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Sequim Gazette

Harvest Celebration 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • 1


2 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harvest Celebration 2011

Go Green … Grow Green! Cultures all over the world host festivities centered around the harvest, celebrating the bounty that is the result of so many months of hard work and anticipation. Throughout human history, a good harvest has meant that the tribe, village, city-state or nation will eat for another year. In today’s global society, we tend not to worry about that because if our harvest fails, we simply ship food in from somewhere else. However, the gigantic production, processing and distribution system currently in place is proving to have its own risks and vulnerabilities, as well as harmful consequences for local economies and the health of our bodies and the environment. Because of the industrial food system’s dependence on fossil fuel, and this resource’s long-term effects on climate, supporting resilient local food systems is one of the best things a person can do to “go green.” Getting away from excess processing and packaging by growing

your own or purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables is another “green” way to reduce the waste stream and improve your health. Your support of local agriculture also means there will be farms for the future to provide food and fiber for peninsula residents, habitat for wildlife and local jobs to strengthen our regional economy, all of which move us toward a more sustainable, “green” community. We live in a unique place where a wide variety of crops can be grown in prime soils and where agriculture still is practiced by innovative and dedicated farmers. On the Harvest Celebration Farm Tours, enjoy the diverse flavors of the season and the many wonderful family activities at each stop. The farmers have been working hard to bring in the harvest and share these good times with you. Come on down to the Farm Tours on Saturday, Oct. 1, and “Go Green … Grow Green!” Olympic View Publishing Co. LLC P.O. Box 1750, Sequim, WA 98382 Phone: (360) 683-3311 • FAX: (360) 683-6670

“Harvest Celebration 2011” is a special section of the Sequim Gazette. © 2011 by Olympic View Publishing Co. LLC. Publisher: Sue Ellen Riesau • General Manager: Steve Perry • Publication Design: Mandy Kay Harris Special Sections Editor: Patricia Morrison Coate • e-mail: patc@sequimgazette.com

Sequim Gazette

Harvest Dinner

Friends of the Fields and the North Olympic Land Trust are holding the 12th Annual 100Mile Harvest Celebration Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Sunland Country Club in Sequim. Preparation for this unique, gourmet, all-local dinner will be headed by chef Gabriel Schuenemann of the Alder Wood Bistro, with ingredients procured from farmers, ranchers and fishermen from within 100 miles of Sequim. Enjoy the delightful piano music of Paul Creech and Trent LaCour, as well as a special dessert auction featuring elegant and spectacular desserts by local cooks and chefs. The evening also will honor Robert Caldwell,

Calendar of Events Sept. 25 — 14th Annual Harvest Celebration Dinner, sponsored by Friends of the Fields, a Division of North Olympic Land Trust. 5:30 p.m. at the Sunland Country Club. Tickets available online at www.northolympiclandtrust.org or by calling 681-8636. A unique dinner created by local chefs with ingredients procured from farms and fisheries within 100 miles of Sequim. $115 per person. Oct. 1 — Harvest Celebration Farm Tours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit six farms in Agnew and

who co-founded Friends of the Fields in 1999 and served as its president for seven years. Bob has been a tireless advocate for farmland protection, doing everything from strawberry shortcake sales, to grant writing, to debating the opposition during the 2005 Buyer’s Excise Tax campaign. Bob led the way as the organization protected more than 210 acres of prime farmland in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. None of that land would have been saved had it not been for his efforts. Please join us as we salute Bob Caldwell, one of Clallam County’s No. 1 citizens, and my personal hero. Patty McManus-Huber

Dungeness and see how agriculture in the Sequim Valley not only “goes green … it GROWS GREEN!” $10 per carload. Oct. 1 — Community Potluck, 6 p.m., Nash’s packing shed. Bring a dish to share with your friends and neighbors. For $7, stay and dance the night away at Nash’s Barn Dance. Boogie down to Deadwood Revival, fun for all ages. Children under 16 free! Oct. 16 — World Food Day. Join your fellow citizens and rally in support of labeling genetically modified foods. Downtown Sequim, 11 a.m.3 p.m.


Sequim Gazette

Harvest Celebration 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • 3

Growing heirloom varieties: Why should we? by

Muriel Nesbitt

Genetic diversity in food plants is disappearing. We have lost about 75 percent of the genetic variability of crop plants since 1900 and the rate of loss is increasing. This matters because genetic diversity is like a savings account or reservoir — a source to be drawn upon in times of need. The food plant varieties we have today have come to us from wild ancestor plants. Our own ancestors were selective about sowing seeds, choosing the best of the current crop to produce next season’s crop. Differing conditions in various regions led to the development of thousands of locally adapted varieties. These varieties are called landraces and they have the ability to adapt to different environmental conditions. Over centuries, new varieties were developed from these landraces as growers selected for taste and performance. These diverse varieties, referred to today as “heirlooms,” are all open-pollinated, meaning that they produce seed after self-fertilization or pollination by insects or wind and their seed produces new plants reliably similar to the parent plant. However, since the source of pollen is uncontrolled, some variation in characteristics is to be expected and this variation can be a source from which to select new traits.

Impact of commercial ag Commercial agriculture has changed the rules by which seeds are selected. It requires product uniformity and the ability to withstand machine picking, cross-country transport and long storage, rather than taste or nutritional content. Much of the genetic diversity inherent in landraces and heirlooms has been lost and we have a muchdiminished reservoir of genetic stock from which to feed ourselves in the future. Uniformity often is ensured by the use of F1 hybrids, which generally do not produce useful seeds. Hybrid seeds are the first generation of two distinct parental lines of the same species. The seed from the cross-pollinated hybrid plants then can have attributes from both of the parent plants. However, the seeds from the offspring plants have unpredictable characteristics and are not as likely to produce desired traits as the original seeds from the first cross. They may be sterile or fail to breed true. So the farmer has to return to the seed breeder to acquire more of the same seed. Commercial crops are grown in enormous monocultures — hundreds of thousands of acres of a single variety. These monocultures provide a feast for pests and diseases, leading to use of vast quantities of chemical control substances such as herbicides and pesticides.

Thank you for supporting this local business for 85 years!

Explore heirloom varieties Open-pollinated heirloom varieties are intrinsically not uniform and therefore not of value to commercial producers. Hence they have fallen out of favor with seed producers and are less often available in seed catalogs. Societal changes and the decline of family farms mean fewer seeds are passed from generation to generation and the knowledge and expertise needed for understanding seed selection is diminished. If what remains of genetic variability is to be preserved, home gardeners and small commercial farms must be the ones to grow and preserve the heirloom varieties. Fortunately, growing these heirlooms provides great rewards in terms of flavor, beauty and choices. For example, Amish Deer Tongue lettuce is a green cut-and-come-again variety with a thin midrib and great flavor. Forellenschuss lettuce is a delicious Austrian romaine-type heirloom that is green but thickly speckled with maroon spots. Add the beautiful oak-leaf type Bronze Arrow Head for an eye-catching salad bowl. Heirloom beets also are colorful and tasty. Early Wonder came into being sometime around 1911. The leaves are emerald green, fast growing, sweet and flavorful. The roots are smooth, bright red and about 3 inches in diameter. Another beautiful beet is Chioggia, an Italian heirloom. Slicing reveals alternating red and white rings, like a target. The mild flavored tops also can be used raw or cooked as greens. Heirloom garlic varieties include Inchelium Red, discovered on the Colville Reservation in Eastern Washington; Oregon Blue, a fairly hot soft-neck variety; or Nootka Rose, a silver-skin, soft-neck variety that is an excellent keeper. Several heirloom potato varieties are worth trying. All Blue potatoes have outstanding flavor, deep blue skin, lavender-blue flesh, high yields and good keeping qualities. The Ozette potato is a petite, tubular shaped fingerling with creamy white firm flesh. When cooked, it develops earthy and nutty undertones. The Cranberry Red (also called All Red), has a rich red color inside and out, even after cooking. It makes a great-tasting and colorful potato salad. The above are only a few of the many heirloom varieties that are delicious, beautiful and suited to this area. Each time a gardener grows an heirloom variety and then saves its seed for the following season or passes the seed on to others to grow, that gardener contributes to the preservation of the richness of the genetic diversity upon which we all depend. For more information, contact the WSU Master Gardeners, mnesbitt@co.clallam.wa.us.

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4 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harvest Celebration 2011

Go Green . . . Shop Local! by Lisa Bridge Sequim Open Aire Market manager The Sequim Open Aire Market is here to tell you that Kermit the frog was wrong — it is easy to be “green.” Humans have been doing it for millennia. It was all we knew how to do just a mere 75 to 100 years ago. So let’s take that idea back from little Kermit and stand strong — “It is easy being green!” Shopping at your local farmers market makes it easy to be green because you reduce your carbon footprint when you shop local and you increase your “community footprint.” Increasing your community footprint means you are present and participating in your community and you are connected to the resources in your region. When you are shopping at a farmers market you have the opportunity to connect with local producers. The market is where producers and consumers interact, exchanging goods and currency. You see and get to know the face behind the product. That is how you increase your community footprint. You now have a local resource for a product that is useful to you and a local person who knows about something you need, an ally in your quest for a local food system. The more you look, the more you will find this community and our local market can meet

an ntt with n witth many of your needs. The market is abundant ingenuity. mun unitty is Community is good for your heart. Community mm mun nit iy good for your spirit. We, as humans, need community sta tabli tabl bllis b ish and we need a sense of place. The more we es establish ent ntur uring ing in networks in our lives, the less we need to go venturing att iiss rright igghhtt all over the world looking for something that oun untl tles tle ess here at home, and the less we need to waste countless hin in ng that that th at hours on the Internet searching for something really doesn’t exist. he more mo m ore re The more we connect with community, the hat iss ha we learn about what we really need and w what who hole le accessible to us on the peninsula. We have a whole eou ous aan nd nd lot of resources and a lot of fantastic, courageous and keett.. creative people who participate in our market. more mo re we we The more interconnected we are, the more stro trron onggeer will be able to meet our own needs and the stronger alr lrea eady dy we will make our community. Even if you already ctt on on the the th are working to reduce your personal impact piirring in ng to to environment, you will find it even more inspiring et. t. be “green” the more you frequent our market. orrn o niing ngs Ride your bike to the market on Saturday m mornings n ffu urt rthheer,r, and reduce the size of your carbon shoes even further, nn naamo mon while sinking your teeth into a locally made cinnamon un b be ein i ng bun and locally roasted coffee. It can be fun being cult cu ltur ure green! We always are creating our lives and thee culture bo olld d, be be of our town with our day-to-day choices. Be b bold, osp per erit ritty vital and be connected to the health and prosperity that your community offers. Go Green!

Clallam Conservation District Call to learn more about our programs on: • Soil Testing • Stream and Riparian Habitat Restoration

Technical, financial, and educational assistance for natural resource conservation.

• Pasture, Mud, & Manure Management • Native Plantings • Forest Stewardship • Water Conservation • Storm Water Management

360-452-1912 ext.5 Website: http://clallam.scc.wa.gov/ W

Sequim Gazette


Harvest Celebration 2011

Sequim Gazette

Sequim: Where by Joe E. Holtrop Clallam Conservation District manager You’ve heard the stories before. They’ve been repeated every May for more than a century as part of the annual commemoration of the engineering marvel that made the Dungeness Valley a prosperous farming community — irrigation. Greeted by seemingly endless virgin forests and equipped only with hand tools and their own brawn, settlers in the late 1800s cleared the land in order to farm. Wild game, salmon and shellfish were abundant, but this landscape was not fit for growing grains, potatoes or other staples that pioneers were accustomed to. The grassy Sequim Prairie was an open area that caught the attention of the early settlers. With its sprinkling of shade-generating Garry oaks trees, little effort was necessary to make the prairie friendly for farming, especially raising livestock. Cattle were free to graze on the lush grasses until the spring rains ended and the incessant winds parched the open landscape. Inspired by D.R. “Crazy” Callen, Sequim pioneers laid out plans to irrigate the Sequim prairie. They formed the Sequim Prairie Ditch Company in 1895 and worked through the winter constructing a ditch to get water from the Dungeness River. By the spring of 1896 they seemingly had made Dungeness River water flow uphill to the arid prairie. Numerous other irrigation companies and districts soon followed, eventually delivering irrigation water to an estimated 11,000 acres of farmland throughout the valley. Until the 1940s, almost all irrigation was by means of flooding. Flood irrigation was most conducive to the growing of perennial pasture and hay. That, combined with the mild, dry climate, helped the Dungeness Valley develop into a world-class dairy region. In 1950, 7,306 cows were being milked on 763 Clallam County farms, the vast majority of which were located in the Dungeness Valley. However, a half century of flood irrigation had created a high water table, causing some

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2,650 acres of high quality farmland to be too wet to farm. Furthermore, the aging irrigation infrastructure was in need of repairs. Some weary farmers were resigned to the belief that the valley’s once-envied agriculture was a thing of the past but not everyone was ready to cash in the farm. Bonds were purchased and funds were raised to repair the deteriorating irrigation infrastructure, replacing many of the old wooden flumes with concrete siphons. And the more efficient sprinkler method of irrigating became increasingly commonplace. By the late 1970s, flood irrigation no longer was allowed by the four irrigation districts and three companies that remained operational. The once-common sight of stray salmon in the ditches — and sometimes even in the flood-irrigated fields — virtually had been eliminated by the installation of fish screens and bypass channels. As of 1996, nearly 35 miles of ditches had been converted to pipelines, leaving about 138 miles of open ditch. The 1999 listing of the Puget Sound chinook, Hood Canal summer chum salmon and bull trout as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, accompanied by state and federal funding, inspired accelerated ditch piping efforts. ESA compliance required irrigators to reduce Dungeness River water withdrawals as much as possible in order to improve habitat conditions. Piping leaky ditches was identified as the most effective way to conserve water, thus reducing withdrawals. Since the ESA listing of Dungeness River salmon, irrigators have piped approximately 47 miles of ditch, saving an estimated 20 cubic feet per second of Dungeness River flows. This is equivalent to a reduction of one foot of water over the entire 6,000 acres of irrigated land during each irrigation season! The irrigators could not have done all the expensive ditch piping alone. Technical and financial assistance from the Clallam Conservation District was instrumental in about three-quarters of the ditch piping, accounting for 84 percent of the water savings. These irrigation efficiencies address two of

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the conservation district’s top priorities: water conservation and water quality. Not only is water delivered to farms more efficiently and eliminates waste, ditch piping projects reduce or eliminate the potential for contaminants to get into the irrigation water delivery system. Several piping projects have resulted in significant reductions in bacterial contamination to Dungeness Bay. Pipelines also enable shallow aquifer recharge to be done in a more deliberate, managed way. In addition, improving irrigation efficiencies often means a more reliable water supply and less

energy required for pumping, a benefit to farmers and energy suppliers. These benefits in turn foster more viable agriculture, thus helping to maintain farmland, another of the conservation district’s resource conservation priorities. Water is indeed the source of prosperity here in the Dungeness Valley. Whether for irrigating farms and gardens, supplying wells for our homes or providing habitat for salmon and other wildlife, we all depend on water. It’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to ensure this essential resource is managed wisely.


Harvest Celebration 2011

6 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sequim Gazette

Dungeness Valley Creamery, family owned Jeff and Debbie Brown started their first dairy in 1973, in Everson, but they both were born and raised in Sequim. They came back to the area in 1989 and built the Dungeness Valley Creamery from the ground up. The farm is home to 38 acres of lush pasture, 60 Jersey cows and the newly-built creamery building, which also houses their lovely gift shop. The Browns’ son-in-law and daughter, Ryan and Sarah McCarthey, are planning on taking over the dairy and creamery. This, along with the preservation of the land through a conservation easement with the North Olympic Land Trust, ensures fresh dairy products and more from Dungeness Valley Creamery for years to come! In 2006, the farm became a certified raw milk dairy, a more sustainable and, according to many, healthier way to produce milk. This is milk that has not been processed in any way and contains all the nutrients that nature intended. The milk and cream from Dungeness cows have been famous for their high butterfat content ever since the European-Americans recognized the Sequim Valley as a rich agricultural region back in the 1800s. The Browns’ cows are grazing on some of the best and most abundant grasses in Dungeness.

Jersey calves have the ‘cute factor’ down! If you never have seen a Jersey calf before, you are in for a treat. They have the largest eyes on the planet and are so adorable, they easily will steal your heart. Children will love giving these curious and charming creatures a little scratch behind the ears and looking into those expressive eyes. The mamas are out grazing in the lush fields where they spend

Dungeness Valley Creamery, 1915 Towne Road, Sequim Jeff and Debbie Brown, Ryan and Sarah McCarthey, owners and operators Farm Day Activities: Raw cheese and raw honey samplings ■ Hayrides ■ Farm Tours ■ Petting Zoo, including the delightful, big-eyed Jersey calves ■ Butterand yogurt-making demonstrations ■ Bottling viewings ■ Gift Shop ■ Live music, including “Juanamarimba!” ■ Jeremiah’s Barbecue ■ Caramel apples and Kettle Corn seven months of the year. During the winter, they are fed alfalfa hay and treated to non-GMO grain when they are milked. Each cow is named and registered through the American Jersey Cattle Association. Their milk and type performance records are carefully kept and the milking facility is immaculately clean. No rBST or any growth hormones are used, and if a cow shows any unusual symptoms, she is removed from the milk line until she is well.

Delicious tastings When you visit the farm, you will see the pastures, barn and milk house where the creamery’s delicious raw milk is produced. One of the tastiest products made from that milk is cheese. Enjoy samples of this cheese that tastes like the farm cheeses made by our agricultural ancestors. Your great-grandma may have separated the cream from the milk right after she milked the cow and then churned it to make butter and buttermilk. On Farm Day you will

Freedom Farm School Located in a beautiful corner of Agnew, Freedom Farm School of Natural Horsemanship, Dressage and Jumping is engaged in an important green activity: It offers people of any age and ability the means to relate and care for one of nature’s most noble creatures — the horse. By training their students, especially their young students, in the art of natural horsemanship, they impart a love of the natural world through the innate intelligence and warmth of these great animals. “Horses can learn to learn,” says owner Mary Gallagher. “Once they know you are trying to teach them, they are eager to learn and learn rapidly. We work with our students to communicate with the horses through body language, using minimal equipment.”

Watch a demonstration of Natural Horsemanship As you visit Freedom Farm on Farm Day, you will have an opportunity to see the students work with the horses using this humane and natural method. “Equipment may be used eventually,” says Mary, “but only as a refinement tool, not a control mechanism.” Restraints, like bits and leads, occasionally are used to keep the horses safe around people, but at the school the students try to understand the horse’s psychology in their efforts to communicate and improve their relationships with the animals. They also gain valuable insight into how to be responsible for the well-being of other living creatures. Mary and her colleagues have many students working with the herd of around 40 horses. The school has a covered arena and an outdoor area for jumping exercises, as well as several paddocks. The predominant breed is Warmbloods, a group of middle-weight horse types that originated in Europe as agricultural or carriage horses, and includes Hanoverians, Holsteiners and Oldenburgs. The farm also has Morgans, Arabs, Arab-Mustang crosses, Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, a Welsh pony and even a burro!

See a working cattle farm, on land protected in perpetuity In addition to the horse school, the 120-acre Freedom Farm has a cattle operation. Presently, the herd has 40 cows, as many calves and two bulls. They frequently can be seen from Old Olympic Highway, grazing on the rich grassy fields just south of Agnew Grocery & Feed. In 2004, Mary and husband Jerry Schmidt protected 44 acres of that field for agriculture through a conservation easement with the North

see a demonstration of how this is done and you even can churn a little yourself! At the Gift Shop, you will find many local crafts, raw milk, raw cream, eggs, honey and raw cow and goat milk cheeses. The farm its proud to announce their newest product: lean grass-fed Jersey roasts, steaks and hamburger. The beef has been a hit and it’s flying out the door!

Olympic Land Trust, ensuring it would remain farmland forever. Mary and Jerry have set up a closed nutrient system with their livestock. They raise their own hay and the cow and horse manure constantly is returned to the soil. If you’re wondering how those fields stay so lush and green, the cattle have a lot to do with it. Cattle don’t eat grass down to the roots, but slowly walk along and chomp only the tops of the grasses. This causes part of the root system to die off and become moree soil. Meanwhile the cattle are spreadingg their manure around as they walk.. n This imitates natural systems, like bison on the Great Plains or wildebeests on the Serengeti. By moving the cattle to ity different places on the farm, the fertility of the various fields is maintained.

Stroll the Discovery Trail ail Visit Freedom Farm on the Harvest rvest Celebration Farm heir beautiful, friendly and intelligent Tours and introduce your family to their horses and the students that work with them. Be sure to stroll along the oss their property to see the cattle and Olympic Discovery Trail that cuts across ard the mountains. the great view across Agnew and toward

Freedom Farm, 493 Spring Road, Agnew Jerry Schmidt and Mary Gallagher, owners and operators Farm Day Activities: Riding demonstrations by the students of the School of Natural Horsemanship ■ Educational exhibits about horses ■ Tack display ■ Performance of a skit by the students ■ Performance by the Sequim Drill Team ■ Horse tail decorating ■ Pony rides for small children


Sequim Gazette

Harvest Celebration 2011

Johnston Farms Kelly and Christie Johnston bought 7.5 acres in Agnew in 2000. It basically was a neglected hay field and had not ever been cultivated for row crops. Little by little, over the past 11 years, they have turned it into one of the most diverse, delicious and delightful fruit and vegetable farms in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley! Be sure to visit their greenhouse and breathe in the fragrant aromas as you enter. In it you will find aromatic herbs like basil, several varieties of tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, unusual fruits like ground cherries and chicolite berries, as well as Asian beans, cucumbers and eggplants. Outside, you will find one of the best examples of a well-designed and functional layout for a small family farm ever. Kelly, a former landscape designer, handles all the plantings and rotations. In carefully planned sections, the Johnstons are growing an amazingly abundant array of vegetables and fruits, reflecting not only a lot of hard work, but care and love for the soil and maintaining its fertility. The farm works to preserve several heirloom varieties of potatoes, including Russets, Reds, Fingerlings, Yellow Finns, Yukon Golds and Carolas. One of Christie’s favorites is the Inca Gold potato. “Potatoes originated in South America,” she says. “There are literally thousands of varieties, but Americans only know a few of those. We are trying to introduce some new ones to our community.” The flower for the Inca Gold potato reflects what the potatoes will look like when they are harvested in the fall — purple on the outside and golden on the inside. “Besides being beautiful to look at,” Christie says, “they are one of the tastiest potatoes I’ve ever had.”

Take a colorful stroll As you and your family enjoy this charming acreage, notice an unusual variety of pea that Kelly has planted this year called the Blauschokker. It also is a deep purple and is excellent in soups. There is a strawberry patch, raspberries and currants, apple, pear and plum trees and all kinds of vegetables, including several intensely colorful varieties of lettuce. Small patches of grains that the Johnstons grow for family use are scattered around the vegetables and they provide cover for quail families. They also love growing flowers in bright, profuse clumps throughout the farm. Many of their flowers, like the nasturtiums, are edible and Christie brings them to the markets to sell. They also have beautiful sunflowers and her absolute favorite, the sweet pea. She calls it her “signature flower.” A new addition to their farm that

Johnston Farms, 1046 Heuhslein Road, Agnew Kelly and Christie Johnston, owners and operators Farm Day Activities: Walking Tour ■ Petting Zoo ■ Live Music ■ Food for purchase, including seafood and the Johnstons’ produce ■ Exhibits and educational materials about “Preserving Food: Canning, Dehydrating and Freezing” youngsters will find fun and interesting are six little pigs that emerge cautiously from their shelter to greet visitors. Johnston Farms sells its incredible produce at the Port Angeles Farmers Market, the Sequim Open Aire Market, online through Sequim Locally Grown, at The Red Rooster in Sequim, Country Aire in Port Angeles, the Food Co-op in Port Townsend and at Nash’s Farm Store in Dungeness.

Learn about preserving food We all know that buying our food locally reduces our dependence on fossil fuels because the food is not transported hundreds of miles. More and more people today are buying local produce in bulk and preserving it to further reduce their carbon footprint and to relish its delicious flavors all year long. If you would like to get information about classes in canning and other methods of preserving food, come to Johnston Farms on Farm Day and see some great educational displays and sign up for instruction on how to can, dehydrate and freeze local produce safely. You’ll be glad you did as you munch on your dehydrated berries and canned dilly beans in the middle of winter, a delicious reminder of Johnston Farms at harvest time!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • 7

Lazy J Tree Farm

Some of the main products that come off Lazy J Tree Farm are … trees! Christmas trees, to be precise. Before the holidays, families come to the farm, walk the many rows of trees, choose the perfect one and cut it fresh for their homes. Years ago, when the holidays were over, Steve Johnson used to pile up the debris, plus some of the trees people had brought back, and burn them. “I watched all this woody debris going up in smoke,” he remembers. “The soil in this area is fairly young glacial till and I realized I was burning up its fertility. I was losing an opportunity and polluting the air at the same time!”

One man’s yard waste in another man’s treasure Today, Steve and his son Graeme have turned what was once a polluting by-product into a sustainable component of their business, one that builds soil fertility not only for their farm, but for local gardeners as well. For a small fee, the public can bring brush, branches and yard waste to the farm where it is ground into small pieces (Christmas trees are free to drop off ). Water is added to the piles of ground-up material. These piles heat up to about 150 degrees and are turned every two weeks or so. After 10-12 months of composting and turning, the material is screened and sold as compost. The final result is rich, black compost that has the proper carbon/nitrogen ratio to be seed-ready. “In our time of climate instability, it’s

irresponsible to be burning this kind of debris,” says Steve. “It makes far more sense to return that biomass to the soil and continue to grow trees or crops on it. Those trees and crops pull CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow, making it twice as green!”

Come see the big machines! Youngsters will be very impressed by the large grinding machine and excavators that move the piles around. Adults will enjoy the farm’s gift shop that features local products such as honey and cider, as well as a tranquil hayride through the beautiful apple and pear orchards and rows of Christmas trees. Take a stroll down to Siebert Creek and see some of the projects that the farm and the Lower Elwha and Jamestown S’Klallam tribes have worked on to restore this part of the creek for salmon. They have placed large stumps and logs at different locations along the creek to absorb some of the creek’s energy and slow down the water to prevent it from scouring the bottom, displacing salmon and steelhead eggs. This portion of the creek and part of Steve’s farm are protected by conservation easements by the North Olympic Land Trust, preserving the creek for salmon habitat and the farm for agriculture in perpetuity. Lazy J Tree Farm also grows apples, pears, potatoes and garlic. It is one of the prime examples of how a local agricultural enterprise can be “green” — a win-win for both the farmer and the community.

Lazy J Tree Farm, 225 Gehrke Road, Agnew Steve Johnson, owner and operator Farm Day Activities: Walking and hayride tours ■ Giant sand pile for kids of all ages ■ Live music ■ Siebert Creek restoration walks ■ Informational booths ■ Food for purchase


8 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harvest Celebration 2011

Nash’s Organic Produce Nash’s Organic Produce has been growing farm-fresh food in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley for more than 30 years. Famous for its sweet carrots and fresh veggies, the farm also has expanded its production to include grains, flour, pork and seed crops. Certified organic by the WSDA, Nash and his crew work hard to save farmland, train future farmers and feed their community!

Farming with nature For the past three years, Nash’s has been certified “Salmon-Safe.” Every effort is made to carefully husband water resources, use only strictly organic methods and

keep buffers between the fields and the Dungeness River and other waterways, earning the farm the Salmon-Safe certification. In partnership with landowner and naturalist John Willits, from whom Nash’s leases 120 acres, the farm leaves some grain in the fields to nourish migrating waterfowl. Every winter, you can see geese and swans in different fields resting and feeding so they can continue their route south. Raptors skim the fields all year long, looking for field mice and other small game to feed their young. Songbirds nest in the hedgerows and trees that line the fields. The farm strives to assist pollinators by providing habitat and planting forage for them in various fields throughout the farm. Phacelia, alyssum and cilantro are all examples of plants grown specifically for insect habitat and they provide refuge, food and breeding grounds for bees,

The 2011 farm crew at Nash’s Organic Produce leave their handprints in the wet concrete of the entrance to the new Farm Store.

Helping You Put Knowledge to Work Offering educational programs in agriculture, gardening, water quality, forestry, 4-H youth development, food safety, community development and more! Come visit us in the Clallam County Courthouse or on the Internet at: http://clallam.wsu.edu. We also have gardening & farming educational resources available for loan to Clallam County residents.

If you’re interested in our 4-H, Master Gardener, Forestry, or Farming programs, give us a call!

360-417-2279

Sequim Gazette Nash’s Organic Produce, 1965 E. Anderson Road, Dungeness Nash Huber, owner and operator Farm Day Activities: Bug wing decorating ■ Pumpkin sculptures ■ Beneficial pollinator displays ■ Live music ■ Tractor hayrides ■ Farm fresh hot food for sale ■ Genetically Modified Food (GMO) info/games ■ Bake Sale ■ Visit the NEW Farm Store lacewings and other beneficial bugs. In return, the insects pollinate crops and often prey on harmful, unwanted pests. Because Nash’s is certified organic, it does not use pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, many of which are proven to be carcinogenic. The farm also does not grow any Genetically Modified crops and is heavily involved in the effort to raise consumer awareness about the health and environmental dangers of GMO foods.

Make your own wings and dance the night away! On Farm Day youngsters will love decorating their own set of wings to take home or create a sculpture out of a pumpkin and other veggies. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad can enjoy some live music while they eat a delicious lunch made from ingredients harvested right off the farm. The farm will be featuring hands-on exhibits about beneficial insects, farm practices and grain production, including a bin for children to play in like a sandbox. Don’t forget to come back to Nash’s in the evening to grub-up and boogey down at the community potluck (6 p.m.) and barn dance featuring Deadwood Revival (7:30 p.m.). Fun for all ages, adults are $7 and children are free!


Harvest Celebration 2011

Sequim Gazette

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 • 9

Trade Winds Alpacas Ken, Chickie and Troy Hiyoshida manage a herd of 16 alpacas. Alpacas originated in South America and are members of the camelid family (with camels, llamas, guanacos, dromedaries and bactrians, among others). They are mild-tempered and friendly, besides

being one of the most delightful animals to look at ever!

Alpacas—gentle on the earth Sensitive to the environment in every respect, alpacas have soft padded feet instead of hooves and can leave the delicate terrain undamaged. Alpacas prefer to eat tender grasses, which they do not pull up by the roots. This method of grazing encourages the plant’s growth. The alpacas at Trade Winds eat mainly orchard grass. Their pellet-like droppings are pH balanced and an excellent, natural, slow-release, low-odor fertilizer. This rich fertilizer is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Alpacas consolidate their droppings in one or two communal spots in the pasture, where it is easy to collect

and compost, and the spread of parasites is controlled. While alpacas are environmentally friendly— and even beneficial—to the land, what makes them more “green” is their end product, alpaca fiber. They produce 5-10 pounds of luxurious fiber every 12 to 18 months. All the fiber can be used and is biodegradable. Exquisite end-products once reserved for royalty, are created from alpaca wool.

Learn how to raise your own alpacas

animals and it is always best to have at least two, as only one will feel isolated and lonely. Today there are many alpaca breeders in the United States and Canada. Ken, Chickie and Troy can answer your questions, and if you are interested, mentor you though the purchase of your first alpacas. Come to Trade Winds Alpacas on the Farm Tour and get nose to nose with our fourlegged family of 16. Speak softly, open your heart and experience the pe peace and tranquility of these gentle, amu amusing animals. Please, no dogs.

Alpacas are very intelligent and respond to es. a variety of training and handling techniques. ng They learn to halter and lead in just a few training sessions and even children find most alpacas to ial be safe and easy to handle. They are very social

Trade Winds Alpacas, 1315 Finn Hall Road, Agnew Ken, Chickie and Troy Hiyoshida, owners and operators

Taste That Old World Flavor

From back to front: Troy, Chickie and Ken Hiyoshida.

Farm Day Activities: Alpaca fleece products from Alpacas at thee Well ■ Local spinners Laurie Brilhante, Anne Olson and Annie the sheep heep ■ Wild Birds Unlimited ■ “Meals on Wheels”

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Harvest H s Celebration 2011

10 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sequim Gazette

Do you GMO? You may not know! by Lauren Turner Many people don’t realize that much of the food they eat has been altered by genetic engineering. This altering is accomplished in not in a farm field, but in a lab, using technology that forces genetic material from one species into the DNA of an unrelated species. This method commonly is referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetic engineering (GE). Twenty years ago large chemical/pharmaceutical corporations found ways to alter seed to produce crops that could withstand the use of glyphosate herbicides that kill weeds while leaving the crops unaffected. These corporations patented the GMO seed and today they control the seed supply of those altered crops. Approximately 86 percent of the corn, 93 percent of the soybeans, plus canola, cotton and sugar beets produced in this country are grown from GMO seed. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, 70 percent of processed foods in American supermarkets contain genetically modified ingredients. While seed breeding by selection has a long and accepted history in agriculture, the difference with genetically modified organisms is that they are created mechanically or chemically in a lab by

injecting bacterial and viral DNA into plant cells, creating DNA that never before has occurred in nature. The altered DNA occupies every cell of the plant, which is consumed directly by humans or fed to the animals we eat. This means that GMOs may show up in your eggs, meat and dairy products, as well as any processed product containing corn, soy, canola, sugar from sugar beets or other GE crop. GMO crops are the source of many by-products used in processed foods and they have spread rapidly since first being introduced into the food supply in the early 1990s. Most GM crops are grown in the United States and they have slipped into our food supply quietly, and without our consent, even though our health and the environment may be at risk. There isn’t enough independent research into the impacts of genetic engineering, but during their relatively short history, health issues attributed to GMOs have become apparent. These include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, poor insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. Animal studies have shown links to premature births, infant mortality, obesity, altered sperm cells, lower birth rates, sterility and liver problems. Monocropping with GMO crops and intensive herbicide spraying made possible by their

herbicide resistance have degraded thousands of acres of agricultural lands and have promoted the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and superweeds. Contamination of conventional and organic crops by pollen drift from GMO crops is another huge threat. A recent decision to allow widespread planting of GMO alfalfa is being challenged in court by a coalition of environmental and advocacy groups. Alfalfa is the primary food source for cows and it can cross-pollinate across miles. There will be no way to ensure that the GM variety doesn’t cross with non-GM varieties. This could mean the end of organic milk and other dairy products, since GM ingredients are illegal in the production of anything labeled “organic.” There are many reasons to avoid GMO products, but that is difficult to do. GMOs are pervasive in our food system and labeling is not required to identify them. There is a nationwide campaign under way to demand labeling and petitions for a ballot initiative sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association are available at Nash’s Farm Store and The Red Rooster Grocery. In the meantime there are many clues for the savvy label-reader, so do read those labels. If you want to avoid GMOs, you probably will have to reject processed foods, since most contain GMOs.

Dan’s

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Be aware that you can’t trust a product labeled “natural.” If a product contains such ingredients as high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, xanthum gum, and even sugar (unless cane sugar is specified), chances are high the food contains GMOs. Eating fresh and organic is the best way to ensure your food has not been altered by GMOs and to have an impact by voting with your dollars against GMOs. GMOs are not allowed in certified organic products. In Sequim we benefit by access to a group of local producers who belong to the Sequim Locally Grown Mercantile, an online farmers market. These farmers are not all certified organic, but all of them farm without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or GMOs. Purchasing from them is another vote with your dollars. See http:// sequim.locallygrown.net/ for more information about the benefits of locally grown and where to find it. Growing your own is another option. If you don’t have land, anyone can rent a garden plot through Community Organic Gardens of Sequim (COGS) for a nominal annual fee, which includes a series of classes on organic gardening. Others who don’t rent a plot can still take the classes. Visit COGS’ website at http://cogs.thecascadian.net/. Stores such

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Harvest Celebration 2011

Sequim Gazette as The Red Rooster Grocery, McComb Gardens, Sunny Farms Country Store and Nash’s Farm Store offer selections of heirloom, organic seed and organic plant starts. If this issue concerns you and your family, get involved. A growing group of concerned citizens has formed a GMO Awareness Group that meets monthly at the Sequim Library. Meeting dates and times are published in the local media. Learn more and download a free GMO Shopper’s Guide from the Center for Food Safety at http:// truefoodnow.org/shoppers-guide/.

Traditionally, farmers have been the stewards of seed, but in the past 30 years, the ownership and sale of seed have become dominated worldwide by five huge chemical/pharmaceutical companies, the largest and most notorious being Monsanto. Is it ethical that these companies own and patent life forms that have been available to farmers all over the world for 10,000 years? These issues are complex. Learn more at the Organic Seed Alliance website at www.seedalliance.org.

Raptors and waterfowl benefit from local agriculture

by Patty McManus for the Sequim m Gazette The beautiful agricultural fields of geness Valley and all the Sequim-Dungeness rth Olympic Peninsula along the North are more than a source of food for people and domesticated animals. They nt also are important habitat and food rs and sources for raptors owl. migrating waterfowl. redatory Raptors are predatory birds that includee cons eagles, hawks, falcons unt and owls. They hunt als and kill the animals h some of them they eat, although ad animals if the may scavenge dead opportunity presents itself. A common local example is the bald eagle, which kills and eats birds and fish, but also feeds on spawned-out salmon that have washed

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onto river banks or the edges of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Falcons, hawks and eagles are primarily active during the day and you can see them f re q u e n t l y, sitting on wires or in trees adjacent to open fields or water, or flying in circular patterns as they hunt. Owls are mainly active at night, although there are owl species that are diurnal.

Harriers characteristically nest on the ground in grassy or brushy areas and hunt by flying low over open fields, feeding on small mammals, reptiles or birds. Photo by Don Wallace

Raptors are on top of the food chain and are an indicator species for overall environmental health. They typically require large open areas, like grain or hay fields, and healthy prey populations for survival. Measures that conserve raptors have proved to provide an umbrella of protection for many other plant and animal species. For example, environmental contamination with DDT resulted in adverse effects on many species of raptors. By discontinuing the use of DDT to conserve raptors, environmental conditions for humans and other animals improved. Raptors consume a wide variety of prey including small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. Hence, they play a role in regulating prey populations, nutrient cycling and reducing crop damage. They directly benefit humans by reducing pest species (many of which are non-native) such as rats, mice, rabbits, starlings, house sparrows, pigeons and grasshoppers.

see Raptors on page 12

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Harvest Celebration 2011

12 • Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raptors

Other wildlife

from page 11 Eagles and vultures (not a raptor) help reduce the spread of disease by cleaning up dead and rotting animal carcasses. Farm fields and other open spaces are critical raptor habitat used for breeding, migrating/staging and wintering. These areas typically occur in the lowlands and valley bottoms of the Olympic Mountains or the river deltas which contain productive raptor habitats.

Migrating ducks, geese and swans nest in the summer as far north as the Arctic when the days are long and warm there. As autumn approaches, they start their long journey southward to feeding grounds in Central or South America, some flying thousands of miles, generally along four major flyways: Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific. The young learn the routes from their parents and they also learn where the stopovers are. They need to stock up on food and rest or they may not make it to their destinations. The Olympic Peninsula is not directly on the Pacific Flyway, but it is near enough that we get our fair share of migrants. During the fall, keep an eye on the open fields, especially where grain recently has been harvested, and you may spot trumpeter swans or Canada geese. Take a walk along the Dungeness Spit to spot flocks of migrating ducks. Agricultural lands are important feeding areas for migrating waterfowl. Many winter in southern British Columbia and northwestern Washington where they feed primarily on the crop residues in agricultural fields and in grass pastures, often associated with dairies. The most serious problem facing these great travelers in our region is the rapid loss of farmlands in Washington, Oregon and southern British Columbia. For instance, northwest Washington has more than 10,000 wintering trumpeter swans. It is their single most important wintering

Bald eagles nest in large trees close to fish-bearing bodies of water and prefer undisturbed foraging areas free of harassment by humans and pets. Photo by Don Wallace

Sequim Gazette Learn more about local raptors and waterfowl at the Dungeness River Audubon Center in Railroad Bridge Park. Along with a wonderful park setting, the center is a great way to cultivate a connection with nature. Observing the details of a feather under magnification, the sharpness of a peregrine falcon’s talons or asking all your natural history questions, all are part of a visit to the center. In Railroad Bridge Park you may be treated to spawning salmon and all the nature connected to their life cycle. The park also is a great place to have a picnic or begin an adventure on the Olympic Discovery Trail, which can take you through a wide variety of green spaces over its 30-plus-mile course. area in North America. Unfortunately, this productive region is becoming increasingly urbanized. These agricultural lands provide essential winter habitat that is crucial for the maintenance and security of this population. As more farmland disappears, the swans congregate in larger and larger flocks on fewer fields, sometimes causing great hardship and even crop loss for the farmers, and tremendous stress for the birds. Both raptors and migrating waterfowl benefit from our local agriculture, as do the human residents of the peninsula. But they are not our only feathered friends here. Some very important and convenient green spaces are the ones that we create in our own backyards for all kinds of birds. From our own small-forested lots to organic vegetable gardens to bird feeding areas, our backyards serve as important habitat for birds and other wildlife. Combined with the larger open spaces in our area, a property owner can create additional habitat that is right out the back door.

You can donate to Friends of the Fields at Sunny Farms Country Store when you check out at the register. 100% of the funds received from your donation(s) will go to

FOF’s Farmland Preservation Fund and will not be used to cover any administrative costs.

We feel that there is a great need to address the problem of diminishing farmland in the Sequim Dungeness Valley. We have always hoped that the free market would, in itself preserve farmland here and someday that may be true. But the situation has become critical. Housing demands have accelerated land values beyond the ability for agricultural ventures to compete. As people who have been involved in farming, trucking and retailing of fresh foods for many years, we can relate to you the necessity to protect local food production for the future. This is why we have invested in (and donated to) this program and want to give others the opportunity to help protect land from intense development and preserve it for potential agricultural use. There is no obligation here, only opportunity. Remember, any donation is helpful. Quarters add up to dollars, and dollars from many sources add up to sizeable contributions. We encourage our customers to join us in the effort to protect local farmland, and we thank you. Roger and Ellie Schmidt Owners, Sunny Farms Country Store

Your receipt will show your donation. All donations to Friends of the Fields are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Harvest Celebration Fall 2011  

Harvest Celebration Fall 2011

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