Canyon County

It takes a village to rebuild a greenhouse: Public helps Purple Sage Farms rise again

The recent harsh winter took its toll on lots of buildings in the Treasure Valley and beyond, including crushing the bowling alley in Weiser and flattening the Atlanta Club in Atlanta.

Purple Sage Farms in Middleton also took a hit. Heavy snows caused five of the farm’s 12 greenhouses to collapse. Immediately, community stepped up to help the farm, which has been growing and selling organic herbs, greens and vegetables to the Boise Co-op and area restaurants for nearly three decades. A GoFundMe campaign raised more than $25,000 in just one month. The restaurant State & Lemp also held a fundraiser to help with the recovery.

On Saturday, March 4, a group of volunteers weathered the wind and rain to cover two greenhouses at Purple Sage. The five crushed buildings were damaged beyond repair for the most part, said Mike Sommer, production manager. But volunteers were working to replace the plastic sheeting that the farm owners had to cut from the seven standing greenhouses so they, too, wouldn’t fall.

“The storms were coming and going on Saturday, but it was just nice being out there with everybody,” said Sommer.

Volunteer work parties will continue to meet each Saturday in March at the farm, 11741 Bullock Road in Middleton. Work will start at around 10 a.m. and last until 4 p.m.

The next few weekends will include taking apart old greenhouses, and possibly other work inside the greenhouse, said Sommer. He hopes parts from at least one of the crushed greenhouses can be salvaged.

Volunteers who want to show up on Saturday should RSVP by emailing or leave a message on the farm’s Facebook page.

This time of year, the growers are getting greens planted and harvesting produce that overwintered.

“In March, we’re gearing up,” said Sommer. More intense harvesting and growing will start in April.

“Later in the season, when people are at a local restaurant, eating greens from Purple Sage, they’ll be able to say they helped,” said Sommer.

Volunteers have also been enjoying free sandwiches, soup and more, thanks to Acme Bakery in Garden City. The bakery, and other donors are helping the rebuilding effort by making sure everyone gets fed.