Saturday, October 28, 2006

Scenes from Oregon part 1 - Wintergreen Farm

Since I have a little more time on my hands, and my experiences in Oregon were so rich and varied, I'm going to dedicate this one entry to one farm that was a real treat.

The farm was called Wintergreen Farm in Noti, OR and it was one of the first places I visited upon reaching the Willamette Valley. Of course Noti isn't exactly in the Willamette Valley but it's pretty darn close. The Willamette Valley is an agricultural mecca and one of the richest agricultural valleys in the country. Beginning at Eugene, OR and flowing north to Portland where it joins the Columbia River, virtually everyone in Oregon recognizes the Willamette Valleys economic significance and are able to describe aspects of the grass seed, hazelnut, or christmas tree farming that lend the valley its distinct identity.

Wintergreen Farms, co-owned by two families, Jack Gray and his wife Mary Jo Wade and their partners Wali and Jabrila Via, has been in business since 1980. They operate a large and diversified farm that is both organic and biodynamic, supporting CSA members, multiple farmers markets, wholesale vegetables and herbs, and grass fed beef cattle. Once again my timing was impeccable as I was set to visit during their Fall Harvest Celebration in which they invite all their CSA members to pick their own pumpkins, drink fresh apple cider, go for a ride around the farm on a hay wagon, and generally absorb the good energy of farmlife.

I took lots of pictures so here goes...



This is the apple mash after phase 1 of preparing apples for the apple press to make cider.....grinding. Next the mash will be pressed releasing the juice from the slats in the bucket.



After the juice is pressed, and poured throug a strainer to catch any chunks or debris, its time to bottle it up for storage....or in our case for subsequent consumption in about two minutes. The juice turns a nice rusty color as part of the natural process of oxidation.



Then it goes through your lips and into your tummy....yummy!



Then after you've had lots and lots of cider. You visit this renovated grain silo which isn't really a grain silo at all anymore.



Enough about cider. Time to pick out some taters from the tater crate.



Some people just present photo opportunities everywhere they go. I was particularly fond of this gentleman and was extremely happy to make the acquintanence of his gal here. Nothing says luv like the belly rub.



Afro pumpkin kid....thanks for being you!



Meet the Hanson Family Singers. Incredibly talented members of the community farm, they were coaxed into performing some incredible harmonies from Battle Hymn of the Republic to yodeling. Yes, I know. All that farming culture and singing too. It was a blissful day.



The youngest member of the Hanson troupe, Daniel was so talented he practically brought the scarecrows to life. His yodeling prowess was impressive. Included in the repertoire was the catchy little number from the Raising Arizona movie. Yeee yeeee yee uh ah yee yee yee. Yes, he is singing into a ball point pin. He's that good.




No farm day would be complete without an appreciation for the John Deere tractor. It was a happy, beautiful day and one that made everyone feel closer to the land and thankful for its bounty. Feel free to cry onto your computer at your own discretion.

A few final entries to come.

--Justin

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The highlight of a rare visit to Oregon by this easterner was a visit to Wintergreen Farm. It is a special place where human relationships are grown which are as beautiful as the interesting and magnificent produce.

risa said...

These are friends of ours going way, way back. It was a treat to read this post and see the photos -- thanks!