*Written By: Maggie Vander Pol*
The view at Grow Girl Organics farm is incredible. Not that you can really have a bad view this close to the Rockies, but the horses cantering next door, the birds chirping, and the goats peeking around the fence looking for pulled up weeds, just add to the beauty of this quaint spot.
Grow Girl Organics has been operating for two years now, on a few acres behind a church in Arvada, Colorado. The farm was started by two friends, Denise Ery and Elaine Silburn.
Denise grew up in Ohio and learned to garden when she was young, from time spent in the garden with her grandmother. Some of her earliest memories are snapping beans in the garden with her, and it was there that she learned to love and care for the soil and crops- instilling in her a compassion for things that grow. Elaine, a Colorado native, grew up learning to appreciate and value nature, creativity and family. The more she learned about our planet's environmental landscape, the more she saw the need for stronger communities where food is produced locally and with the greater environment in mind. Her goal is to make this world a better place for her nine grandchildren.
When I ask Denise why she started the farm, she explains, “I just like growing stuff.” It's obvious that she has immense passion for organic food and the positive impact it has on all of our lives.
Unfortunately, the rainy spring weather has made this growing season difficult.
Because of this season’s soggy soil and lack of dry days to plant, she’s about a month behind with planting. Weeding is also tough when the soils are wet, because when soil is moist it will cling to the root system of the weeds – so when you remove the weeds, you may also remove some healthy soil along with it.
But, Denise and Elaine are prepared. They planned for the colder weather and had the broccoli, cabbage and celery planted, which are plants that enjoy the cooler temperatures. Squash, cucumbers and beans need soils that are 60 degrees F or warmer, and since it’s been colder than 60 F, they have held off on planting those.
But things are about to get a lot easier! Through the EQUIP-NRCS program, Grow Girl Organics was approved for a hoop house that will help extend the growing season, as well as a new drip irrigation system. Denise is excited for this next phase, as building this infrastructure, especially for a small farm like hers, has been tough. She’s excited for these tools and equipment that will help her work smarter instead of harder.
One piece of equipment that was installed this season is the veggie ‘sauna’, a pump-powered, bath, wash, and rack system that helps clean and store all the delicious produce before it goes to market. Even produce get a spa day!
Even with the cooler temperatures and anticipating the arrival of the new equipment, Denise is still planting away! The wait will be worth it, and the lettuce (her favorite thing to plant!) is coming in strong and delicious.
If you want to check out the farm, you’ll have a few chances this season. First up > Yoga session on Saturday, July 13 from 9am-10am. The all-level yoga class will be followed by a tour of the farm and an opportunity to purchase veggies right on the spot at the Grow Girl Farm Stand. Tickets can be purchased here for $35. Proceeds go toward Grow Girl Organics Farm and GoFarm.
Next up, Dinner with veggies from the farm, meat from Willow Creek Meat, and views to feast on the entire time. This is coming up August and more information will be posted soon on their website: https://growgirlorganics.com/.
In the meantime, enjoy the produce in your weekly GoFarm share. Denise says the partnership with GoFarm has been phenomenal. She is part of the incubator program, learning more about how to grow their farm and make it more fruitful. The investment at the beginning of the season helps significantly, and Denise is excited to continue the collaboration. In the end, as I part from the farm and my talk with Denise, she tells me “I just love it. And that’s why I do it.”