Yesterday was a great day! We met a local (she lives on our street!) urban farmer who specializes in growing herbs in her backyard – Basil and Beyond, owned and operated by Cindy Bischof-Steinbrick. This happens to be the first urban farm in Lakewood. It was a treat to talk with her and learn about her first year, plans for growth, and potential to collaborate in the future. She was a guest vendor at LEAF night about 4 times this past year and has dried herbs at Green Smart Gifts.
Our next stop was Lyndhurst, where we met up with a local coffee roaster (Crooked River Coffee) who is interested in the Berta rotary plow service. He has a great spot for a backyard garden and has already done a bit of the work, including feeding the soil with coffee chaff (he gave us a bag and I have done some reading on this fabulous additive – great for tomatoes, adds nitrogen, and wards off slugs and snails, it can also be added to your compost pile). Such a treat to meet people with similar values!
The last farm stop of the day was Bruce Cormack’s Market Garden in Mentor. Bruce has been growing food for 20 years and was one of the original farmers at the North Union Farmer’s Market and still sells at the Shaker Square market. That resume and his pictures indicate we have much to learn from him….and we were not disappointed. His advice, time and tour were extremely valuable to us. We learned of a local source for garlic (Charlie’s Gourmet Garlic in Hudson). He taught us best practices for using soil blocks, showed us a nifty tool for planting lettuce seeds (will post a pic when we make one), and showed us his operation. It is awesome! His advice to us is to find a few acres of land that has quality soil – it’s all about the soil. His soil is amazing. He sits on sandy loam that is easy to work and it’s only about 15 feet to the water table. He talked with us about his cover crops, drip irrigation system, hoop house, and tools (wheel hoe is now at the top of our list). Below are a few pics.
We topped the day off with dinner at fire (post to follow), a fitting end to the day.