What began as a student research project has developed into a core component of our Organic Farm School experience. Each year, the Organic Farm School engages in a variety of organic seed projects including variety trials, breeding projects and, of course, seed production!
The Organic Farm School grows organic vegetable seed both in large plots on contract for seed companies and in small plots on spec for local packet sales. The goal is to acclimate our favorite open-pollinated varieties to our unique maritime microclimate through repeated selection and then share them with our local farmers and gardeners. Crops we have grown to seed to date include kale, mustard, arugula, radish, snap pea, bean, tomato, beet, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, and various herbs and flowers. Please contact us if you are interested in acquiring some of this seed.
Each year the Organic Farm School conducts several variety trials searching for OP varieties that perform well under organic conditions. You can view past trial reports by clicking on the following links:
2012 V-Trials | 2013 Carrot V-Trial | 2013 Storage Onion V-Trial | 2014 OP Winter Leeks V-Trial | 2014 Brussels Sprouts V-Trial | 2014 Swiss Chard V-Trial | 2014 OP Storage Onion V-Trial | 2015 Spinach V-Trial | 2015 Radish V-Trial | 2015 Butterhead V-Trial | 2015 V-Trial Report: Dry Pole Bean, Dwarf & Determinate Tomato, Yellow Snap Bean, Snap Pea, Popcorn, Chicory & Radicchio
Thanks to generous funding from WSDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Sustainable Path Foundation, the Organic Farm School has been able to assemble an assortment of seed processing and cleaning equipment available for rent to regional seed producers at nominal fees. The equipment is housed in an enclosed trailer that a producer can pull with any vehicle equipped with a standard 2″ ball hitch, 4-way plug, and a tow-rating of least 3000 lb.
The equipment trailer includes:
· An Almaco small belt thresher
· A Clipper AGM 224 air-screen seed cleaner with an assortment of screen
· Assortment of hand screens
· Winnowing fans
· Additional miscellaneous tools such as tarps, totes, scales, air compressor, and more.
Using Our Seed Equipment
Regional "friends of the farm" can arrange to borrow our seed equipment. After all, the goal is to create a more vibrant bank of regionally adapted, organically grown seed.
1. Contact OFS staff to inquire about your desired use dates. Trailer use requires a minimum of 24-hour notice and is subject to availability. Email email@example.com
2. First-time users must read the operator manuals and schedule a phone call with OFS staff to discuss proper use of the equipment.
3. Pick-up the trailer from 12-4pm on your selected check-out day. Please bring:
i. A copy of your confirmation email.
ii. Your completed Equipment Checkout Agreement
iii. A copy of your liability insurance
iv. Your driver’s license and credit card information for a security deposit (read the Checkout Agreement for more details). Organic Farm School personnel will inventory and check off all equipment you are responsible for and confirm your vehicle is suitable for towing the trailer.
4. Use equipment following all the instructions printed in the Operator Manuals and given during the required initial phone orientation.
5. Clean equipment inside & out thoroughly. Soft, dry brushes and the air compressor are provided to clean the equipment and are the only tools you should use. Do not hose down the equipment or get it wet! You may wipe surfaces with a damp rag if needed. Failure to thoroughly clean the equipment will will result in a $50/hr cleaning charge (with a minimum charge of $25).
6. CHECK IN cleaned equipment between 12-4pm on or before your scheduled drop off date. Organic Farm School personnel will verify all equipment has been returned, is clean and in good condition. Renter is liable for replacing any missing or broken equipment.
*First Time Users*
Before your pick up date, you must schedule a brief phone orientation with OFS staff on the proper use and transportation of the equipment. Please email the Organic Farm School at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your phone orientation and read the Operator Manuals prior to the conversation.