>THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Buttercup” or “Acorn” Winter Squash
• “Yukon Gold” Potatoes
• Napa Cabbage
• Bunched Greens
Scarlet and Gold Turnips
Sweet Baby Carrots
NEXT WEEK IS A SUPER-SHARE WEEK AGAIN.
We will harvest/pack two weeks worth of produce for you in order that we skip the week of Christmas and have a holiday. There will be no pick up December 25, 26, 29th or 30th. Regular pick up will resume beginning January 1 and continue for the final 3 weeks of our winter season, weather permitting.
Every winter and spring we have farming friends who experience great losses. Last year it was the Carnation/Monroe area, the year before the Skagit. This year we have friends damaged in the Chehalis area. We are so lucky here. Some would say that we are crazy to farm here, in the midst of development. But not only are we close to our market base, a location in the middle of the industrial mecca here means that the dam upriver spares us from much of what nature has to offer in the winter. The Green River used to flood like the Chehalis, Skagit, or Snohomish Rivers. Every year. There are no basements in the old houses down here. That is not to say that the Green River will never flood again, just that it is unlikely to flood every year as in the past.
We are planning on making a donation to Lewis and Mason county farmers affected by the big flood. We know many of them, and there are a lot more that we don’t know, but they all need help. If you would like to contribute with us you can give us a payment to pass along, in the name of Whistling Train Farm CSA Holders. We will send our donation December 21, the day of the Winter Solstice. We will send payment through Washington Tilth Producers, our local organic farm support system. Or you can make an independent donation at
25 years or so ago, the fathers of development said “build it, and they will come”. But unlike the idyllic Field of Dreams in the movie, we got pavement and warehouses. Traffic and lights. Luckily there were a few others who saw the destruction of farmland as well and fought to put together a farmland preservation program. Luckily King County has had leadership that valued farming, and many acres of land were set aside as farmland forever, before the state mandated it. Other counties were not as lucky. Sure, it will never be enough, but it is something, and we are spared here. Our area, between 277th St. and the Green River, and across the entire valley was designated Agricultural Production District (APD), meaning that it can’t be developed. It has to stay open space, available for farming forever. There are other protections available as well, like the Purchase of Development Rights program (PDR), in which the county (or other agency) buys the development rights portion of land and puts it in trust as a conservation easement, so that the land can’t be developed or subdivided. Most of the land farmed/owned by Carpinito Brothers is preserved this way, as well as T&M Berry Farm, our neighbor, and the Pearsons Berry Farm down the street.
The idea behind this is that it keeps the land affordable for those of us who want to farm. The current land price is roughly $50,000 an acre here. If we wanted to buy our 15-acre farm at that price it would be $750,000, without a house. We are able to make a decent living farming, but we’d never get a loan for that. If the county chips-in with us and buys the development rights, we should (hopefully) only have to pay about $15,000 an acre. Much more affordable. We don’t intend to get rich selling the land later, we’d sell it to another younger farmer.
After ten years here, we are trying to finally buy our farm. Our landlord, King County, and we are all working to figure out this puzzle. And bankers, of course.
I am a huge believer in positive thought. Call it faith or prayer if you like. We wouldn’t have kept on farming all this time if we didn’t believe. If I may, I’d like to ask for all of you to pool your thoughts with us to make this happen. It would be truly amazing not to wonder every year how long we will be here. And we could finally feel like settling down and making things look and feel permanent.