Owners: Jamie Kitzrow & Lisa Schwartz
Crew: 30 people in the summer, 8 in the winter, and 20 to help at farmers’ markets
Location: North Albany
Acreage: 45 acres
What do you grow? We’re strictly vegetables. We grow 18 items for Organically Grown Company’s wholesale distribution network, with kale, cucumbers, chicories, and red bell peppers being the bulk of it. We also grow over 60 items for sale at farmers’ markets and to First Alternative. Tomatoes, peppers and greens are a big chunk of that. We sell you guys lots of greens—kales, chards, and chicory varieties—various sweet and hot peppers, basil, cucumbers, potatoes, fennel, and eggplant.
How long have you sold to the Co-op? Our 1st year was back in 1988. We sold you lots of stinky alliums—onions, garlic, and leeks.
What do you use to control weeds, pests and pathogens? We’re certified organic, so absolutely no nasty stuff. 95% of our weed control is done by our foreman, Floriberto Martinez, on our trusty 1949 Allis Chalmers G tractor. The other 5% is by hoe and hand. As for pests and pathogens, our philosophy is that a healthy plant is its own best defense. We also introduce beneficial organisms including beneficial root fungi, predatory nematodes, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs.
Please describe your farming philosophy: We love growing great quality, healthy produce for people to enjoy. Our ultimate goal is to advance an alternative to chemical-heavy industrial agriculture. We like being part of a food system that’s helping take control away from corporate conglomerates and letting people rediscover what real food is all about.
Please tell us your story: I left OSU in 1984 and spent the next six years working on a variety of farms including dairy farms, sheep ranches, nurseries, and with two of our local legends—Denison Farms and Gathering Together Farm. Since starting Spring Hill Organic Farm in 1990, we’ve seen the demand for local and organic produce go through the roof. We put a lot of sweat and blood into figuring out our trade in the early years, but we—along with other local vegetable farms and farmers—have honed our skills, and are managing to be highly productive on small acreages.
It takes a lot of hands to put quality produce on your table. We’ve had the pleasure of having some great people work with us over the years. I want to thank all of them for the time we shared together, and for all of their effort and dedication.