Mossback Farm was founded in 1999 by Rich and Val Blaha. Our first location was on a beautiful rented property in the Chehalem hills between Cornelius and Gaston, OR. In late 2002 we purchased our current farm in Yamhill county. We are proud to have the oldest farm blog in Oregon, and to be one of the very first in a wave of small farms that have since populated Yamhill county.
a sense of place…
Our land is located in the Willamette Valley Foothills ecoregion, which is an area naturally dominated by White Oak savannahs, with Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Oregon Ash found in the wetter areas.
The benefits of sustainable farming practices reach far beyond the dinner table. Our land is home to many other plants and animals that have too few refuges in our overdeveloped nation.
Camas, the traditional staple of local native Americans, grows in the swales. Elk spend time in the pastures in winter. Quail raise young in summer, and run about in the tall grass and brush all winter. Our creeks, while too small and seasonal to support fish directly, will, over time, hold more water longer into the year, providing clear cold water to Haskins Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Yamhill River. Hopefully, our actions can increase the health of our watershed and lead to an increase in successful spawning of the local steelhead trout populations.
And, no farm (or at least, no farm of ours…) would be complete without the food forest. When we moved onto the property in November of 2002, there was exactly one producing fruit tree. Since then we’ve planted a small orchard of fruit and nut trees. We’ll continue to nurture the orchard, and to plant more trees, to provide us and the fauna we share the place with a bounty of fruit, nuts, and timber in the years to come.
our farming history…
In years past, we specialized in poultry, both eggs and broilers. We sold eggs at several Portland-area farmers’ markets, and for several years during the early 2000s, we had the first and only all-egg CSA in the Portland area. We enjoyed raising pastured poultry and providing our loyal customers with the best tasting and highest quality eggs and meat. Like all businesses, however, ours had to change when conditions did. As fuel prices and organic feed prices went up, so did our costs to run the business. We didn’t want to cut quality, and we were reluctant to raise our prices, so we got out of the chicken and egg business in 2005. Details about our chicken history are available at our Egg archives and Broiler archives.
We also raised pastured lamb and pastured pigs previously, and will most likely raise pigs again at some point in the future.
our farming philosophy…
Our goal is to produce the highest quality farm products for our customers, while focusing on the environmental sustainability of our farm practices. We are constantly trying to improve our quality, while reducing the ecological footprint of our operation. We welcome questions and comments about our practices towards this end.
We sell all of our products directly to our customers – having no middlemen means that you are paying for quality, not for inefficiencies in the food distribution system. Our products (currently only grass-fed beef) are available by pre-order in spring, early summer and fall. Our goal is to provide local customers with healthy and humanely grown products.
As former vegetarians, we started off with a desire to have access to animal products that we could trust. Our customers are extremely loyal because they appreciate the quality of the products that we provide and the ability to be able to communicate directly with the farmers who grow their food. We hope you will join the many Portland-area families who choose to purchase beef from Mossback Farm!
who we are…
Rich Blaha’s background is in biology, ornithology, landscape design and horticulture. He received his degree in Ecology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1992. Rich has been an avid gardener since the age of 10, and provides landscape consultation in addition to serving as Mossback Farm’s soil and pasture manager and forester, as well as carpenter, plumber, wrangler, and all around man-about-farm. He worked as a research biologist at ABR, Inc. in Forest Grove from 1994 until early 2016. He recently started his own mapping and drone company, Aquila Geospatial. He is a past agriculture representative on the Yamhill Basin Council, a watershed stewardship group, and a founding board member and current Stewardship Council member of the American Center for Sustainability.
Val Blaha earned her MA in Applied Anthropology from Western Washington University. Her areas of expertise include small-scale farming, farmer’s markets, and sustainable agriculture. She was President of the Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association in 2008-2009, and concluded her tenure on the board in 2010. In addition to her agricultural interests, she is a lifelong musician. She studied piano accompaniment for 3 years at UC Santa Barbara, and in 2001, she started teaching private music lessons (piano, guitar) to both adults and children. She has performed as a solo classical pianist, and in recent years, has gained a local following as a country-folk singer songwriter. (If you’re interested in more information about recordings and upcoming shows, please check out valblaha.com.)