KOGS Field Days
Two field days were held in the summer of 2002 for KOGS members and friends. They were both well attended. One covered the area at the base of and up the Slocan Valley and the other was held in the Creston Valley.
The first field day started at Glade Mountain Farm with farmers in residence, Park Cowin and Noel Rheault. Participants toured the extensive ground crops area as well as the impressive hoop houses where they have been producing delicious cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes for the local market for a number of years. Discussion during the tour included exchanging tips on avoiding white root rot in garlic, best compost tea recipes and user-friendly greenhouse ventilation systems. Glade Mountain's year-round sprouts and shoots production facility was also toured.
Soil Matters was next on the list where Dan Ferguson introduced KOGS members to his successful "farming on the backside of the calendar" greenhouse operation. Dan was inspired by a conference featuring Elliot Coleman, the guru of organic cold season farming.
The Fergusons have successfully shifted their greenhouse operation to a production season which spans from October to May producing everything from parsley to chard and carrots as well as the Soil Matters staple, spinach. We also toured the Fergusons' back "40" where ongoing challenges with the local elk herd won sympathy from many.
We then traveled up the Slocan Valley to Ewe Milk Sheep Dairy where Brian Cross and Penny Clarke hosted a tour of their dairy facility and sheep pasture. For those interested in small-scale dairies it was a fascinating opportunity to see the facility up close. Brian and Penny are already well known locally for their luscious yogurt and other sheep milk products.
KOGS members finished off the day with a tour at the Elder farm which encompassed Brenda's nursery production and Gale's potato crop. It was an inspired and happy crew who then feasted on fabulous offerings at the potluck dinner.
The Creston tour was equally well attended and informative. We started the day at Three Boys Organics where Eunice and Tony Mulder discussed their garlic growing tips, strawberry challenges and the growing cycles of alfalfa hay.
A scrumptious potluck lunch at Willowbrook farm was followed by a tour of Willowbrook's field crops, monster squash and "satellite" fields. Rhonda and Merv Sloss also kindly shared their carrot washing and marketing tips.
Fruit lovers were then treated to a tour of Waljo Orchards led by Wally and Joanne Weisbrodt. Wally talked about the progress they have made in convincing other local orchardists that to have an organic orchard in their midst is not actually a threat to their own orchards. A field day organized by the local Ag office showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the insect pressure at Waljo's organic farm was actually less than at its conventional counterparts.