If you are reading this blog, then perhaps you are aspiring farmers like ourselves. My wife and I have both led lives in the cubicle world and found ourselves ready for a change.
We have been tight for over 20 years of marriage and hoped for something that we could do together. We are both outdoors people who like physical work. We live in Alaska and like most Alaskans, we want to know where our food comes from. Unfortunately, Alaska imports 95% of its food. This food comes by airplane, barge, and truck from the lower 48, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. Lots of time and mileage until it ends up on a plate. We are big believers in the local food movement and decided it was our time to contribute.
Many Alaskans pride themselves on primarily purchasing basic necessities at supermarkets. Many harvest their own meat and fish. We decided to harvest greens with one or two high tunnels. We have two acres in Homer and wondered if that could work? There were plenty of other question such as our age, best crops to plant? Would two high tunnels be sufficient? How would we sell the greens?
Welcome to a surprisingly helpful group called Homer Soil & Water. They recently did an exhaustive survey of both growers and buyers. Their results show that many farms are 2 acres and less. Average farmer ages are spread across the spectrum but the two largest groups are late thirties and late fifties. They published a buyers wish list for local foods such as: herbs, peppers, peas, sprouts, microgreens, kale, spinach, and tomatoes. The median square footage for high tunnel growers was 1,000 to 5,000 square feet. We are looking at a 30’x48′ and 30’x72′ which lands inside the median range at 3,600 square feet. Granted this is all Homer data, but what a wealth of information for anyone considering becoming a grower!
Homer has an excellent selection of top notch restaurants to accommodate its many summer tourists. The restaurants pride themselves on using local produce. There is also a well coordinated farmers market twice a week throughout the growing season. These will be our target markets to sell the greens.
We will use this blog to document our progress. We are happy to share both successes and failures. If we can inspire anyone else who is ready to take a leap of faith for a dream, then this site is well worth the time and effort.
Be well and dream green… Jeff