Locally owned, naturally grown, inspired by bliss, beer and rock and roll
By Abigail Thorpe
Julie Newcomb keeps a quote of Thomas Jefferson on the front of her garden log book: “The security of our nation depends on subsistence farming.” It’s her reminder of why her and her husband’s farming efforts are so important. “As much as we need large-scale farming operations to feed our masses, we also need more local and subsistence farming to balance or distribute our farming assets,” says Julie.
She and her husband Edward started Cloud Eleven in 2016 with just a few fruit trees and a mission to amend the soil to create the perfect foundation for growing. “We believe it's all about the soil, and you either pay now or pay later with your investment in this!” say the Newcombs.
With family roots in farming in South Dakota and nurseries in Oakland, California, gardening is in the Newcombs’ blood. After participating in a master gardening course through the University of Idaho Extension, and encouragement and advice from local farmers and gardeners, the couple decided to start their own farming endeavor in the northeast corner of the Idaho Panhandle, nestled in the Purcell Mountains in Moyie Springs.
The name Cloud Eleven was inspired by bliss, beer, and rock and roll, says Julie. “We like to challenge some of our more inquiring customers into ferreting out the source to the 'Eleven' in our name and reward them with a special treat if they can figure it out. We often provide hints in some of our Instagram page posts, such as 'Turn it up to Cloud 11.'”
Cloud Eleven grows seasonal vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and plant starts, makes low-sugar jams and jellies, and powdered greens. They started with a booth at the Bonners Ferry Farmers Market in 2018 and recently became the first farm in Boundary County to become Certified Naturally Grown—a certification earned after demonstrating natural growing practices that promote ecological balance and help replenish the soil. “It is reminiscent of the spirit of the original organic farming movement,” says Julie.
“Naturally grown, or organically grown, is important to us because we believe it's the best way to grow food that's good for the body, good for the soul and good for our home,” says Julie. “Someone said recently ... that 'we are caretakers of the land on which we live, and it's our responsibility to leave it in better condition than we found it.' If we can at least improve the space in which we occupy, then, wow, think of the impact that would have if everyone tried to do the same!”
The Newcombs truly value small local farming as a way to support and contribute to the local community, and are passionate about encouraging the community to “know their farmer” and also know where the food they eat comes from. They can be found at the local Bonners Ferry Farms Market on Saturdays and the Libby Farmers Market on Thursdays. Connect with them on Instagram or Facebook to find out more about Cloud Eleven Mountain Farm or to pre-order.