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Country Life

Gardening • A8 Dairy • A10 FFA/4-H • A10

A7 • • Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A new pest in silage corn Upcoming harvest will show extent of Western corn rootworm By Calvin Bratt

show people that you can have even just a little backyard garden and still encourage native things,” Harrington said. “You don’t have to completely destroy everything just to grow something.” She spends most of her time maintaining the natural landscapes of the diverse acreage that includes wetlands, open fields and

   WHATCOM ­— A new bug is in the silage corn fields of some local dairy farmers. How great of a threat it poses remains to be seen.    Farms are just now beginning this year’s silage corn harvest.   Lance Honcoop, agronomist with the Elenbaas Company, said evidence of the Western corn rootworm showed up in some fields in the Sumas area last fall. “We knew we would have a little bit of a problem,” he said.    What actually did appear in 2017 was more extensive than he expected, Honcoop said.   Infestation is “everywhere” around the county and Honcoop definitely expects local corn silage tonnage to be down, but added, “I can’t put any numbers on it.”    The Western corn

See Alpine on A8

See Corn on A9

Goats and chickens thrive on land that has been cultivated organic for over 10 years. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)

Pacific Alpine organic farm at risk Botanist hopes to preserve Kelly Rd. native species land By Ashley Hiruko

WHATCOM — Hidden deep within central Whatcom County on Kelly Road sits an ancient organic heir-

loom farm. With a picturesque view of Mt. Baker, the 19-acre plot of land is home to various species of plants and has been cultivated with organic techniques for over 100 years. Now the Pacifc Alpine Gardens is being threatened by development, county resident and botanist Diane Harrington said. Harrington has worked in greenhouses since the time she was 6 and grew

up near the farm she now leases. She knew the previous owner, Mr. Jones, as a child and helped to care for the man as he grew older, she said. He had purchased the farm from the original homesteaders in 1943 and, with a background in the military, knew that he wanted to preserve the policy of no chemical treatment. “Mr. Jones had seen a lot of chemical stuff in the service and he decided

he didn’t want any of that stuff near his family,” Harrington said. His approach to farming, she said, was to gather things that were already on the property, making sure not to destroy anything, so that the same resources could be gathered again. When he passed away, Harrington was able to lease the property and keep it in tune with his practices. “I really do want to

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A8 • Wednesday, September 13, 2017 •

Small-farm program open to additional participants Applications will be taken to Oct. 20    WHATCOM — Food To Bank On, a beginning farmer business training project facilitated by Sustainable Connections, is accepting applications for up to four new participants in 2018.    Food to Bank On provides farmers with business planning resources, connects beginning farmers with mentor farmers, coordinates specialized workshops and provides new market opportuni-

ties. Participants are also paid to deliver fresh food to local outlets serving the needy. Whatcom County food banks, soup kitchens and women’s shelters have received close to $100,000 in local products including fresh produce, eggs, meats and veggie starts since the program’s start in 2003.   Food to Bank On participants go through a business planning series each winter, working with a cohort of peer and mentor farmers to write and revisit their business plans. They also receive marketing assistance and free membership to Sustainable Connections,

enabling them to build business through relationships with retailers, restaurants and other established farmers.   Fifty-two farmers have now participated in the three-year program and 80 percent are still successfully farming. In order to provide a diversity of locally available agricultural products, the farmers chosen for Food To Bank On grow a variety of foods like vegetables, meats, eggs and flowers.    During the Sept. 3 Community Food Co-op Farm Fund Hootenanny, co-hosted by Sustainable Connections, new Food to Bank On farm-

In Bloom

Making the most of fall planting season By David Vos

   After a seemingly interminable dry streak, we’ve finally been blessed with rain again here in our corner of the Pacific Northwest, and with it comes the transition to a new season. With autumn’s official arrival just over a week away, now is the time to once again begin planting shrubs and trees, rehabilitating your lawn and sprucing up your containers for autumn.   Even though we’re technically still in summer, step outside early one morning and notice the changes: temperatures are cooler, heavy dew blankets the grass, and the daylight hours are quickly lessening. All of this adds up to ideal conditions to plant. In short, planting in fall offers many of the same conditions as spring with the added benefit of soil still warm from summer’s heat, encouraging rapid and healthy root de-

velopment for the plants you put in the ground.    Whatever you choose to plant this fall — and to be clear, September and October are great months for planting just about anything — ensure that your plants get established quickly by treating them with a starter solution like Bonide Root & Grow. Plant starters are designed to provide the nutrients plants need to develop healthy root systems and overcome any transplant stress.    A second task you can put on your list this month is lawn rehabilitation. Maybe you let your lawn go dormant (a nice word for brown!) this summer, and now it’s starting to green up slightly. If it’s been at least six weeks since you last fed the lawn, fertilize now with Scotts Turf Builder lawn food. After a long, hard summer, Turf Builder can help thicken up your grass and get it healthy before fall really sets in.    Now, if you let your lawn go totally brown this


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summer, you may need to replant some dead spots. Or maybe you’ve redone a patio or deck this summer and should patch a few areas of lawn. In any case, September is arguably the best month to plant grass, so get to work!    As with plants, grass seed loves the slightly cooler temperatures, regular moisture and warm soil September has to offer. When planting grass seed, prepare the area with a fresh layer of topsoil, or for small areas at least rake through the existing soil to break the surface slightly. Then spread starter fertilizer — a necessity for grass seed to germinate and take root. Unlike most regular lawn fertilizers, starter fertilizer contains phosphorus, an essential element for root development, so be sure that you use starter, not standard lawn fertilizer.    Finally, spread your grass seed, and top with a light dusting of peat moss, topsoil or compost. If you’re able to keep the seed moist (watering lightly two to three times a day in dry weather), you’ll see a green haze of grass sprouting in around a week. And by October, when the rainy season arrives, you’ll have a lawn well established for winter!    Lastly, now is the perfect time to begin planting your pots with flowers for fall and winter color. Cool Wave pansies — the trailing cousins to traditional winter pansies — make great spillers in containers or hanging baskets to replace your summerweary flowers. For foliage texture, heuchera works well in sun or shade and provides excellent color for the dreary months. And for height in a large pot, try a unique shrub like Whipcord cedar. Its grassy texture will move in the wind, and since it’s hardy to minus-20 degrees F, you can leave it out all winter and trust it to survive.    With summer beginning to give way to autumn, take advantage of this near-perfect weather to work outside and enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons!

ers Kevin and Brianna Buck, owners of Twin Cedars Farm on Mosquito Lake Road, Deming, took home the award for Beginning Farmer of the Year because of numerous customer nominations for quality produce, great customer service and the exceptional care given their animals. Twin Cedars sells mixed veggies and fruit as well as pastured eggs at the Bellingham Farmers Market, through restaurants and retailers, and through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. Two other Food to Bank On farms were also nominated: Chubby Bunny

Farms (Lawrence Road, Everson) and Wild Rose Farm (Robinson Street, Everson).    Applications for the Food to Bank On program are available on Sustainable Connections’ website and are due back by Oct. 20. Farmers seeking more information can contact program coordinator Alex Smith at alex@ sustainableconnections. org.   Current program participants include: Dragon Tongue Medicinal Herb Farm, Chubby Bunny Farm, Blanchard Mountain Farm, Highland Blueberries, Small Acres Farm, Nourish Craft

Farm, Free Range Flowers Farm, Slanted Sun Farm, Twin Cedars Farm, Wild Rose Farm, and Vertical Fog Farm.   Current mentor farms are: Cedarville Farm, Cloud Mountain Farm Center, Misty Meadows Farm and Rabbit Fields Farm, all of the Everson area; Osprey Hill Farm of Acme; and Bow Hill Blueberries in Skagit County.   The program has about 17 business sponsors.    Get more information at: https://sustaina b l e c o n n e c t i o n s. o r g / programs/food-farming/ food-to-bank-on/.

Alpine: Harrington not giving up on antique farm

Diane Harrington continues being the main caretaker of Pacific Alpine Gardens. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune) Continued from A7 forest. An antique orchard, trees that have grown for over a hundred years, a variety of bee species, horses, goats, sheep and chickens are just some of the many features to see. “This land is amazing,” Harrington said. “I’ve lived next to it. I’ve documented it.” Harrington had already spent years working to preserve the Pacific Alpine farm when her mother became terminally ill and the daughter needed to be involved. Her time was now prioritized to caring for her mother. “I was able to keep everything alive, but not able to get everything to where it should be,” Harrington

said. Her mother remained alive for three years, beating doctors’ diagnosis, before passing away at age 89. Her last words were “Don’t lose the farm. Don’t give up on it.” And Harrington is doing all in her power to keep that promise, she said. “That’s the people I come from. You don’t give up,” Harrington said about her hardworking and resilient mother. “You just keep doing it. That’s why I can’t give up on this farm.” Harrington hopes to prove to the property owner that the land has value as a farm, but in order to do so, much upkeep, trimming and maintenance msut be done. She hopes to preserve the property

for generations and maybe one day have a labeled botanical garden and teach others how to encourage native species while gardening. She would also like to sell vegetable, fruit and plant starts at the farmers markets once again. Harrington is seeking financial and physical assistance and is open to a partnership to save the farm. Those willing to volunteer time to cultivate the land must adhere to her ethic of no sprays and lots of hard work. To volunteer, contact Diane Harrington at    Also, there is an active online GoFundMe fundraiser to save Pacific Alpine Gardens.

There is plenty to maintain, and Diane Harrington would welcome help. (Ashley Hiruko/Lynden Tribune)



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Wednesday, September 13, 2017 • • A9

Touring for a primer on local farming efforts

An Aug. 24 farm tour organized by the Whatcom Business Alliance brought two busloads of guests to berry-growing Enfield Farms (left) and Edaleen Dairy (right) to hear details of the technology advances of those two Lynden operations. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

Darigold shifts to doing its own store delivery Trucks and new employees will work from five NW cities    SEATTLE — Darigold announced Sept. 1 that it is

shifting to its own direct delivery of finished goods to stores with a fleet of trucks.   Since 2009 Darigold had been using Estenson Logistics as its dedicated carrier for finished goods. That changed this summer when Estenson was sold, and Darigold decided

to make a strategic investment in its future, according to a press release.   Darigold is hiring about 200 employees for the change, and its drivers will be able to provide a better service experience for customers, said Stan Ryan, president and CEO.

   The shift involves 100 tractors and 180 trailers. The fleet will operate in the Northwest out of Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Boise and Bozeman, all places where Darigold has processing plants.   Making this investment allows Darigold to

create a more sustainable supply chain and gain better control over its transportation, optimizing routes and scheduling, the company said.    “We are excited to bring this capability in-house, as we will soon celebrate our 100th anniversary and start

our next century of business,” Ryan said. “We are making this investment to upgrade our local delivery capabilities and maintain control throughout the value chain. Doing so makes us better equipped to more quickly provide farm-tomarket delivery.”

Corn: Harvest will provide better perspective on losses Continued from A7 rootworm first weakens plant roots at its larva stage. Greater damage is inflicted later when an adult beetle feeds on the silk at the tip of a corn ear. This “silk clipping” prevents proper pollination, resulting in an underdeveloped ear of grain.   Honcoop said Elenbaas did extra insecticide spraying in Whatcom fields in late July and early August in response to the outbreak.    Now as harvest happens, farmers and agronomists will get a clearer picture on all the silage corn acreage in the county — estimated at more than 15,000 acres.    In a dairy feed ration, ears of corn provide a good dose of the starch needed in a cow’s diet. Lacking it in corn silage means it should be made up, at a cost, with something else.    Derek Gavette, agronomy manager with CHS Northwest, said he estimates “a pretty small percentage” of silage corn acres, not more than 5 percent, being affected by the Western corn rootworm in Whatcom County.    He called it “a plague in a few places.”    The harvest will gain everyone a more in-depth view of any losses, Gavette said.    It’s hard to say how or why this infestation showed up now, Honcoop said. This past year’s odd weather patterns may have contributed

Silage corn for dairy farms is soon to be harvested in Whatcom County. Damage is evident in some fields. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune) — first unseasonable wetness and cold from October into May, then unusual dryness until last week.    The pest is showing up in corn fields in the Fraser

River area too. “The Canadians blame us, and we blame them,” he said.   Crop rotation will help stymie any return of the Western root worm


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  The agonomist says he also saw a greater than normal infestation of army worms in farm grass fields this year. There may be up to a 75 percent loss of vol-


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A10 • Wednesday, September 13, 2017 •

4H Reports

MiElkE Market

Milk price likely peaking at $16.57   The August Federal Order Class III benchmark milk price was announced Friday, Sept. 1, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at $16.57 per hundredweight, up $1.12 from July but 34 cents below August 2016.    It is the highest Class III price since February, but futures trading doesn’t give much hope for further rise in the months ahead.   The current price equates to $1.42 per gallon, up from $1.33 in July.    The Class IV price is $16.61, up a penny from July, $1.96 above a year ago and at its highest level since November 2015.   California’s comparable Class 4b cheese milk price is $16.26, up 97 cents from July and at its highest since December 2016, but 8 cents below a year ago and 30 cents below the Federal Order Class III price.

   Dairy product prices dropped the last week of August as traders weighed the heavy stocks in storage. Block cheddar closed Sept. 1 at $1.54 per pound, down 11 cents on the week after losing 10.5 cents the previous week. It is 14 cents below a year ago and 24.75 cents below the Aug.

Speaker panel topic is farm winterizing   LYNDEN ­ — In the Whatcom Speaker Series on the third Thursday of every month, regional experts are joined by local farmers to share their knowledge and experience on farming and land man-

1 level. The barrels closed at $1.52, down 3.75 cents, 12 cents below a year ago and down 14 cents on the month.    Dave Kurzawski. FC Stone dairy broker, had this analysis: “It continues to be the case that we have an adequate to heavy supply of milk in many regions of the U.S. except arguably for California. Producers have been incentivized to expand following the aftermath of the 2013-2014 bull market. Many parts of the country are struggling with an oversupply of milk currently, as processing capacity has not kept pace.”    Cash butter was also caught in the downdraft, closing Friday at $2.5075 per pound, lowest since June 9, 2017. That was down 12 cents on the week (although 45.75 cents above a year ago) and down 17.5 cents on the month —

the cheapest butter on the planet.   Butter demand reports continue to be positive, says USDA, with more interest in unsalted butter (for export), as global prices are markedly higher than domestic rates.    The Northwest Dairy Association made these price projections for the Class III price and Pacific Northwest blend price: Month Class PNW III Blend Aug. $16.57 $17.00 (current) Sept. $16.25 $16.50 Oct. $16.00 $16.05 Nov. $15.75 $15.85 Dec. $15.65 $15.70 Jan. $15.55 $15.60 Feb. $15.60 $15.65 March $15.65 $15.70   Lee Mielke, of Lynden, is editor of the Mielke Market Weekly. Whatcom County has about 100 dairy farms.

agement.   “Mud Management and Winterizing Your Farm” is the topic at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, in Peoples Place on the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds.    A panel of livestock producers and Dr. Anderson from Kulshan Veterinary Hospital will discuss livestock health, production and nutrition, and any

other issues that arise, related to the mud and other elements of the cold and wet seasons.    Also learn about Whatcom Conservation District grants that can help with farm improvements.   Refreshments provided. Register to kpencke@ Find out more at www/whatcomcd. org. or 360-526-2381, ext. 105.

BARN BUDDIES Tabitha Revak, reporter    Since I’ve written about our Barn Buddies’ preparations for the Northwest Washington Fair and the Small Animal Experience nearly every month throughout 2017, it feels strange to have to switch focus now. Fair week was Aug. 14-19, nearly a month past. Soon we will begin planning for next year’s fair, but for now we will reflect on this year’s fair and shift our focus to the everyday activities that were interrupted by fair week.    Although the week was long and crazy (62,000 visitors came through the SAE this year), it went smoothly. Our engineering team of Ron Visser and Jeff Petersen made sure that our handwashing stations were always in working condition and that the adventure bridge over the turkeys and geese, the overhead chicken housing and the calf pen were all assembled properly. Brooke VanderVeen, this year’s new SAE coordinator, worked with all of the volunteers from Barn Buddies, other Whatcom County 4-H clubs and FFA chapters, the Lions Club, and the Lynden community to put together the week’s schedule and ensure that everyone had the resources and knowledge they needed to be comfortable with their tasks in the SAE. Between Brooke, Lacey VanderVeen, Tami Pusch and Barn Buddies leader Debbie VanderVeen, there was always a person available to answer questions for, and lend a word of encouragement to, any volunteers who needed it.    Even though we may not see them around the SAE as much as some of the other people mentioned, we are also extremely grateful to Jim Baron, the Northwest Washington Fair manager, and the fair board of directors for making the Small Animal Experience possible.

PAILS-N-TRAILS Charles Johnson, reporter    We are all recovering from our busy week at the fair! It was a blast. My club learned a lot about showing goats and judging goats. It was especially fun to watch the goat costume contest in which goats and their owners dress up in funny and creative costumes. Our club had a unicorn/pegasus, a jockey and her horse, and even a goat dressed as a human and the owner dressed as a goat, just to name a few.    Many of us did still-life entries in the 4H barn. This was a great opportunity for 4H members to showcase our skills in art, science, woodworking, horticulture, recycled art, nature art, yard art, baking, table settings, clay work and more. It was awesome to see all the great work and for people to realize 4H is not just about animal projects. You might have even seen someone on the performance stage near the 4H barn telling a story, singing, dancing or other cool stuff. Or you might have seen someone on the stage inside the 4H barn giving a speech about bats or grooming a horse. These are all other options for projects that kids can do in 4H while at the fair.   Beside the exciting fair week, we also had Leader Appreciation Night a week after the fair at Pioneer Park in Ferndale, where we took time to appreciate our club leaders. We thanked leader Karen Evans for all the great stuff she does for our club. We had delicious food and fun!    It has been a busy month, but we are already getting ready for state fair in Puyallup (through Sept. 24). Some of our still-life projects will be on display there and some of us will be giving public presentations. We are looking forward and feeling excited about all the events at state and the Northwest Washington Fair next year. Hope to see you next year!

Whether it is healthy eating, sustainable businesses, or organic farming, there are so many ways to embrace the green lifestyle in north Whatcom County.



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Keeping Your Home Green in Autumn

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