the lead wedding designer in their separate wedding flower business, found on the website triplewrenweddings.com. This side of the business actually incorporates not only wedding arrangements but personal flowers for small events and corporate events.

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A8 • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 • lyndentribune.com

IN BLOOM

MIELKE MARKET

Making the most of spring gardening

Milk price still at $17, but heading lower

   Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.” To be fair, this hobby we call gardening can be downright hard work sometimes, but what joy to see a garden flourish and know that you played some small part in refining its beauty.    With the vernal equinox just 10 days away, spring is upon us, and with it comes the joy of working the soil once again. As you start gardening for the year, here are a few ways to make the most of spring gardening:    First, if you haven’t yet taken steps to eradicate moss in your lawn, it’s never too late to start — and it’s a great way to begin the year in lawn care. Last month I wrote about applying ferrous sulfate to kill moss, fastacting lime to sweeten the soil and discourage moss regrowth, and fertilizer to help green up the grass for spring. If weather derailed your plans last month, take advantage of the more frequent sunny days we’re enjoying and reclaim your lawn.    As you get out on your lawn once again, you may notice your turf is dotted with blotchy brown or pink-tinged patches. Fungus problems are common following cool, wet winters, but don’t fret. For many common lawn diseases, sunny weather and a dose of nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer will be all your turf needs to green up once again. If you find that fertilizer doesn’t do the trick, a lawn fungicide like Scotts DiseaseEx can help clear up any lingering fungus issues.    Second, March is the ideal time to fertilize many of the shrubs around your yard. With rhododendrons and azaleas coming into bloom later this spring, encourage vibrant, long-lasting flowers and healthy new growth with a dose of fertilizer specifically formulated for acid-loving plants. Many of your other shrubs will benefit from feeding as well, and a sprinkling of Jack’s Classicote slowrelease fertilizer around the base of your plants is the perfect way to ensure they’re fed consistently for three to four months.    Third, it’s time to start planting! Never mind the

Milk price still at $17, but going lower

By David Vos

overnight frosts we continue to get, it’s now safe to start planting just about any of the shrubs and trees you’ve been waiting for, along with a wide selection of perennials.    When I’m looking for exciting new plants, I often look for multi-season interest. Whether it’s unusual foliage or striking fall color, it’s always a bonus in my book if a flowering shrub looks good for more than just the few weeks it’s in bloom in the spring or summer. Bloomerang lilacs from Proven Winners do just that! While most lilacs strut their stuff for just a few weeks in spring, Bloomerang lilacs are rebloomers, meaning you’ll get a second wave of flowers in summer, continuing to bloom into autumn.    Growing just four to six feet tall and wide, Bloomerang Dark Purple is a compact lilac as well, so it will fit in just about any size yard. And if that’s too big, Bloomerang comes in a dwarf size too, topping out at just about three feet tall and wide. Look for Bloomerang lilacs at local garden centers this spring and enjoy the multi-season interest of fragrant lilac flowers in spring, summer and fall.    Finally, have fun. After the drab tones of January and February, the colorful blooms of early spring are beginning — and their bright hues are hard to ignore. Embrace the wonder of bulbs bursting into bloom, forsythias’ golden tones lighting up the landscape, or the powerful fragrance of spring-blooming daphne.    Spring is a wonderful time filled with promise, so make the most of it this month!   David Vos is general manager of Vander Giessen Nursery Inc. of Lynden.

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the February Federal Order Class III benchmark milk price March 6 at $17.00 per hundredweight (cwt.), down 5 cents from January but $3.11 above February 2019 and the highest February Class III since 2014.    Friday’s Class III futures settlements put the March price at $16.37 and April at $16.03, with a peak back at $17.12 in October.    The February Class IV price is $16.20, down 45 cents from January but 34 cents above a year ago.   Cheddar block cheese started March by ending three weeks of declines. It closed Friday at $1.75, up 2.75 cents on the week and 21.5 cents above a year ago. The barrels dropped to $1.4775, down 11.25 cents on the week but 11.25 cents above a year ago.    The coronavirus outbreak is affecting markets worldwide, including dairy, with no end of the impact in sight. Dairy product demand is still good enough to keep prices above year-ago levels, at least for cheese, but there’s increasing amounts of milk available to cheese vats and plenty of cream for the butter

FIT Continued from A6

which represents and sponsors dairy across Idaho and Utah. “Darigold FIT is a great example of the kind of new thinking that is revitalizing dairy.”    With the FIT expansion, the local farmer owners of Darigold are investing in their own future.

By Lee Mielke

churns.   Butter, which fell below $2 per pound just before Thanksgiving last year for the first time since November 2016, continues to struggle. It fell to $1.6950 in late February and then climbed back to $1.8550 on March 6, 13 cents higher on the week but 41.25 cents below a year ago.    Grade A nonfat dry milk has been impacted the most by the coronavirus, but closed March 6 at $1.1150 per pound, up 5 cents on the week and 14 cents above a year ago. That is encouraging for now.    Dry whey closed at 34.75 cents per pound, 0.75 cents higher on the week and 0.75 cents above a year ago.    China is opening its doors to more U.S. dairy products, especially dry whey, as it tries to rebuild its hog population, devastated by the African Swine Fever, prior to the coronaMore about FIT   Darigold introduced FIT in the Northwest region in January 2019. Darigold FIT milk was named Editor’s Choice #1 by Dairy Foods magazine in January 2020, for their 2019 Top 10 Best New Dairy Products list. The Editor’s Choice is based on originality, packaging and taste. FIT was also named a finalist for best dairy drink in the 2019 World Dairy Innovation Awards. In this global

$1,260 per head, down $10 from October but $140 above January 2019.    Dairy farm margins continued to weaken the second half of February, as the milk market remained under pressure despite generally steady feed costs, according to the latest Margin Watch from Chicago-based Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC.   “Although margins have retreated from very profitable levels,” the MW stated, “they remain relatively strong from a historical perspective. Ongoing headwinds from the expanding global coronavirus outbreak have pressured milk prices as rising production and stocks raise concern over near- and medium-term demand.”    The Northwest Dairy Association makes these price projections for the Class III price and Pacific Northwest blend price: Month Class PNW III Blend Feb. $17.00 $16.75 (current) March $16.30 $16.30 April $15.60 $15.90 May $15.90 $15.85 June $16.10 $16.10 July $16.30 $16.40 Aug. $16.40 $16.50 Sept. $16.60 $16.65 Oct. $16.60 $17.50 Nov. $16.65 $16.55    Lee Mielke, of Lynden, is editor of the Mielke Market Weekly. Whatcom County has about 85 dairy farms.

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virus outbreak.    U.S. dairy farm profitability suffered some, as a lower All Milk Price and higher feed costs pulled the January Milk Feed Price Ratio lower, a second month of decline. The Ag Prices report put the ratio at 2.41, down from 2.55 in December but it’s up from 2.06 in January 2019.   The U.S. All-Milk Price averaged $19.60 per hundredweight, down $1.10 from December but $3 above January 2019.    The national average corn price averaged $3.79 per bushel, up 8 cents from December and 23 cents above January 2019. Soybeans averaged $8.84 per bushel, up 14 cents from December and 20 cents above a year ago. Alfalfa hay averaged $171 per ton, down $4 from December and $8.00 below a year ago.   The January cull price for beef and dairy combined averaged $61.40 per cwt., up $2.10 from December and $7.20 above January 2019, but $10.20 below the 2011 base average of $71.60 per cwt.    Milk cow replacements averaged $1,300 per head for the quarter in January, down $10 per head from October, but $160 above January 2019. Cows averaged $1,400 per head in California, unchanged from October but $300 above a year ago. Wisconsin cows averaged

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