We grow well over 100 different varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, flowers and potted plants each season that are available through our Summer and Winter Vegetable Subscriptions, local Bozeman Farmers' Markets, Town & Country Foods, the Community Food Co-op, Heebs, Rosauers, Planet Natural, Ace Hardware, and several other Bozeman area establishments. We also provide Strike products to select stores and restaurants in Billings, Big Sky, Butte, Helena, and Livingston.
Where We Farm
For 2017, we will have 20 acres of tilled ground, producing vegetables, flowers, and herbs on 13 of those acres, with the remaining 7 acres in full-season, soil-building cover crops. On February 1st of 2017, we closed on a 10-acre property not far from our main farm which was previously owned by Rich and Pam Dunkle. Rich and Pam graciously passed up several opportunities to sell the property to others because they wanted to see their land stay in agriculture. This new property will serve as our infrastructure home base, as well as providing some additional production ground.
We also farm on a 6-acre lease out on Stucky Road — in fact, it's where we started Strike Farms back in 2014. We lease this ground from Tom and May Heriza, whose support was and continues to be instrumental in enabling our business to grow. Also new in the fall of 2016 was another 5 acre lease on Gooch Hill Road, which is on ground placed in a conservation easement by the owners Logan and Lyle Happel, in partnership with the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.
Land in the Gallatin County is home to some of the best soil in the country — but it's significantly overpriced due to development pressures. This reality has forced farmers to find creative ways to produce and market enough produce in a way that allows us to afford these high land prices.
In order to provide year round food for our community and year round employment for our employees, we've put a lot of emphasis on winter storage crop production, as well as creative strategies and tools like high tunnels and greenhouses to grow winter greens. Despite Bozeman technically having only a 3-month frost free growing season (or a zero-month season in 2016, when we had at least a light frost every month of the year), we're able to have food available every week of the year. Although we have to be very creative with season extension techniques, we believe the extra cost and time is worth it to keep our community supplied with the freshest possible produce and to provide meaningful employment opportunities.
With increased production and storage capacity from our new property, we'll be growing even more winter storage crops in the future. Of our 13 acres in food production as of this year, over 5 of those are specifically for winter storage crops like carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, parsnips, turnips, celeriac, etc. To compliment the storage crops we also have 6 hoophouses and greenhouses for growing winter greens like spinach, arugula, tatsoi, and microgreens.
Stronger Together: Our Farm Partners
Since our inception, our goal has been to nourish our community in everything we do. One way that we do that is through strategic partnerships with local organizations and community members who share our values. We are especially proud of our special partnership with the Gallatin Valley Food Bank -- to whom we donate nearly 10,000 pounds of food per year. Our Subscription members help support these giving efforts by participating in Donation Subscriptions, which you can read more about here.
We have a great partnership with Roots Kitchen and Cannery, who cans a number of our summer crops to allow us to provide our Subscription members with a much bigger diversity of summer treats year-round. The items we asked Roots Kitchen to make for us this year include dill pickles, dilly beans, curried carrots, pickled beets, banana peppers, sliced jalapenos, and hot sauce.
We also have a partnership with Root Cellar Foods (not to be confused with Roots Kitchen and Cannery), who processes our Roma tomatoes and bell peppers and freezes them for us to put into our winter vegetable shares.
For 2017, we will be partnering with another local grower, Kimm’s Organic Potatoes, so our Subscription can include potatoes. This partnership allows us to use the land that would have gone into potato production (which requires specialized equipment) to instead grow more of our primary crops.
Another exciting collaboration is with Happy Trash Can Curbside Composting. This company is run by Ryan Green and his partner Adrienne Huckabone. Ryan (who also works at the farm as our crew leader) and Adrienne pick up food scraps from Bozeman residents and businesses and then compost it at the farm. They are currently diverting over 10,000 lbs of food waste a month! In exchange for the use of our space and equipment, the farm gets to use the compost.
We also collaborate with Gallatin Valley Farm to School as a host for their summer camp field trips.