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Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Honeyberry haskap

Hello Friends!

This has been a crazy and scary week for me. Being vulnerable and telling my story has been one of the hardest things I've ever done. I never would have been brave enough on my own, but my wonderful fellow farmer and friend, Max Smith from Winter Kissed Farm, wouldn’t let me give up.

Being part of the farming community in Montana has been such a huge blessing. I hope all of you realize how much your farmers care for you and our beautiful state. I have never met more giving and hard working folks. I am amazed at how much outreach and support they are willing to give, and we are in this together. Other farms were hit hard last year with the hail storms and other difficult circumstances. The thing that keeps us all going is knowing that our customers care and value the local food we provide.

I have received so many notes of encouragement. People have thanked me for being brave. I’m not sure if it is bravery because I am shaking in my shoes. Perhaps it is determination to not give up and leaning on the strength of those closest to me. Learning to trust is difficult after so many years of being put down and demoralized. What I have felt from all of you is your love and support. It has overwhelmed me and brought me to tears so many times. I was so afraid to let anyone know what had happened. I was afraid you would all think of me as a failure and incapable because of where I come from. I don’t quite know how to react, honestly. To know that I am part of a community, that people SEE. There is so much loneliness in abuse, and it is hard to believe you have any worth.

The messages that have moved me the most are the many emails, Instagram notes, and phone calls I have received from other women who are survivors of abuse. Your courage touches me. It helps to know you understand, and I am terribly sorry for the difficulties you have endured. Right now my sister is dying from a brain tumor. She has endured terrible abuse for so many years, and her only way of getting free is to give up the fight. She wasn’t strong enough to stand up for herself, so I will stand up for her. And I will lean on the strength and encouragement I have received from all of you.

The only thing I can say is Thank you! For caring. For sending your love and support. I love being able to share something so important to me with all of you, and I pray you come visit this summer when the farm is open. The greatest thing is knowing how much good there is in this world, and I needed to experience that. So, Thank you!

God Bless you all!

With Love,

Melissa Allred/Farmgirl

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

The holidays are over, and the tree is taken down. The dreariness of January settles over the valley like a cold wet blanket, and the excitement of newly fallen snow has waned long ago. As February comes along our souls begin to ache for the warmth and new life of spring. What can possibly brighten our days during times of dark solitude?

If we take a moment to walk away from our busy schedules and hectic lives, we can perhaps see that Mother Nature is teaching us a valuable lesson - the need to rest. "Oh dear ones," she seems to say, "Kick off your boots, snuggle into your blanket, close your weary eyes, and rest."

I have often wondered what it would be like to be a farm girl in a warm place like California where the growing season never ends, and I find myself grateful for the blanket of snow over my fields that tells me to slow down and just breathe for a moment. I am reminded of the importance of time that passes so quickly as I observe the tender young lives of my children. Time to spend to together; time to lose myself in the comforting pages of a book; time to look back and remember and truly see all the times God has watched over us and made miraculous things happen.

What a beautiful and precious gift time is, and I feel for myself that if Mother Nature didn't force me to slow down and rest, I would forget to stop and see all the beautiful things in my life, and I would miss it.

So today, as I look out my window at the newly fallen snow, I am choosing to be grateful that God is giving me a bit more time to rest. Spring will come. Life will burst forth anew, and we will awaken from our winter slumber refreshed and excited to embrace the new adventures waiting before us.

God bless you, my dear friends; for all of you who have touched my life are truly the dearest of friends. Rest Well! - Melissa/Farmgirl


A Farm Girl's Poem

The fields are all sleeping, not ready to wake.

What will you do, dear farmer, during your winter break?

Will you sleep until noon and wile away your days?

Or busily prepare for spring in so many ways?

There is funding to pursue and piles of bills to pay,

The fertilizer and seeds to order without any delay.

The long listing of jobs to accomplish in spring,

Like mowing and weeding and ditches to clean.

Equipment to repair and blades we must sharpen,

Taxes to file and employees to hearken.

“Calling all helpers, the farm will awake!”

“We need lots of hands, so go grab a rake!”

Perhaps we are packaging the last of the harvest

And finding new contracts so winter won’t starve us.

Then packing our fruit in a bottle of jam

And pouring it over the last of the ham.

The days may be shorter, but there’s sure lots to do

So farmers must rest, the brave and the few.

With a hot cup of joe and a seed catalog to ponder,

We finally give in to the old call of winter.

Lay down your head and climb under your blanket.

Mother Nature is teaching a lesson, so take it!

Stop and remember to count all your blessings.

The farm, friends and family are life’s fancy dressing!

- Melissa/Farmgirl

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Honeyberry blossoms in snow

Ah, spring in the Bitterroot! We in western Montana know what tough is. Mother nature loves to send us little surprises to keep us on our toes. Why would anyone want to try and grow anything in these crazy conditions you might ask? Well my friends, let me show you what miracles are happening underneath the cold layers of snow!

Honeyberry bush

The miracle of spring can seem so slow in coming. We are weary from the dark and cold, and our hearts long for warmth and light. People for centuries have celebrated this awakening to new life. It is a symbol of our faith and a renewing of our spirits. The spring equinox brings rejuvenation to our lands, to our bodies, and to our very souls.

We all know what darkness is, and share a common thread of grief, suffering, and sickness. I have been going through my own darkness; a time of feeling weighed down by sorrow. As I have struggled, however, I have found that I am not alone. I am surrounded by people like you who understand and help pull me out of the darkness. This morning I walked the rows of my orchard, covered in a blanket of snow and rustled by cold winds, feeling much like my soul. Revealed before my eyes in the frigid cleanness of the air, were blossoms; beautiful yellow blossoms blanketing stark honeyberry branches. Life fighting through and bursting forth in beautiful colors. Tender leaves of raspberries gracefully curled out of seemingly dead canes. Bright green strawberry leaves peaked out from under their soft white blanket.

My spirit has been renewed today by the evidence before me of new life and an outward testament to the goodness of God and the wonder of creation. Every day we are made new. What new life is bursting out of your gardens and souls today? What healing of hearts is waiting to be found in the blooming of spring?

I love sharing with you all the passion I feel for growing things and feeling like a am part of something so much bigger than myself. We are in this together; all planted and flourishing where together we make a garden. Happy Spring and Happy Easter my fellow lovers of life and our home we call Earth. May you be blessed with hope and healing through this coming year.


Melissa Allred

Owner/Farmgirl/Crazy Berry Lady

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