Little sprouts, big dreams

Casperville Creations

Sierra Prothers grew up skiing in New England, but when those mountains were no longer big enough for her, she made her way to the Rocky Mountains, eventually landing here in Wasatch County. Sierra’s travels and outdoor experiences fostered an interest in food sourcing and production; having space to plant a garden was an important factor in looking for a place to live. Sierra shared, “My partner and I found a lovely place in the town of Charleston right on the border of Heber. We were lucky enough to find a piece of property that was large enough that I could start a garden as soon as we moved in.”

Excited by the opportunity to grow her own food, Sierra jumped in and started trying to plant right away. She shared, “I had some success and a lot of failures, and I learned a lot. I didn’t have a background in horticulture or anything. I just knew that it was really important to me to not only grow my own food but use our land in a way that we felt was productive.” Sierra began attending conferences, researching, and learning as much as she could. She spent a year and a half taking a lot of soil samples and amending the soil in the most natural and organic ways possible. Sierra explained, “If you don’t have a healthy soil system, it makes it really difficult to grow anything.” She also realized that in order to grow certain produce like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and other plants that need a long time to germinate and yield fruit, she would need to extend her growing season. And so, Sierra built a 1,000 square foot greenhouse. Sierra laughs as she recalls, “That first summer I grew primarily in that greenhouse, and I grew way too much food! I was giving it away to friends, family, and neighbors. I didn’t realize how much I could grow. I was doing a lot of inter-planting and succession planting so that none of my beds were ever empty and so that I was using as much of my space as I could.”

After realizing how much she could grow, Sierra would spend her time, while working at an office job, daydreaming about gardening full time and growing even more food! She loved the feeling of being able to share what she grew with others and said, “I decided to make it a business and to share my knowledge and our food with our community. I felt that it was pretty important, especially with what was and is going on in our world.” When deciding on a name for her new business, Sierra wanted to honor the history of the original owners of her home and property — the Caspers — and Casperville Creations was born.

Casperville Creations is truly all about community and giving back. Members of the community can volunteer to help out on the farm by weeding, picking, and helping get products ready for the Midway Farmer’s Market or the farm’s CSA boxes. Those who help will generally leave with several fresh veggies as a thank-you for their time and efforts. Sierra shared that one of the most rewarding parts of running the farm has been the ability to donate fresh produce to families in need within Wasatch County. “The amount of food that we’ve been able to give back has been pretty amazing. A lot of those families end up coming and volunteering on the farm, so that is really cool.” Sierra works closely with The Christian Center and posts a sign-up sheet during summer and fall for families who could use a little help supplementing their meals with fresh vegetables.

The main component of Casperville Creations is their Community Supported Agriculture shares, which is a partnership between the farm and individual community members. CSA members pay a one-time fee and receive 16 to 18 weeks of fresh produce every week. Members also receive a fun reusable canvas tote to carry their vegetables in and have first choice of add-on items such as fresh cut flowers, microgreens, Oak Haven Honey, farm fresh eggs, goat milk soap, homemade tea, spice blends, and other homegrown or handmade products. Memberships can be shared, and if a CSA member is unable to use or pick up their weekly portion, they have the option of giving that week to a family member, friend, neighbor, or donating that week’s produce to a family in need. Sierra shared, “With the amount of CSA members last summer — we were able to donate over 30 weekly shares of food to families here in Wasatch County.”

Casperville Creations works with several local restaurants and attends the Midway Farmer’s Market and a few in Park City. If you can’t make it to one of the farmer’s markets and a CSA share is not for you, Sierra says that individuals can call and see what produce is available that day or just stop on by and visit her at the farm. If you are looking for something specific, you can also call and pre-order. “We don’t have a lot of ‘you pick’ opportunities like some farms, but we do have large volunteer opportunities. I think what has been the most fun for people when they come to the farm is learning as they go. I’m right there working with everyone and answering questions — it’s a great chance to pick my brain.” Education is important to Sierra. She shared, “We hold workshops based on questions people have. Recently, I’ve had a lot of inquiries about my soil. So, last year we hosted a two-hour workshop here at the farm about how to create a healthy soil system, deciphering what a soil sample looks like, and where people can get soil samples. We’ve had workshops on raising chickens and even held a ‘Yoga at the Farm’ series.” Sierra is looking forward to creating a two-day intensive workshop and a flower workshop as well. For those who prefer, Sierra also offers one-on-one consulting, which can cover anything from planting advice to irrigation systems. Speaking of water —  Sierra strives to keep her footprint as small as possible and is very conscientious of water usage. Everything is on a drip irrigation system which means that Sierra can monitor and dial in how much or how little water each bed needs and receives.

One question Sierra gets asked often is whether or not her products are organic. Although the vegetables grown at the farm are not certified organic, Sierra stated that “[…] what we practice is probably at an almost higher level than what it means to grow organically by government standards. Everything grown in our fields is grown in an organic discipline: green manures, crop rotation, non-GMO or chemically treated seeds, and no chemical herbicides, pesticides, or washes. I want to educate people on what that means because purchasing organic food can be pretty costly. I think that if you learn how to grow your own food, then you can cut out a lot of those extra costs.”

Always looking to the future and for ways to help more people, Sierra shared, “A neighbor of ours graciously offered us close to an acre of additional land to grow on. So, we are excited to get the process of prepping the soil to be ready for planting next year. […] The newest addition to the farm is what I call the Sprout House – an insulated and heated shipping container I use to grow all of our starts and microgreens year round. Microgreens are the main produce we supply to restaurants. This will also allow us to start our tomato plants and everything that is going into the ground between March and April.”

It’s obvious that Sierra has a passion for gardening, but her true joy is found in helping and giving back to those in her community — our community. Sierra says it best, “I saw a need in our community that I could help fulfill, and I want to utilize all the resources that we have. I want to reach more people this year than we did last summer — that is always the goal.”

Harvest in the Hollow

A farm to table collaborative dining experience, offering a local 5 course curated meal, live music, and drinks located at the Nordic Yurt in Soldier Hollow. Join us to adventure, celebrate, and dine under the stars, looking out over the beautiful Heber Valley.

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