PCC Farmland Trust

This article was originally published in March 2006

Spring breaks at Bennington Place

by Summer Howe, PCC Farmland Trust Development Officer

When I called Joel Huesby of Thundering Hooves to talk about spring at the Bennington Place Farm, he was brimming with excitement. This year, March at the Bennington Place is all about the calves. Thundering Hooves’ herd of Hereford cattle is calving up to 30 new cows a day this time of year. With these calves, Thundering Hooves is one of the largest certified organic cattle herds in Washington.

Joel has good reason to be proud of his new herd. His cows are pastured and are bred for optimum health. The Thundering Hooves Herefords have the genetic body type of the kind of cattle raised by Joel’s great grandfather.

Their short legs, long backs, and wider girth let them store more energy so they stay fatter and healthier through the winter. They also have less trouble reproducing and giving birth. These cows are more ecologically efficient to raise and have a lighter impact on the land because they gain more weight on an acre of grass than other cattle.

The Huesby’s dedication to sustainable ranching pays off in the health of the land, the animals and the local markets where Thundering Hooves beef is sold.

Happy spring from the Dungeness Farm

by Kia Kozen, Nash’s Organic Produce

March kicks off our 2006 growing season. Scott Chichester, our field production manager, is sowing seeds and getting our first rotations of spinach and radishes in the ground.

Our greenhouses are bustling with energy as we plant each tiny celery seed. In seven months, after transplanting the celery twice in the green houses, transplanting it into the field, irrigating, cultivating and managing aphid populations — and finally harvesting and packing — the celery will find its way to PCC’s produce racks!

Unlike many growers who purchase celery starts and directly transplant them into their field, we start our crop from seed and manage it to maturity, every step of the way. It’s a lot of work, but that’s the way you grow healthy, sustainable food!

Sam McCullough, equipment manager, is preparing our fields by disking cover crops into the soil and applying compost. Cover crops have been resting as bright green blankets in our fields all winter, protecting soil structure and retaining nutrients that might have otherwise leeched away during the winter rains. Its time to shake things up and get that fertile Dungeness soil ready to plant!

Late this month, look for our super-sweet, over-wintered cauliflower and leeks. High in B6 vitamins and folic acids, our leeks have withstood the winter in the field and are still tender and packed with nutrition.

March also finds our 19 pigs roaming freely and happily in their pastures. Rooting and eating cabbage and Brussels sprout remains all day long, these guys have access to fresh greens and a great view of the Olympic Mountains … what a life!

Also in this issue