Will Work for Food continued // A Volunteer's Day on the Farm

Root Bottom Farm loves their volunteers! This year we have ten people who trade work for produce. They do a four hour shift each week in exchange for a CSA share. We have friends returning this year for their fourth season! It is a HUGE help, especially with baby Josephine keeping me off the farm this summer, and in return they get farm knowledge, a good tan and fruit, veggies and value added products. One of our newest work traders, Jason, made this cool video to show what a shift on the farm looks like.

Watch it here:

 

 

Will work for food? Volunteer Opportunities on Root Bottom Farm 2017

Don’t have a CSA yet for 2017? Want to play in the dirt this summer and earn your food for the week? 4hr/week work trade for a CSA share of zero spray vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs and added value products from Root Bottom Farm.

Don’t have a CSA yet for 2017? Want to play in the dirt this summer and earn your food for the week? 4hr/week work trade for a CSA share of zero spray vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs and added value products from Root Bottom Farm.

~ CSA WORK TRADE~

Volunteers must be available for the shift for the entire season May 1-October 1. Spots are limited. Must live locally.

Shifts Available

Tuesday AM8AM-noon

Thursday AM8AM-noon

Friday AM8AM-noon or PM 1PM-5PM

Requirements: Able to lift and carry 50 lbs. Able to work outside in the sun. Have a positive attitude. Please no children or pets during shift.

Please contact Morgan at rootbottom@ gmail.com. Include a short paragraph about yourself and which shift you would like to sign up for.

A unique opportunity for folks who want to visit the farm this summer and get a taste of the farm life.

A unique opportunity for folks who want to visit the farm this summer and get a taste of the farm life.

~ Mini Work Trade Opportunities ~

Sign up for a 'mini work trade' and stay for a week in our newly remodeled tiny house for a daily work exchange that typically lasts two hours. Trades run Monday-Saturday of the week. Examples of tasks include picking blackberries, trimming garlic or picking tomatoes.

We have openings for all of our different busy pickin' seasons. Do your shift and then you have the rest of the day to explore the awesomeness that is Western North Carolina including Asheville, Madison County and the surrounding areas. Our farm is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, the French Broad River and more.

Shifts available

MayStrawberries

June – Garlic

July – Blackberries & Garlic

August – Tomatoes

Please contact Morgan at rootbottom@ gmail.com for more information and available dates. Include a short paragraph about yourself and the month and week you are interested in. Spots are limited.

Requirements: Able to work outside in the sun and ability to work two hours a day. Have a positive attitude. Please no children or pets during shift.

Tiny house is 120 sq ft. Includes two sleeping lofts with blankets/linens, fridge and mini kitchen, running water, electricity, books and a deck that overlooks the creek. Bathroom is a separate structure a short distance from the tiny house and includes a propane heated outdoor shower and a composting toilet shared with our intern.

Tiny house is 120 sq ft. Includes two sleeping lofts with blankets/linens, fridge and mini kitchen, running water, electricity, books and a deck that overlooks the creek. Bathroom is a separate structure a short distance from the tiny house and includes a propane heated outdoor shower and a composting toilet shared with our intern.

root_bottom_farm_tiny_house
root_bottom_farm_tiny_house
root_bottom_farm_tiny_house

2017 Internship Position // Now accepting applications - March 1

UPDATE : Position has been filled. Come back and check us out next year.

We want to train future farmers....

Root Bottom Farm is looking for the next great farmer to join our team for the 2017 season. We believe in a local, chemical free food supply and want to share our skills with someone who wants those things in their life and their communities.

POSITION RUNS April 1, 2017-Oct 15, 2017

APPLICATION DEADLINE March 15, 2017

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ABOUT THE FARM Our farm is located in Madison County, about 30 minutes North of Asheville, and 10 minutes from the towns of Mars Hill and Marshall. We grow just above 2,000 ft in the Blue Ridge Mountains on 5 acres of bottom land. We are dedicated to growing great organic food the old fashioned way. By hand, with love and without chemicals. We love diversity. In addition to our large microgreen and annual vegetable operation, we also have many established perennial crops. We currently grow strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, herbs, asparagus and 54 fruit trees. We have a large garlic crop that we hang in our renovated tobacco barn. We have two high tunnels on the property which are used for starting all of our plants from seed and for tomato and cucumber production. We have multiple outlets for selling our produce including farmers markets, a CSA, farm to table dinners, and a local food distribution company.

Two weekly Farmers Markets

Two weekly Farmers Markets

20 Week CSA

20 Week CSA

Our popular farm to table dinner series

Our popular farm to table dinner series

ABOUT THE POSITION We want to train future farmers. We believe in a local, chemical free food supply and want to share our skills with someone who wants those things in their life and their communities. We are seeking a motivated, physically fit intern interested in learning all aspects of a small organic farm operation this summer. Skills the intern will learn include propagation, planting, weeding, harvesting, greenhouse management, farmers market set up and sales, events and microgreen operations. This internship is designed as a learning experience for someone who is serious about growing food organically on a small scale using mostly human powered methods. Recycling and composting is mandatory. Housing and a share of produce is offered in return for 32 hrs of work per week (includes Sunday and Monday off and half day Saturday). Watering duties when the farmer is out of town is expected. Intern has a private residence with a parking spot. It is a furnished small studio apartment (about 250 square feet) that includes a cold water faucet, a kitchenette, bed, shelving, outdoor composting toilet and a propane heated outdoor shower. Bathroom is shared with farm guests. Utilities and internet are included.

Furnished 250 sq ft intern cabin with utilities and internet included. Not shown bedroom/living room area. Also has a small front porch.

Furnished 250 sq ft intern cabin with utilities and internet included. Not shown bedroom/living room area. Also has a small front porch.

root_bottom_farm_intern_cabin

QUALIFICATIONS No previous experience is required, only an eager person ready to work hard, eat great food, and is enthusiastic about learning to farm and apply these skills in the future. Must have your own vehicle since we live in a rural setting.

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COMPENSATION Based on experience and how well the intern progresses, a stipend up to $75 a week may be provided.

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To apply: Send your resume with references to : Morgan Decker at rootbottom@ gmail.com

2016 Year in Review ~ Root Bottom Farm's 5th Season

A huge heart felt THANK YOU to everyone that makes this farm life a dream come true. Hope to see y'all in 2017. Check out our year in review at : http://rootbottom.blogspot.com/2016/12/2016-year-in-review-root-bottom-farms.html

A huge heart felt THANK YOU to everyone that makes this farm life a dream come true.

Hope to see y'all in 2017. Check out our year in review at :

http://rootbottom.blogspot.com/2016/12/2016-year-in-review-root-bottom-farms.html

It was such a pleasure to sink one's hands into the warm earth, to feel at one's fingertips the possibilities of the new season. ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

It was such a pleasure to sink one's hands into the warm earth, to feel at one's fingertips the possibilities of the new season. ~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

Will Bike for Food. Join Madison County farmers for the 1st Annual Pedal to Plate bike to table event in Madison County.

Pedal to Plate Madison County NC

1st annual Pedal to Plate farm to table bicycle event

Farms include East Fork Farm, Wendy Town Farms, Double Tree Farm, Root Bottom Farm, Just Ripe Farm & Farmer's Hands.

Will Bike for Food. Join Madison County farmers for the 1st Annual Pedal to Plate bike to table event in Madison County. The cycle tour offers 33 challenging miles, over 2,600 ft of climbing, 6 farm tours and a farm to table dinner at Root Bottom Farm.

Madison County, NC Sunday, September 18, 2016. Tickets are $75 and includes dinner, farm tours, swag bag and refreshments. Visit our store or click here to buy tickets. Spots are limited.

Bike riders start and stop at Root Bottom Farm in Marshall and travel a set 35 mile loop (approximately a three hour bike ride without stops) encompassing six Madison County Farms. East Fork Farm, Farmers Hands, Wendy Town Farms, Just Ripe Farm, Double Tree Farm and Root Bottom Farm will participate in this inaugural event. There will be signs and volunteers along the route to help riders.

Participating farms will host a farm tour (or self guided tour) and a farm stand for sales and samples. All farmers and riders return to Root Bottom Farm for a 100% local meal created by Asheville chef Dava Melton with Blessed to Cook. The buffet style farm dinner is included in the ticket price.

Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit Woodson Branch Nature School, a new K-6 farm and art school opening Fall 2016 in Marshall.

Not a biker? Root Bottom Farm also has three farm to table dinners this summer with their newly renovated tobacco barn as the backdrop. 2016 dates are July 9, August 6 and September 3 at 6:00 PM. The Farmer's Hands also offers Farm to Table dinners this summer featuring the culinary skills of professional chef turned homesteader, Sebastiaan Zijp. Visit www.thefarmershands.com for more information and dates.

Check out http://www.rootbottomfarm.com/pedaltoplate/ for tickets and more information.

Double Tree Farm

Double Tree Farm

East Fork Farm

East Fork Farm

"The Farmer's Hands to Table" Supper Club

"The Farmer's Hands to Table" Supper Club

Just Ripe Farm

Just Ripe Farm

Root Bottom Farm

Root Bottom Farm

Wendy Town Farms

Wendy Town Farms

Dinner at Root Bottom Farm

Dinner at Root Bottom Farm

Looking forward to seeing you in September!

Looking forward to seeing you in September!

Root Bottom Farm to Table Dinner Series // Food Life Magazine

This article was written last summer for Food Life Magazine about our Summer Farm to Table Dinner Series. It is one of our favorite articles about the farm to date. Enjoy.

http://www.foodlifemag.com/pass-the-potatoes/

Won't you join us around the table this season? July 9 // Aug 6 // Sept 3

Pass the Potatoes

by Josh O'Conner | photography by Sarah Jones Decker & Siobhan Egan

root bottom farm flowers

Root Bottom Farm, located in Marshall, NC, is the epitome of phrases like “less is more” and “small is beautiful.”

LOCATED ON A NARROW ISLAND of property hemmed in by a creek on one side and a road on the other, the farm unfolds in a subtle manner, revealing a cornucopia of carefully arranged crops which will produce delicate flavors, textures, and colors throughout the year.

root bottom farm morgan and sarah decker

Owners Sarah and Morgan Decker have worked to create a selection of crops, which could satiate the palates of even the most discerning eater while also satisfying the conscience of the most concerned environmentalist. Root Bottom Farm’s crops are essentially separated into two sections on the property, with one side being oriented toward perennial crops and the other side being oriented toward annual crops – with healthy scatterings of beautifully landscaped areas and flowers to be sold for cut flowers and floral arrangements. As Sarah puts it, “With the amount of space that we’re working with, we grow a large variety of crops.”

Everything is organically grown using “no spray” techniques. The farm functions as a labor of love with Sarah, Morgan, and one full-time intern providing the bulk of the work necessary to sustain day-to-day operations and to engage the more long-term goal of transforming the property from a former hoarder’s haven into a functioning farm. The couple can recount a number of stories about reclaiming the farm from its past – noting that the property previously had outbuildings filled to the ceiling with junk and four vacant mobile homes, one of which was completely filled with Christmas memorabilia.

In addition to sales at farmers markets and restaurants, Root Bottom Farm operates what Morgan terms to be an “ESA” (or E-mail Supported Agriculture) program as opposed to the more traditional CSA box. The ESA set up acts as another market opportunity for the farm, one that allows them to capture the seasonal population changes of the local region. Customers who subscribe to the weekly e-mail blast get a notification letting them know what is available on the farm; the customers in turn select what they would like and it is delivered later in the week at a designated pickup point. ESA offers Root Bottom Farm’s customers the ability to interactively make choices that cater to their produce needs, while also allowing them the flexibility to work around vacations and variations in their weekly schedules.

The ESA concept is not the only thing that sets Root Bottom Farm apart. Over the course of the summer, Root Bottom Farm will be hosting three farm-to-table dinners on the property. The meal will feature 100% local Madison County cuisine – vegetables from Root Bottom Farm, meats from Dry Ridge Farm and breads from Smoke Signals Bakery. Vegetarian and gluten free options will also grace a table filled with farm products harvested the day of the meal. Chef Dava Melton of Blessed 2 Cook will tie all of the ingredients together into a family-style meal. The events will also include a tour of the farm and entertainment following the meal. Dinners will be held rain or shine.

The intent behind the dinners is to form a relationship with the farm’s customers and to create an opportunity for communal gathering. The proceeds garnered from ticket sales for the dinner will raise the capital necessary for Root Bottom Farm to construct a root cellar, because as Sarah puts it, “A farm focused on root crops should have a root cellar”. But the dinner is more than an attempt at crowdsourcing capital; it is a chance to present the farms products in a different venue, to highlight the local community and the products that it offers. Sarah adds, “The money is going toward our root cellar, but people are going to remember coming together for these dinners and passing the food around.”

Root Bottom Farm Summer Internship 2016

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The Farm:

Root Bottom Farm is owned and loved by Sarah & Morgan Decker. Our farm is located in Madison County, about 30 minutes from Asheville, and 10 minutes from the towns of Mars Hill and Marshall. We grow just above 2,000 ft in the Blue Ridge Mountains on 5 acres of bottom land. We never spray. Never will. We are dedicated to growing great organic food the old fashioned way. By hand, with love and without chemicals.

Why intern on our farm?

We want to train future farmers. We believe in a local, chemical free food supply and want to share our skills with someone who wants those things in their life and their communities. We love diversity. In addition to our large microgreen and annual vegetable operation, we also have many established perennial crops. We currently grow strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, herbs, asparagus and 54 fruit trees. We have a large garlic crop that we hang in our renovated tobacco barn. We have two high tunnels on the property which are used for starting all of our plants from seed and for tomato and cucumber production. We have multiple outlets for selling our produce including restaurants, farmers markets, a CSA, three farm to table dinners, and a local food distribution company.

Position Description: ONE Full Time Position 6 months, 4 days a week (35 hrs a week, Tues-Friday) April 15 – October 15

Housing, Veggies, Fruit & Farm Products Included

We are seeking a motivated, physically fit intern interested in learning all aspects of a small organic farm operation this summer. Skills the intern will learn include propagation, planting, weeding, harvesting, greenhouse management, and microgreen operations. This internship is designed as a learning experience for someone who is serious about growing food organically on a small scale using mostly human powered methods. Recycling and composting is mandatory. This 6 month internship is from mid April till mid October. Housing and a share of produce is offered in return for 4 full days of work per week (Tues-Friday). Watering duties when the farmer is out of town is expected. This is not a paid internship.

Housing:

Intern has a private residence with parking spot. It is a fully furnished small studio apartment (250 square feet) that includes a cold water faucet, a kitchenette, bed, shelving, composting toilet, and a propane heated outdoor shower. Bathroom is shared with farm guests. Utilities and internet is included. A laundry mat is located 10 minutes away in Marshall.

Position Description: TWO Part Time Positions

4 months, 2 days a week (Tues &Thurs) May 15 – September 15

Part time intern works two days a week helping with various farm tasks. We are looking for someone who wants to work hard, have fun and learn our operation. Veggies, Fruit & Farm Products Included

To apply: Send your resume with references to Morgan Decker // rootbottom at gmail.com

Have tiny house. Will travel.

Root Bottom Airbnb

Our tiny house is on Airbnb for weekends this upcoming Summer.

Always wanted to visit Asheville? Never too early to make awesome plans. RootBottom Farm looks forward to having you this Summer! We are a small organic farm located between Marshall & Mars Hill, NC (25+ min to Asheville, Appalachian Trail & Blue Ridge Parkway) Tiny House is 120sq ft & has sleeping loft, kitchenette, elec & running water. 100 sq ft deck.

Here is the link for booking: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/10251137?s=oJMuLzyA

About this listing

We are a small organic farm located between Marshall & Mars Hill, NC (25+ min to Asheville, Appalachian Trail & Blue Ridge Parkway) Tiny House is 120sq ft & has sleeping loft, kitchenette, elec & running water. 100 sq ft deck. Outside shower & compost toilet in walking distance.

The Space

120 sq ft. Bright. Small kitchenette under sleeping loft. Fold out couch & mini fridge under empty loft (for storage, suitcases etc.) Organic soap use only in tiny house. This is simple living. Come and relax.

Guest Access

The space is all yours. Shares an outside bathroom (shower & composting toilet) with our intern. Towels and organic soap are provided.

Interaction with Guests

We are always working. It's a working farm ;) Will be available if needed.

The Neighborhood

Located between Marshall & Mars Hill. 25-30 min to Asheville / Blue Ridge Parkway / Appalachian Trail. Once a tobacco farm for 25 years, it now functions as a totally organic vegetable and fruit farm. We have annual fields, perennial flower gardens, perennial vegetable gardens, an herb garden, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and a fruit tree orchard. There is a sitting spot on the creek where you can chill (or on the back porch of the tiny house, also above the creek). It is country living, so there could be a dog barking or neighbors doing country stuff. We don't allow pets. We have a friendly barn cat.

Getting Around

You need a car. Between Marshall & Mars Hill. 25-30 min to Asheville / Blue Ridge Parkway / Appalachian Trail. 10 minutes from Mars Hill (grocery, bank, po) and 10 minutes from downtown Marshall (awesome).

Other Things to Note

You are welcome to walk the farm property (a mowed path follows the whole perimeter) Please don't walk through the gardens. Vegetables and fruit will be available to you with check in and for purchase. Please do not pick produce without talking to us first.

House Rules

No pets // No smoking inside // No shoes inside // Be kind

This is a simple, comfortable place to stay. Please treat our property with respect and remember your momma doesn't live here.

Sleeping loft & kitchenette

Sleeping loft & kitchenette

Fully stocked kitchenette. Ready for coffee and simple meals. Includes mini fridge.

Fully stocked kitchenette. Ready for coffee and simple meals. Includes mini fridge.

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Empty loft for suitcases. etc.

Empty loft for suitcases. etc.

Saving the Garlic Pearl

The glory days of tobacco in Madison County are gone, but the relics of its success and the old tobacco barns, used for drying tobacco, still scatter the hillsides. Tobacco was once a way of life in Western North Carolina, and it was grown on our little stretch of bottom land for over 25 years. We once met a local lady who at the age of four had hung tobacco in our barn. Burley tobacco was the popular variety grown in this part of North Carolina. Like all tobacco, it must be air cured in a barn for four to six weeks before it's ready to sell. Burley tobacco is a light brown, aromatic variety that is commonly used in cigarettes and cigars. Tobacco is a very physical crop to raise, but tobacco brought money and money built barns.

Our barn, like many barns in the area, was assembled by the farmers using what they had close by to build the essential structure needed for tobacco production. When you look across the street from our property there is an area void of trees and overgrown with kudzu vines. The original owner's son once told me “that's where the barn came from.” Simply put, in the 70s, his family tore down all the pole pines in one large section and drug them downhill, across the road, and they built the barn where it now stands. 

Three stories of pole pine rafters were built to hang and dry tobacco high up on hand carved hardwood tobacco or "backy sticks." The barn's facade was created with pine, poplar, oak and walnut. All of which had faded gray with the direct afternoon sun. When asked about their process, the former owner said 'oh heck, we just threw that darn thing up and filled her full!' A few years later, they added an addition to hang even more tobacco.

Before and After

Like our derelict property, the barn had also fallen into disrepair. The tall structure sits on our narrow piece of land high above the creek. Just last year, the barn was in no shape for guests. Over the years, the barn was filled almost two stories high with broken tools, rotting yarn, doors, windows, unmarked containers of oil and liquids, and anything else that could fill its corners. The workshop addition was spray painted with the words “She love us Mamaw” across the front. Along the way, boards were borrowed from its facade and gaping holes were filled with pieces of metal, plywood, window shutters or the holes were just left to the elements.

I have basic building skills, but knew I couldn't do it alone. So, I called my good friend Jon Taylor, a skilled woodworker and master cabinet builder who lives in Asheville, to see if he could help with the project. He came out one afternoon and the three of us stared longingly for an hour at the front of the barn planning our attack. It was a major undertaking that took two full weekends to disassemble and reassemble the front.We wanted to remove as few boards as possible. It would be a daunting task to cut individual boards to fill in the holes of various shapes and sizes. We decided to take them all off, reshuffle them and then nail them back up one by one from the top down. The first afternoon we spent taking off all the diagonal boards and placing them in the yard to see what we were working with. The wood was gray and weathered. On more than one occasion, Jon said he got a brief whiff of tobacco as the nail stripped from the wood. Years of drying leaves still left its lingering scent deep in the boards. Most boards were warped, cracked, split or bending in multiple directions from years in the direct sun. The ultimate game of Tetris. The next day we began the arduous process of putting it back together. We kept the diagonal corner design because it was mostly intact and started re-creating the design by placing the boards horizontally along the front.

Since so many boards were missing, there wasn't enough wood to make it to the ground. Our options were buying new wood (which can be expensive) or old weathered barn wood to match (which can be very expensive). So, instead I got permission to salvage old wood off of a barn scheduled to be demolished down the road. It was hard work, but we were able to get almost 300 board feet to add to the pile in the yard. This made the Tetris game a lot easier with more boards to choose from. We salvaged multiple 18+ inch boards and saved hundreds of tobacco sticks for the raised flower boxes that would be in front of the finished barn. Wide boards like that are not easy or cheap to come by these days and make horizontal rows fill in quickly. These boards were much straighter than the ones originally from our barn. They spent their life as a back wall hidden in shade instead of baking for forty years in the sun. Foot by foot the front filled in and the new design fell into place.

We also reinforced the back wall and saved completely losing the barn addition. Our neighbor helped us dig cement footers and reinforce the back wall. We pulled the whole wall forward a few inches with his truck and put it in place with large screws attached to new pressure treated footers. 

 The finishing touches really tied our artistic vision together. I hand painted and mounted a barn quilt square (another Madison County legacy) to the front of the barn and designed and built raised flower boxes with the salvaged tobacco sticks.

We utilized an original board with a unique hole in it, installed plexiglass and turned it into a look out window that views our driveway and house while we work inside.

All finished. A barn dream come true.

Today, the barn is a huge part of our small organic farm operation. We use the barn every day for washing and drying vegetables, storing tools, and when we need shelter from the Summer heat and afternoon rain storms that frequent our mountainous county. We also now use it as the backdrop for our Summer Farm to Table Dinner Series held on the farm. The barn is now fondly called 'The Garlic Pearl'. In its second life curing garlic hangs high up in the rafters instead of tobacco. We currently grow 13 varieties of garlic and planted 7000+ bulbs this fall. Garlic is just one of the many root crops that we grow at Root Bottom Farm. We also grow perennial crops, fruit, five types of berries, 24 types of vegetables and over 200 varieties of flowers. Today, the Garlic Pearl looks better than ever as it looks out onto the next chapter of this farm's story and the Madison County barn and tobacco legacy.