Solitude Springs Farm
Located in the hills northwest of Fairbanks, AK, we aim to bring fresh, locally grown produce to residents of lower Goldstream Valley and surrounding hills. 2017 will be our ninth year in production. The unique location of Solitude Springs Farm provides us with a longer frost-free season, warmer winter temperatures (USDA zone 3a), cooler summer days, and more summer rain than valley locations. These conditions help us provide local residents with fresh, flavorful, quality produce, as well as healthy seedlings for those who enjoy raising their own gardens. We use mainly organic methods on the farm and rely on the sun to provide over 90% of our annual electricity needs through the use of photovoltaic panels.
13th Annual Plant Sale
We will be hosting our annual plant sale in late May. We will have vegetable, flower, and herb seedlings. The plant sale will be held at the gravel pit at 1 mile Murphy Dome Road (corner of Murphy Dome Road and Jennifer Drive. We will be there from 10 am to 7 pm each day for your shopping convenience. Prices will be mostly the same as last year, with mix-n-match 6-packs for $2.50 each and 3-inch pots for $1.50 each. We will provide a list of the varieties of seedlings we have on Craigs List before the sale.
Starting in July, we will have fruit available for purchase. Serviceberries, raspberries, red, white and black currants, gooseberries and a limited amount of apples will be available. We will wrap up this coming season’s produce sales by early October.
A list of the varieties of plants we are testing on the farm (as of January 2015) can be found under “Trials” in the top menu.
2016 marked the first planting of the vineyard. This year, the goal will be to get the remaining vines in the ground. Next year we may be able to begin a breeding program that targets very early ripening varieties. Read our blog about the Farm & Vineyard to follow the progress we are making.
Geneva Pernell Exhibition Garden
In 2019, the “Geneva Pernell Exhibition Garden” was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in August. This new addition at Solitude Springs Farm represents the culmination of several years of gathering native and non-native plants, trialing them for hardiness and outstanding attributes, and the very generous and humble spirit of Geneva Pernell. Geneva went out of her way to provide the very first ‘Festiva Maxima’ peonies to our farm in the hopes that they would someday add joy to the lives of others both near and far. She did this even as her world was changing dramatically. In keeping with her spirit, in 2012 Solitude Springs Farm & Vineyard began donating 10% of its proceeds to local and national breast cancer awareness campaigns. It is hoped that this garden will showcase what is possible to grow and enjoy in microclimates that abound in Interior Alaska, with a little faith and perseverance.
Other Fruit Ventures
We continue to expand the number of fruit varieties on the farm. Over the last ten summers, we have planted rhubarb, currant, gooseberry, domesticated raspberry, blackberry, serviceberry, blueberry, and honeyberry varieties. We have also expanded our experimental plot of fruit trees and bushes to include apples, pears, plums, aronia, seaberries, kiwi, cherries, and apricots. With the harsh winter of 2012-2013, we certainly found out which fruit varieties are better suited to the farm’s location – and it isn’t necessarily the most cold tolerant of them! The winter of 2016-17 was also a challenge for many plants, with a cool dry fall and -41F in January. We continue to experiment with blackberries and, though they still struggle to survive the winter, should be offering them for sale next year. Cross your fingers! See the trial varieties list above for more information.
We are excited to join the growing number of Alaskans who raise and sell peony flowers to markets around the globe. We have been planting peonies the last few years and hope to offer these gorgeous flowers for sale to local residents beginning next summer.
AlaskaWine.org and CrestViewWinery.com
We recently acquired two additional domain names and will hopefully get some information up on them by the end of this summer. No real rush, though, as we only began making wine a few years ago. We hope that AlaskaWine.org will showcase the handful of small wineries in our great state, with the addition of Crest View Winery when it is time.