In the process of preparing our annual e-newsletter to send to our customers, I realized that we’ve passed a major milestone… We started Mossback Farm back in 2001, and this year marks our 11th year. I decided to post here some reflections (with some additions) that I included in the email that is going out to all our customers…
We’ve evolved quite a bit over the past 10 years, and we’re proud of our farm’s history. Here are some highlights:
– started Mossback Farm on a beautiful 6-acre rented property south of Cornelius (where we were happily married in 2000)
– grew and sold organic cut flowers for 2 years, and also plant starts
– learned how to butcher chickens by hand (and then happily found a Willamina chicken processing business to do that part of the work!)
– raised and sold over a thousand broiler and stewing chickens from 2001-2005
– ran Portland’s first all-egg CSA (2002-2005)
– purchased our own farm in Yamhill in 2002
– raised (and chased!) pigs during the summer of 2005
– held tree pruning workshops at our farm
– went through 3 seasons of lambing (I miss those little guys/gals)
– continuously maintained Oregon’s oldest farm blog (www.mossbackfarm.com) since 2004
– met many interesting people through the WWOOF and Organic Volunteers programs
– planted thousands of trees on our property as part of our land restoration project.
We’ve also met hundreds of wonderful people interested in humanely-raised and high quality food, just like us. Some of our friends have become our customers, and some of our customers have become our friends. Along the way we’ve also been blessed with our own little farm helper and animal lover (Dalton, now almost 4 years old), and we’ve learned that raising a small quantity of grass-fed steers each year is the best fit for our land, our interests, and our skills.
Our goal has never been to be the biggest, most diversified farm around… we’ve always wanted to raise good food, and provide it to customers for a reasonable price, while helping maintain and enhance our land through our grazing and restoration practices. I think that after 10 years, we can safely say that our business is achieving our goals, while also giving us time to enjoy our lives. We do work off the farm, but we enjoy that work (Rich as a research biologist, and Val as a music teacher/musician), and we enjoy the balance that our work, farm and life choices have provided us.
Every year, our list of interested customers grows. We are hoping to be able to meet more of the demand for our product, as we know that beef that is solely grass/hay-fed and ecologically managed is very difficult to find. Last year we started partnering with our neighbor (who does raise his animals the same way as we do) in order to expand our available shares. Our recent purchase of a tractor, and the work Rich has been doing with water and fencing will also enable us to expand somewhat over the next few years.
We are very grateful for the life that we have here on Mossback Farm, and for the people who help make it possible. We hope to continue with this work that we love, and that we’ll be writing updates 5,10, 15 and 20 years down the line!
Val and Rich