On one of her family’s summer vacations Chrissie Zaerpoor visited Oregon and knew she would manage to get back there. Years later, the opportunity presented itself upon employment with Intel. In fact, she muses, the fact that Intel has a huge facility in Hillsboro made her want to work for the company.
It was there she met Koorosh, and in time they started making plans to build a life together. That involved improving the food accessible to them at the time, and so, they purchased five acres just south of the town of Yamhill, and Kookoolan Farms was born. The house was uninhabitable then and they managed to live in a small room off the farm store while renovations commenced.
Many changes have been made since then. They went from raising their own dairy and meat cattle, dairy goats, hogs and poultry to forming an arrangement with farms in the area which specialize in meat animals, dairy and eggs. Working with those farms, Chrissie can offer shares in meat animals for purchase at her store.
While there are a number of projects underway, the other two major aspects of the farm include a produce CSA with much of the vegetables grown on their land and the Kookoolan World Meadery.
The CSA generally runs from the end of May through mid October. The winter garden at Kookoolan Farms has evidence of the cold spell that pushed through Yamhill County and Oregon a short time ago. Many of the vegetables were lost, but several root crops and the cold weather tolerant kale and spinach seem to be recovering nicely. Chrissie explained that season extension high or low tunnels are not typically needed here, as winter weather is typically more mild, sustaining cold weather vegetable production.
Ever since reading Beowolf in high school English class, Chrissie has been fascinated by mead. When she moved to Hillsboro she found herself close to a homebrew store. She started home brewing in 1997 and upon moving to the farm, obtained a winery license in 2009. She is still a small batch producer with plans to increase production following a short course at the University of California Davis this summer, which will aid in reducing the learning curve. Currently the tasting room offers, besides the farm’s production of mead and kombucha, a wide array of meads from around the world. The tasting room opened this past Thanksgiving weekend and my family enjoyed a visit at that time. My husband, a dry wine aficionado, was pleasantly surprised that meads run the full gamut from sweet to dry and there were many that he enjoyed. A recent planting of pinot noir grapes will be used, in time, to produce pyment, a fermented honey-wine beverage.
Kookoolan Farms are mindful stewards of the environment and strive to offer food that has been raised with no chemicals. Manure from their own animals is used to fertilize the vegetable beds. Poultry are pasture raised. Beef and lamb are 100% grass fed. A solar array provides essentially all the power needed by the house, farm as well as the electric car recharge station located at the farm store.
Products from Kookoolan Farms are available at the farm, through the CSA, as well as in season at the Hillsdale Farmers’ Market, twice a year at the Real Food Co-op in Florence, and in several other food markets and restaurants in the area.
Kookoolan Farms 15713 High way 47, Yamhill, Oregon 97148 503-730-7535