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Nash’s Organic Produce: Diversification on Sequim Farm Reaps Rewards

Posted by struscott | September 16, 2008

When it comes to growing seeds the farmers at Nash’s Organic Produce are truly invested. Whether it’s because they can develop varieties that are best for the Dungeness region, or use them on-site for livestock feed or as a contracted crop, Nash Huber and his team want to ensure their viability and longevity of favorite varieties.

Owner Nash Huber details his farming practices
Owner Nash Huber details his farming practices

“I think having a diversity of crops in a farm plan is of critical importance to any successful farm’s long term survival and ability to nourish its community,” said farmer and owner Nash Huber. His 400 sustainably managed acres boast more than 100 types of produce as well as livestock, grains, legumes and other seeds.

Farm Walk participants at Nash's Organic Produce
Farm Walk participants at Nash’s Organic Produce

At a recent WSU/Tilth Farm Walk, Doug Collins, WSU Small Farms Educator, said growing seed is labor intensive.

Micaela Colley of Organic Seed Alliance uses a fan to separate denser seeds from less dense chaff
Micaela Colley of Organic Seed Alliance uses a fan to separate denser seeds from less dense chaff

“Seed production adds extra commitment of time and energy for farmers,” said Collins. “The farmers at Nash’s have taken on seed production because there is no other way to ensure the continued availability of their favorite varieties. As seed companies have merged over the last few decades, certain varieties have been lost,” added Collins.

WSU’s organic wheat breeding trial is also underway at the Sequim farm. Eighteen spring varieties are in their first year of testing. Winter wheat varieties will be planted this fall. Kevin Murphy, WSU Plant Breeder for Organic Systems, said the trials look at disease resistance, yield, performance in organic systems, baking quality and nutritional value.

“We picked Nash’s farm, because he is an established grower who would like to include cereals as a larger part of his farming rotation,” said Murphy. “We envision that cereals grown on the west side will be ideal for local markets as well, especially local bakeries. Nash is well known as an innovator and not afraid to take risks,” Murphy added.

Nash’s sells their products year round at their farm store, at seven farmer’s markets, through PCC natural foods retailers and through their farm share program.

Huber’s commitment to preserving farmland was recognized this year by American Farmland Trust. He was awarded the annual Steward of the Land Award for his dedication to environmental stewardship and farmland protection efforts.

By Betsy Fradd
WSU Small Farms Team

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