One of my favorite things about the Farm (aside from the blueberries) is all of the stories surrounding the early days. During my visit, I spoke with many wonderful people who took the time to share early Cascadian Farm stories with me—from the first crops that were grown, to interesting methods of weed control. This week, I want to bring you a story about that very topic—weed control. Organic farming is about working in harmony with nature, meaning that sometimes a little creativity and ingenuity is needed to control weeds in a natural way.
The following story was shared with me by Don Smith, a fellow blogger and a Graphic Designer for Cascadian Farm.
“In the early days of Cascadian Farm, we used a breed of geese that we called Chinese Weeder Geese as one weed control method. We had a lady here named Ann Schwartz who raised the geese from goslings, tended to them, and protected them from the predators. We moved the geese around in the fields and they would eat the small tender weed shoots that came up in crops like strawberry and potato. The geese would pluck all those weeds and as they moved through the field, leave some fertilizer behind.
A lot of our customers heard about them or saw photos of them. In particular when we exported products to Japan, they would ask about our Weeder Geese.
In the end, it was quite a project to protect them, which finally gave way to other, more efficient weeding techniques.”
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I wish I had a photo of these geese to share with you! Stay tuned. I’ll keep digging.