Services for Growers
The Desert Farming Initiative received a Specialty Crop Block Grant to provide Nevada farmers with an affordable and local organic propagation service. Non-local propagation services can be very expensive due to travel and shipping fees. The goal of this project is to provide a local propagation service to allow farmers to increase their potential to try new specialty crops, free up funds for other purchases and provide training in propagation techniques. As the propagation service becomes more successful we aim to train other individuals in our business model so that those looking to start plant propagation and expand their business can do so. Please contact us if you are interested in either organic or non-organic propagation services, which start at $15/tray.
Commercial Produce Washing
In 2015, we acquired a commercial washing station that can handle big washing jobs. Providing a more efficient and effective way for growers to safely sanitize their produce, our commercial washing station is offered at an at-cost rate. Please contact us if you are interested in this service, which starts at $2/lbs of produce.
Raspberry and Blackberry Maintenance Guide
Partnering with Jacobs Family Berry Farm in Gardnerville, the Desert Farming Initiative has created an online grower’s guide for red raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries. Intended for use among local production scale growers to backyard gardeners. This tool is a free and easy-to-use resource that provides actions and insight from month to month.
In order to build awareness about the robust history of melon growing in Nevada, the Desert Farming Initiative has launched an ongoing campaign to leverage knowledge of the fruit’s success in Nevada into sales for farmers. In conjunction with Nevada Grown and local farmers we will encourage Nevadans and a national audience to think of melons as “sinfully sweet”. Contact us to get more information about using Nevada Melon branding for your own farming endeavors!
Projects on our Farm
Nevada Raspberry Production
Working with the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and Northern Nevada farmers, this project will dedicate one hoop house on the DFI site for two years to the production of raspberries. The DFI will plant raspberries in a hoop house in order to both collect data and create demonstration space. All information on varietal selection, planting techniques, pruning practices, time to maturity, and yield will be recorded in order to create a how-to document for growing in a hoop house. Expense and revenue information will be recorded to give farmers an accurate picture on the expectations for profit from year to year. The project will be complete in the Fall of 2016.
Cucumbers in Hoop Houses
In cooperation with the Specialty Crop Institute, the Desert Farming Initiative performed cucumber trials in a hoop house during the 2014 spring and summer season. We trialed two types of trellising systems with 3 different varieties. A presentation of our project can be found here.
Salanova Lettuce: Is it the right choice for Nevada?
The DFI has received a Specialty Crop Block Grant to measure the efficiency of Salanova Lettuce in a high desert climate. Salanova lettuce has been said to significantly reduce harvest and packaging processes because the leaf lettuce is produced on a head lettuce core, making the core removable with just one single cut – leaving evenly portioned leaves. It is a unique crop, previously only available in Europe, now available in the United States.
The DFI dedicated two hoop houses to the production of Salanova lettuce to evaluate the labor savings and differences in yields compared to other known lettuce varieties.