News Letter: Volume 1, Issue 1

WELCOME!

Photo by: Daniel Soule

It is with growing excitement that we welcome you to share in this agricultural adventure with us. It is hard to identify the exact moment we decided to walk forward with serious steps to pursue the production of the best naturally raised food in the Willamette Valley. It is assured however that each step thus far has confirmed within us the need and importance of healthy, affordable food for our children, our community and ourselves.

We have three purposes:

  • To heal the land
  • To produce the best food in the Willamette Valley
  • To build community

One can easily find research and proof that the agricultural practices in America over the past several decades have done quite a number on our landscape, and consequently the food we eat. Chemical fertilizers, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and the choices we make around food consumption all have dramatic consequences on our health. The “Father of Composting”, Sir Albert Howard wrote in AN AGRICULTURAL TESTAMENT: “Artificial manures lead inevitably to artificial nutrition, artificial foods, artificial animals, and finally to artificial men and women.”

With heightened awareness through books like Michael Pollan’s OMNIVORE’S DILEMA, and documentary films like FOOD INC. there is a growing tide of interest to eat fresh, eat local, and eat unprocessed. Our aim is to facilitate the means for people to come together, eat healthy, and live better.

Over the next several months we are committed to several things.

  1. Growing our learning through more reading, attending conferences, and enrolling in the AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT program through LCC’s Business Development Center
  2. Volunteering at a few local farms to “get our hands dirty”
  3. Continuing to build a market base for the best food products in the Willamette Valley
  4. Beginning our first batches of meat products for your enjoyment

We look forward to the coming months as we learn, grow, and eat well, together!

Pastured Broiler Chickens

Photo by: Taylor Schefstrom

Chicken has recently surpassed beef as the desired meat to eat in America. For this reason, and a few more we have read about, it seems logical we make pastured poultry the foundation for our endeavors.

We will be working with a new friend named Kyle Whitham, in Harrisburg to raise 80-90 broiler chickens (Cornish X) in the coming months. These birds are what you are used to seeing in grocery stores. They take approximately 8 weeks to mature. When raised on fresh pasture, daily, they offer delicious flavors and highly desirable nutrition. We are eager to hear your feedback once you have eaten them.

The most common response to our email several weeks ago was, “Will we have to pluck feather?” It would seems somewhat “Middle Ages” to ask you to process your own chickens so the answer is, you will not need to pluck feathers. We will process the birds for you, so all you have to do is cook and eat. Your broiler will look exactly like the whole chickens you see in the store, but will be much better tasting and better for you, of course.

We are eager to get our broilers in your hands so we have offered to give the first batch away with the humble request that you offer us your feedback, and if you like what you eat, consider making our chickens the stuff you fill your freezer with in the future. If you want to share the good news with friends and family, that would be great, too!

The aim is to have the first batch of broilers ready for pick up in late June, and ready for your summer BBQs. Please let us know how many birds you would like. First come, first served. If all goes well we will do another batch of birds the later half of this summer.

Pricing has yet to be established, but we expect it to be very competitive with the better quality meat you might see in the grocery store. We are very happy to be headed this direction, and we look forward to eating well with you.

Salad Bar Beef

We are working closely with a farmer from Harrisburg named Richard Morton to learn about raising and producing grass-fed Angus beef. Through our partnership we are beginning to research and implement Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) techniques. MIG is the smart control of grass growth and health through coordinated grazing time on defined grazing areas (now we get back to healing the land, and producing the best food in the valley). This is a great opportunity to learn a lot about one of the next food products we hope to offer, and we can tell you that this beef is delicious!

The natural design of cows, among other things, is to eat grass. It is proven that grass-fed beef is better for you. Grass-fed beef is leaner and has a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids. And this is just the beginning of the value of beef naturally raised on grass, when compared to the feedlot beef we are used to seeing in the grocery store.

Through this partnership we are able to offer grass-fed Angus beef, right now. You may purchase amazing Angus ground meat. As the summer progresses there will be other options for beef products. See descriptions below, and send us an email requesting what you need for your family.

Future Grass-Fed, Angus Beef Options:

  • Beef on the hoof: Purchase a whole cow or half a cow and have it cut yourself (we can recommend a butcher). This is the easiest and most cost effective way to buy your beef. Please request pricing if you are interested in this option.
  • Steaks: Our mobile butcher can cut a variety of steaks. We have two steers almost ready for butcher so if you have special requests for steak cuts, please let us know as soon as possible so we can accommodate your needs.
  • Ground beef (Ready now): We are offering an inaugural special on ground beef at $2 a pound. We currently have 30-40, 2# packages of ground Angus. This is lean, delicious stuff, great for pasta sauce, burritos, stroganoff, meat loaf, or good old-fashioned burgers.

Please email us with your needs at OurFamilyFarm.info@gmail.com.

Bees

Photo by: Taylor Schefstrom

Bees are a critical piece of the puzzle to the food we eat. Not only do they produce delicious and healthy things for our bodies like honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly, but also they make it possible for the growth of many of the foods we eat. We first met other like-minded bee folk at the Lane County Bee Keepers gathering last summer when our friend Hank Anderson invited us to come along and hear the buzz about this amazing insect. With Hank’s help we will be refurbishing a hive or two this year as a part of our three fold vision of healing the land, producing the best food in the Willamette Valley, and building community. If we are lucky, there might be some honey for your pantry this fall. We will keep you posted. And of course, as it becomes available, we will offer you plenty of recipes to incorporate this liquid gold into your cooking and baking.

Looking Ahead

Eggs are on the way! We have learned that it can take 4-5 months for a laying hen to start producing eggs. Once they begin, they will produce approximately 300 eggs a year. You will never see, or taste a better tasting egg from a hen that has been raised naturally on pasture. These eggs are superior, and they will be affordable, too.

If our 7 year old, Jackson has his way, pigs will be on the line up for next year too. He is eager to get a pig and add to what we are doing. We will keep you updated on the availability of bacon, sausage, and other delicious cuts.

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