The best part of every soccer game growing up was the halftime snack. Orange slice, granola bar, cookie, whatever it was I wolfed it down and panted a little bit and looked to the team’s fearless leader for advice. I’m halfway through the 2019 growing season and I find myself panting and looking around for my fearless leader–then I remember the fearless leader is me and I think about how fearful my childhood leaders may have also been.
It’s 2019! Which means I started Blue Fingers Farm three years ago, and I’m still growing plants and my business so it looks like I’m here to stay. I’ve got some small news and some big news, listed them in order of importance below.
Blue Fingers Farm Has A New Home
I recently closed on a land purchase. It’s 10 acres of raw land on Gooby Rd; 3 acres of woods and a <5% slope down to 7 acres of southern-aspect pasture. It’s 4 miles from downtown Sandpoint and somehow in my price range, so I’m starting to suspiciously believe in a higher power. I bought it with my boyfriend Steve. One of his childhood dreams is to hand-build a log cabin–my career goal is to own a small farm in Sandpoint, so we held hands and went for it. He is not going to be my business partner or financially dependent on the farm; that’s the way we both prefer it. Lots of work to do before it’s farmable, so I still plan on continuing to rent the Oldtown farm next season (thank you so much, Bill and Patricia Christman), and move permanently to Gooby Rd in spring 2021. I don’t really believe it’s real yet, so if I wake up and this was all a dream, it was a really good one.
Alani Still Likes Farming
A good farmhand is hard to find–especially in a region run by internship and WOOFing labor pools. I am so lucky for mine; she joined last year as a part-time harvester and market hand and stuck around to see Blue Fingers through another spin around the sun. Not only is she an incredibly detail-oriented and hardworking harvester, I can’t believe she still likes hanging out with me. She has her own interests in farming and food preparation…it’s very beautiful watching them grow. If you see her at the market tell her she’s one tough cookie. She’d like that.
Multiple Farmsites, Ahoy
I’m now growing on Sandpoint small farm heritage ground–the original site of Red Wheelbarrow Produce run by the great Emily Levine. I have thoroughly run out of space on my quarter acre in Oldtown, so I am now also growing on a quarter acre on Forrest-Siding Rd. Growing in two places is not ideal, but not impossible. It helps that she left behind so much driptape! Thanks Em.
New Restaurants Featuring Our Custom Greens Mixes
Beet & Basil continues to be the steam powering this engine, thank you to Jessica and her fearsome army of line cooks. I have been delighted/flattered to start working with Spuds Waterfront Grill, The Fat Pig, and The Pie Hut! I brought my seed catalogs to the chefs to design a custom greens mix that they were excited to work with and I was excited to grow. Each mix is an exclusive offer to just that restaurant; you won’t find them at any other restaurant or wholesale outlet in town. You can, however, find them at my booth at the Sandpoint Farmer’s Market! I credit the restaurant that buys them on the label so you can’t miss them.
Potential Pickling Profits Programmed to Prosper
I’m starting a line of value-added products to sell at the Sandpoint Farmer’s Market. I’ve been practicing fermentation and traditional food preservation techniques for as long as I’ve been farming, and I think it’s time to financially invest in my knowledge and see if Sandpoint bites! Heeeeeeere kitty kitty kitty. Starting August 1st, come and get your fix of vegetables in their sexiest, probiotic form. I am intellectually, biologically, and dare I say spiritually devoted to lacto-fermentation and I can’t wait to show your tastebuds how beautiful and nutritionally dense local produce can be.
Abandoning Priest Lake
I’m sad to say that I can’t keep up the Priest Lake CSA, sell to 3 new restaurants, grow in two sites, and start a pickle company. I had to pick which would be most efficient for me, and Priest Lake was just too far away to keep commuting to. Please forgive me, Jake Christman, and all of my devoted Priest Lake customers. I can’t thank you enough for your support these last two years. I hear that the Farmer’s Market in Priest Lake has six tents now, and meets every Saturday! I cried when I heard…it used to be just me and Caitlin under a big white tent, watching the cars go by. All my love.
Murphy is Huge, and Doing Fine
The farm dog is alive and well, and stomping on all the beds. Anybody have any tips for training her to walk only in the walkways? She’s very excited about the new land–so excited she got a grass seed stuck in her eye while leaping wildly through the field and had to get it extricated by the vet.
And that’s it for this orange slice! Hope you enjoyed your snack. Now let’s get back out there, team! We’re gonna tighten up the defense, support midfield, and just let that star forward carry us on to glory. Hands in! Gooooooooo Blue Fingers!