HALLS FERRY FARM
Halls Ferry Farm is a large-scale farming operation that focuses on producing organic blueberries and hazelnuts. Boasting 3,000 acres of farmable land and hedgerows as far as the eye can see, Halls Ferry Farm wants to change the narrative about what big farms do. “People think that small- and medium-sized farms are the only place where you can execute on big sustainability ideas. Our purpose is to increase access to better and healthier food,” says Wood Turner, who represents Ag Capital, the owners of Halls Ferry Farm.
Part of their sustainability plan includes supporting pollinator species on their land with native habitat, integrated pest management, and more, and they are always looking for ways to be better land stewards.
Organic blueberries and hazelnuts
Owned by Ag Capital, Operated by AgriCare Inc.
WHAT ARE THEY DOING FOR BEES?
Pollinator stewardship is serious business at Halls Ferry Farm. “We are always looking for opportunities to build up the native pollinator habitat on this land,” says Wood. They have already planted Douglas Aster, Spirea, Yarrow, and Vine Maples and they don’t stop there. With landscaping around a river, they will be able to plant more pollinator habitat, and they are researching plants that will expand their flowering season. “Our goal is to have 1% of our acreage devoted to pollinator habitat” Wood says.
Beyond pollinator habitat, they’ve also changed how and when they use pesticides. When they do choose to spray, they only do it at night with softer, plant-protecting products. “It costs us more, but we’re more than willing to pay,” says Wood. They also use other Integrated Pest Management techniques such as pest larval scouting, traps, and cover crops and fabric to control unwanted weeds.
Walking their property, one can see bee nests dotting the ground and beneficial insects hard a work. Sweat bees, bumble bees, lacewings, ladybugs and more glide across plants like tarweed and yampah, milkweed and monkey flower. Their land is a testament to their commitment to walking the walk. “I feel as a grower that it’s our leadership imperative to show by our own example these possibilities for stewardship.”
meet the farmers
Halls Ferry Farm is run by AgriCare, a west coast farm management company that focuses on organic foods, land stewardship, and sustainable farming practices. Since 2014, AgriCare has been working to make Halls Ferry Farm into a model of good farm management and environmental care for large farms. “We could be leaders in the industry. Someday, I hope we can spread this beyond our operation,” says Wood.