By Hans Peter Meyer
Special to The Record
Roderick Lane grew up on his father’s land, what is now home to Forbidden Fruit Farm. “When I returned to the Valley I was pretty clear that I wanted to start a farm. I really believe that farming, some form of agriculture, is where we have to move to.”
Forbidden Fruit Farm is primarily a fruit and nut orchard. Roderick is differentiating the farm from others in the region by producing a line of plant-based fertilizers.
The fertilizers came from necessity. The farm needed soil improvement, and there is no easy way to do that organically. “I spent years importing fertilizer – bringing things like seaweed and fish onto the farm.” This wasn’t working to his satisfaction, and he turned to an old method: using on-site ingredients to create plant-based fertilizers.
Live-culture fermentations “feed the soil at the microbial layer,” he explains. “We don’t have to import granules or chemicals. We can build the soils right on site, from plants grown here.” Forbidden Fruit produces five types of tea, each addressing a different part of the plant growth cycle, and some designed to help resist insects and disease. The comfrey, for example, is especially good for tomato production.
How important is the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market?
“It takes time to build up your soils, build up your seed stocks, build up your crops,” Roderick says. The market has enabled him to get started without having to buy heavy equipment or go into debt. “It’s an incubator to help farmers get up and going. You can be a small producer and still survive. It’s very, very important.”
This is part of a series about the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market by Hans Peter Meyer
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