A Long Overdue Farmstead Update

As I’m sitting in the van on my way to Iowa to pick up 1,800 chicks with my boss, friend, and mentor, Marcus, I can’t help but realize just how poor of a job I’ve done in updating my farm journal. I’m sure you’re all just dying to know what we’ve been up to all winter and during the beginning of Spring. The new year has brought many changes to my life and the overall farm plan.

Many of you may know that I was the assistant winemaker for Bookcliff Vineyards in North Boulder for close to two years while researching, getting to know the land, and formulating our farm plan. Back in January I finally pulled the trigger on farming full-time. However, my full-time farming venture didn’t occur quite how I expected. I always thought that once I started farming full-time I’d no longer be working for someone else. However, life happened and I ended up finding a position working for my neighbor at McCauley Family Farm. Being a diversified livestock/produce operation and just a mile away from Bluebird Sky, I figured this would be the perfect place for me to continue my education while saving up for various projects floating around.

Marcus preparing seedling trays

📸: Marcus preparing seedling trays for peppers

My day to day is exactly as I’ve always hoped. I feed our sheep, pigs, and chickens in the morning and build sheds/dig holes in the afternoon. Obviously that’s an overly simplistic job description for what I actually do, but the point is: I’m officially a farmer and I couldn’t be happier. Marcus and York have been an incredible source of information and help these past 6 months and I can’t wait to see what all I can learn this season. Really happy we happened to run into each other while I was on a break and he was picking up his son from karate.

Another source of inspiration and education these past several months has been Phil Taylor of MadAgriculture. He’s been hosting farm forums each month at the Altona Grange in Longmont. What started as a few farmers learning about and discussing carbon farming has grown into over 100 people from the Boulder County community sharing food and conversation about the issues affecting farmers in our area and how to fix them. The conversation and fellowship enlivens me for weeks after them.

Phil Taylor, MadAgriculture

📸: Phil Taylor leading one of his MadAg Farm forums

I also have had the opportunity to work in conjunction with Marcus, Phil, and various city representatives to regenerate a degraded piece of land West of our farm. While we’re still in the beginning phases of our Carbon Farm Plan, we’re hoping for the opportunity to bring pasture back to this dirt patch in order to sequester carbon and heal the land and people with healthy and delicious food. Even if this plan never gets off the ground, I’ve already learned an immense amount from our property walks.

Thank you, Marcus and Phil for the opportunities you’ve given me so far.

One other amazing thing that’s happened recently was the season opener for Boulder County Farmers Market. Our favorite farms and vendors are back in Boulder and Longmont. Stop by on Saturdays starting at 8am and help keep the culture in agriculture! You might even see me working the stand for McCauley’s. 😉

There’s so much more to update you on in terms of our Farmstead and what we’re doing this season, but I’m afraid that will have to wait for the next post. I simply wanted to let y’all know where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I certainly wasn’t just kicking back and watching Netflix! Too much to do!

For now I’ll leave you with this:

We got ducks!

Thanks for reading and remember to thank your local farmer! (Preferably at the farmers market on Saturday morning)

Talk to you soon,

Danny Dunlap

Please follow our friends mentioned in this article through social media!

@McCauleyFamilyFarm

@PicaflorCulture

@MadAgriculture

@BCFM

@boulderfarmersmarket

@longmontfarmersmarket

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