is a small scale family vegetable farm near Palmer, Alaska
run by Sarah and River Bean since 1988. Our goal is to ensure clean, pesticide-,
GMO-, and chemical-free produce and to practice sustainable farming techniques
that are harmonious with nature. To that end, we grow 100% of the produce we sell,
use as many local resources as possible, and have fostered a direct sustainable
connection between farmers and consumers in our community.
We have a Community Supported Agriculture program for which
we provide 125 families with weekly deliveries from mid-June through September,
sold by seasonal subscription. We also sell produce,
plants, apple trees, and cut flowers at our farm and at the Anchorage
Farmers Market from early May to mid-October, and we grow custom specialty
vegetables for local restaurants. Storage vegetables are available by special
order while supplies last through the winter.
Alongside farming, we spearheaded the development of an Alaskan organic growers certification
program, the Alaska Organic Association. We were also active in starting the Eagle
River Farmers Market and the Anchorage Farmers Market.
The farm comprises 20 acres of land on the floor of a glacial valley. 6 acres are
cleared for cultivation, and are protected by a 6' electric moose fence, where
we grow 50± vegetable varieties plus cut flowers in 4'x100' raised beds.
We have 2 additional acres in larger crops (carrots, potatoes, beets). There are
two greenhouses (24'x48' and 24'x96') and 1/2 acre combination raspberry field/poultry
run. We have a small herb garden and an apple orchard; we maintain beehives and
raise chickens, ducks, and goats for family use of eggs and meat. The remaining
acreage is wooded with birch and spruce trees. Wild rose, highbush cranberries,
currants and grasses make up the under story. The soils are glacial silt based,
fairly low in natural fertility, but high in organic matter. We develop and maintain
sustainability with organic farming practices such as composting, green manure,
organic amendments, low-tilth cultivation and intensive planting. We completely
avoid any use of agricultural chemicals, and were certified organic by the Alaska
Organic Association until the federal regulation of the term "organic"
in 2002. (The short story: the Federal takeover of organic standards lowered the
standards to meet agribusiness demands, and left ethical growers to seek higher
ground. For the longer story, see our section on Organic