Kirsop Farm Walk, September 10, 2012

Organic Research Trials & Diversified Vegetable, Grain and Poultry Farm

Colin Barricklow and Genine Bradwin of Kirsop Farm hosted 66 people at a jointly sponsored Tilth Producers-WSU Small Farms Program farm walk on September 10, 2012. Kirsop Farm is located within the Tumwater city limits. Colin and Genine farm a small amount of land at their home site and they lease additional land nearby for a total of 15 acres. About half of their market moves through the Olympia Co-op and the other half is sold to a 200-member CSA.

Kirsop Farm WalkOne highlight of the farm walk was the mobile turkey houses that they use to raise pastured heritage turkeys. Twenty birds live in the 8 X 12 structures for about 7 months.

Similar structures are used for raising pastured chickens. Colin and Genine exclusively raise “Freedom Rangers” for poultry meat production. They butcher about 500 birds annually through a WSDA 1000-bird poultry license and make use of the Thurston County Conservation District poultry processing equipment rental program.

Other highlights at the home site were the rotary drum composting system, mushroom Kirsop Farmproduction house, and the combine. Kirsop Farm is growing grains for cover crop seed and also interested in producing cereals for poultry and human consumption. Crimson clover, triticale, and hulless oats are among the seeds they produce. The mushroom enterprise is yielding 40-50 pounds of mushrooms per week; this and other side projects are part of an effort to help keep an employee working year round at the farm.

At the second stop on the farm walk, “Field 2”, Colin and Genine discussed their prized carrot production as well as other field crops including arugula, radishes, beets, squash, broccoli, and more. Weed control is facilitated with a custom-built 7-nozzle flame weeder and a wheel hoe. Kirsop Farm participated in two on-farm research trials in 2012 and WSU researchers Doug Collins and Andy Bary discussed these trials. The first trial included six other organic farms in western Washington and is estimating how much plant-available nitrogen is produced from soil organic matter. The second is a trial of reduced tillage techniques. Squash was grown after preparing the soil with a rototiller or with a strip tiller, which only tills a narrow strip of ground.

Farm Walk booklet: HERE

Written and Photos By Doug Collins