I love my work! It fascinates and challenges me, and gives me endless opportunities for learning and knowledge, not to mention exercise and fresh air. I haven't found any other job that I could so happily do for the rest of my life. I am very proud of my little farm, my chickens, goats, and garden; every spring I get very excited to start up again. By autumn, I'm exhausted, just cleaning up and putting the garden to bed for the winter, yet I find myself planning and plotting for the next year. You can either read more about who I am below, or stop by the farm on some sunny day. I am here every Friday, and outside from about March until November. I'm glad to chat.
I never anticipated becoming a farmer. As a child here in Portland, pulling weeds in my parents’ large ornamental garden, I swore I would pave my whole yard when I grew up, and dreamt of being an architect. While I lived in California after earning a Bachelor's Degree in Classics, I worked in the printing, retail, bio-medical and design industries: “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” is a moniker that fits me. Once I married, I nearly completed the coursework (three classes left!) for a degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, and had already done yard plans for several clients. The arrival of our first baby cut my studies short, and I never completed the advanced work needed for certification. As a stay-at-home mother, I planned to continue the freelance design work I had already begun to practice.
When we moved up here in 2000, with our 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, full-time motherhood was my vocation. We took a year to remodel/rebuild the 1953 house that was on the property: ten years of rental neglect had left it quite battered. During the course of that year, the gardener in me couldn’t resist starting to clear areas of the property to get a better sense of what our “yard” was.
By the time we had moved in, cleared the meadow, and I started actually growing things, I realized that my plan of planting the whole area would inevitably result in way too much for us to eat. Hence, the surplus began to migrate to others: I think it was the zucchini that got it all started. In 2003 I opened for retail sales, and after 6 years, in 2009, the business has become a CSA, or "subscription" farm.
I am passionate about my work. I stopped telling people I was a “gardener” when I began to sell produce, opting for the often confusing “Market Gardener”. When I got chickens, and found a fascination with building interesting coops, I realized that I was branching out. It was with the arrival of the goats, and building their barn, that I have fully embraced the title of “Farmer”. Beginning in 2010, I also added a hive of honeybees and now include "apiary" among my pursuits. I enjoy people’s reactions to the anomaly of where I farm; a mile-and-a-half from the heart of the largest city in Oregon.
The large space we have makes the fun of growing food even bigger too, and I keep expanding my cultivation horizons. Among my more adventurous efforts past and future are cardoons, celery, three new raspberry varieties, two new blueberry varieties, aronia, feijoa, kiwi, ground cherry, cardoon, and table grapes. I’ve grown capers and figs successfully, and hope to grow ginger someday. I am growing hops for my husband’s home brewing, and have tried a variety of different grains this summer. For more information, see my What I Grow page.