by Laura Steiger, Outreach Team
The Cedarville Farm crew harvests and bundles spinach at the certified organic farm located near Deming. After bundling, the spinach will be washed and packed for delivery—perhaps to Cedarville’s 150+ CSA subscribers or to one of the farm’s many wholesale accounts. The final destination may even be the Co-op’s certified organic produce departments..
If you’ve lived in Whatcom County for any length of time, you have likely eaten food grown at Cedarville Farm.
Since 1988, Mike and Kim Finger have been working the loamy soil at their farm along the banks of the Nooksack River just west of Deming, and the Community Food Co-op has been proud to sell their fine produce in our stores since that very first year.
“Mike has been a pure joy to talk to and communicate with through the years. Mike and Kim have twice invited our entire produce team out to tour the farm and see how the things we sell are grown and harvested,” said Dave Sands, Downtown produce manager.
In addition to supplying the Co-op, Mike has several retail and wholesale accounts, participates in the Bellingham Farmers Market, and runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program serving 150+ members.
Among Cedarville Farm’s accomplishments is being one of the first of three Whatcom County farms to be certified organic.
Among Cedarville Farm’s accomplishments is being one of the first of three Whatcom County farms to be certified organic (Cedarville is number 36 in the state) and, in 1992, establishing the first CSA program north of Seattle (they still have a few original CSA members).
Mike and his farm crew grow about 40 crops including a variety of salad and cooking greens, alliums (varieties of onion and garlic), vegetables galore, tomatoes, and herbs. They also raise broiler chickens, turkeys, and maintain a flock of pastured hens for eggs.
In April 2015, the Co-op Farm Fund secured a low-interest loan for Cedarville Farm in partnership with Industrial Credit Union (ICU). This is the third of six low-interest loans secured by the Farm Fund in partnership with ICU, building on the Farm Fund’s original revolving loan program. The new program allows farms to take out larger loans up to $12,000, build a credit history with ICU—another local, cooperatively run organization—and helps farms tackle impactful on-farm projects that increase resiliency and build the capacity to provide more local food for the Co-op.
As any home gardener knows, weeds are your nemesis and whatever you can do to get ahead of them saves a lot of work in the long run. The same is true on an organic farm, only on a larger scale.
Cedarville Farm used their Co-op Farm Fund secured loan to combat its weedy nemesis.
Cedarville Farm used their Co-op Farm Fund secured loan to combat its weedy nemesis with the purchase of two pieces of cultivation equipment that will dramatically improve the consistency and efficiency of weed control and free staff for the delicate hand labor that simply can’t be accomplished by machine.
Mike purchased a well-cared-for 1970s International Cub cultivating tractor that was used by the Montana State University Extension Service to seed trial crops in Corvallis, Montana. Did you know there was a Corvallis in Montana? Neither did Mike, and he had originally made arrangements to pick up the tractor at the Corvallis that most of us are familiar with in Oregon, but that’s another story.
The cultivating tractor, which hasn’t been manufactured since the early 1980s, is still popular with farmers for two reasons. 1. Its simple, straightforward design makes it easy to maintain and repair on the farm. 2. It is specifically constructed to provide a direct view to the ground, so farmers can precisely navigate between rows without accidentally taking out any precious crops.
Mike’s other purchase was a propane bed flamer aptly branded “Red Dragon” that annihilates weeds with fire.
He is still on the lookout for one more addition to his weeding arsenal—a tractor-mounted inter-row cultivator.
The Co-op’s Farm Fund is happy to play whatever role we can to help Cedarville Farm grow even more farm-fresh food.
As Dave said, “Mike is very generous with his time and his smiles, and we love Cedarville Farm for that reason, among many.”
Donate to the Co-op’s Farm Fund at any register to join us in growing local, sustainable agriculture and supporting local farmers like Mike Finger of Cedarville Farm.