We had a blast touring around at Stoneboat last month! With nearly 500 CSA members in heat season, Stoneboat has one of the largest CSA programs out of all of our farmers. It may have been a blustery day, but we were so excited to get to talk with farmer Aaron as we took a tour of the beautiful winter crops.
Every farm has a different CSA program, and Stoneboat is known for having their members choose their veggies every week! Rather than pre-packing CSA boxes, Aaron and the team set up produce displays for CSA members to choose from. It just goes to show that CSA can take many different forms and there might just be the perfect farm out there for you!
Aaron, his brother, and the rest of their team has been farming out in Hilsboro, Oregon for the last eight years and have put a lot of effort into increasing soil health. Each farm comes with its own challenges. Aaron said when they first began caring for the land there, it was obvious that compaction was going to be one of their biggest challenges.
Soil compaction can be the result of many different factors, and leaving soil bare over the winter to get compacted by Oregon's heavy rains is one of them. One of the main tools used at Stoneboat to combat soil compaction is cover-cropping. The blanket of foliage protects the soil from rain, the roots aerate the soil, and the plants build biomass that adds organic matter to the soil.
In addition to cover cropping entire fields, Stoneboat is also big on living pathways. Every farmer in the PNW knows what it's like to carry to a heavy tote of cabbage down a very slipper muddy pathway. Planting cover crop between the rows helps protect the soil while making harvest a little bit easier.
In addition to talking about the nitty gritty of cover crop varieties and symphylan tricks, we talked a lot about how Stoneboat as created such a unique and successful CSA program that has members coming back year after year.
"I try to make people feel like they're a part of the farm," Aaron said. Through heartfelt emails that go out to each member keeping them up to date with what's going at the farm, to helping folks learn how to cook with veggies through easy, accessible recipes, to making a point to somehow remember his CSA members' names, Stoneboat CSA members are a part of the farm community.
We really had such a great time out at the farm. And of course, a visit to Stoneboat wouldn't be complete without getting a little love from farm dogs, Enoki and Rucola. They put their name tags on and came out on the tour with the rest of the farmers!
Big thanks to Aaron for sharing your knowledge with us, and much gratitude to all the fellow farmers who joined us! Stoneboat farm is located in Hillsboro. See more photos from our December farm tour and Stoneboat's winter market display below. And head to Stoneboat's website to learn more about their CSA offering.
Stoneboat Farm Tour Photo Gallery
Stoneboat at the Hollywood Farmers Market