Today I have 2 guests here fromFlathead Farmworks in Kalispell close to me! Welcome April and Kurt! I am sorry about the sound folks. I did my best to play with the levels and make it as good as possible but I felt this couple added enough inspiration and knowledge it was worth it to keep the file.
It says on your Flathead Farmworks Facebook page that you grow vegetables, herbs and flowers using organic methods, and making the most of the northwest Montana climate. And that you believe that fresh, local ingredients result in delicious food.
Neither of us from NW Montana,
We both really like the area and we both like to garden, doing it for fun.
Both like to cook in restaurants over the years.
Thought about doing that as a side business.
whole food fresh and local ingredients. It’s really cool how people in this area are into that lately. Something that is becoming important to people. We are in downtown Kalispell, right in the middle on a big city lot.
Trend of Local fresh food movement!
Kurt is a Landscape architect, well tell you about how that influences gardening for him.
I have my office here in Kalispell.
Gardening and landscape architect, and design have always gone hand in hand for me.
Kurt: I grew up in Frasier MI, suburb north of Detroit. My Parents growing up had a garden. My dad was a big DIY-er so just helping them around the garden kind of inspired me.
April: I grew up in Eastern Washington. Grew up we lived almost by the Canadian Border. My parents did this back to the land thing which was kind of hards.
I was helping in the garden, till I was like 2 or 3? I was good at weeding the carrots because I had tiny little hands and lots of patience …
Well that’s good because my listeners know I hate carrots because they are so small. Last year I did go to this seed fair where they made this seed tape and you just took strips of newspaper and a flour and water paste and stuck the carrot seeds to it and then could just plant the newspaper strips all evenly spaced. My solution has always been get the grandkids to do it. Maybe you were someone’s grandkid then?
Basically, yeah, I think so, a lot of it was self taught, we were talking early about organic gardening and how we got into organic gardening
I like that.
Our lot is a half acre….
originally started out all lawn in the backyard, over the last 3 years here. started by figuring out a big chunk in the middle.
more then a 1/3 of our space is growing space. Works out to about 4000 square feet…
it’s all one place…
I have my design practice that I work out of my house.
the mini-farm! That’s what I call our place.
Tell us about something that grew well this year.
It seemed like for everybody else this year they were kind of tough, but with the greenhouse. I built a 32 x 40 foot wide high tunnel/hoop house type structure.
It’s about half full of tomatoes and cucumbers that really produced quite a bit.
Last year, 2015 it got hot really quickly, so we had tomatoes the end of June.
This year the ones outside the greenhouse
We both have a full time job or business. Flathead Farmwoks has to be it as simple as it can. It supplies one local restaurant predominantly.
They pretty much take everything we have to offer we buy…
OK, so I love this business model, and how did you find that one restaurant? Did you know someone there, or did you call a bunch or how did you find that connection?
Funny you ask that…
It’s where we had our first lunch date … our very first date!
That’s funny the 2 questions I usually ask most couples how did you meet and what do you make for dinner?
After we got married, I decided to do my landscaping business… income is a little….
when I first started my design business I needed some extra money on the side… I picked up some side jobs… then I became friends with the owner … through working there as a cook … his appreciation for good fresh food
Cooking… just to make make a little extra money on the side and he turned out to be a good guy and he buys a lot of our produce.
So are there any tips you would give someone starting out to sell to a restaurant? Definitely say this don’t say that?
I think for us, we’re not real big
That’s the hardest thing about having a small operation …
I think this is going to be inspiring to new people who want to try to just find one restaurant.
It really takes finding a chef that doesn’t mind the unpredictability
We also grow flowers…. that was kind of new thing this year, we’ve done the vegetable garden, cut flowers to sell, big experiment, trying all different kinds of things…
One thing we would definitely not do again is we put some dahlias in the greenhouse.
In the greenhouse harder to control or get in hand
things can happen quickly
Now we know some things now to prepare better for or prevent before they happen.
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There’s always weeding!
APRIL: Well’s that’s funny Kurt was like there’s weeding, but I actually kind of enjoy weeding, under the right circumstances, I can clear an entire bed and be out there for 3 hours and be ok with it because I go into my weeding mode. We have different opinions
I think that’s good to complement each other. I think a lot of my guests say they like that meditative state to weeding as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.
Kurt: Harvesting potatoes is quite a bit of work sometimes.
especially if it gets out of hand
some things we don’t sell, don’t have any machinery for harvesting other then a rototiller for soil obviously
everything’s done by hand
Potatoes we don’t really sell, keep those…
Onions that are high labor as far as planting we sell some of those but not a lot
I think people are feeling a little relief, maybe I don’t have to try to grow all those things, I don’t know how to grow all those things yet, I can start with these easier simpler tasks.
If it has to be related to still getting something accomplished – I enjoy raking that freshly tilled soil … That’s his form of meditation… raking it all perfectly flat.
Nice! It doesn’t have to be task related or accomplish-related. Lots of people say enjoying the garden, drinking coffee… taking pictures
April: I think my favorite I would call it puttering, see what’s growing, see what;s flowering… tasting.. poking. maybe pull a weed...