Happy friday friends, thanks for being here another day and dedicating this time to your health. I am so glad you are here to learn, absorb and act on all of this new information. If you haven’t sensed a theme within my blog yet, I am super obsessed with local businesses, sustainable practices and ethical goods. The reason these three values are so important to me is because they guarantee health and wellness to every party involved: the maker, the buyer and the creatures. I encourage you to look for the three of them together rather than just one of them. We can have local without being ethical and sustainable so, take that extra step be aware of the products you are buying each day! Don’t fall into the label trap, it’ll getcha.
Last week I had the pleasure of going out and visiting a local organic farm about 40 minutes outside of Spokane. The farm, dating back to 1887, is situated on 400 acres of grazing land and pastures. To say is beautiful would be an understatement. Rocky Ridge Ranch is the name of the farm and the CSA they run is the creation of Gary and his wife “So”. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a program that allows you, as the consumer, to connect directly with a certain farm and their products. CSAs are an excellent way for you to take ownership and be a part of the operation that feeds you and your family. You cut out the middle man, the cost of shipping and the question of origin. Now that you know what a CSA is, let’s get to the farm!
“She’s the green thumb, I am just the guy who digs the holes.” -Gary
When I arrived at the farm I was greeted by cows, pigs and the sweet smell of rural living. The bars on my phone sunk down to blank space and there wasn’t a business in sight. “SO” the gardener and wife of Gary, runs several greenhouses where she starts plants in heat controlled spaced and later moves them out underneath the summer sun. Under her care you can find peppers, parsley, lettuce, bok choy, cucumber, red cabbage, kale, beets, tomatoes, collard greens, swiss chard, radish, romain, carrots, spinach, asian green onions, Korean green onions, leeks, fennel, strawberries, raspberries, dill, squash, asian sesame leaves, sugar peas, walla walla onions, shallots, purple/red/yellow/viking potatoes, micro greens, kohlrabi, sweet corn and a variety of herbs. These varieties are all on a rotation which prevents disease and other pests! If that isn’t a large enough variety for you, don’t worry, I have more for you below.
Outside of the garden beds you can find the remainder of those 400 acres filled with alfalfa, triticale, oats, peas, cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, sheep, goats and ducks. Their animals are as grass-fed as grass-fed gets, pastured to be precise. They wonder endlessly in open pasture, drink fresh water and gets lots of exercise. All of these things are important because it means you are getting a high quality products that are free of chemicals, synthetic feed and stressed meat. Pastured meat has a lower acid ash than conventional meat so, you can’t go wrong. All of the animals at Rocky Ridge Ranch have never been injected with hormones, antibiotics or other vaccines and if they are due to an illness, they are taken off the production line and never sold to you. If you are a lover of eggs, fear not, their chickens are treated with just as much love and are usually roaming around. Gary even placed vents and fans in there homes to keep the air clean and ammonia free.
“There’s more fake news in the agriculture world than anywhere else. That’s why I wanted you to come in.” – Gary
Gary’s sustainable practices are an incredible aspect of the farm. From simple crop rotation to making his own feed for the animals, he wants to leave as little of an environmental impact as is possible with an animal farm. Alfalfa is a perennial that can give about ten years before it kills itself off by generating a toxin which keeps it from overgrowing. Once the Alfalfa is gone, they will grow oats since they get their fertilizer from Alfalfa. After the oats have extended their welcome, they will plant the peas. The peas are annuals that are great for forage and nitrogen. Nitrogen is crucial for soil health and the health of the produce you are consuming.
Sign up today & get a pro-rated price
Rocky Ridge Ranch is well into their season but you can still sign up! If you sign up today you will get a pro-rated price on your meat, eggs and produce. They have a variety of different programs that I have listed below.
You can pick up your coolers full of produce, meat and eggs in Spokane every Thursday between 3 – 6 p.m.. With each CSA you will get weekly updates via newsletter. I have attached the sign up below. Under “special requests and explanations” on the form, please write that you heard from me (Ashlee)! Thanks guys and if you have any questions or want more information, please comment below! Here is the link to their website & ordering information.