Hans Peter Meyer
Special to the Record
The Birds and the Beans farm launched in the spring of 2013. This fall and winter you’ll see farmers Foster Richardson, Kelsey Knoll, Natasha Tymo, and Jay Baker-French selling winter crops: kale, cabbages, rutabagas, winter squash, celeriac, lots of squash, potatoes, and dried beans. “Grain crops and dried beans are a big hole in our local food system,” says Richardson. “Our goal is to rebuild that capacity locally.”
Vegetable crops are demanding on the soil. “We grow organically,” Richardson explains. “We don’t have the option of using chemical fertilizers.” As well as improving local food security, growing beans has the benefit of improving the soil.
Access to affordable land is an issue for most new farmers. The opportunity to lease land at Beaver Meadows Farms is what brought the four Ag school grads to the Comox Valley.
Their first year saw many trials – testing different varieties and launching a new farm venture. Year two has seen more crop trials (nine varieties of dried beans). They’ve developed a strong customer base at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, they sell through Sunshine Organics, and they’ve launched a box program (the fall program has just started).
The springboard for success has been the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market. Richardson says they needed to get the name “out there, to meet people.”
For more information about The Birds and the Beans, meet the crew at the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market on Saturdays all year ‘round. Or visit their website at thebirdsandthebeans.blogspot.ca or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebirdsandthebeansfarm.