Monthly Archives: May 2012

The “Lily Stamp Of Approval”

It was a perfectly wonderful May afternoon. The sun was on the decline bringing out some of the cooler hues of green from the pasture and surrounding oak trees. Ephraim Payne had called us several days earlier because he was working on a CSA story for the Natural Choice Directory and wanted to visit our farm. Not only was he interested in gathering intel for his story, but his wife Leeann and their family were considering joining our CSA for 2012. We were honored to be considered a source of credible CSA information (we have the best CSA customers!). But the biggest honor came from something unexpected of Ephraim’s visit.

Deciding which chicken to have a conversation with.

You see, the Payne’s are thoughtful consumers, working to keep their carbon footprint as small as possible. They capture rain water to keep their vegetables and laying hens in whetted whistles. They compost, they recycle, they buy locally. But the coolest part of all their efforts is how Ephraim and Leeann share their experience with their daughter, Lily, and encourage her to have her own opinions and make up her own mind about her consumption. This is really where this story begins.

When Ephraim and Lily arrived at the farm, Lily seemed like your average Eugene pre-teen. Nothing ‘brand name’ about her clothes (no AE or A&F to be seen), a tease of azure tint lingering on tucked away bangs, headphones dangling from ears, easy steps in an unfamiliar place. The three of us exchanged hello’s, and I asked Lily what she was listening to. To my pleasant surprise it wasn’t the latest Coldplay album (nothing against Coldplay) or Gotye hit, but an audio book. She didn’t know it yet, but we were already friends.

It’s a good place to be

We took a casual stroll around our farm, looking at our chickens at the different stages of their development. Our birds that were one week old just getting their first wing feathers but still mostly yellow puff balls, the three-week old birds in that weird adolescent stage (half bald, half covered in feathers) and then our 5 and 7 week birds on pasture, in their pens enjoying the warmer afternoon. Lily helped move the pens, feed and water the birds, and even had a heart-to-heart with one of them. I imagined the unspoken conversation to have gone something like this:

Lily: Hey chicken friend. You look good. How is this Derek guy treating you?

Chicken: Hey girl friend. I like your hair. You know, we have it really good here. All the grass and bugs we can handle. We are safe and warm in our pens (we like to flock, but an electric blanket would have been nice last week:). Big D plays some Michael Jackson for us every once in a while. It’s all good.

Lily: Cool. If you were me, would you eat you?

Chicken: Darn straight. Nothing fake about us. We are the best you’re gonna get. Make it happen.

Ephraim and I spoke some more about CSAs, he shot a few photos, and it was time for them to get back into town. But before they left Lily and I exchanged a few precious words which left quite an impression on me. This eleven year old shook my hand, stepped back, looked down at the ground to collect her thoughts and choose her words wisely and spoke these words, “You know, I like what you are doing here and… I have to give you the Lily Stamp of Approval.”

My heart smiled and so did my face. I was honored, proud of our birds, our farm, us, Lily, her parents, the Willamette Valley, that May-day.

They loaded up in their Subaru and drove away down our dirt road. In the words of Lily’s new chicken friend, it really was ‘all good’.


1 Comment

Filed under Buying Food, Eugene-Local Eating

Here We Go

Our Mobile Processing Unit nearing completion

There are so many wonderful things that have happened in the last 6, not-as-quiet-as-we-hoped months. We want to tell you about all of them, and you will hear about a few of them. But we have to prioritize at this point. So telling you about the lessons we learned from last year (which are humbling and good), describing for you our pilgrimage from pasture #2 to pasture #3, our move from home to new home, and really unpacking the final chapters of our MPU (Mobile Processing Unit) will have to wait for another day.

Right now we need to tell you the story of today.

Brooder in Snow

The story of today resembles most any small farm in the heart of a booming Spring. Life is everywhere. The pastures are growing fast, like memories of your grown children (when did THEY get so big?) In the air are scenes and scents of things fully awake from Winter, and finding some play in their spirit. Bugs buzz. Blossoms have given way to disclose their secret packages that will some day soon fill our now empty canning jars and cupboards. Muddy puddles have receded and dried, leaving behind the scars of early passes though the soft soil, now giving us access by way of vehicle again (try lugging lumber on foot 200 yards to reassemble 5 brooders…yikes). Speaking of brooders, we can’t forget about the lovely sounds of chickens that fill our ears every morning and night! We wish it could be more right now, but we need to prioritize…so we move on leaving you this quick and colorful chapter of the Our Family Farm story in the Spring of 2012.

A farm like ours extends to us a welcomed balance to the rest of the excitement life throws our way (more stories). So before we publish the little post and allow ourselves to jump back in to other excitements we need to talk business with you, quickly.

First batch of birds on pasture

Some noteworthy things:

  1. We have changed our pricing for 2012. This is something we were trying not to do, but the increasing prices of everything, everywhere are forcing us to do the same. We hope the small increase is something we can count on to stay the same for the next few years. Please see our  2012 Pricing page for current information.
  2. Our first few batches of chickens have been thwarted with epidemic scale losses.  We belive to have identified why some of this has happened and have taken all the steps we can to prevent future loss. Warmer weather will help significantly. With this said, if you want chicken in May, place your order as soon as possible.
  3. Picking up your chicken this year will lead you to a new address. We have moved and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces at our new address: 2194 Carmel Avenue, Eugene (Ferry Street Bridge area).
  4. We are working to confirm two other pick up spots around town. One down town in the Whitaker neighborhood, and one directly on Coburg road at Vanilla Jills. If you live in another neighborhood of the Eugene/Springfield area and you would like to host a pickup site, please email us.

That about wraps it up for us, for now. Happy Mother’s Day!


Filed under Uncategorized