News from the Farm
WHAT AN AMAZING SEASON
Fall is already upon us, and as usual the summer seems to have evaporated just as we were getting in the groove of it. This summer, in particular, has raced by for us due to all the changes we’ve experienced; getting used to the rhythm of this farm, as well as expanding and adjusting operations to suit our goals. The farm is again home to laying hens including fifty new pullets, a flock of ducks and ducklings, a horse, a goat, a rabbit and a herd of six yaks. A couple of the sheep will also be staying, but for the moment we will forgo the partridge in a pear tree.
The produce garden that Chris and Nancy developed works beautifully. Quite a bit of thought and planning went into the original set-up, which allows for a wide variety of produce items to be grown. We couldn’t be more pleased with the efficiency and productivity of the garden and greenhouse. We spent many early mornings to late evenings cultivating and harvesting the bounty that this farm produces. Keeping things natural and organic is a lot of work, but the rewards are immense.
As many of you know we are not going to be raising sheep, but instead have chosen to raise yaks for meat and fiber. So we have been working hard, in between everything else, to adjust the livestock infrastructure to manage these beautiful, wild looking, yet pastoral creatures. We currently have a bull, three cows and two one-month old calves. We have plans to grow the herd to between fifteen and twenty head, with a goal of producing extra-lean, grass fed, beef-like meat to the community.
Successful farming requires forward thinking, and as we wrap-up this summer season and button-up for winter, we are already planning for next season. Garlic is being planted, yaks are being bred, compost is being spread, and seed orders are being prepared. Soon we’ll be grooming the cross-country ski trails and hosting guests for northern lights tourism…and the cycle continues.
We have met so many wonderful people and developed new friendships by being involved with the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market, selling hay, operating the bed & breakfast, and just being here at the farm as people stop by to share our experience. Thank you, Fairbanks, for the blessings of friendship and community. What a wonderful place in which we live.
A NEW CHAPTER
As you may already know, Chris and Nancy have sold Arctic Roots Farm and we (Jim and Amanda Huddleston) have been hired to manage the Bed & Breakfast and operate the farm. Amanda and I, along with our daughter Kalei, moved to Alaska in July of 2008 and purchased an off-the-road-system, 40 acre homestead about 10 miles west of Ester. We have spent the last eight years developing a farm primarily using a chainsaw and hand tools. On our farm we raised chickens, ducks, dairy and meat goats, and pigs. We developed gardens and barley/oat fields and cut grass hay for feed with a scythe. We hauled our supplies, as well as hay and firewood using a dog team. It has been fun to experience doing all this without electricity or running water, but now we’re ready to upgrade.
We could not be more thrilled with the opportunity to operate this beautiful and productive farm that Chris and Nancy have spent so much time and energy developing. We have been producing small amounts of produce, eggs, and harvested wild herbs for sale under our homestead name, North Forty Farm. Our focus has been to provide foods and medicinal herbs that are non-GMO, cultivated and/or harvested in an organic fashion, and when possible grown from heirloom/open-pollinated seed varieties. Our philosophy fits well with Chris and Nancy’s goal of providing healthy, quality foods to the local Fairbanks community. We intend to honor their tradition and to expand in ways that meet the community’s growing demand for high quality, wholesome locally grown food. We will continue to offer wild and cultivated culinary and medicinal herbs through our North Forty Farm.
Along with our expanded experience in farming, we are operating the Onig’s Cabin and Farm Cottage Bed & Breakfast. We are looking forward to hosting travelers from around the globe, and sharing the farm, as well as some of our unique experiences in beautiful interior Alaska.
Chris and Nancy have been very generous in sharing their time and knowledge of the farm operations during the transition period. We thank them and wish them well in their future endeavors. We look forward to seeing you at the Tanana Valley Farmers Market at our Arctic Roots Farm/North Forty Farm booths, or just stop by the farm. Check this page for updates, or find our verified pages on Facebook at Arctic Roots Farm or North Forty Farm.
Jim, Amanda and Kalei