I am a Spokane native who is currently living and farming in North Carolina. I am currently looking to move back to the Inland Northwest and am hopeful to purchase 1-5 acres, ideally with a livable dwelling for my small family and dog. I am also open to conversations around lease opportunities, with or without an available dwelling as long as it is in proximity to Spokane (+/- 30 minutes from downtown.)
I've been in the industry since 2008 when I was in my second year at SCC pursuing degrees in Greenhouse/Nursery and Landscape/Turf. I went on to work for Greenacres Nursery in the valley for several seasons, and have also spent over 3 years working in cooperative business for 2 different food co-ops and am presently involved in the management of a cooperatively run food hub in Asheville, NC. I have been leasing land in WNC for three years, raising my young children and growing for my local farmers market and other sales channels locally. I am currently looking to return to my hometown of Spokane, and am in the market to purchase a piece of property on which to develop my cut flower and medicinal herb farm. Purchase is preferred as I would like to specialize in perennials and woody cuts, which require significant inputs and long-range planning that aren't as well suited to a temporary arrangement. However, I am open to conversations about leasing and/or partnering and remain open to the right opportunity. Housing on-site is preferable. I would like 1-5 acres of total property, and upwards of 2 acres that could go into field production and the rest for pasture/woodlot. I am open to the right opportunity on the outlier of this spectrum. I intend to immediately transition my current microgreen, nursery plant, and layer hen production as a jumping-off point and am prepared to go into market garden production with cut flowers and annual herbs assuming there is a production area reasonably ready to plant into. I would also be prepared to plant somewhere around 150 dahlia tubers in the spring of 2021. I grow following no-till, sustainable practices, implementing permaculture principles, biodynamics, and organic inputs.
The bulk of my ag experience is from working in the nursery, although I'm approaching the point of the years spent farming being equal to the years spent in the nursery. For the last four seasons I have been fortunate to grow in a region with a tremendous amount of rainfall, and I anticipate there being some hiccups as I return to growing in an environment where irrigation is a requirement. I have built my dahlia tuber stock up to the point where I started with 400 tubers in the spring of 2020, of which I sold the majority at market in the spring and plan to carry over 150 +/- for maintaining that level of cut flower production at the outset. Most of what I've grown has been multi-purpose, meaning that I grow garlic because it's a food and a medicine; I grow calendula because it's a medicinal herb and a cut flower, and so forth. My focus the past two seasons has been on learning to manage cool-season flowers to maximize on the early spring sales opportunities/season extension. I have been growing microgreens (mostly sunflowers, radish, kale & peas) for the past year in order to have a reliable year-round revenue stream. The property I have been growing on has a mature blueberry orchard consisting of roughly 50 highbush as well. I have also kept a flock of 12-24 laying hens for the past 4 seasons and grew up on two acres where we kept horses and rode competitive hunter-jumpers my entire life.
I am prepared to plant roughly 150 dahlia tubers in the spring of 2021 and would be able to immediately implement growing up to 20 trays of microgreens per week (preferably broken into two harvests per week.) The restaurant industry is a significant sales channel for microgreens, so I don't anticipate there being a market for more than 10 trays per week in the short term, but my current setup would accommodate up to 20 trays. Cool-season flowers are (best) started in summer and field planted in fall for early spring production, so the first growing season would rely heavily on succession plantings of warm-season annuals such as zinnia, calendula, sunflowers, amaranth, celosia, basils. I would also be prepared to grow ginger and turmeric right out of the gate as well. I would also raise laying hens and potentially other poultry beginning the first season as well.
I am using Holistic Management for the framework of my business planning and management, and my holistic goal is centered around perennial production. In a purchase scenario, I would begin implementing perennial plantings immediately in order to be able to begin harvesting them in the 3rd year, however for a lease situation this degree of input would be dependent on the lease agreement. These would include peonies, hydrangea, ninebark, willows, red-twig dogwood, lilac, berries, asparagus, valerian, echinacea, lilies. Horses would be the next on my list in the first 3 years. Further on the horizon are other livestock husbandry goals such as sheep if the scenario supports it and the business is ready. In a purchase (or a very secure lease) situation, I foresee pursuing grant funding for a hoop house (among other opportunities) by the 3rd season or so.