Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Season for Change

Three of our young farmers in the south-west garden, 2010.
Dan and I both grew up in gardens. For him, it was an essential part of his life growing up on his family's farm here in the Flathead Valley. Not only did it put food on the table, but it also provided an additional source of income, as surplus produce was sold at the local farmers' markets.

For me, being raised by my widowed grandmother in Northern California, gardening was a means of survival. Apart from Nana's beloved rose garden, nearly every square inch of our half-acre back yard was given over to the production of fruits and vegetables. The temperate climate allowed us to raise an astonishing variety of produce. We grew every type of vegetable, and our little orchard gave us abundant fruits and nuts: apples, pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, figs, cherries, almonds, walnuts, pecans, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, persimmons, and even pomegranates. We also had strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blue berries, and three types of grapes. It was a suburban Eden.
Ben, Rose, and Abbi in the south-west garden, 2010.
As we have grown our own family together, we have always maintained a garden of some sort, often from necessity, but always for pleasure. Not long after returning to Montana in 2007, after ten years away, we were further motivated to commit ourselves to cultivating as much of our own naturally grown food as possible as a means to address the autoimmune issues of four of our six children. It hasn't been easy, but it's been totally worth it. We love the peace of mind we have knowing that the food our children are eating is safe and healthy. We are also so grateful to see our children growing up in the gardens. They are learning how to work hard, but they are also experiencing the joy of living close to the earth.

Abbi in her godetia patch, 2011.
Up to this point, we have always sold our surplus produce at the Kalispell Farmers' Market. This year, giving in to the persistent prompting of dear friends, we have decided to transition our business model into that of a CSA. We look forward to the this new venture, and are especially excited for the opportunities it will bring to share the bounty of our gardens with others.