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Whats new for 2014, root cellar, farm store, heated greenhouse, ...

posted Feb 11, 2014, 3:05 PM by Dan and Caroline Swansey   [ updated Feb 11, 2014, 4:41 PM ]
  Winter 2013-2014 has been a busy one which has brought to the farm many new improvements and additions that will continue to improve the farms potential.
November was a month of patience. We worked on small projects like planting trees and berry bushes as we awaited the birth of our new son, who finally decided to join us 5 days past due on November 21st. Cyrus William Swansey was born a healthy 9lbs and 21" at PeaceHealth medical hospital in Vancouver without any complications. We were very happy to finally be holding our baby in our hands (especially me who was struggling to stay patient with 30 extra pounds on my body) and Isaiah showed amazement when he finally saw what mommy meant when she said the baby in her belly would become his little brother.
 The arrival of Cyrus was timed well with the arrival of his grandparents who helped out for the first week and who allowed Dan to get his focus back on the big projects we had planned for the winter.
My dad and Dan started working on removing and relocating the fence by the parking such that we now have a large parking lot that can cater to more people visiting the farm without creating bottle neck issues. Then began the enclosure and constructing of the farm store. Wood was provided by our friend Bill Fleming while our dear friend Kirk Chamberlain came by day after day to work countless hours with Dan to make and finish an amazingly rustic and beautiful farm store. 
At the same time they also started digging and constructing our root cellar and grading and leveling the new parking lot.  
While Dan spent every moment of the day working on these 
projects from dawn to a little past dusk,  I worked on finding a balance in my new life as a mom of 2 sons. I have to admit the first few weeks were rough and if it wasn't for the amazing warm dishes that friends brought us we would have eaten 
peanut butter or cheese sandwiches most meals, but slowly but surely I found my strength was coming back and I started to become better and better at being productive while watching the boys, and home cooked meals where making their comeback. I even felt a little adventurous and decided to use my credit card miles to take the boys to see the cousins in Santa Barbara for a week, where Isaiah experienced many firsts, including going to the beach, swimming in a pool, going to the zoo,...
While I was away, Dan and Kirk used more of Bill's lumber to construct a 10' x 16' greenhouse near the house which will be heated and will allow me to get our plants started sooner and get them stronger before planting them out into the field. 
Suffice to say that February came very fast and we are working on getting many seeds in the 
ground and in seed trays.
Our goals with these new projects are of course very high, but the idea is that the farm store 
will allow us to easily display and distribute the products from our farm (vegetables, eggs, CSA shares, plant starts and maybe a few pieces of art here and there), we will only sell products produced at the farm so naturally the availability will be very seasonal and will also be affected by what we reserve for our CSA and what we sell at the markets (we are planning to attend both Camas and Battle Ground Village markets this year, as before). The root cellar will allow us to keep a high volume of produce fresh after harvest and increase our potential to store certain products for long periods of time. I even imagine I may be able to grow crimini mushrooms in the cool and dark environment of the cellar. As of right now we believe we will have open hours midday on Saturdays during the "off season" (November through April) when we don't have our CSA) and on Tuesdays and Fridays from 430 to 630pm during our CSA pick-up times during the growth and production season (May through October). We will have a more official posting of this on our website when all the kinks are worked out.
This year is also the year our certification changes from transitional to organic which is great.
I probably forgot many little things that went on in the past few months but I covered the big projects and as a reminder we are more regular at posting little blurps about our progress on our facebook page so if you would like to keep in touch with the current news I suggest you take a peak there :o)