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Old 02-23-2018, 01:47 PM
 
234 posts, read 147,740 times
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Organic farmer looking to 'off grid' homestead in the Haines or Matanuska area-and wanting to know;

Is there a need for organic produce in either of those areas?

What is the average growing season-average date of early and late frosts... etc

Anyone having success growing tomatoes/peppers without keeping them in a greenhouse all season?

Is beekeeping difficult up there?

Considering raising Scottish Highlander cattle up there, anyone know how longhorns do in that area? Does hay grow there very well?

I have heard conflicting reports that fruit doesn't grow there very well... What is the real story? What grows and what doesn't?

How available is firewood? Do you have to get a permit to remove dead trees from forest areas?

Also, looking for some inexpensive land a little ways out from town, but not clear out in the boondocks. Anyone know of any?

Is it true that there is no sales tax, personal income tax, and no property tax outside of the towns?

Do you have to have business license or permits to sell produce from your farm?


Any info would be appreciated, but please, if you don't have actual experience with any of these things please don't comment, as I am looking for answers from people who are actually doing it or are at least trying to live that way... Btw I didn't make this decision by watching some TV show-I have already lived off grid in North Idaho and Montana-used to very cold temps and lots of snow, so no wisecracks please. If you know someone who has a parcel of land with timber and growing ground let me know. Thanks in advance...

TC

Last edited by The Town Crier; 02-23-2018 at 02:02 PM..
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:47 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,173 posts, read 1,552,742 times
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Just found this. Maybe you've already seen it? Might provide some contacts. Weather in Haines may limit what you can grow successfully....cool and rainy during the growing season.

Farmers Summit Explores Opportunity for Growth - Alaska Business Monthly - May 2017 - Anchorage, AK
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:31 PM
 
234 posts, read 147,740 times
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Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that...
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
278 posts, read 121,054 times
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Couldn't tell you anything about Haines. I know a little about Mat-Su.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Town Crier View Post
Organic farmer looking to 'off grid' homestead in the Haines or Matanuska area-and wanting to know;

Is there a need for organic produce in either of those areas? Yes, but the trick is to be able to produce stuff that people are willing to pay for without going broke. Rempel Farm in Palmer produces some of the best produce I have seen anywhere - organic or not. They charge high prices and still have a constant line of people buying their stuff at the Anchorage farmer's markets.

What is the average growing season-average date of early and late frosts... etc Last frost is in May and first frost is in September. Varies widely from year to year. Safe dates are June 1 to September 1.

Anyone having success growing tomatoes/peppers without keeping them in a greenhouse all season? Not that are all that good. More success with tomatoes than peppers.

Is beekeeping difficult up there? It will cost more to winter them over than you will get in honey so most let the bees die in the fall and start over every spring.

Considering raising Scottish Highlander cattle up there, anyone know how longhorns do in that area? Does hay grow there very well? No idea on the cattle. Hay grows but is expensive to buy. Big problem being that it rains a lot in the late summer/fall making it hard to harvest.

I have heard conflicting reports that fruit doesn't grow there very well... What is the real story? What grows and what doesn't? Berries grow, some apples, not much else. Moose love apple trees.

How available is firewood? Do you have to get a permit to remove dead trees from forest areas? Yes. Usually from the Mat-Su borough.

Also, looking for some inexpensive land a little ways out from town, but not clear out in the boondocks. Anyone know of any? No.

Is it true that there is no sales tax, personal income tax, and no property tax outside of the towns? No STATE sales tax (yet). No personal income tax (yet). Mat-Su Borough charges a property tax, so you will owe even outside of towns if still within the borough. The Mat-Su Borough is roughly the size of West Virginia.

Do you have to have business license or permits to sell produce from your farm?


Any info would be appreciated, but please, if you don't have actual experience with any of these things please don't comment, as I am looking for answers from people who are actually doing it or are at least trying to live that way... Btw I didn't make this decision by watching some TV show-I have already lived off grid in North Idaho and Montana-used to very cold temps and lots of snow, so no wisecracks please. If you know someone who has a parcel of land with timber and growing ground let me know. Thanks in advance...

TC
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
278 posts, read 121,054 times
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Oh, you might also look into growing peonies. They bloom here when they are hard to get elsewhere and so you might actually make money on them.


https://www.alaskapeonies.org/
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:49 PM
 
234 posts, read 147,740 times
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Thanks for the info Northrick-very helpful.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:26 PM
 
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My concern would be that the there are already established organic farms in both areas and that the local markets are fairly saturated.

Individual Alaska communities have the option of collecting local sales taxes. It's 5.5 in Haines.

You can get a good feel for Alaska's food scene by reading Edible Alaska:

http://ediblealaska.ediblecommunities.com/

You might get some ideas for food-based businesses here:

Cottage Foods Exemption

Have you thought about doing microgreens?
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,605 posts, read 2,398,821 times
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Only unorganized boroughs don't have property taxes. Both areas you mentioned are in boroughs and will have property taxes.

You'll have to define inexpensive for land. Mat-su borough is the fastest growing area in Alaska with over 100k residents, and it's right outside of Anchorage, so as a general rule there's not really any inexpensive quality pieces of acreage that's not way out in the boondocks. But inexpensive means different things to different people.....

Many parcels that are closer to town have covenants that sometimes include the amount and type of livestock you can have on the property, if any. Something to look out for when looking for land.

If you can't find what your looking for in mat-su or Haines, I'd also look into the Kenai peninsula and parts of the interior if I was looking for land.

Good luck.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:48 PM
 
234 posts, read 147,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
My concern would be that the there are already established organic farms in both areas and that the local markets are fairly saturated.

Individual Alaska communities have the option of collecting local sales taxes. It's 5.5 in Haines.

You can get a good feel for Alaska's food scene by reading Edible Alaska:

Home Edible Alaska | Edible Alaska

You might get some ideas for food-based businesses here:

Cottage Foods Exemption

Have you thought about doing microgreens?

Thanks Met, I'm not too concerned markets being saturated-as it is usually the price and quality of the product that determines whether or not I am able to sell anything... That said, Thanks for the link to the cottage food exemption, it was on my list to investigate. It appears also that under cottage food laws, microgreens may be considered raw seed sprouts-which are prohibited. I need to do a little research on what they consider 'raw seed sprouts'...
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:06 PM
 
20,429 posts, read 26,555,365 times
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Can't speak for the Mat-Su, but Four Winds Farm in Haines would be a pretty hard act to beat, and I'm not sure the population there would support another organic farm.

These guys are south of Haines a bit; interesting reading:

Farragut Farm | Edible Alaska
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