Farms Reach – Fall 2020

Hi all,
We made it! Through another growing season. I love this time of year – so many incredible colors and such abundance.
We planted garlic today at Goosefoot, some as crew crops and some for the food bank. Sam disced the field and it looks so different and so empty now! At Farm’s Reach, the greenhouse is planted with arugula and spinach. I’m hoping I got the timing right for a nice early crop in the late winter!

It was a great year at Goosefoot, honestly better than I could have imagined. It was so amazing to have the crew, both for the good company and fun and for the help in tackling so much! The soil is so great in the valley, and we grew some beautiful and prolific veggies.

Not much to report from Farm’s Reach since the last report in July. I had some beautiful tomatoes and a nice harvest overall, but unfortunately I had a lot of struggles too. The eggplants kept on being ravaged by voles, and by the time fruit was ready to be harvested, I was left with about 5 of the original 40 plants, which is pretty bad to say the least. At one point I tried cutting the bottoms out of plastic gallon size pots and using that as a sort of collar around the plant, and whether it was coincidence or not, it did seem to help. I also had some pretty bad loss from theft. The peppers were all stolen by the boxful before they had turned red (I wish I was kidding!!). Whoever was taking from the greenhouse also liked to harvest all the cherry tomatoes. I couldn’t tell for sure if they were taking any of the slicers. I put up a sign notifying guests from Farm’s Reach that the veggies were for the food bank, and if they were needing food to please visit the food bank or to email us to volunteer. I’m guessing since so many more people were eating outside for covid safety, it made the garden more visible and more tempting. Anyway, sorry to be delivering these disappointing news and I’m sorry too that I wasn’t able to deliver more of the crops I was hoping to. Just glad I was able to put in more hours at Goosefoot! My total for the year is 276 lbs, which is considerably less than last year, but in my opinion still pretty good since I was not using any of the outdoor raised beds to grow food this year, which halved my growing space.
Attaching some photos here from July-on.

Here is the video of a sphinx moth visiting nasturtiums in the greenhouse!! I’d never seen one of these before and it surprised and delighted me 🙂


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Gratitude from “The Gleaners”

Thank you Quimper Community Harvest Gleaners!   

It’s the end of a challenging but very abundant season and time now to enjoy what’s left of that fresh, frozen, dried, sauced, canned, juiced, jammed, caramelized and fermented fruit we picked. Despite social distancing, this year was our biggest year ever, by a lot.  This year we delivered 18,254* pounds of fruit (4500 pounds more than our previous record) to 17 organizations**.  In the past it would have been a real challenge to make sure that much fruit was well used in our community, and this year was even tougher that usual with less students in school and heightened restrictions on deliveries to senior facilities.  Luckily  Jim did some research and found Fabio, a 1HP machine that turns hundreds of pounds of cooked apples into applesauce each hour.  With Laurie in the lead and 15 of you helping over 6 weeks, 7000 pounds of ugly apples were washed, cooked and run through Fabio to make 5449 pounds of tasty applesauce which has been frozen and will be served weekly to students.  Conveniently, that is the amount Stacey calculated she could use in a year feeding students. It’s hard to overstate how much this will improve our ability to feed the community with local fruit going forward.  All those apples with skin blemishes, or ones that were not crunchy enough, or too hard can make excellent sauce.   Special thanks to Sharon, Paula, Mary, and Sonny for doing the bulk of the tree checks (that is truly the most crucial job), Paula for sewing picking bags and masks for everyone, doing all the Chimacum deliveries and coming to every gleaning day, Laurie for being Queen of the Orchard and Sauce, Mary for trouble shooting uncountable situations and Jim for thinking outside the box and bringing a new idea to life. Many thanks to all who came, picked, and then came back! We had a lot of great returning and new gleaners this year and many awesome kids.   I hope to see you all in the trees next year.  


PS, I do hope to have a pruning workshop in January or February, though I don’t think we’ll be doing the orchard mulching day this year.   

And a couple thank you’s to share  from tree owners: 

Thank you!  Your crew was absolutely wonderful and I’m so grateful to them for their labor of love this morning.  It makes me so happy that these apples will go to feed my community, the small ones and the old ones both.  Hannah 

Hi Seth.

Sorry you couldn’t get out our way this time. It was a great crew—hard working, efficient. I talked with Rachael and a guy (sorry, didn’t get his name) as the crew was packing up to leave. It was a gorgeous day and everyone appeared to be happy. It makes us happy that they were happy! Best of all, it delights us that our fruit is doing good for the people in this wonderful area. Thank you and the “field hands” for volunteering the time and effort. Neil

*Doing the math per pound we picked and delivered about 10,766 plums, 426 pears, 1888 Asian pears and 51,754 apples (plus a few thousand for ourselves).  Well done! 

** Chimacum School District, Port Townsend School District, Cedarbrook School, Tri Area Food Bank, Port Townsend Food Bank, Tri Area Senior meals, San Juan Commons, San Juan Dementia facility, Discovery Apartments, Avameer, Claridge Court, Episcopal Soup Kitchen, Jefferson Health Care, JC Anti-Racist Fund, Marine Plaza, Dove House, Jefferson Healthcare

Grange Garden Grant Evaluation


September 27, 2020

The Quimper Food Bank Garden has supplied thousands of pounds of fresh, organically grown produce annually to the Port Townsend Food Bank. In 2019, over 2,900 pounds were donated to the Port Townsend Food Bank, which served 16,463 households last year. Current utilization of the area food banks has increased by 800 more families since the onset of the corona virus pandemic. Quimper Food Bank Garden is committed to increase food production to meet that demand.

Quimper Food Bank Garden supplies a wide variety of organically grown vegetables through all four seasons, and fruit during the summer. Until this grant, potatoes had not been grown due to garden space constraints. We wished to expand our operations and add potatoes to our crops, using fabric pots to increase the available growing area. Using fabric pots facilitated the ability offer an organic potato at the food bank, created a system to facilitate harvesting, kept small potato seed from sprouting in undesirable locations, and aided with weed suppression.


The stated evaluation plan was to gather anecdotal evidence from the Port Townsend Food Bank customers through volunteers who work at the food bank.

Regular food bank volunteers are aware of specific food bank customers who, for health reasons, are unable to eat non-organic produce, potatoes being a specific vegetable of concern. These identified customers were offered organically grown potatoes through this grant. Despite the onset of the Covid- 19 virus, where it was more difficult for direct interaction with customers as in years past, volunteers did hear from a number of people how appreciative they were to be offered the organic potatoes in lieu of non-organic. This extra level of care provided a much-needed boost, both nutritionally and emotionally, especially during this time of pandemic.

The harvest of the potato bags was quite simple. Placing a 1/2” screened box over a wheelbarrow, one bag at a time was dumped and sorted. This kept the work elevated to table height, ensuring that any of our volunteers could harvest with ease. Nearly all of the very small potato seed was captured by the screen, keeping it out of the re-usable soil, as per our plan. The sifted soil was then amended with compost, and replaced back into an emptied bag for replanting.

In addition, the rows of fabric pots along our fence line completely damped down weed growth. This was the first year that we did not have to weed the interior fence line.

Looking at the harvest numbers, we felt there should be a greater crop yield. We did some research, and discovered some possible explanations:

  1. WSU Extension Growing Groceries instructors have heard from a number of people that their potato crops did not do well this year, possibly due to a blight.
  2. The fabric pots dry out much more quickly than if the crop was grown in the ground. Initially watered by hand, a soaker hose was installed in mid-June, but a number of plants had ceased to thrive by that time.
  3. Layers of straw was alternated with soil, but because of the rapid drying of fabric in #2 above, the straw was likely an additional factor in drying.

Quimper Grange Food Bank Garden is grateful for the opportunity that your grant provided to “think out of the box” with this project. In the spirit of sustainability, the fabric pots, and the remaining soil, are being used again immediately. A fall crop of radicchio, radish and elephant garlic were planted in the pots, re-using the potato soil and supplementing with remaining compost. We are committed to try the potato project again next year. We believe our harvest will be much better next year, and will keep the Tri-Area Garden Club apprised.

TOTAL GRANT REQUEST (Granted $334.00) $333.88 $344.63 $10.63 overage covered with a donation to Quimper FB Garden
Black fabric bags filled with soil and potatoes line the interior of the fence
Potatoes dumped into a screen over a wheelbarrow re-captures all the soil and most of the small seeds.
Final packaging and ready to deliver to the Port Townsend Food Bank!

Delivering Fresh Produce

Juri Jennings, displaced from work by COVID-19, started a bike delivery business to deliver groceries in Port Townsend WA: Peddler PT. Her website has a donation link for folks to pay it forward for those who need home delivery, but may not be able to afford it. Check out her site HERE or above.

Juri’s first delivery on 9/8/20 to the PT Foodbank: 115 pounds of fresh vegetables from Dundee Hill Community Garden and the Quimper Grange Foodbank Garden. In the box she’s holding are hand-built salads with calendula blossoms, in her other, a freshly delivered cucumber!

Yesterday, to reduce car traffic and make delivery easier, she began a route from Foodbank and Community Gardens and home gardens to deliver to the Port Townsend Foodbank. It should be noted that in a year, gleaned and donated fresh produce totals over 20,000 pounds, conservatively.

PT High School Garden

Young volunteers, Zach works hard and a community success story in the making!

Our youngest volunteer, almost 4 years old, masked while working and with hands freshly washed, snacking after a busy hour harvesting bush beans and carrying [light!] crates.

Kids LOVE fresh kale–and kale chips!Port Townsend High School garden supplies the schools with fresh, organically grown produce for Stacey Larsen and her team to do scratch cooking. During the end of the school year, during COVID, they produced over 20,000 breakfasts and lunches delivered by school busses.The YMCA took over during the summer, adding a weekly dinner by Grace Love of Nadine’s Kitchen, mom of an adorable toddler!What teamwork!!!During the summer, the harvest is sent to the school kitchens for freezing and saucing, and to the Port Townsend Foodbank.Students grow and harvest during the school year; volunteers grow and harvest during the summer. All under the leadership of Farmer Zach.

Farmer Zach, an ever presence at the PT High School Garden.

Swan Farm – Sept. 5, 2020

Hey, all. 

Wanted to keep you up to date on how we’re doing.
We’re up to over 880 lbs. so far and should come close to or go over last years total of 1507 lbs. once our winter squash starts coming in. That’s pretty good since we’re cultivating less plots than last year. 

Rich, the walk paths look GREAT! It will make a big difference next year. We’ll be spending more time gardening and less chasing after the weeds. Thanks!

Thanks, Mike for working the compost. It’ll be nice not have to go pick it up at John’s farm so often. 

Thanks Suzanne and Susie for keeping the flats of stuff coming. 

Thanks Ginny for your weekly offerings which continue to delight!

Thanks, Mary for picking up the slack on everything and being our co-manager.

As far as the jobs list is concerned:

If you want to transplant the beets out of the gh, I think they’ll be fine. Work them in anywhere. Then we won’t have to water everyday… 🙂 The lettuce plants that have gone to seed can come out. They can go in the compost pile. The green bean plants can also come out. Suzanne you can plant your seedlings anywhere you think when they’re ready.
And anything else you can think of.

Have a great weekend. See you soon.

Happy gardening!


RainCoast – Sept. 2020

Hey Volunteer Team

We had a spectacular week in the garden last week, with so much accomplished! Special gratitude to all who participated (Kevin Gale, Mary Hunt, Mary Burke, Denny and me)!!!

Kevin Gale hauling chips to a reclaimed pathway on the far side of the greenhouse where we were able to erect a shelf on which to store our garden equipment (watering cans and slug traps, supplies (organic fertilizers), etc.

We really cleaned up the appearance of the front gate by relocating this stuff! I’d like to make it a bit lighter of a time/energy investment this week, so we can catch our collective breaths. AND I have some huge time commitments and deadlines this week (especially for our – Food Bank Farm & Gardens’s – participation in next week’s Jefferson County Farm Tour), so must budget my time wisely this week too.

There is quite a bit of lettuce to harvest in the garden tomorrow, so we should be quite busy making salad mixes. Remember to bring your favorite harvest knives, as we will be taking quite a few heads of lettuce. I will be SURE to bring the salad spinner!

I found out today in conversation with Kathy Ryan (who is FBFG’s president and who also sits on the Jefferson County Food Bank Association board) that most of our harvest goes to the Quilcene Food Bank! 

On Thursday, Sept 10 (night of waning the half moon), we should continue cultivation tasks of weeding, watering outside the fence, fertilizing the heavy feeders, trellising if needed, sanitizing i.e. picking diseased leaves and putting them in the trash, and maybe some site prep for the new composting operation. I will make a fresh batch of “soil soup” and have it ready. If the temperature stays reasonable maybe we can start at 10 am too… 10 am on the 10th! Hope to see you in the garden this week!

 –          Lys