Salix and Sedge is a beautiful certified organic farm nestled in the Salmo Valley. Farmers Cali and Brendan have brought respect, dedication, and hard-work to their long fallow piece of property, beginning vegetable cultivation just two years ago.
The couple had dreamed of owning their own farm. By investing their savings, and through no small personal sacrifice (including foregoing an indoor bathroom in their humble home), they have poured their resources and love into the rich farmland that they found. With happy pigs pre-tilling the soil, chickens rotating around the pasture, and abundant woods and wildlife surrounding the vegetable gardens, Salix and Sedge is a farm brimming with life and symbiotic biodiversity. At the Co-op we are thrilled to carry root vegetables, Asian greens, herbs and other mixed veggies from Salix and Sedge. The richness of this farm and the care of its stewards shows in their vibrant and high quality vegetables.
Read on to learn more about this great True Local Farm…
Who are the farmers at Salix and Sedge?
Cali Olleck and Brendan Parsons
What do you grow/make?
We grow small amounts of a wide variety of vegetables primarily for our CSA and the Salmo Farmer’s Market. We also have been experimenting with growing some larger volumes of certain crops for wholesale customers such as the Kootenay Co-op!
How would you describe your farm?
We are a small certified organic farm, which has only been in operation for two years. With the help of some Berkshire pigs we have been converting old pasture and sedge meadows into vegetable beds. The majority of our property is vibrant wetlands home to a vast assortment of flora and fauna including beavers, moose, pileated woodpeckers and snipes. Farming on the edge of this abundance means that our soil is incredibly rich and high in organic matter. We aim to be responsible stewards of our three-quarters of an acre that is under cultivation, and provide our community with fresh, tasty and nutrient dense food!
How long have you been farming/in business?
This is just our second growing season. We hope for a future of many more.
What motivated you to start?
As young adults we both felt the need to gain the basic skills of growing food for ourselves, and separately sought out farm education opportunities. We both wanted work that was meaningful, mentally and physically challenging, and that connected us to our community. Farming fit the bill!
What are some of your greatest joys?
Looking up while harvesting and watching a heron make its daily commute to the beaver ponds. Walking down our farm path and catching sight of a moose strolling through the pasture. Hearing the snipes winnowing at dusk. Crunching into a salad turnip or a snap pea out in the field.
What are some of your greatest challenges?
Keeping up with the weeding. Learning the myriad of skills necessary to run a successful farm. Trying to find a healthy balance between work and recreation.
What is your vision for your farm/company?
We hope to expand our CSA membership and our wholesale volumes for next year. We want to continue to build strong connections with our community and help support a vibrant agricultural sector in the Kootenays.
Why is local food and/or local purchasing important to you?
This is a big question with many answers! But lets just say that food doesn’t get much fresher than when you buy it from your local farm, and purchasing local is important for building capacity and resilience in our local food system.
If you could deliver a message directly to Co-op members/customers, what would it be?
Thanks for shopping at your local Co-op and thanks for supporting local farms!