Black Sheep Farm, established in 2011, is located on Puget Island in Southwest Washington. Nestled in the Colombia River, the island has a long history of agricultural roots which Geoff & Siobhan are proud to carry on. Together they intensively farm 2.5 acres of vegetables and herbs using minimal technology. They seek to meet the balance of beautifully crafted produce with environmentally sound growing practices. Their products can be found adorning the plates of some of Portland's most discerning chefs that highlight boldly flavored, hyper-seasonal vegetables and herbs grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Initially we were certified organic for our first three years farming, but since then we've established such a close relationship with our chefs and patrons we haven't felt the need to continue to do so. Even though we are not certified, only organically approved amendments are applied to our fields to increase organic matter and balance nutrient levels in the soil. We do not use any products that harm beneficial microbes and insects. Instead we sow beneficial insectary borders to provide them with habitat. We also use floating row covers, poultry, and manual removal for pest control. Farming in a sustainable, ecological fashion is of the utmost importance to us. The mission to do so is what first attracted us to this field.
Livestock and bees also play an important role on our farm. Icelandic sheep, guinea fowl, and Icelandic chickens are incorporated into an intensive rotational grazing regime to best preserve the health of our pastures as well as improving soil fertility in our fields. By providing honey bees a home and access to pollinating plants, we not only are trying to conserve the declining bee population, but also benefit from them pollinating our crops. To help preserve soil structure and biology, our farm is managed with an emphasis on human labor and only a minimal use of mechanization. You can tell by sticking your hand in the soil - it is full of life and provides an ideal environment for microbes which in turn makes for healthy, flavorful crops. We really try to provide as much of an integrated, ecosystem approach to the farm in which all benefit and flourish.