Although her parents had long moved away, on a drive to check out her old childhood home on the ridge above Newberg, Ranee Solmonsson passed a parcel of land that was for sale. It turned out to be 9 acres with wineries on two sides. Most of the land was covered with old cherry trees that had been neglected for quite a while but Ranee and her husband Jody saw the possibilities and got to work building Sunshower Hill Farm.
They rejected the concept of growing grapes, even though their neighbors were successful. They preferred to develop Sunshower Hill Farm to be diversified, to offer plenty of food variety right there for their family as well as permitting them to sell excess to the public.
The large grove of old cherry trees that they cleared soon became pasture for grass-fed beef cattle. They had up to five at a time, selling shares easily, as Newberg is the edge of the Portland suburbs and people who live in the city and want healthy food choices are willing to drive out a little. The farm is going to diversify soon by raising heritage hogs. This will enable them to offer meat at a lower cost and within a shorter time than raising cattle. The farm also has a variety of chickens, a horse, and a companion goat.
Another fruit crop that is well loved is the raspberries, which are highly popular and available for about six weeks typically from the end of June. Ranee is planning to diversify with another variety to extend the enjoyment but that will take a year or so to mature.
There are also blueberries and consideration is being given to plant some black caps, a local name for what is called black raspberries outside of Oregon. The berry is smaller than a blackberry and is used to make jams and jellies but also used as the “ink” colorant for stamping sides of beef and other edible products. The Willamette Valley is the main area of black cap production in the United States.
Other products for sale from Sunshower Hill Farm include vegetables in season, eggs, and wood chips that can be very successfully used for smoking. Those old cherry trees still provide some income, even if they themselves are gone! Some old apples trees that have been pruned and are being grafted with new branches also provided some wood for the chips.
Sunshower Hill Farm markets their products by word of mouth for the meat, at the farm and through Yamhill Valley Grown. Once again, Yamhill Valley Grown proves to be an excellent resource for interested consumers who care about the kind of food they want to eat. Instead of driving to Sunshower Hill Farm for these products, you order them online and they will be delivered to your door!
Sunshower Hill Farm 32300 NE Old Parrett Mt. Rd. Newberg, OR 97132 (503) 537-8385 Ranee and Jody Solmonsson firstname.lastname@example.org