Posted by: stacylynn12 | August 21, 2011

Rosie Creek Farm

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One of our goals on this trip was to be “serendipitously spontaneous”. This is easier for some of us than others. Nevertheless, when the opportunity came to visit the most northern organic farm in the country, it was too wonderful of an invitation to pass up.

Rosie Creek Farm is a family run certified organic farm located at the confluence of Rosie Creek and the Tanana River, just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They sell fresh vegetables and cut flowers through the Farmers Market, to local restaurants, and through a Community Supported Agriculture project, or CSA. Through the CSA, members receive a weekly share of produce throughout the summer and early fall growing season.

Rewind a week or so…

We were camped at Teklanika River in Denali National Park. Bodhi was off doing his typical social thing, meeting all the neighbors. He quickly found and befriended Alex and Natalie and together with Josh the four of them formed a little roving pack and spent hours bike riding “the loop”.

Of course now that the children were fast friends, the parents were obligated to get to know one another as well. I met Joan one morning and throughout the course of our conversation she told me that she and her husband Mike owned an organic farm up near Fairbanks. “You should come visit us!” She mentioned that they had an outdoor camp kitchen, shower and a place to park our van.

The kids continued to have a ball together and then after a few days we parted ways. The idea of visiting a working organic farm sounded cool but we’d already been to Fairbanks and spent quite a bit of time there and I was not super keen on going back. Yet this chance meeting and the pull of something potentially wonderful and totally spontaneous drew us back toward Fairbanks once again.

Additionally, we’d been in Denali for almost 2 weeks and our food supplies were at an all time low. Mind bogglingly, there are no grocery stores in or around Denali. Residents (and tourists) can purchase expensive and mostly pre packaged convenience food at the “suped” up gas station or the liquor store which oddly enough doubles as a “grocery” store. For anything else, folks who live in Denali must make the 2+ hour trek North to Fairbanks. I couldn’t figure this out until I went to a BBQ one evening over at Sue’s friends – Molly and Country. Yes, that’s his name. Yes, really. We’ve also met people named Tardy, Tool, Mountain and Mossy. Go figure.

I won’t go into the details of the BBQ, though it was quite fun and involved Bodhi and Josh heading off – unsupervised – down a gravel road to check out the neighbors team of sled dogs with yet another new friend, but here was what was on the menu, potluck style:

~ Grilled moose, hunted by Sue’s friend Jay.
~ Halibut, caught down on the Kenai peninsula the prior weekend by 2 other attendees.
~ Copper River Salmon, caught by some fellow potluckers.
~ Salad from Molly’s garden.
~ Homemade bread, baked that day.
~ Honey, from a friend’s hive.

Apparently, when you live in Alaska you don’t actually need a grocery store.

But I’ve gotten away from my story…

The experience we had at Rosie Creek Farm was in no uncertain terms a highlight of our trip thus far. The hospitality was akin to that which we have experienced in developing countries but never in the United States.

We arrived at the farm late one afternoon and were greeted by Lindsey, one of the summer interns. She immediately reached into her back pocket and pulled out sweet, crunchy snap peas, one for each of us, that she had just picked.

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Not peas but cabbage!

Lindsey suggested we wander up the path to the house where we might find Joan, Natalie and Alex. A wide path led from the farm to a gorgeously rustic house in a clearing. We were greeted by Joan who handed us each a bucket and showed us where we could pick fresh berries. As the children romped in the raspberries the adults got further acquainted.

Soon these relative strangers invited us to dinner in their home. Mike, after working all day in the fields, came inside and transformed the dough that had been rising in the kitchen into beautiful homemade pizzas. Of course there was salad – straight from the field.

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Soon our kids were in the bath tub with their kids and then all 4 of them snuggled on the couch in PJ’s for a movie. Pizza and movie night… Just like home back in Seattle!

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In the morning I was down in the outdoor camp kitchen boiling water for coffee when Joan wandered up. Today was a CSA delivery day and one of their volunteers was home with a sick babe. They could use our help. We were quite delighted actually as we felt a bit sheepish about the fact that we’d arrived on relatively short notice, been fed, done nothing to help cook or clean, used their shower and offered not much in return. We were eager to give something back and here was an – albeit small – opportunity.

Randy and I took turns watching the kids (which mostly entailed following them around the 40 acre property to make sure things didn’t get out of hand) and helping prepare veggies for delivery. Randy first harvested tomatoes from the greenhouse then helped to bag and weigh snap peas.

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We traded off and I finished the snap peas and moved on to arugula. Each CSA member would receive a box which contained a variety of about 10 different vegetables, much of it just harvested that morning.

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Soon the work was done…well, for the morning. As far as I could see in the 24 hours we spent at the farm, the work is never really done. We felt grateful to have helped and to have had a tiny little glimpse into life on the farm.

We’ve tried our best to make sure our children don’t think green beans grow in a can or that lettuce originates in a supermarket. Walking with them through the fields and seeing how much they could identify warmed my heart. We left the farm with a huge bag of organic veggies, 4 new friends and a feeling of gratitude for all the farmers nourishing our bodies with the work of their heart and soul.

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Responses

  1. Sounds very healthy and so lucky to have made new friends and that Bodhi and Josh were responsible for the chance meeting.

  2. I enjoyed every word and wanted the story to keep going and going. Just the place I would enjoy living. So healthy and pure.

    Keep the stories coming.

    • Thanks for all the kind comments Lucette!


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