SEQUIM — After 10 acres of their spring crops were eaten by migrating birds after a heavy February snowfall, staff with Nash’s Organic Produce in Dungeness hope online community support will help make up some of the difference.
Patty McManus-Huber, Nash’s promotions coordinator, launched a $20,000 campaign last week at www.gofundme.com/help-nash039s-farm-recover-from-damage-from-birds.
As of Wednesday morning, the campaign had exceeded its goal of $20,000 with $25,790 donated.
“I’m very, very grateful the community has really stepped up,” McManus-Huber said. “This will help us get through the next couple of months. We won’t have crops until early summer.”
Sometime between Feb. 12-15, after a huge snowstorm, migrating birds ate 10 acres of purple sprouting broccoli (PSB), Italian cauliflower and kale.
McManus-Huber said it’s likely that since their regular food sources were covered by snow, they ate what poked through — the farm’s broccoli and cauliflower.
Nash Huber has been breeding PSB to become disease- and cold-resistant, and his Italian cauliflower to acclimate to the Northwest weather for years.
McManus-Huber said birds have never eaten the leaves off the broccoli or cauliflower before.
Around this time each year, Nash’s staff begins harvesting the field for weekly farmers markets, including Port Angeles and three in Seattle.
“Simply put, we’re looking at a much, much reduced weekly income from farmers’ markets,” McManus-Huber said. “We’re going to have to look at some of those markets and see if we can do it with no produce. We still have pork, grain, and flour. But if people don’t see vegetables, are they going to come over?”
She continued: “We want to bring clean, healthy food to the community. “We want to offer an alternative to food with chemicals. That’s every organic farmer. We want to offer clean, alternative healthy foods.”
McManus-Huber said farm staff has checked with multiple agencies on the Olympic Peninsula and across the state and don’t anticipate seeing any relief from grants or special funds because much of what’s available applies to elk and deer damage.
Nash’s doesn’t have insurance on its crops, McManus-Huber said, due to its high costs and minimal payback. She added that, in this instance, migrating birds wouldn’t be covered anyway.
Nash’s staff attempt to prevent losses like this from birds with the farm’s carrots by harvesting and placing the carrots in cold storage around mid-November.
McManus-Huber said if the carrots were allowed to stay in the ground longer, they’d become sweeter.
McManus-Huber said the birds aren’t to blame for the damage because they had nothing else to eat with such an unusual heavy snowfall.
Donations can be sent to “Nash’s Organic Produce, P.O. Box 910, Sequim, WA, 98382.”
Nash’s Organic Produce, 4681 Sequim-Dungeness Way, Sequim, can be found online at nashs organicproduce.com. Reach its Farm Store at 360-683-4642 and the farm at 360-681-7458.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].
He has no affiliation with Nash’s Organic Produce.