Not only does The Wicked Good Farm deliver locally grown and organic produce each week at the Whitefish Farmers Market, they deliver it by bicycle and cart! If you attended AERO’s Expo in Kalispell this fall, you may remember that The Wicked Good Farm supplied kale. Additionally, farm owner Brooke Bohannon acted as a liaison between the chef at the Red Lion and local producers to provide a nearly all local menu. Food was sourced from ten farms in the Flathead valley.
Farmers Brooke Bohannon and Sean Hard started The Wicked Good Farm (WGF) because they believe in preserving the ability to produce quality food. They grow fresh greens, herbs, produce, and strawberries at an urban farm in Whitefish. When outside working, they visit and exchange stories with neighbors, hoping that this “Over the fence” interaction inspires others to grow their own food.
“The majority of our consumers are local, they are our neighbors!” Brooke says. They find it easy to network with consumers, farmers and producers in the Flathead valley; since it is a relatively small community they find connections everywhere. Participation in Farmers’ Markets and workshops like AERO’s Growing Food Business workshop have provided excellent networking opportunities.
WGF attended AERO’s Growing Food Business workshop in spring of 2016, and they learned that the updated Cottage Food law will help with their direct sales to consumers, such as in Farmers Markets, deliveries, or pop-up stands. The representatives from DPHHS, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise, and other agencies fielded specific questions and allowed for a tremendous amount of information exchange.
Brooke said the workshop also helped them clarify and understand confusing parts of the Cottage Food Law, which is valuable for their plan to “test the waters” with potentially non-hazardous food items. They learned flour is “shelf stable” and exempt from the Cottage Food Law (but currently limited to direct sales). Recognizing that cereal grains are a huge part of Montana’s agriculture production, they are attempting to increase accessibility to Montana grown whole wheat flour. Part of The Wicked Good Farm’s goal is to increase their immediate community’s accessibility to local foods, and this venture aligns well with their ambitions!
So, it is exciting that they have recently begun milling organic Montana-grown grains, selling directly to consumers, with the intent to eventually offer it wholesale. Preliminary sales will help determine if there is a viable local market for fresh stone-milled whole wheat flour. They are hoping the locals get on board, and they’ll proceed to the next level, wholesale.
We’re fortunate to have growers like The Wicked Good Farm in Montana, and especially happy that they are AERO supporters and members.