I came to farming after a career in wildland firefighting and Smokejumping out of Alaska and the west. While visiting my sister in Homer, Alaska on the shoulder seasons of wildland fire, I was able to lend a hand working in her greenhouse planting and harvesting flowers for her farm. I realized how much I enjoyed the hard work and connection to the land that farming provides. I was already accustomed to being covered in sweat and dirt everyday, and could immediately envision the sort of farm I would like to start. Just like working for the Alaska Smokejumpers, I wanted a farm that was community oriented, joyful, hardworking and full of laughs. With the help of my sister and many other farmers, I gained the knowledge and confidence to resign from the Fire Service and begin a career in farming.
In 2016 I met my lovely now wife, Tracey, and we have continued to build our business together. One of our first dates was putting the plastic on our greenhouse. After climbing across the top of the high rafters and managing a heavy, unwieldy roll of plastic together, I smiled at her knowing that we were a heck of a match. We haven’t looked back. Farming with Tracey is such a pleasure, and it’s a constant battle to keep up with her in the field.
To me, flowers are something special. They provide beauty in this chaotic world. No matter what someone may be going through in a given day, flowers stand to make it better. There is nothing more enjoyable than opening the greenhouse just before sunrise, walking among the different rows of flowers deciding what’s ready for harvest, what needs to be weeded, what’s taking some pest pressure and what the plan for the morning will be. As Eliot Coleman has said, “the best fertilizer is the footsteps of the farmer.” This is the connection I was looking for.