Pastures Are Alive Again!

Spring (although very wet) has finally arrived, and our pastures are alive again! Our diverse pastures are the lifeblood of our farm. We have been planting, nurturing, and patiently watching the pastures throughout the fall and winter. Hacking through blackberry along the fence lines with a trail hoe and weeding tansy by hand is tough work but worth it. No chemicals needed here!

We no-till drilled tall fescue, red clover, annual clover, chicory, and plantain into our existing pastures last Fall and can see them emerging this spring. By no-till drilling, we save our existing pasture, reduce carbon loss in the soil, and preserve our earthworms and beneficial bacteria.

Why do we do all this? It’s for the love of our cattle and respect for our land and environment. Healthy, diverse pastures farmed organically help our land and environment by sequestering nitrates in our soil and converting the nutrients, sunlight and water into healthy, nutritious feed for our cattle. Our cattle help by grazing and depositing their manure throughout our pastures. We also harvest all the needed winter feed for our cattle from our pastures. It’s a continuous recycling process, and it’s pretty awesome!

Here's to the start of another great forage season! Please keep hunting our voles, Rudy!

Sustainability and Black Gold!

The manure that we collect from our herd throughout the winter is more valuable to us than gold. Since we feed our herd organic forage which is grown by us, we know our herd's manure is clean and full of nutrients. We partnered with our friends at Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District to receive partial funding to build our manure shelter last summer. The manure shelter prevents rain from leaching the nutrients in our manure pile and contaminating a creek that flows through our property. By keeping our manure pile dry, the composting process continues throughout our wet weather which has been substantial this winter. Once the manure is composted and the weather turns warmer, we spread the manure onto our pastures to fertilize them.

Rain water that comes in under the manure shelter and hits the manure pile is collected and pumped into our 275 gallon chubs. We store our manure water throughout the winter and spread onto our fruit trees in the spring.

We are happy with our new manure shelter and are excited that we can preserve and recycle the our herd's manure!




A Path To Sustainability

Sustainability is part of our DNA and can be seen throughout the farm. We spend extra time planning for sustainable practices and make them part of our everyday routine. We benefit. Our animals benefit. Our pastures benefit. Our environment benefits.

As the herd's lead shepherd, Michael sets up smaller paddocks with temporary electric lines within our larger pasture. He artfully moves the cattle into a new paddock every 2 days as part of our intensive rotational grazing program. The cattle benefit from fresh forage and encounter fewer pathogens. The pastures benefit from a more even mowing, a reinvigorating trampling, and even deposits of what we affectionately call black gold.

Emmett can be seen towing our portable chicken coop into a pasture just vacated by the cattle where the chickens free range and scavenge for bugs. By having the chickens nearby the cattle, the chickens keep the fly population naturally in check.

This is clearly a team effort, and I love my team!

Sustainability is an ongoing process. More examples of sustainability in my next installment.

The Perfect Burger

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect burger. Every perfect burger starts with GREAT ground beef. Our ground beef comes from a single cow that is 100% grass-fed, organic, born and raised by us on our farm, and custom ground for us by our local butcher. Our butcher is only 10 miles away so our supply chain is very short and very local.

Our ground beef is frozen fresh in nicely formed blocks and pulls apart easily when thawed.

We like our ground beef with 15-20% fat.  The fat on our 100% grass-fed beef melts away when seared which leaves a juicy but not greasy burger. 

I like cooking my burgers on a nice hot grill for a uniform sear on both sides. There's no need to oil or grease your grill.

Also, don't forget to let that cheddar cheese melt all over that burger patty.

We are here to help our customers before and after they purchase their beef.


Sous Vide!

A few pictures from one of our passionate and talented beef customers using the method of sous vide to cook our beef. Awesome job Megan and Adam! #organic #100percentgrassfed #sustainable

Better Beef.

100% Grass-Fed. Pasture Raised. Organic. Sustainable. 

We are passionate about the taste, marbling, and premium quality of our 100% grass-fed beef. Our cattle are known for their high marbling on a grass diet and their happy, docile personalities. We raise our happy cattle on our pastures that are high in diversity and nutrients. No GMOs, growth hormones, antibiotics, synthetics, herbicides, or pesticides of any kind.  

The result . . . flavorful, tender, highly marbled beef with the health benefits of being 100% grass-fed, organic, and pasture raised. 

Big THANK YOU to our loyal customers and friends for supporting our small family farm and our back-to-basics values. Your purchases, photos, and comments are much appreciated! We will soon start taking orders for our 2017 beef season. Contact us to be put on our interest list. Thanks to your support, we expect to sell out quickly again this year. 

Your humble farmers,

Rich, Michael, and Emily 

Successful Breeding Season!

A hearty congratulations to Michael (and his coaches/teachers Adrienne and Alex) for a successful breeding season.  All 8 of our mamma cows and our new replacement heifer are bred.  Michael's watchful eye and our dedicated team willing to perform late night/early morning inseminations often in icy conditions were instrumental to our success.

Calving season starts in the beginning of August when we welcome our newest additions to the farm.  To produce our highly marbled organic beef raised only on grass, we select genetics optimized for grass-fed diet and grow our organic pastures of grasses, legumes and forbes.  I'll be sure to include photos of our finished beef in my next post.

Enjoy a Taste of Summer ... Our Organic Strawberry Jam

Our strawberry jam is the perfect cure for the winter time blues.  The main ingredient is our organic Seascape strawberries which we harvested this summer at their peak flavor and sweetness.  Made at our farm house in small batches using a lot more sweet strawberries than organic sugar, you can really taste those sweet, fragrant berries.

We are offering pint jars (16 ounces) for $9.  We can drop off the jam to you in McMinnville, or better yet, you can come over to pick up your jam and visit the farm.

Is Cleanliness Truly Next to Godliness?

Even in the middle of our wet winters, our cattle lead great lives.  They get to scratch and scrub themselves at a couple of different brush stations, hang out with each other, get scratched and brushed by us, and be entertained while watching Michael clean.  

And clean Michael does!  During the winter months, Michael cleans the manure off the concrete EVERY day.  They also get fresh straw bedding with a warm, dry place to sleep.  Yes, our cattle are very spoiled.  

Today is a deep cleaning day which happens once a week.  Everything gets scrubbed down and washed out.  All the feeders, railings, chutes, water troughs, mineral feeders, and concrete surfaces get scrubbed, washed, and scrubbed some more. 

When we give tours of the farm, our visitors are impressed by the level of cleanliness and the care we give our cattle.  Michael makes it look easy, but he spends many hours each day giving them fresh straw, clean water, and a clean environment.  The cattle appreciate it, our family appreciates it, and now you can appreciate it too.  THANK YOU, Michael!

As for me, my job is easy.  I feed the cattle out in a clean environment and sit back and watch them enjoy their tasty feed.  Once we let them into the cleaned feeding area, Michael goes back to work and cleans the next area.


Chores And More Snow.....

The first snowfall of the season always seems fun and magical.  But the realities of frigid weather can become tiresome when you have livestock under your care.  Cleaning out frozen manure stuck to the concrete, keeping the water troughs from icing over for the cattle and chickens, getting the tractor started on nights in the teens to feed out the cattle are some examples of quick chores that can take half a day to get done when everything freezes. 

Ahhh....but the rewards of seeing those cute calves frolicking in the snow or those thankful cows giving you a gentle lick will melt the most frozen of hearts!  I always groan a little in the evening when I leave our warm house with the fire crackling in the stove to feed out the cattle.  After feeding them, I'm always reinvigorated and am sometimes fortunate to walk back to the house under a dark clear sky blanketed with thousands of twinkling stars.  Life is magnificent on the farm, and you're always welcomed to join me for my evening cattle feedings.


Ps- The snow angel in the picture below is made by Emmett.

Snow + Cattle = Lots of Fun

We readily admit that our cattle are spoiled and pampered.   With our winters cold and wet, we make sure that they always have access to dry shelter with clean bedding and plenty of nutritious haylage to eat. 

With the help of my tenacious son (Emmett), feeding out the cattle with the snow blowing sideways was delightfully fun.  Working as a team, we cleared out the old feed and broke open those 1,400 pound frozen haylage bales.  We even convinced our farm dog, Rudy, to help.   The tractor was pre-warmed and started easily to help us handle those heavy bales which is always a good sign.

The cattle were grateful for the feed and showed their appreciation by their loud chewing at the feeder.  Even the calves were covered in snow and loving it (photo credit goes to Emmett)!  There is never a shortage of pets and scratches behind the ears for our cattle.

Even with machinery to help with the heavy lifting, there's always enough manual labor to keep us connected to our livestock and land.  My face was ready to fall off from the freezing wind, but I was warm and dry under my jacket and gloves. 


Winter is Here

The serenity of snow.  It's a calming force once it's here.  The farm becomes quiet as the animals adjust and us farmers take a break from our daily chores to enjoy the change.

We spent the day preparing for the freezing rain that is supposed to arrive tomorrow.  The chickens were snuggled into their coop with enough feed and water to last a few days in case they choose not to come out.  The cattle were rewarded with a thicker layer of fresh bedding.  They show their appreciation with their boisterous play.  

Our spinach has been thriving so far and will hopefully survive this freeze under their tunnel.  There's nothing like fresh spinach during winter months.

After a long day, we are spending this cold evening in front of the fire.  Rudy, our energetic farm dog, has the right idea!  Wishing you the warmest wishes!


Colder Nights and Shorter Days

Colder nights and shorter days mark the end of our traditional garden season.  This year, I'm trying a caterpillar tunnel which consists of hoops covered by clear plastic and held down by rope.  Using a hoop bender, I created 6 foot hoops from 10 foot sections of metal tubing.  With the caterpillar tunnel over my raised bed, I'm hopeful that my spinach season will be extended into winter and that I will get some frost protection.

I can lift up a side to harvest or ventilate during hot weather.

I can also lift up both sides when the weather gets too hot.  With our upcoming cold snap dipping into the mid 30s at night, I doubt too much heat will be a problem!

Marching forward,


For the Love of Cows!

Our fun-loving herd of momma cows, yearlings and calves give us countless hours of joy each day.  As we enter our wet weather season, our already spoiled herd gets even more pampered.  It's definitely a labor of love when Michael adds fresh straw to their bedding every evening.  All our efforts of producing our own straw and spreading it daily are repaid many times over when we see the pure joy the cows receive as they run into the barn and frolic in the fresh straw.  Calf #27 (pictured above) is playing in the straw the following day.

Throughout the day, the herd feasts on haylage which is pickled hay that we produce ourselves on the farm.  Our nutritous and tasty haylage keeps our herd healthy and happy through winter.  We show how we harvest and preserve our haylage here:  We have another satisifed haylag customer...just see Calf #33 below.

We enjoy spending plenty of time with our herd just scratching them behind the ears and hand feeding them cabbage and carrots.  We have become good at listening to their needs through subtle body language and understanding their unique personalities.  It's our job to keep our herd healthy and happy.  And we are glad to do it for the love of cows! 


Fall Harvest and New Beginnings

Fall and particularly the month of October is usually a more relaxed time for us to harvest our produce, plant our winter veggies, and make improvements.  With our record rainfall for October, we worked around Mother Nature and are finally catching up!

We are thankful for our Fall Harvest of winter squash (butternut, spaghetti, delicata, and buttercup).  We are offering our winter squash to our local McMinnville customers at $1/lb.  More info about our produce can be found here:

We just finished planting our blueberry bushes.  Michael worked hard in the spring to create our mounded rows and made planting our 65 blueberry bushes an easy task.  We planted four year old bareroot Earliblue, Bluecrop, Blueray, Duke, and Jersey varieties and will be excited to provide blueberries to our local customers over a long 4 month season in the coming years.  Rudy (our farm dog) is standing ready to keep the birds away and to eat a few dropped blueberries as well!

We have our winter spinach planted and have the hoops installed.  If you remember from last year, the voles and freezing temps killed off my spinach before we harvested a single leaf.  I'm determined to produce a good spinach crop this year and have my plastic cover ready to install at the first sign of frost.

As we take a few moments to reflect on our past season, we remain thankful for our customers who support our farm with their purchases of our grass-fed beef, pastured eggs, and produce throughout the year.  We also are grateful for our support network of our fellow farmers and friends as we continually explore better ways to farm.

Feeling blessed and grateful,


Final Calves Arrive....Yes Another Set of Twins!

Every year Michael prepares his calving kit with multiple straps, sprays, gloves, and lube hoping for easy calving but ready for complications.   This year was no different except Michael was prepared for a long calving season that would last about 2 months.  We are happy to report that our calving season is officially over! 

Our final calving is from our first calf heifer (cow #411) who is so gentle and kind.  Michael made the call early on that 411 would be calving twins.  I admit that 411 looked very wide.  But none of us believed Michael.  Well, Michael was right.  Twins!  

Michael has been checking on 411 every 3 hours day and night for the past week because he wanted to help her with the twins.  Michael finally told her yesterday morning that waking up in the middle of the night was really killing him and she just needed to have the calves now.  411 started labor about 2 hours later and quickly and easily delivered her twin calves.  What a great way to end our calving season!

Thank you, Michael and our wonderful cows.  And to the calves....welcome to the farm!


Conservation and Black Gold!

We strive to conserve our natural resources on the farm.  A big part of our conservation is recycling our manure which is our black gold!  Since we started, our manure pile was exposed to our bountiful Oregon rain throughout winter.  We were losing valuable nutrients due to rain exposure and some of those excess nutrients were being carried away into our creek. 

A big Thank You to our friends and partners at the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District.  With their help in securing grant funding, we were able to build our manure structure which helps retain our nutrients and protect the creek.  With plenty of room under cover and strong concrete walls and floors, we can store all our manure out of the rain this winter and more quickly compost our manure.  Since we don't use synthetics, our manure is especially important to the health of our soil and pastures.  It will be exciting to spread our nutrient-rich manure back into our pastures come spring!

Twins Again!

Last season, Michael predicted that cow #310 would have twins, and he was right.  This season, Michael's prediction that cow #310 would have twins again fell on deaf ears with me.  Well to my surprise, Michael was right again.  Momma cow #310 calved twin bull calves.  Both momma and the calves are bonding in their own stall and are doing great!

Michael predicts that first calf heifer #411 is currently pregnant with twins...and this time I'm listening!

Life is Precious and Fragile

Momma and Calf Resting

During calving season, we are constantly reminded that life is both precious and fragile.  We welcomed our second calf of the season (#627) into the world at 1 am Saturday morning under a sky filled with meteors showering down.  This strong calf was immediately up walking around and bonding with his mom (#324).  What a sight to behold!

How fast things can change.  Michael was up before sunrise to check on the calf.  Sadly, the calf had not eaten and wouldn't suckle from his mom.  Michael tried bottle feeding with no success.  Michael, being prepared, brought out the esophageal feeder and explained my role in helping to tube feed the calf.  We knew we needed to get colostrum into the calf.   

Patient Momma Cow After Milking and Her Calf Bottle Feeding

We milked momma cow last night, who was incredibly patient with us as novice milkers, and we taught the calf to feed from the bottle.  

Calf Feeding From Momma

Michael successfully taught the calf to suckle milk directly from momma cow this morning. We could not have saved our little calf on our own without the support and advice from our dear friends and wonderful vet.  

Welcome into the world #627!  You have a great momma and lots of people who care about you.  Yes, life is both precious and fragile.



Celebrating Our First Calf of the Season!

Our first calf of the season (#626) was born on August 7th.  #626 is friendly, playful and a voracious eater.  Momma cow (#425), who is a first calf heifer, gave birth with minimal assistance from Michael.  After momma cow was in labor for about 2 hours, we brought her into our birthing suite where Michael applied a little bit of lube and gave a gentle nudge.  Within a minute, her little calf was born. 

We kept momma cow and her calf in their separate pen for a few days so they could bond with each other and we could bond with her calf.

Momma cow is a naturally great mom.  She immediately began licking off her calf, chewed off his cord, and guided him to her teets.  It was amazing to see this transformation, and she made our jobs easy....we just sat back and watched!

What a great start to our calving season.  Only 7 more calves to go!