Frequently Asked Questions
Being that we are a farm and that we deal with both commercial and household operations, we tend to get some common questions. So we hope this is helpful. If your question is not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Are you organic?
Emphatically, yes, and more. We are pressing into how to pack more nutrition into our produce rather than just not using poisons to control weeds and pests or provoke nice green colors. Organic technically means “grown without man-made chemicals”. You must go beyond organic into high nutrition, the way our food was created for our health especially since the soils over the decades have been depleted of plant available elements. To that end, we brew a tea we spray on the plants and ground weekly filled with microbes and natural soil amendments that are designed to bring the soil back to health so the plants we grow in it are as densely packed with nutrition as possible.
How do you harvest the carrots?
Mostly by hand, on our hands and knees. Great family fun, no joke! I also have a machine I designed and built (with lots of help) that can get the carrots out of the ground but it still takes lots of hand power to get them ready to ride up the pre-wash conveyor into final processing.
How do you store the carrots/beets?
Presently, we have a 14x24 foot cooler that will hold more than 17,000 pounds of carrots where I attempt to keep the temps at 30 degrees Fahrenheit. That works because carrots don’t freeze until they reach 29 degrees. I store them in 25 pound bags so they don’t dry out and break them down when an order comes in.
Do you need help during harvest?
We are not looking to hire anyone. We simply set about the task and leave the door open for anyone who wants to come whenever they want to stay as long as they like and we’ll feed them in between. We have made some very wonderful new friends this way.
How long does it take to harvest the carrots?
Depending on the weather, it generally takes us about 3 weeks to get all the carrots into the cooler.
How many acres of carrots do you plant?
Up until 2012, it was always one half acre, which is approximately, 100’x200’. In this space we get about 2.8 miles of carrots row if you stack them all up end to end. In 2012 we expanded to 3/4 of an acre of carrots and more than a half acre of additional trial crops. Was a very good learning year.
Why do you wait until so late in the Fall to harvest?
We try to wait until after the first couple of hard frosts before we harvest the carrots. This isn’t always possible, obviously, but the insight behind it is that carrots are a bi-annual plant, which means they need a second year in order to go to seed. So, as they near the end of their first year of life and sense the oncoming winter, they shift gears from a) : growing their food pantry (the root we all love to eat) to b) : surviving the winter cold. The onset of shorter days and cooler temps causes the carrot plant to convert the sugar molecules in its juices into a little more complex sugar molecule that doesn’t freeze quite so easily. To our taste buds, that means a jump in sweetness. Storing them at 30 degrees also helps the carrots to get sweeter over time. This feature is one I chose specifically when deciding which kind of carrot to grow since I am targeting folks who want to juice their carrots. Let’s have them as sweet as possible!!
What kind of carrots DO you grow?
Red-core Chantenay was what we used exclusively in the beginning. Now, looking for the perfect carrot, I've tried many a variety. This next season we are planting Bolero.. They are a great match for my soil type and store well as well as sweeten up over time in storage.
Why did you start growing carrots in the first place?
After we moved on the farm in 1999, my wife’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer which required some surgery. Prior to that, I had been researching natural means to heal and maintain health and had shared some of what I was learning with the family. When the doctors came to Mom and said she needs to have chemotherapy now, she declined and went on a total raw diet. That was in 2000. Carrots were required for the juicing regimen she needed but carrots were hard to find in quantity and when you did find them, they would run out in January/February time frame. We were sitting on 5 tillable acres and I wondered if I could grow a few carrots for her. The rest is history, as they say. Mom passed away July 1st, 2017, but was cancer free. She was 87 yrs old and still lived here with us.
Where do you sell your carrots?
Presently, we supply carrots to Leavenworth, Chelan, Mazama and Twisp and locally, Main Market in Spokane and, thru LINC, the local universities, hotels and restaurants. We supply carrots on a different pricing schedule to those who are fighting cancer. And, we have loyal customers who are neighbors and friends.
What do you hope to accomplish long term?
To glorify the One who gave me life and reveals Himself in His creation. Working with the soil and things that grow in it is a humbling and enriching experience. I rejoice that growing carrots has provided a platform on which to declare the faithfulness of the living God to hear and answer a broken-down ol’ Marine who needed savin’ real bad. It gives me great joy to have something to give to others when the need arises and the LORD directs. My dream is to provide an enriching environment as well for other families to take advantage of for their children’s sakes to band together with us to produce something powerful and healthy all the while singing and praising and lifting up in prayer those who come to us for carrots who are in the fight against cancer. We gather around the sorting table at the start of the day to sing the Carrot Patch Hymn (I Will Sing Of My Redeemer) and to bless in the name of YHVH all those who have come or have left a prayer request with us. I also hope to have a name and a place to pass on to my children and my children’s children.
OK, what do you hope to accomplish short term?
To develop a sustainable farm to pass on to my children and their children that flourishes because it serves others and supplies a means to healthy living.
Why do I find some rubbery carrots in the 25-lb bags?
There are some air holes in each 25 pound bag necessary to prevent spoilage. The cooler stays cool because there are 3 separate cooling units circulating conditioned air. This air is very dry and will pull all the moisture out of the cooler. Where there is a hole in the bag of carrots is where also you will find a possibly dehydrated carrot. There are 4 holes in each bag so potentially, there are 4-8 carrots being dried out as time goes along, depending on how the bag is oriented to the flow of air. Carrots are easily re-hydrated by placing in a bowl of water, if you get desperate, especially good for the stew pot. Thanks for understanding.