Archive for Compost

Yard Waste, Evers Ridge Farm

Yard Waste Collection

The most recent addition to Rogue Produce’s team of Farm Partners is Evers Ridge Farm, in Medford, owned by Thomas and Hannah Peterson. We first connected with them because they have a giant worm bin and they needed our food-scraps to feed the worms.

Thomas and Hannah’s vision is long term. They are working on beginning a nursery of trees, and they plan on planting veggies between the trees. As part of their preparation, they are creating a giant composting operation to support the soil for the drought-resistant farming techniques they will utilize.

As you are probably now aware, the mission of Rogue Produce’s new initiative, the “1 and 3 Farm Project,” is helping small farms like Evers Ridge; and what they need right now are the food-scraps we currently provide through our Community Compost program, as well as yard waste materials: wood chips, horse manure, leaves, etc. to integrate into their compost operation. If you can use a hand clearing any materials like these from your home or property, please let us know and we will come pick them up! You can call us at 541-301-3426, or email us at info@rogueproduce.com. We will pick-up free of charge, but if you want to donate toward the cause, we’d be happy to accept anything you’d like to give!

The Project at Evers Ridge

So here’s how Evers Ridge Farm is beginning to play into the bigger picture with Rogue Produce, Community Compost, and the RP Farm Collective. The RP Farm Collective is currently farming at Joyluck Farm, in Talent, and we’ll be needing nutrients for the soil to keep feeding our aspiring plants. Evers Ridge is going to help us make this happen!

Our Community Compost program currently drops food scraps at Joyluck Farm, Happy Dirt Veggie Patch, and now, Evers Ridge Farm. Happy Dirt is the first location to reach the goal of creating a nutrient rich final compost product. Matt, the owner, has been feeding his seedlings, and donated a small portion to some of the gardens at our public schools.

We plan to replicate Matt’s composting methods at Joyluck Farm, and Thomas and Hannah have their own unique methods at their place.

Our initial agreement with Evers Ridge Farm is to help them in the collection of supplemental materials (leaves, wood chips, horse manure, yard clippings, etc.), in exchange for small amounts of the final compost product for our farming operations at Joyluck. In addition, Thomas and Hannah would love to offer the finished product to customers of Rogue Produce, eventually. It’s always been our goal to get Compost to our customers to use at their homes. Is that “full-circle” or what!

We’ve got a lot more great news coming soon. Thank you for all of your support: placing orders regularly at Rogue Produce, and participating in our Community Compost program are what make the magic continue to happen!

The Toil for Healthy Soil

Happy Dirt Veggie Patch is a drop off point for Community Compost. We are a small 3 acre farm in Phoenix that grows a wide variety of vegetables. We maintain healthy soil with compost made on site. Your peels and pits, leftovers and less-than-their-best veggie scraps arrive at the farm in trash barrels that get dumped into big piles for processing.

The first thing we do is look through the fresh droppings for anything that doesn’t belong. Almost any naturally produced item can contribute to building healthy soil – but plastics, metal or any other questionable trash that won’t break down is picked out and put in the regular trash. Meat and dairy products can theoretically be composted, but as a practical matter we exclude them as much as possible because they attract critters that we would rather not have to contend with.

Packaging items that are labeled as “compostable” typically don’t work very well in our system, so we pick most of those out too. Thin green compostable bags work ok, but compostable cutlery and dishes, etc that are more substantial take much too long to digest in our small operation. So into the trash they go.

Another indigestible item is the plastic stickers that come on produce. We have to let these go through at this early point in the process, because trying to remove them all is impractical. We have found that it is easier to remove them from finished compost than at the beginning of the process. Still, this is the biggest contamination issue we deal with. Thousands of stickers, still sticking to their morsel of compost! It is a huge headache trying to remove them all, not to mention hours of labor. We would love it if customers could remove stickers from their produce before tossing them. An even better solution would be  for the industry to go to paper stickers. After all – the entire purpose of the sticker is to exist for a fraction of a second to speed things up at the checkout stand. After that nobody cares. So why do we make stickers that last for generations? The simplest thing with a very simple solution ends up being a blight upon the land. Paper breaks down easily in compost – plastic does not. 

One more irksome item is plastic teabags. They absolutely do not break down, and pop up in otherwise finished compost with amazing frequency. Each one requires bending over, emptying their enclosed contents, and getting it to a proper disposal receptacle. Much easier would be for everyone to use paper tea bags which easily return to the Earth.

Once we have the compost spread out on the piles, we let it sit in the sun for a day or so, weather permitting, to dry it a bit. In Winter we often cover with tarps to keep excess rain off the piles. Compost needs some moisture to work properly, but too much moisture prevents enough air from getting into the pile. While the food is drying in the air, it is very attractive to a variety of birds in the area. Throughout the day, flocks of birds come visit the compost – taking some and pooping some – stirring it up and speeding the digestion process. Some come for the ripe fruits, some for the multitude of bugs and worms.

At night, there are other critters which visit the piles, mainly skunks, raccoons, and opossums. Feral cats are also on the prowl. These animals also like to feed on rodents, so there are no rats to be found and only rare sightings of mice.

When the latest dump load has dried, we cover it with straw, leaves, dry grass clippings or other farm clippings. This introduces the “brown” component that gives microbes the balance of nutrients they need to activate the digestion process. We layer the pile with additional loads of “fresh” produce until it is big enough to start cooking on its own. 

At this point we take our trusty old tractor and turn the pile and mix all the ingredients together. Once it is all mixed, the composting process really accelerates. Within 2-3 days the temperature of the pile will soar, eventually reaching 140-150 degrees. Thermophyllic bacteria do the work of eating it all and gradually turning it into beautiful brown humus. These bacteria also eat and digest any pathogenic microbes that may happen along the way. It takes a few weeks until the temperature goes back down. We then turn the pile (which is considerably smaller by now) one more time. The pile heats up once again , but reverts to ambient temperature more quickly. After the second turning, piles are left to finish for several months. This allows the beneficial fungi and earthworms to infiltrate and leaves us with a beautiful, rich, sweet-smelling compost that is pure nutrition for our crops and essential for maintaining healthy soil.

We are very thankful for all of those who contribute their compost through Community Compost. We are also very excited to now be getting leftovers from the new Market of Choice in Medford. This will increase our supply of home-made compost significantly, which will help increase our production of local veggies! All of the compost we make is used on-site to fertilize our crops and maintain healthy soil, eliminating most of the need for expensive fertilizers from faraway places.

Thank you for your support!

Rogue Produce: Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, Rogue Produce and Community Compost would like to share a couple of the highlights of the last year, and offer a look ahead to 2019!

New Farmers on the Scene

Available for delivery this week!

We’ve started working a few new producers, including Bee Girl Honey, Chai Kitchen, and most recently, Victory Garden. For our delivery this Friday, December 14th, we’ve got a special late Autumn treat of Romaine, red leaf and green butter lettuce from Victory Garden, as well as bok choy and baby bok choy! Victory Garden has recently begun operations in the upper Rogue Valley. In addition to fresh produce, they have amazing free-range turkey available for the holidays! Click here to place an online order for home delivery.

No Processing & No Shipping & Handling

One of the latest developments we’ve introduced is the elimination of fees from custom orders at our Online Farmers Market. You can take advantage of this new opportunity – simply select one of the 3 “Rogue CSA” options:  The Veggie Share, The Omnivore Share or The Whole Kitchen Share – and you can select any of the other produce items from our entire list with no processing or shipping and handling fees! That means you get to shop the best of what’s local from your regional small farms and food producers and receive FREE home delivery!

Chicken is on the Menu

Rogue Produce is Now a Partner with Uproot Meats!

We’ve been providing an outstanding selection of local beef, pork and lamb for quite sometime now, and we are now collaborating with Uproot Meats to get whole, free-range chicken delivered right to your door along with the items you order from Rogue Produce. You can contact Krista at Uproot Meats (408-504-9869), or give us

a call at Rogue Produce (541-301-3426) for more information.

Community Compost Customer Coupon Book

Not only have we expanded our residential food-scrap pick-up service to include

Appreciation to Compost Customers!

Phoenix and Medford, we now offer every customer an annual coupon book full of discounts to your favorite local businesses, including Bloomsbury Books, Brothers Restaurant, The Northwest Nature Shop and more! These businesses want to support those in our community who are working to reduce waste from our landfills and support our local farmers with the resources they can use. If you’d like to find out more about our weekly kitchen-scrap pick-up service, visit our Community Compost webpage.

Gift Cards

In looking ahead to Christmas and the New Year, what better way is there to support our local farmers than by purchasing a gift for your friends or family living in Southern Oregon. Remember, Rogue Produce delivers all the way from Ashland to Grants Pass!

Gratitude

Thank you once again for supporting Rogue Produce and all of the local farms and producers we partner with. It has been our mission since we started in 2013 to support local growers and artisans, and make shopping local as fun, convenient, nutritious and delicious as possible!

 

Happy Holidays from Rogue Produce and all our local partners!

 

Community Supported Compost

Local businesses in Southern Oregon are stepping up to the plate to support Community Compost customers! This week we are distributing the first annual Customer Appreciation Coupon Book, consisting of approximately $100 in discounts to local businesses, exclusively for our loyal customers. This may warrant a new acronym in the agricultural industry, of CSC, for “Community Supported Compost.” We are grateful to the businesses who have stepped forward to help grow the vision of Community Compost; and who support our efforts to assist local farms and reduce the amount of waste in our local landfill.

The Coupon Book

We will be showing our appreciation to the businesses that provide a coupon for the book, by highlighting one or two of them each week on our Facebook Page. Please tune in so you can show your support for these local businesses. Here’s a list of who’s contributed so far:

What is Community Compost?

For over 5 years, we have provided a weekly compostable food scrap collection from residents in Ashland, Talent, Phoenix and Medford; diverting these scraps from the landfill and donating them to small farms as an amendment

Happy Dirt Veggie Patch Wheelbarrow

Food scraps to farms makes healthy soil and happy farmers!

to their composting operations. Food scraps are a valuable resource for farmers, and some spend hours each week picking up the material anywhere they can find it. Community Compost helps collect all that can be re-used from your home kitchen and brings it to the farm where it can add nutrients back to the soil, to grow the amazing local produce we all enjoy!

Get Started, and Get your Coupon Book!

You can sign-up for Community Compost by visiting our website, or by calling 541-301-3426. Give us a call if you are a local business that would like to contribute a coupon to our next annual publication.

 

 

 

Waste Not, Farm Want! Food Scraps to Farms.

local farms compost your scraps!We Get Your Scraps to Local Farms

That’s right – the food scraps you might be placing in your trash every day are not waste – they are a resource. Small farms in the Rogue Valley can compost the organic matter from your kitchen to replenish their soil with vital nutrients. Rogue Produce is the only service in the Rogue Valley that picks-up your food scraps every week and delivers them to local farms to use in their composting operations.

Rogue Produce’s program, Community Compost, has been in operation since 2011, and has moved tons of residential food scraps from household to farm. Community Compost is a way you can directly support your local farms and reduce the burden on our local landfill. Community Compost is common sense, and it’s what makes Rogue Produce a “full circle” service. You can purchase fresh produce from our Online Farmers Market that is grown in soil nourished by food scraps from the previous year. This is a model we are enthusiastically expanding, and we’d greatly appreciate your help in doing so.

Start Composting, Receive Market Credit!

For a limited time, Rogue Produce is offering a $20 credit toward any of our CSA options (which includes custom ordering through our Online Farmers Market), when you sign-up for 3-months of our Community Compost service. If you’re already a Rogue Produce customer (or if you become one), you receive a 10% discount on our Community Compost program.

The compost program is simple:  accumulate your kitchen food scraps (pretty much anything except meat and fish), and set them out every week on your pick up day. Rogue Produce will visit your home, empty your compost container (you provide your own container), and you can start filling it up again for the next pick-up.

Once you start participating in our program, you’ll never want to throw a banana peel in the garbage again. Many of our customers have started with our program – which is very easy – and eventually transitioned into using a composting system at their home to replenish the soil in their garden. Community Compost is a great way to start wasting less and replenishing more.

To find out more, follow the links in this article, or give us a call anytime at 541-301-3426.