Please check out the January 2016 posting in Seattle Tilth’s blog for more of our story.
Plum Forest Farm grows great food for our community on Vashon Island. We do this by focusing on growing habitat (for our family, for wild and domestic plants and animals, and soil micro-organisms). Our varied seasonal vegetables and fruits have won us a reputation for delicious quality food.
Our growing methods are based on integrating crops with livestock. In addition to providing eggs, meat, mowing, bug-eating, and other services, our Scottish Highland cattle and diverse flock of laying hens provide the manure that we compost with plant materials to create fertile soil. This soil lives on our flat to gently southward sloping crop field and produces vibrant produce. The farm is named for the enchanted old growth plum forest that we discovered under a wall of black berries when we came here in 1999.
We are gradually restoring a small forest on our land by cutting back invasive weeds and planting native plants. Most of our land is in pasture on which we practice rotational grazing. Using fencing, we allow our cows and chickens access to limited portions of the pasture, then move them frequently to fresh grass.
Who we are:
Joanne Jewell and Rob Peterson have been working in the fields of sustainable agriculture, organic gardening and pesticide reduction since the mid 1980s. Both have been garden coordinators at Seattle Tilth and are contributing authors of the Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide. We managed Brigit Croft Farm, a CSA in Snohomish from 1993-1998, which had 70 shares and also sold at the UDistrict Farmers Market.
We moved to Vashon Island in 1999 with our one year old daughter and gradually built the farm while focusing on parenting and keeping the mortgage paid with off-farm jobs. In late 2005 our second daughter was born and in 2008 we finally reached the point where we felt that the farm could produce enough income for Rob to discontinue the off farm job. In 2009 Joanne was able to let her off farm job go too.
We are very grateful for the support of the Vashon community who enthusiastically buy our produce. Our goal remains to balance growing great food while maintaining sane and healthy “habitat” for our family. Read this article about our farm in the local paper. And here is a video featuring some farmers and crafters on Vashon, including us.