We’ve been busy here at the Miraflora farm, getting all of our crops and creatures ready for the winter. In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (how is it November aleady?), we thought we’d share our gratitude for our bounty—and some cute farm animal pics, too.
This fall we harvested 2 acres of full-grown hemp, which is roughly 5,000 plants. We feed our plants with manure from our farm’s alpaca herd and drip-irrigate it with snowmelt from Rocky Mountain National Park. Our plants clearly love it—as each plant produced an average of a pound and a half of biomass, half a pound more than most hemp plants grown on other farms. We press the flowers for our CBD (it takes a thousand pounds of hemp to make 40-60 kg of CBD extract), and then use the stalks for animal bedding. Hemp absorbs and stores a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), the offending gas that’s heating up our planet. While all plants and trees “breathe in” and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, hemp is one of the most efficient, in part because it grows so quickly. While most trees take years to reach maturity, hemp can shoot up to more than 10 feet high in a single three- to four-month growing season, making it more than twice as effective than forests at converting CO2 to biomass.
In addition to hemp, we have 2 acres of lavender, as well as a drought-hardy wildflower and sunflower mix, which is good for our bees, who love to pollenate these native plants. We sell the lavender to local grocers.
This was our first year growing pumpkins, and they grew nice and rotund, soaking up all that Colorado sunshine. We sold them at our roadside farm stand. If you missed out this Halloween, swing by our farm next fall!
We grow roughly 80 acres of hay every year and harvest it for local farmers. Our hay is comprised of grasses that remove CO2 from the atmosphere and build up carbon stores in the soil. We overseeded it this year to increase the quality of hay and to reduce weeds.
We have four hives with a total of around 40,000 bees, and we provide them with acres of organic lavender and wildflowers to feed on. The bees help pollinate our lavender and hay and local fruit orchards, and they produce honey. We don’t sell our honey commercially yet, but stay tuned—we will soon! Click here for fun facts about bees.
Chickens and Ducks
Our chicken flock produces roughly 12-18 eggs every day, and our ducks lay about three duck eggs a day. “We have a duck named Godzilla,” said Brent Facchinello, our chief operating officer who lives on and runs the farm. “My nephew named her, and she happens to be the biggest one.” We usually donate our eggs to local nonprofits, but we may sell them at our farm stand in the future. Charlie, the alpaca-herding dog, loves to try to herd them, too. Click for fun facts about chickens and ducks.
We have two female Nigerian forest goats, Luna and Wali, who love to get into all kinds of mischief around the farm. They like to climb up the railings and fences, try to knock down their feed bin, and frolic in the pastures. They’re an adorable pilot project at the moment, and we hope to increase the herd to help with our organic practices and weeding. Click here for fun facts about goats.
Our alpaca herd is primarily used to fertilize our hemp plants—their manure is highly prized for its rich nutrients—but we think of them as pets, too. They come running when they hear the buggy coming, because they know they’ll get a bucket of treats. They have a huge pasture and a nice cozy shed for when the weather turns, and they love to get neck rubs and play with Charlie, the farm dog. We also convert their fleece to yarn, which we typically donate to local co-ops. Next summer, we’ll also sell it at our booth at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market. Click here for fun facts about alpaca.