Broad Valley Orchard

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Welcome to BVO’s Farm Journal and Almanac

Hello, all,

This is my first attempt to post on our new website. I welcome you all to Broad Valley Orchard, our 3 Acre Sustainable Microfarm, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pennsylvania. My wife, Judy and I started this place from a dream that we had when we were a poor young hippie family wandering around America in the early 1970’s. It took us a decade to get the stake together to buy our dream farm, and another decade to fix it up, and get it working – all the while learning as we went. We began our farm business twelve years ago, and have been surviving off our efforts. Luckily our business plan did not require “Getting Rich”; we settled for “Gettin’ By” !

Now we are in our mid-fifties, and should be getting set in our ways. Fate seems to have pulled another practical joke on us, though. When we started out here 25 years ago, we had a short growing season, and bitterly cold winters. We perfected a method of growing Certified Naturally Grown fruit and vegetables, taking advantage of this micro-climate.

Well, about twelve years ago, the climate started to change. Our 5 1/2 month frost-free growing season has stretched out to 7 1/2 (+) months. This winter, we have had no snow, and more days in the 60Fs, than below freezing. Now we are having a series of ’spring rains’. What I am calling this, is El Nino, on top of rapid Global Climate Change! We are now trying to figure out how to use this new edition of our micro-climate:

Perhaps the most interesting experiment started when we built two 17′X50 hoop houses in the mid-Nineties. For the first several years these uninsulated structures were giving our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) customers salads until New Year’s, and spring salads by May Day. This year we are planning on delivering greens until the end of February, and are already re-planting a few cold hardy bulbs and seeds to start deliveries again in April.

As soon as I figure out how to start using the right page, I will begin the Broad Valley Orchard Farm Journal, and Almanac, to write a weekly entry describing our efforts to adapt in this rapidly changing world. And since there are not very many small adaptable farms like this left, I advise all of you to be looking around for a plot of land, and start building your own garden. I do not think large scale global corporate agribusiness is going to be able to adapt, fast enough. And I don’t know about you, but I like to eat!

Thank You

Thom Marti

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