Category Archives: Buying Food

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’.

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Give The Gift Of Good Food

Cousin Eddie

"My part just ain't gonna look right" without Our Family Farm meat in the freezer

It won’t be something to stuff in the stocking. It won’t be a parcel to unpack from under the tree. It won’t even offer the immediate gratification we have grown accustomed to during this time of year. BUT IT WILL BE GOOD!

Our Family Farm has put together some neat packages that will allow you to “give the gift of good food” this holiday season (Why does Cousin Eddie comes to mind from Nation Lampoon Christmas Vacation, “You know Clark, that’s tha gift that keeps on givin’…”?)

How does it work? Simple…

  1. Consider anyone in your life whom you would like to share in your discovery of the best meat products in the Willamette Valley
  2. Make a list of those people
  3. Check it twice
  4. Pick a package that best meets your gift giving needs.
  5. Contact us to make the arrangements at ourfamilyfarm.info@gmail.com.
  6. We send you a certificate to give to the lucky person/family
  7. They redeem the certificate with us to start eating the good stuff (we are happy to deliver to the PDX area, and anywhere in between)

This year you can choose from several options:

  1. The “Aunt Bethany”- 2 of Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $25
  2. The ‘Cousin Eddie”- 5 of Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $60
  3. The “Clark Griswold”- 10 Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $110
  4. The ‘Ellen Griswold”– 30 pounds of grass-fed and finished ground Angus in 1lb, double wrapped packages, ready for pick up between December 26 and December 31. $100

We hope these options are something to tantalize your holiday gift giving. May your days be tasty, and bright.

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Set Your Table For A Feast Of Feats

FeastIf you are like most of us, the start of a year is a convenient time to consider where the previous 365 days have led you, and reconsider where the coming 365 days might take you. Many of us take a moment to check in with how the year has taken its toll on us physically: What is the scale telling me? What is the mirror showing me? Is my wardrobe cooperating? Am I able to keep up with my kids like I used to? Or we consider how the past 12 months have impacted us intellectually and emotionally: What am I reading? Listening to? Talking about? Have I talked with my brother in the past 6 months? When is the last time I sat with my parents and told them I appreciate them? How do the answers to these questions make me feel?

In these reflective moments, consider how convenient our lives have become. Now, lay this thought over the blueprint-value of your definition of a simple word; relationship. What is your relationship with the food you eat? What is your relationship with your body? What is your relationship like with literature? How are you relating with your kids, or brother, or parents?

However the answers to your own questions might ring, they are likely the catalyst for resolution. And if you are like us, the quintessential ‘New Year’s Resolution’ list is filled with hope: I will exercise. I will start a diet…and stick to it this time. I will play with my kids more. I will read that book. I will call my brother.

We, at Our Family Farm offer a single morsel for you to ruminate, with us, as you ponder the past and set the table for a feast of feats in 2011…

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS IN EACH STEP YOU TAKE.

  • Food, my friendBuild a relationship with your food- Over the next 12 months we will unpack our version of a 12-step process to building a closer relationship with the foods we eat. There is huge potential through this one relationship to influence nearly every aspect of our lives; how we feel, how we spend time with our family, how we can save money, how our clothes fit, etc. Our 12-step process will look at several things including buying local eggs, milk, chicken, beef, and pork, preserving food, growing something, what we feed our pets, and where to find and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

  • Listen to your bodyBuild a relationship with your body- Listen, just listen. Our bodies tell us so much, all the time, but the soft voice that is our body can be hard to hear amidst all of our convenience and thoughtless routines. This relationship is all about timing. The moment we wake up, the moments we get out of bed, the moments our meals settle in, the moments we prepare to leave our homes for whatever work day may lay ahead, the moment we stand up for a break, the moment we exhale after we are done with a day at work, the moments before we fall asleep, are all moments our bodies whisper to us. Listen. Then take care of our bodies.

 

  • Omnivores DilemmaBuild a relationship with literature- Read books, blogs, listen to experts in their field. Talk with friends who are reading books, blogs, or listening to experts in their field. Lets fill our intellects with things that intrigue and inspire, and then let our emotions agree with the things that are right. After that, we can let our actions take us in a direction that leads us to freedom and health.

 

  • Family FarmBuild relationships with people- Know your farmer, know your food! Meet the people growing some of the best stuff we could put past our palette. Take care of the people who will take care of us when we need the most care; our family. Tell the folks why we are thankful for them, and leave it at that if we need to. Tell our siblings we love them, and leave it at that if we need to. (whether they receive it or not, it is a good thing to do, and it will make us feel good…because we are thankful for them, and we do love them). Play with, or read to the kids, because it has been said that our kids are our heart walking around outside of our body.

Relationships are why we are here, in our humble opinion. If you are at all like us at Our Family Farm, the coming year’s table is set for a delicious feast of feats that have the power to escort us out of 2011 much healthier, and happier than when we entered it. Dinner is served, dig into relationships.

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Give The Gift Of Good Food

Cousin Eddie

"My part just ain't gonna look right" without Our Family Farm meat in the freezer

It won’t be something to stuff in the stocking. It won’t be a parcel to unpack from under the tree. It won’t even offer the immediate gratification we have grown accustomed to during this time of year. BUT IT WILL BE GOOD!

Our Family Farm has put together some neat packages that will allow you to “give the gift of good food” this holiday season (Why does Cousin Eddie comes to mind from Nation Lampoon Christmas Vacation, “You know Clark, that’s tha gift that keeps on givin’…”?)

How does it work? Simple…

  1. Consider anyone in your life whom you would like to share in your discovery of the best meat products in the Willamette Valley
  2. Make a list of those people
  3. Check it twice
  4. Pick a package that best meets your gift giving needs.
  5. Contact us to make the arrangements at ourfamilyfarm.info@gmail.com.
  6. We send you a certificate to give to the lucky person/family
  7. They redeem the certificate with us to start eating the good stuff (we are happy to deliver to the PDX area, and anywhere in between)

This year you can choose from several options:

  1. The “Aunt Bethany”- 2 of Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $25
  2. The ‘Cousin Eddie”- 5 of Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $60
  3. The “Clark Griswold”- 10 Our Family Farm pastured raised, grass-fed chickens  $110
  4. The ‘Ellen Griswold”– 30 pounds of grass-fed and finished ground Angus in 1lb, double wrapped packages, ready for pick up between December 26 and December 31. $100

We hope these options are something to tantalize your holiday gift giving. May your days be tasty, and bright.

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Filed under Buying Food, Eugene-Local Eating

A Relieving, And Tantalizing Turn Of Events

If you are like Amanda and I, eating a local and seasonal menu has been an overwhelming and somewhat scary transition, but one we have been committed to making. On paper, the whole thing looks great! Eating local means there is potential for freshness, potential to know the person who raises the food you will eat (understanding the inputs they use to grow it), potential to save money, potential to utilize more nutrients from your food (those thing break down over time), and you get to support a local farmer working to do good things.

Those things are great, right?! We are more likely to appreciate a meal with those things achieved?

So what are the things that keeps us from walking in the food freedom we hunger for?

First, when we take it from paper to pavement, for Amanda and I, we get overwhelmed. “How the heck do we make bread, and where is grandma when you need her? We need flour, right? What else??” Second, when we take it from paper to pavement we get a little bit scared. “Are we really going to save money when I have to buy all the ingredients? And where am I going to find all the ingredients? I mean, if I buy them from Winco (to save that money), I might as well just buy the loaf already made…from Winco! Seriously, where is grandma when you need her??”

It is a lot to digest, and it is definitely something we should consume one small bite at a time. So, you can imagine the immense relief Amanda and I felt when we discovered the perfect answer to many of our questions. Just a handful of minutes from our home is Hummingbird Wholesale, an oasis of local, natural grains and flour, sweeteners, oils, spices, legumes and beans, nuts, and dried fruits…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is AMAZING!

Hummingbird WholesaleThey declare, “Like the Hummingbird, we seek to sip the nectar of the earth without harming the flower.” These people get it! And if you get the chance to visit their warehouse during their limited retail hours (Tuesday-Thursday, 10AM-2PM) ask for our friend Jimmy, the resident granola guru. He can talk all about the good things lining their shelves.

With the discovery of Hummingbird, Amanda and I are excited to walk into a new season of our eating evolution, and we are eager to share some of the thing we discover along the way, with you. Stay tuned for recipes…

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Reinvent Your Holiday Dinners with Local Fare

Our guest post, as seen on www.ahahomeandgarden.com.

Purchasing and eating local, natural, and seasonal foods is a growing reality for many people, perhaps even you. And why shouldn’t it be? It is exciting to provide food for your family this way; perusing colorful displays of root vegetables staring back at you from the local farmer’s market stands, and short drives out of town to visit the farms and meet the farmers raising the meat that will fill your freezer for the year. It is a healthy lifestyle that has potential to be easier on the wallet than one might think. For now, let’s unpack what is exciting about the realization of eating naturally raised, local and seasonal foods.

The cold months have arrived, and that means the excitement of the holidays has arrived as well! In whatever fashion your family gathers and celebrates, food is likely the centerpiece and if your family is lke ours, there is always plenty of it. But before great-grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe, before the hand crushed cranberry salad, before the cornucopia can cover counter tops and tables, tracking down a turkey and the rest of the holiday feast’s usual suspects needs attention.

Add Excitement to Your Family’s Holiday Food Experience

  • Take advantage of the modern map and compass…the Internet. And I don’t mean to research whatever delectable delight you can dazzle your guests with from the Barefooted Contessa’s website. I mean, find the farms in your area that are working hard to raise the ingredients you will need for your menu. You might be excited to find your turkey and cranberries can be found at the farm, just past the other farm where you found your pumpkins and pecans for pies.
  • Reinvent your menu to highlight the delicious abundance in your area. For us in Oregon’s ripe Willamette Valley, ‘delicious abundance’ is an understatement. Cork a host of local wines for before, during, and after the meal. Challenge yourself to find local producers for a cheese and charcuterie platter. Kick the excitement up a notch by moving your stuffing away from a Stovetop version, toward something like a chorizo and cornbread stuffing with that spicy sausage from the farm over the river and through the woods.
  • “Meet your farmer. Meat, your food” was the title of a field day we had at our farm last year. Plumes of people came to visit with the intention of getting to know us, the people who raise the food, and to witness the practices by which we raise our animals. We had a big BBQ featuring our pastured poultry, and we received a ton of turkey preorders because people came, saw, ate, enjoyed, and believed. We believe we eat the food our food eats, so it is important to us to know what our food eats. With this said, take some time to go to the farms in your area and visit with the farmers (call ahead because we can be busy with chores or various farm projects). These are passionate people, experts in their craft who can open up a world of excitement with the placement of a baby chick in the hands of your child, or expose the delicate and brilliant integration of the animals on the farm.
  • Understand that Butterball Turkey is neither fresh nor local. Plan your holiday feats with the understanding that local fair is on a very different timeline than the food in your grocery store. When gathering the ingredients for your holiday menu, it will require connecting with a local farmer earlier than the Friday before the big event. Turkeys are best preordered as early as July. Ask your farmer, “Why?” when you pay them a visit. Other meat products for that charcuterie platter or chorizo stuffing will need time to make as well. The produce you will want may be in high demand. Calling the farm ahead of time will let you know what is in stock and allow you the option to reserve what you will need. In all cases, planning ahead helps your farmers give you the best possible experience with their products. There is nothing like the excitement of knowing you have the items on your menu accounted for, well ahead of time, with the fresh turkey to be picked up from the farmer a day before Thanksgiving.

Gather the troops together this holiday with the deep satisfaction and quiet excitement knowing you walked the path of an American Pilgrim by:

  1. Reinventing your menu to highlight the delicious abundance in your area.
  2. Finding the farms in your area that are working hard to raise the ingredients you will need for your menu.
  3. Take some time to go to the farms in your area and visit with the farmers.
  4. Planning for the ingredients on your holiday menu well in advance.

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Filed under Buying Food, Eugene-Local Eating, Know Your Food, Preparing Food/Recipes

Pork, Delicious Pork

Hobbit Adventures

Hobbit Adventures

If you are like our son Jackson, then the word ‘pork’  evokes visions of Hobbit adventures where sounds of sizzling bacon during second breakfast and Gimli the Dwarf’s affection for salty pork, quick to make the mouth water. If you are like Amanda or I,  ideas of milder adventures like  a drive to the local BBQ joint to enjoy a well sauced, pulled pork sandwich and a cold, tall one are more the standard. In either case, if you are like us, you love pork!

Pastured Pork

Pastured Pork

If you love Pork, then the news that Our Family Farm is ready to offer pork as a pasture raised, meat option for you and your family should excite you. We are working with dear friends Chris Hansen and Erin Bartek of Mosaic Farms in Corvallis, Oregon to glean from their expertise in raising healthy hogs, and to fill the remaining nooks and crannies in your freezer with delicious chops, hams, sausage, and bacon.

Chris and Erin are raising beautiful animals that get to eat customized feed, free of GMOs, and roam grandiose spans of healing pasture. Their custom feed ration consists of 70% local components, like Willamette Valley wheat and flax, as well as organic food scraps (not fit for human consumption) from Gathering Together Farm in Corvallis, Oregon. Chris and Erin work very hard to raise healthy, happy animals…and we can notice the difference! This is why we are working with them to make their pork available to you.

We hope you take advantage of this opportunity, and you enjoy their pork as much as we have.

For pricing information, please email us at ourfamilyfarm.info@gmail.com.

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