Water rights, even before this time of climate fluctuation, has always been the key to successful farming in a place where summer rain is sparse. Finding 8.5 acres adjacent to the South Fork of the Yamhill River not only eased that issue but the serenity the flow provides is often a huge magnet to Aren Hinley. He enjoys knowing that the deer and coyotes have a protected habitat and also enjoys the trout when he makes time for fishing.
Aware that farming practices can also affect water quality, Aren has located the Yamhill River Farm vegetable plots on 1.5 acres close enough to get a strong water supply but far enough that there is no bank erosion nor run-off into the river. His farming practices using no chemical fertilizers or herbicides also provides food healthy to eat and limited water impact.
Three large gardens and several greenhouses provide growing space for a vast array of produce including tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beans, kohlrabi, eggplant, peppers, carrots, amaranth, beets, and many herbs including basil, cilantro, parsley and so much more.
Aren explained that in the four years since the land was purchased learning the land has been a key to increased production. One garden plot is rocky; one is sandy; one has some minor variation in the topography so changing the orientation of the rows was a key.
The farm also has constant projects. Since his job is in Portland, work on the farm has to be planned carefully. This year he completed a large walk-in cooler which will help maintain the quality of just-picked produce until delivery. He hopes that the income from the farm will enable the purchase of a refrigerated box van to maintain cool temperatures during transport.
Yamhill Valley Farm sells produce at the McMinnville Farmers’ Market on Thursdays, has a CSA, and delivers to several restaurants in the area including Red Hill Provençal Dining and Tina’s in Dundee, Recipe in Newberg and A Cena in Sellwood.