In 2012, we (CJ and Jamie Rogers) bought a house on a single city lot in Missoula's Westside neighborhood. The soil was rocky, ant infested and barren. We tilled, weeded, and with a truckload of compost, began growing tomatoes, herbs and flowers.
In 2014, the house next door went on the market, and after a bit of financial finagling, we made an offer. With more soil to work, our gardening ambitions grew, and before long, taking care of our plants was not only tough on our schedules, but hard on the wallet. A financially savvy friend recommended we find a way to form an LLC, sell some of what we grew and write-off our mounting gardening expenses. Fall of that year, we grew our first batch of microgreens. A week after the ground was frozen, we delivered some to a neighborhood restaurant, and Killing Frost Farm was born.
A lot has happened since then. We established relationships with local chefs and began growing other types of produce for them. We also upped the number of flower beds, and sold edible flowers before narrowing are focus to cut flowers for floral arrangements. It has been a frightening, stress-inducing, humbling ride so far, but it's allowed us to quit our old jobs and spend our days working in dirt, together.
For 2016, we've broadened our horizons. Friends have donated parts of their own backyards to grow tomatoes and flowers, and Susan and Clayton Paddie (along with their daughter Dagny), have transformed their entire yard into rows and low-tunnels for greens and flowers. The Paddies have been unbelievably generous with their time and energy in helping us expand the business, and we can't wait to work with them more.
Starting something new is scary, particularly when you badly want it to work. Without the donated and often unsolicited energy and support of our friends and family, Killing Frost Farm would have nose-dived before it was off the ground. Our logo was drawn by Jamie's talented mom, with typography from friend and Westside neighbor Bess Bird. Bess's partner, Jeff has spearheaded the construction of two greenhouses and this fall built a new, badass grow room for us. And our customers who have lent us their wisdom and patience--among others, the crews at Burns St. Bistro, Caffe Dolce, Black Coffee Roasting Co., Habitat Floral Studio, and the Western Montana Growers' Cooperative--we are thankful to know them. Being a part of any community feels good, but we are grateful to be a part of this one.