Several years ago I heard an announcement on local radio that one of the former football players at the university who had gone on to the Pros was sponsoring a pick up of packaged food for the next day, Thanksgiving. He stressed how people who are comfortable never realize that the hungry are all around them, even their neighbors.

About an hour later the doorbell rang and one of my neighbors asked me for a ride to pick up the food. It was true……they would not have had a Thanksgiving celebration without this gift.

Those of us who are able to shop at the supermarket, make a weekly visit to the farmers market and whose food insecurity may be disappointment about the lack of a specific kind of food at home, do not understand that there are many of our older citizens and many of our children who have REAL food insecurity because they have no food at all.

YcapThis hole is addressed by some government agencies and many churches.  In McMinnville, for example, the YCAP food bank is supplemented by several churches who provide hot meals every day of the week. It is unusual that an individual attempts to address the problem, but Tyler Boggs and his Heart 2 Heart Farms is trying.heart-2-heart-farms_logo

Tyler made arrangements about a year ago with area store and produce distributors to pick up “tired” produce to bring back to the farm to supplement feed to his animals. He quickly saw that much of the food was in very edible condition and made the arrangements to permit the food to go to people. DSC_0005

Thanks to a successful crowd funding program, Heart 2 Heart Farms now has a new truck to collect the food and bring it back to the farm. Fridays are the day for this activity and it takes all morning to collect available produce. Many people are already at the farm waiting for the truck’s return mid afternoon.DSC_0010

Some of collect food for themselves and their families, others are there to bring food to a group who have no transportation, and still others are picking up food to supplement food banks and other area outreach feeding programs. DSC_0013Heart 2 Heart Farms uses volunteer labor for most of its activities. Tyler welcomes all who are eager to learn and want to help give back to the community. If you can, go spend a few hours there to help sustain this kind of program.

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Learning the Land

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.DSC_0051

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.DSC_0021

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.DSC_0018DSC_0013DSC_0012aDSC_0011

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.DSC_0010

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.DSC_0044

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.DSC_0004

Yamhill Valley Farm also has some Berkshire-Large Black hogs and several kinds of chickens that provide eggs.DSC_0058

Aren Henley  Yamhill Valley Farm                                                                                           1050 West Main Street, Sheridan, OR             


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Food Porn

Oh my…..luscious bodies….eager to get my mouth on this!!DSC_0022


Or how about these?DSC_0026DSC_0029







Or these? Each of us gets excited by different things. Fresh produce definitely makes me feel…..HEALTHY!DSC_0020

I feel very very fortunate that I went to visit Home Grown Foods in McMinnville the beginning of June,  David Keller-Rode still had room in his CSA so Graham and I joined. For $15 a week we get a LOT of food. This week we received what shows in the photo and some mixed salad greens that are just off to the left. 1 share

The ability to purchase freshly picked ripe produce at an extremely reasonable cost is one HUGE benefit of this time of year. Whether you belong to a Consumer Supported Agriculture endeavor like we do, or make your weekly purchases at your local farmers’ market, you are realizing the benefit of great nutrition at the best prices of the year.


Amazing what can be done in an urban backyard with determination and a lot of effort. Thanks, David!!


Home Grown Foods can also be found at the McMinnville’s Thursday Farmers’ market where Alex Freeman’s fermented foods are available; I can attest the sauerkraut and kimchee are fantastic!


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Sunset Summer Night North of Yamhill

Rt 47 north of Yamhill July 8 2014b

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Time to Smell the Flowers

DSC_0029Driving up to Marilyn and Brad Shaver’s land at the top of the Chehalem Ridge in Newberg provides some wonderful valley views but once you get on to their property the environment provides a different viewpoint. Wayward Winds Lavender Farm is 12.5 acres of partially wooded land with a serene sense of seclusion, yet very close to town. DSC_0027

Marilyn is enjoying seeing the farm mature as she propagates new lavender plants in her greenhouse and plans for phased in plantings in her fields. DSC_0021Lavender plants live about 12 years but are the most productive from year three through eight. The oldest plants on this farm are now about three years old and there are fields ready for future plantings.DSC_0012

Most of the plants at Wayward Winds are the Lavendula Grosso variety because of its adaptability to the area’s climate and its oil production. Marilyn distills the oil to produce her lavender product line which includes lotions, soaps, and much more.  Wayward Winds also grows Lavandula angustifolia for culinary purposes.DSC_0011

The Oregon Lavender Festival is held the second weekend of July in Yamhill.  Open for the Lavender Festival Saturday, July 12th, 10AM to 6PM and Sunday, July 13th, 10AM to 5PM

Lotions and potions and hand made soap; natural ingredients to help you cope. Fresh and dried lavender, the aroma so fine; gift ideas to make you shine! We are your premier handcrafter of all things lavender. Experience our fine pampering products and culinary delights. From luscious lotions and finely crafted soap to delectable edibles, if it can be made with this magical herb, we do it. We make custom products, too! Our years of experience have resulted in amazing creations; just ask one of our many happy customers. Visit our booths at the Yamhill Lavender Festival July 12-13. See everything lavender you have imagined, and some things you haven’t.  At the Yamhill Lavender Festival: From Hwy 47 in Yamhill, turn East on 3rd St. From Hwy 240 in Yamhill, turn South on Hwy 47 and East on 3rd St.


Wayward Winds Lavender farm products can also be found at NW Foods and Gifts in McMinnville.

If you would like to visit us outside of Festival weekend, please contact us to make an appointment. Look for the farm to be open in 2015! Wayward Winds Lavender — we’re naturally good.

Wayward Winds Lavender Farm             

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Harry MacCormack workshops in Forest Grove

Nana Cardoon is a beautiful garden-based learning center serving the Forest Grove area.  Charlene Murdock and Richard White share a full range of food knowledge and experiences. Their programs and events draw upon their cultural histories while honoring their connections with peasant farmers around the world. You feel like you are in Italy when you step onto Nana Cardoon’s grounds. Richard and Charlene are excellent chefs so the food will be wonderful! We always love going to Nana Cardoon. Please join them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


LIVING SOILS: Understanding Biology, Chemistry and Subtle Energies for Production of Nutrient Dense Foods

Sunday, June 29 – Instructor: Harry MacCormack  10-3pm

This workshop covers in 4 hours what it takes sometimes days to cover in other Soil Food Web oriented workshops. The material is essential to understanding how and why the dominant NPK paradigm and synthetic chemical practices work against a durable agricultural future. The microherd is our ally as we move away from inexpensive petroleum inputs. Cutting edge information is unique and guides informed organic and biodynamic practices. Soil tests showing the success of these techniques will be shared. Harry continues to promote what is still considered too controversial by those who embrace the conventional, even as that thinking is practiced in much of organic agriculture.
Sunday, July 13 – Instructor: Harry MacCormack  10-3

Harry has been working with grains, beans, and seeds on a homestead scale for 40 years. During the past 7 years the research plots at Sunbow Farm have been a large part of the drive to create the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project. Some of the plot plantings have included black, pinto, soy, lentil, red and garbanzo beans, over-wintering peas, 3 rye varieties, 2 triticale varieties, 4 wheat varieties, 2 varieties of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and sunflower and will all be demonstrated during this workshop.

Workshop Focuses:                                                                                                                             -Field preparation, rotations, moisture, temperature
-Over-wintering, advantages and disadvantages
-Varieties for Fall and Spring planting, some very old
-Nutritional measurements, the WSU work we participated in, and current measurements protein etc.
-How much is needed for a person, family, community: or how many pounds to expect from a 20’ x 20’ plot
-Harvest how to
-Threshing by hand and/or machine; machine designs
-Creative uses of beans, grains, seeds
-Potential community supported markets and storage

Sunday, July 27 – Instructor: Harry MacCormack  10-3

Harry MacCormack and Sunbow Farm have been saving seed from many varieties of plants for 4 decades. Homestead scale seed saving is challenging and fun.This class will cover what he has learned.

Workshop Focuses:
-Ancient Seed Saving Traditions
-Why save seed? (when it appears so much is commercially available)
-Open Source, open pollination; can hybrids be redeveloped?
-Planting your garden(s) for seed collection.
-Water(how much, how little) and other moisture concerns.
-Plant identification, marking, how many plants?
-Record keeping
-How to actually collect various kinds of seed
-Dry down tricks
-Cleaning: equipment you probably need and might already have.
-Tricks when processing various seeds.
-Establishing a seed collecting community.


FEE: $30 per person for each class. Cash or Check.
LOCATION: Nana Cardoon, Forest Grove, OR
REGISTER: contact Charlene Murdock  Directions will be provided upon registration.
A beautiful lunch is provided for $5. Please indicate if you would like a lunch.

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Living on the Land

DSC_0024The desire to live out in the country came to Heidi Rexin early. Growing up in Salem she wanted that kind of environment, so when she connected with an old school chum things fell into place. Doug had also grown up in Salem but his pathway then took him to California and the air force. When his parents decided to purchase some land in Willamina, he also started looking for some land to be near them. Doug tongue-in-cheek describes Twisted Timbers Farm as a wildlife refuge, but seriously explains that proper care of the land helps all the animal life there.DSC_0004

Doug had started building a log home on his 5 acres when Heidi joined him and she jokes it is almost finished now, about 20 years later. While the house is very livable, the projects around Twisted Timber Farm are ongoing.

DSC_0012The initial challenge was clearing the acres of poison oak.  Doug planted a fruit orchard and also rescued several Percherons from Canada which he spent time training to work.  DSC_0018Heidi was thrilled to be around horses and also has several miniatures.  They have a small flock of chickens to provide eggs.

DSC_0010The Rexins also have a vegetable garden and table grapes for their own use.  They have honey bees and sell that through Yamhill Valley Grown. If you are looking for a good source of local honey with good flavor as well as potential pollen allergy help, order some and it will be delivered to your door!DSC_0001

Doug and Heidi Rexin                                                                                                             Twisted Timber Farm                                                                                                               Willamina, OR

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