Located on Fir Island in the Skagit River Delta, Frog Song Farm is a 16-acre certified organic outfit headed by UCSC graduate Nate O’Neil.
Frog Song utilizes dry farming techniques to “retain and nourish [the] farm without irrigation,” stretching residual moisture from the wet season long into the dry summer months.
This week, the Everett Farmer’s Market went behind the stand’s packed produce display to ask Nate’s fisherman friend Bass and his enthusiastic coworker Heidi a few questions. What, exactly, was a fisherman doing at a produce booth? What do farmers do in their free time? And, most importantly, can frogs actually sing? Worry not– the EFM has answers.
EFM: Heidi, how long have you been working with Nate?
Heidi: I’ve been working with Nate for six years now.
EFM: Why did you start working with him?
Heidi: We had a mutual friend, and I absolutely love farmer’s markets. So I went and met Nate and started working for him because his produce is amazing.
EFM: What would you be doing if you weren’t working at a farmer’s market?
Heidi: I’d have the day off for once! Because I actually have three other jobs: I teach art to kids, I garden on the side, and then I do web work. I’m really busy!
EFM: What do you think is the most important thing about the work that you’re doing with Frog Song?
Heidi: Nate’s sustainable growing practices– organic, dry farming– I think that’s really, really important.
EFM: So Bass, what do you produce here?
Bass: We produce everything on the table. We do our own beets, carrots, radishes, berries, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, Asian fruits, pears, and apples, bokchoy, beans, and cucumbers. Tons of stuff!
EFM: Where’s your farm located?
Bass: We’re in the Skagit Valley, on Fir Island.
EFM: Why the Skagit Valley?
Bass: It’s the place to be– it’s really fertile. We’re out in the Skagit Delta and it’s some of the best soil in the whole state.
EFM: What does the name Frog Song mean?
Bass: Well, there’s so many frogs in the valley, they sing all night long. Especially in the spring and summer. They’ll keep you up!
EFM: So how long have you been working for Frog Song?
Bass: I’ve been friends with Nate since grade school. He went to UC Santa Cruz about twenty-two years ago and got a degree in organic farming, and that’s where he got his motivation. He’s just been absolutely going crazy with it ever since.
EFM: What would you be doing if you weren’t working with Nate?
Bass: I’m actually a commercial fisherman, and this is kind of my vacation. So I just help him out for the summer, on the weekend. Whenever he needs any help I show up.
EFM: What do you like to do in your free time, other than fish?
Bass: Nothing! *laughter* No, I really like to go to Mount Baker. Nate does the same kind of outdoors stuff.
EFM: Is there anything that you’d like the market patrons to know about your work?
Bass: Nate does an amazing job. He’s really dedicated to it and ensures that his produce is super fresh. Everything that’s on these tables is picked just the day before.
EFM: Anything else you’d like to add?
Bass: Yeah– Frog Song rules!
For more on Frog Song and dry farming techniques: http://www.slowfoodskagit.org/Slow_Food_Skagit/Frog_Song_Farm.html
Modern Farmer http://modernfarmer.com/2015/12/meet-the-modern-farmer-nate-oneil