Most of us know what a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce box is, either we have purchased one or have known someone who has. A wonderful box full of goodies, usually vegetables, sometimes there are other food goodies too, that you pick up from a local favorite community venue like a coffee shop, farmers market or even directly from the farm. This is a wonderful way to connect with your community and to support local agriculture and have local delicious food products to feed to your family.
This past Friday I toured one of our local Gallatin Valley organic farms, Strike Farms, with owner Dylan Strike. Now I have been to the farm many times but only to pick up product in the large cooler area that holds the bulk of finished products. Dylan explained to me that that whole building had previously been just a horse barn with a dirt floor. Since purchasing the property just a few years ago he has added insulation, concrete floors with large center drains, plumbing, large washing and equipment and even an office upstairs that overlooks the farm. Without realizing that NONE of this infrastructure was here prior to the farm operation it is amazing how much work Dylan has done in such a short amount of time.
One of my first questions for Dylan after seeing the large stacks of vegetable bins, these 4x4x4 foot cube containers for storing produce, was just how much product are you producing at Strike Farm? His answer is 35,000 - 45,000 pounds of root crop per acre on 13 acres! There is an additional 5 acres of leafy greens on a triple crop rotation and 2/3 of an acre producing herbs producing weekly for 20 weeks. They produce over 100 varieties of organic produce, flowers, herbs, and potted plants and can provide locally grown products throughout the entire year!
Some of those first crops to come will be happening in the month of May, which is right around the corner! Right now, you can get fresh microgreens that are being grown in a small area of the green houses. Once May comes you will be getting baby greens and you will be able to get potted plants beginning as soon as April! You can get your garden's starters from Strike!
Even with all this product, there is still room to grow and plenty more work yet to be done. In looking around the farm I had to ask how does he cultivate so much acreage in such a short amount of time! Let me backup a little here, I know from my younger years it takes seemingly forever to weed just one small garden bed, let alone ACRES of plants. He showed me his basket weeder attached to a 1942 Farmall Tractor. Why such an old tractor? Well the new tractors do not have adjustable width axles to fit within the footprint of a small farm operation. Dylan is looking for more equipment to develop more high quality tillable acreage and provide greater local food security.
Already Dylan has developed a business with eight full time managers and crew, and despite last year's catastrophic weather challenges was able to still produce profitability without crop insurance but by being bio diverse in his planning and crop harvest. He has a superstar crew that is highly motivated and excels everyday. However that does not negate that more is still needed to continue the further development of this amazing organic, locally diverse farm. Strike farms is looking for partners willing to be more involved in community supported agriculture. His idea is to rent the needed equipment back from investors at a 5% return to the investors monthly or in trade for an equal amount of food shares. Should you or someone you know loves farming and would like the opportunity to own a piece of working farm equipment (without the work) now is your chance to get a piece of the farm! Click the link below to see what part of the farm you would like to share in helping Dylan continue his efforts in building his dream.