Stalford Seed Farm’s 4th Annual Farm Tour and Tasting

By Chris Peterson

You’re invited to immerse yourself in food, its local production and related information at this FREE event on Saturday, June 30th from 2 to 6 p.m.  The farm is near Tangent at 32345 McLagan Road.

“Locavore’s Delight” is this year’s theme brought to life through the products of various local farmers, beekeepers and other food producers. Organizations and inidividuals active in building community through local food will also be represented.

At 2 p.m. the farm staff and local food advocates will be introduced and a brief history of the farm, its goals and philosphy will be offered. Come meet the folks behind the farm that is blazing trails and setting new standards for local grains in the Willamette Valley.

Please R.S.V.P. at www.stalfordseedfarms.org or 541-926-4611, letting […]

Farm’s Future More Stable with Staples

By Chris Peterson

When we first met Clint Lindsey and Mike Robinson of A2R Farms in the fall of 2009, they were scrambling to come up with a new farm plan. Their bank was threatening foreclosure proceedings and creditors were skittish, to say the least. The bottom had fallen out of the grass seed market, the crop A2R depended upon, as did their seed-cleaning business. They, like many other Willamette Valley grass seed farmers, were sitting on tons of seed made useless by a growing world-wide recession. New homes weren’t being built, hence new lawns weren’t being planted. Golf courses were growing more deserted as country clubs lost members. Some were abandoned altogether.

As the recession came more clearly into focus, the future of […]

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    Fall Meeting of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean & Grain Project

Fall Meeting of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean & Grain Project

By Spencer Masterson

The Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project was organized five years ago after it was noted that no locally-grown staples were available at the local food co-op. Harry MacCormack of Sunbow Farm bought samples of what was available at the Co-op and planted them to see if they could be grown here. Many proved viable.

Each year since, more farmers have experimented on larger scales, experiencing mixed success and sharing the knowledge gained with others willing to try growing grains, beans and edible seeds for local consumption. Long-term success requires looking at ways of restructuring the local food system through infrastructure planning, innovative marketing strategies and cooperation among growers.

The most recent collaboration happened November 9th at the River Bend Resort in Harrisburg, […]

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    Local Food Riches: Organic Apples from La Mancha Ranch and Brooklane Orchards

Local Food Riches: Organic Apples from La Mancha Ranch and Brooklane Orchards

By Carla Wise

Apple season is here again, which always reminds me of one of my first aquaintences at the Corvallis Farmer’s Market.  Before I knew her name, I called Anita Azarenko “the apple lady” and looked for her on fall Saturdays.  I was smitten with the organic Liberty apples I bought from her each week, crunchy and bursting with sweet-tart flavor.

A lot has changed on the local foods front over the past 10 years, but Anita is still selling apples at the market on fall Saturdays.  She and her husband David  Landis have been growing organic apples at La Mancha Ranch  in Sweet Home since 1993.  In 2005, they bought Brooklane Orchards in Corvallis, and  hired Leslie Van Allen to manage their second orchard.

Now […]

Bean and Grain Tours Show Project Has Legs

By Carla Wise

The Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project hosted two farm tours in mid-August.  Attendees were treated to views of ripening crops, stories from farmers, wonderful meals with many locally-grown and organic ingredients, and live music.  Coming away from these events, it struck me that each season, project organizers continue to solve problems, make progress, and move ahead toward local self-reliance.  The grand goal of providing the Willamette Valley with locally grown and processed organic staples (beans, grains, and edible seeds) moves closer to reality every year.

The big news this summer includes successful organic hard red and soft white wheat production, a number of promising bean crops, two grain mills going into production, and locally grown wheat flour available in stores, in […]

Chefs and Bakers Tour Local Farms

By Chris Peterson

When you get chefs and bakers together to tour farms and see ingredients they aren’t used to getting locally, ideas flow like butter on hot corn on the cob. They discuss texture, pairings, and seasonings as they taste things like green garbanzos in the middle of a field, hummus under the shade of a tree or taste pastries made with freshly-ground local wheat.

On August 2nd, dozens of Willamette Valley bakers and chefs spent the afternoon touring Stalford Farm near Tangent, A2R Farms south of Corvallis and Hunton Farms south of Junction City. The event was hosted by the Southern Willamette Valley Bean & Grain Project, a coalition of farmers, businesses, community organizers and representatives of two non-profits: Ten Rivers Food Web and […]

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    Spectrum Light Organics: Wheatgrass and Microgreens Growing Locally

Spectrum Light Organics: Wheatgrass and Microgreens Growing Locally

By Carla Wise

The farmers in the Ten Rivers foodshed are a mixed crowd—and I mean that in the best possible way.  From grass seed farmers with thousands of acres under their care to blueberry growers, organic vegetable farmers, and pastured livestock farmers, we’re blessed with a diversity of growers, crops, and approaches.  When Ronnie Meers started Spectrum Light Organics less than two years ago just outside Lebanon, he added a new element to the local food scene—organic wheatgrass for juicing.

According to Ronnie, wheatgrass is a miracle food.   Since becoming a convert to the health benefits of wheatgrass, Ronnie has been drinking it, studying its benefits, learning how to grow it, and finally, setting up his business to […]

Bean and Grain Project Continues to Take Root

By Carla Wise

Interested farmers gathered again in Eugene and Tangent March 10th and 11th to discuss growing beans and grains for local markets.  For several years in spring and fall, organizers of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project have been holding these meetings.  Each time, new faces, additional acres, and more experimental crops join the project.  The March meetings made it clear that the barriers aren’t big enough to halt the slow but steady progress being made.

At last week’s meetings, discussions focused on spring plans.  Dan Armstrong did the introductions and stated the purpose of the meetings: to plot progress, share information, and solve problems associated with building a local staple food system to benefit farmers, consumers, the environment, and the local […]

Building a New Food System Through Innovative Collaboration

By Chris Peterson

Julie Tilt and Clint Lindsey have jobs that involve canyons of stacked bags and boxes. Forklifts often hum in the background. Their livelihoods are directly dependent upon the soil, but their businesses are very different. Hers is contained within the walls of a metal warehouse in a small city. Her workspace is measured in feet. His workspace is 40 miles away, measured in acres. He spends as much time between soil and sky as she does at a computer. She distributes natural foods throughout the Pacific Northwest. He’s a grass seed farmer, his product going around the world.

Until recently, Tilt and Lindsey had no reason to meet. But, tough times create unlikely partnerships. Theirs is one. Lindsey’s bank started legal proceedings to […]

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    Farmer Meetings Mull Progress of Local Bean and Grain Growing

Farmer Meetings Mull Progress of Local Bean and Grain Growing

By Carla Wise

I think it’s fair to say that farmers don’t usually like to talk much about their farms. They don’t often say what they are earning, what they are planting, or what they might be planning for next year. Maybe it’s because it’s such a hard and unpredictable business. But some of those closed-lipped patterns seem to be breaking down around here, and perhaps that’s one of the greatest successes so far of the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.

Project organizers hosted farmer meetings in mid-October to discuss 2009’s successes and failures growing beans, grains, and edible seeds for local markets in the Willamette Valley. Roughly 25 folks attended the Tangent meeting, and about 35 met the following day in Eugene. But more […]