Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our visit to Soil Born Farms, The Farm on Hurly Way

This morning our family had a chance to visit The Farm on Hurly Way. The Hurly Farm (as Farmer Eric calls it) is a small urban farm that belongs to Soil Born Farms. This particular farm is managed by our good friend Farmer Eric and his partner Farmer Sarah.  
Farmer Eric
As starting out urban farmers we are in LOVE with Soil Born Farms. Back in 2000 Sean Harrison and Marco Franciosa, two friends who were young and inexperienced organic farmers (reminds me of us Happy Green Lifers) decided to start an Urban Agriculture and Education Project. Today youth and adults can visit the farm and learn to grow, eat, and love farming!
Farmer Sarah
Last year Farmer Eric and Farmer Sarah joined Soil Born Farms for their Farming Apprenticeship program. They started with 40 other applicants and worked their butts off until there was just four farmers left, their prize was wining their current position as co-managers of the Farm on Hurly Way (or the Hurly Farm).
Since taking over the farm the two have planted lettuce, artichokes, and TONS of garlic! Farmer Eric showed us their experimental espalier fruit trees. This is the process of training fruit tree branches to grow in a specific way. The trees on the Hurly Farm are being trained to grow into a wall.
espalier fruit trees
Over the winter the fields that weren’t full of crops were planted with vetch and oat grass. Vetch is a legume that is planted to put nitrogen back into the field between harvests. Farmer Eric pulled up some Vetch for us and showed us how it had been affected by a bacteria called Rhizobium. The rhizobium creates nitrogen nodules to grow on the roots. These put nitrogen back into the soil so that the next group of plants that grow there will have the proper nutrients to grow.
Nitrogen nodules
Rows of different lettuce
After checking out the plants we got to meet the farm ducks and chickens. Indian Runner ducks were chosen for the eggs that they will produce. They do not fly and they run instead of waddle, we got to see this as the men were trying to catch them to show the kids. The farm has a large variety of chickens also chosen for their eggs. Rhode Island Red, buff orpington, barred rock, araucana, and australorp’s can be found throughout the farm eating bugs and helping fertilize the ground.
Lots of Garlic!
We had a wonderful time visiting the farm. They invited us back to help work, which we will be doing so we can learn to work on our own farm. They will also being making a visit out to our little farm to help us harvest and plant our spring veggies!!
If you live in the Sacramento, CA area you need to check out Soil Born Farms. They have a lot of activates scheduled for families including a kids day and kids summer camp!!


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