Crafting Cheese From The Ground Up: Planting Munchies for the future Jersey Girls

The latter half of July and the month of August were pretty busy at the farm. As I mentioned before, the pasture had not been orchard since before 2010 and the resident grass and alfalfa that had blown in over the years had been cut and left to decompose.

Originally I planned to broadcast the organic seed into the existing surface without tilling.  Given the thickness of the layer and the cost of organic seed, tilling was the best option for a good start.  Tilling also added quite of bit of organic material to the soil.  Soil tests had revealed a shortage of organic material and the soil tends to be quite sandy.

It takes a village I have found in this journey and the wealth of knowledge folks have on board amazes me.  A few shout outs in this posting:

Cameron and his sons, who spent two weeks digging up and repairing irrigation lines (fun to see Laura out as well!). The guys shortened the risers from 14 ft orchard height to 6 ft to make it easier to repair (The tractor and I have had a few mishaps with sprinklers, I am getting very good at repairs!).

Dustin at Welter Seed in Iowa who helped finalize the seed blend needed for the 100% grass-fed rations.

Jim at Central Washington Equipment for his knowledge and equipment availability.

Both these gentleman helped me through the process of determining I really needed to till for best results.  Jim has been patient with answering ALL my questions on equipment.

Robert for loaning us tractor implements, the rake and tiller, both critical but expensive to buy.











This series of photos chronicles the process of getting seed in. I tilled the entire acreage (actually my dad helped, but he will get his own post for his contributions), the rented seeder dropped the seed in rows then covered them.  Finally after two weeks, we have grass!

The weather has been perfect, Greg, the irrigation watermaster, has been diligent in making sure plenty of water has been available while seed germinated.

The next photo indicates visitors to the pasture, since all the 8 ft. fences are in disrepair…….I wonder if a “No Trespassing” sign will deter these these en”deer”ing guests……

Next post – tractors and mice!




Crafting Cheese From The Ground Up: Welcome!

Welcome to the next chapter of Laurel’s Crown Cheese life!  After 4 years of crafting cheese in Othello, WA,  Laurel’s Crown is transitioning to a Farmstead operation in the Knapp’s Coulee, about 6 miles SW of Chelan on Hwy 97A. This transition has put Laurel’s Crown Cheese on hiatus until the Summer 2019 when we are able to produce our own 100% grass-fed, organic milk and begin crafting cheese again.  In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do!


Photo facing SW toward Wenatchee and Columbia River

Knapp’s Coulee is located at the top of the tunnel on HWY 97A, approximately 30 miles North of Wenatchee.  We have been fortunate to find 13.5 acres. Approximately 10 acres is former orchard land, which has not had apple trees on it since the early 2000’s.  Here and there, we find persistent remnants of it’s former life but for the most part it has been a grass cover that has been mowed and left to decompose.  We were thrilled to discover through soil testing that lead/arsenic in the soil is so small, it is virtually non-existent.  It was a bit shy of organic matter but all that grass cover was tilled in to help improve the situation.

What is a Coulee by the way?  Here is a great definition from the Nature Conservancy:

“Geologically speaking, a coulee is a gully or a ravine that is usually dry and was cut by water action. The term coulee comes from the Canadian French word coulée, derived from the French wordcouler, meaning “to flow.” (”

I have so much to share with you! It is however, way too much for one posting,  Thank you for joining us, buckle up – the learning curve is going to be steep for us and it should be a wild ride!

Laurie Neal, Laurel’s Crown Cheese