Lone Mountain Farms
February 28, 2017
Meet Emily and Luke Black, owners and operators of Lone Mountain Farms, located in Athol, Idaho.
How long have you both been farming, and what made you decide to start up Lone Mountain Farms?
We transitioned from gardening to farming in 2010 to facilitate our desire to grow delicious healthy food for our community and work outdoors.
What and/or who has been most influential to you in choosing this occupation?
Emily: I grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana and Luke’s grandfather farmed the Rathdrum prairie, so we both have agriculture in our background. Even though agriculture is in our background, we decided to enter the business world. I received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Marketing at MSU-Billings and came to Coeur d’Alene for a Sales and Marketing position at a software company where I still works full time. Luke: I have been developing web applications for the past 20 years and am currently working full time remotely for a company in California. Farming has opened the opportunity to improve our health by working outdoors and growing nutritious produce and eggs. We are excited to be providing local produce and eggs to our community. We also love the people we have met in the farming community. Everyone is so supportive and it is great to learn about what new things people are doing with farming.
Please describe your farm.
We are growing a variety of vegetables, berries, hops, grains, and chickens through sustainable and organic practices. Our chickens are free range and produce beautiful eggs free of GMOs. This spring, we will be cultivating approximately 3 acres of vegetables, berries, hops and grains for individuals, restaurants, and schools. We grow organically through crop rotation, which helps to naturally mitigate pests and disease, cover crops that help replenish the nutrients in the soil, and drip irrigation to help water conservation.
What are your favorite things about operating Lone Mountain?
The diversity of activities. This one profession requires knowledge of most all other occupations. We are botanists, chemists, mechanics, builders, electricians, landscape architects, accountants, marketers, and so much more.
As a farmer, what season of the year do you most look forward to and why?
Emily: I like spring because I love planning what we are going to plant and the hope of the season to come. Luke: I enjoy harvest season and the reward of all our hard work.
What challenges have you been presented with since you started the farm, and how have you overcome these challenges?
There have been many and we have not overcome them all yet. Building any business brings challenges, but with the help of other farmers and professionals, we are growing and overcoming the challenges one at a time.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Emily: Since we both work full time jobs, most of our spare time is spent farming. Along with our normal farming tasks, Luke enjoys integrating tech into the farm through automated systems, and I am working with the INWFN to grow the local farming network.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting up his or her own farm?Network with other farmers. Connect through the Inland Northwest Farmers Facebook group.