Lori Martin was busy in late October doing end-of-season work on the family’s Roving Donkey Farm, a vegetable farm on 2.5 acres near Bismarck. The farm has been in existence since 2012. After Lori cleaned beds, spread fertilizer, rolled up drip tape, and finished putting away the season’s tools, she finished mulching the high tunnel to protect the soil over the winter. Finally, she added water to stimulate soil microbial life.
“Garlic and shallots are going in today – such a ray of hope for next season,” she said. Her husband, Kevin, is a land surveyor during the week, and the couple has two children, Ella and Owen. Kevin lends a hand with the larger projects of setting up fencing, trellising, and the drip irrigation system, but Lori provides most of the labor, with a torrent of work during the summer months around the farm.
Lori spoke about her farm and what it took to get to the point she is at today to others who were thinking of starting small farms at the Foundation for Agricultural and Rural Resource Management and Sustainability (FARRMS) “Farm Dreams” workshop on November 3.
Roving Donkey Farm is composed of a half-acre in production with mostly vegetables, such as cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. There is a small fruit orchard with berries, apples, Canadian sour cherries, and other fruit that is primarily used for value-added items, such as jams and preserves. They have a small greenhouse used for starting and curing at the end of the season and a high tunnel that is 30×72 feet, along with outdoor planting raised beds.
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