Our philosophy and farming practices
Growing food for people is a privilege and to grow it responsibly is an art. We aim to provide our community with a wholesome and quality alternative to industrial food. At Slice of Heaven Farm, we grow food from living soil, which means we add more than we take away. We do this by amending with compost and using minimal tillage on our permanent bed systems.
Biodiversity is the secret to nature’s success on this planet. We intend to mimic nature as closely as possible in our farming practices. This means growing things other than just vegetables. Flowers, trees, and herbs are just a few elements of our farm landscape that give refuge to birds and insects. We also purposefully leave portions of our farm wild to leave habitat for wild companions. With the encouragement of as many life forms as possible, we may lose some crops but we enter a sustainable balance that is healthy and naturally occurring.
Our gardens are sacred places where we begin the healing that will help end the age of human irresponsibility.
Instead of pesticides, we use insectary planting, companion planting, and hedgerows to attract beneficials and increase predation of inevitable “pests”. We believe in balances. Everyone frowns to see an aphid but ladybugs bring us joy. The truth is we need both. We also use physical barriers such as electric fencing, netting and screens. Lastly, we remove “pests” by hand picking.
No synthetic fertilizers
Instead of synthetic fertilizers, we use cover crops, crop rotation, compost, naturally found or occurring rock powders, fish emulsion, seaweed extract. We believe in building healthy soil to grow healthy food. We use practices that only encourage healthy microbial life in our soil. “Feed the soil, not the plant” is a common phrase heard on our farm.
Instead of herbicides, we cultivate the soils in a timely manner. We also plant furrows or integrate cover crops into vegetable beds such as tomatoes and clover or potatoes and wheat. We generally believe that there is no such thing as a weed.
No GMOs, hormones or antibiotics
We purchase all of our seed from companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge. The Safe Seed Pledge assures that the seeds are non-GMO. We raise chickens for eggs and we do not use any hormones or antibiotics in our flock ever.
We refrain from using the plastic mulches that are very common in organic operations. We are trying to mimic nature and don’t believe using large amounts of disposable materials aligns with our efforts.
Our harvest practices
We harvest our vegetables in the day or two before our farmers markets and CSA pickups to ensure the freshest, best tasting and most nutrient dense vegetables. Most of our vegetables get washed in our pure artesian well water (snow melt from Mt. Hood in the aquifer 400 feet below our farm) and then stored in our walk-in cooler. We keep all of the greens on our vegetables to demonstrate their freshness. (TIP: if you want your root vegetables to last longer in the fridge, remove the greens before storing). Of course, certain vegetables like potatoes, onions, garlic and winter squash have a long shelf life and are harvested all at once and then stored properly to distribute for CSA and markets. Our goal is for our customers to experience the joy of vegetables straight fresh out of the soil!