Archive for Blue House Farm

Fresh Strawberries at Blue House Farm

By Kelsey Grousbeck, Intern

Recently a handful of Skyline donors and their kids bundled up to pick strawberries at Blue House Farm on the Coastside. Ned Conwell, one of the farm’s co-founders, taught us about the history of Blue House Farm, which began as a plot of land on Cloverdale Coastal Ranches and developed into a three-acre farm with over 100 varieties of produce.

Blue House Farms (c) Ann Duwe

Blue House Farms (c) Ann Duwe

Ned also showed us some of the techniques certified organic farmers use for eco-friendly pest control and to maintain soil fertility. Some of these techniques, such as using the parasitoid wasp that lays its eggs inside some agricultural pests, were a bit more creepy crawly than others. To finish the tour, Ned showed us the old-growth lumber barn containing the creative produce washing bathtub and lettuce-drying Maytag dryer, then let us run wild with their flock of chickens to warm up a little.

In the chicken pen with Ned (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

In the chicken pen with Ned (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

After Ned’s tour, POST donors eagerly made their way to the strawberry patch, where they got to work picking that week’s strawberry crop, each taking home enough strawberries to be used for everything from preserves to a tasty summer salad.

POST donors picking and enjoying strawberries! (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

POST donors picking and enjoying strawberries! (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

Ned and his business partner Ryan Casey have been leasing the land for Blue House Farm from POST for the past five years. In that time, their success has come from operating as a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture farm. With this program, members pay an annual fee to have a weekly box delivered with a selection of that season’s produce, as well as flowers and eggs if requested. POST’s office in Palo Alto is one of the drop-off sites for these boxes, and many POST donors and staff have participated in the CSA program at Blue House Farm over the years.

Strawberry Bounty (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

Strawberry Bounty (c) Kelsey Grousbeck

In addition to informing people about the CSA program, they have been running Blue House Farm as an educational farm, offering tours to school groups and explaining how to operate an organic and sustainability-oriented farm. Part of the reason they founded Blue House Farm together was, as Ned said, because he and Ryan “share a similar dream of combining farming with environmental education” (Landscapes Fall 2008). For more information about Blue House Farm and their CSA program, please visit http://www.bluehousefarm.org

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