Kids, Ducklings, Chicks Oh My!

It’s March at the farm and spring is definitely here.  Our goats have been kidding for the past week, and we are up to our elbows in kids, 13 to be exact.  We are still waiting on 3 more does to kid, so we are looking at close to 20 new baby goats gamboling around very soon.  IMG_0656 Ducklings have arrived by mail, and chicks are soon to follow.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as our freezers, once packed with frozen chickens and ducks, are now empty.  We should be bringing fresh poultry to the market again in 7 weeks.

IMG_0620Our flock of laying hens is going egg crazy with the lighter days and warmer weather.  We have lots of eggs.  You can buy our pasture raised eggs and other farm products (goat and lamb, vegetables, and starts) online at Lane Local Foods (www.lanelocalfoods.com).

IMG_0553We are looking forward to another season here at Berggren. It feels like we’ve been dating this land for about four years now, and each year we get to know it a little more–what it likes and dislikes, how it reacts to change, what sort of things are allowed and what sort of things push it beyond its capacity.  We have our moments of awe, and we have our moments of questioning.   Sometimes we feel like a sheep with our head stuck in a bucket.  But we keep on working, and keep on trying to do our best for this land, this water, and this community.  Onward!IMG_0563

Sign up for Your 2015 CSA Share Today!

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2015 CSA Offerings

Our 30 acre farm is located on land owned by the McKenzie River Trust: the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. Our goals are to raise happy, healthy animals and delicious vegetables, protect and enhance native habitats, and educate the next generation of farmers. CSA members are invited and encouraged to visit the farm during tours, workshops and special gatherings!

We have three options this season:

“Omnivore’s Delight” “Pure Protein” “Simply Veggies”
Our ‘full-belly’ CSA option: a box of fresh veggies and a half-dozen eggs each week, two pasture-raised chickens each month, and occasional pickled products, honey, herbs and wild-crafted products. Just eggs and meat! $25 average value each week of pasture-raised chicken, duck, goat, lamb or rabbit. Includes one dozen eggs. A box of fresh, seasonal vegetables each week.  We also include tips on easy preservation and pickling techniques.
20 shares available in 2015 20 shares available in 2015 10 shares available in 2015
$450 lump sum, or three payments of $170 $400 lump sum, or three payments of $150 $300 lump sum, or three payments of $110
All CSAs run for 16 weeks, June through September, and also include:

– A 10% discount on other farm products, including our Thanksgiving turkeys –

– Free participation in our farm workshops, and a CSA member Harvest Celebration in September -

Additional information & details

  • Drop sites: We will have drop sites in Eugene and Springfield on Tuesdays and Fridays; exact locations TBD depending on member location. Farm pick-up is also available on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Policies:
    • Members should indicate a payment schedule at the beginning of the season.
    • If you are unable to pick up your CSA box on a given week, please find a friend to use your produce that week or ask us to find one; we cannot reimburse or reschedule a delivery.
    • We will calculate your 10% discount on turkeys and other farm products at point-of-sale.
  • Farm visits: As a CSA member, you will receive a regular email from us with upcoming workshops, tours, and other farm events including a Harvest Celebration Dinner in September. No dogs at the farm please.

To sign up please fill out this FORM and sent it to Angela at farmer@cascadepacific.org or call 541-510-8888.

Sam’s Quinoa Report from 2014

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Quinoa Farming Report

2014 Season

Sam Madge, Berggren Demo Farm

 

Land:

            The planting site for the BDF Quinoa experiment was a 1/5 acre portion of a clover field on a flat  clayish loam soil type.  The farm is approximately halfway between Springfield and Walterville on Camp Creek Rd, at the downstream end of the McKenzie River valley, approximately 500′ elevation.

Seed Sourcing:

            Most of the seed came from Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, OR, with some also from Adaptive Seeds outside Marcola, OR. The cultivars trialled were “Red Head” (6oz) and “Brightest Brilliant Rainbow” (1oz) from WGS and CO407D(1 gram) from Adaptive.  Wild Gardens’ varieties have all been bred from the Colorado 407 Dave, which was developed from a Chilean variety “Linares”.

Preparation & Planting:

            Approximately half the land used was worked over once in the fall, and left fallow, uncovered thru the winter which was a relatively dry, cold one. This half was then again tilled in early April at the tail end of a dry spell, and once more on May 2nd, using the same Land Pride 5′ wide rotary tiller, 5 days prior to planting 3oz Redhead variety in 16 (120ft) rows with 18” between row spacing and an average of 2” in row spacing.  Seeds were sown using a Earthway garden seed drill, and also by hand, furrowing a 1/4-1/2” deep row.  After sowing, 5 lbs of organic bloodmeal powder was scattered over area, some was lost to the breeze. On May 10th 16ct of 128 cell flats were seeded with mostly Redhead, and one flat CO407D.

On May 12th, the other half of the plot which was covered in clover, with some reed canary grass peeking through, was mowed down, and the next day turned over with the rotary tiller.  May 16th, this section was tilled once more, and planted the next day, 9 rows of RH and 2 rows of BBR(120ft), with same in row, but 30” between row spacing.  About 3 lbs of pellitized organic chicken manure was broadcast over entire 2nd area.

These processes took a combined total of 20 hours work.

Emergence and Vegetative growth cycle:

            Emergence of both WGS varieties was relatively poor throughout field, probably due to uneven seed planting depth, but also poor in uniform 3/16” depth of greenhouse flat sowing.  The CO407D emerged at about 75% which was noticeably better than Redhead (50%) in the same conditions.  The best theory I have to explain this is that Adaptive Seed might have used a gravity (density) and aperture (screen) separator, and Wild Garden might have only winnowed, as the CO407D seed seemed uniformly large whereas the RH had more variation in size.  Wild Garden, however, is confident in they’re 80% germ rate in the batch.

Of the direct field-seeded, the first sowing seemed to have better emergence than the second, probably a result of the weather.  The first sowing was immediately followed with 2 days of heavy rain,  then 2 days of scattered showers, whereas the 2nd saw only some rain the day after, followed by some heat that dried the soil down about 3 inches deep.  This is when weekly irrigation began in order to combat the relatively dry month of June.  Both sections completed emergence about 10 days after planting.

Once the seedlings in greenhouse had 2 sets of true leaves, on June 4th, they were transplanted out into the field, in a section of the first sown area that had particularly sparse emergence for no discernible reason.  They were spaced 1 foot apart each other in 5 rows 36” apart, with 1tbsp pellitized chicken manure mixed around in each hole. The CO407D was mixed in randomly in this section.  At this point the first sown direct seeded population was on average twice the size.

By June 12th, at 4-6”, the first sown section seemed large enough to cultivate, which was accomplished by a 10” wide rotary tiller, run twice between each row.  Following this, about 10 lbs pellitized chicken manure was applied only near quinoa plants throughout whole field.

A 24” rotary tiller was run through to cultivate the second sown section on June 21st.  These processes took a combined 20 hours of work.

Inflorescence, pollination, and seed head development:

            By June 30th, inflorescence were visible throughout crop, with an average plant height of 2′.  At this point there were a large population of cucumber beetles, flea beetles, and lygus present, having very minimal visual impact on the crop.  July 8th, with an average height of 3′, one last pass through the whole field to cultivate with the rotary tillers was taken. At this point pollination had began, and seemingly peaked for about a week mid July, during unusually hot weather(90+hi, 60+lo).

An average irrigation schedule of 1 inch 3x a week was kept from mid june through the end of July.  Seed heads began forming mid July and seemed for the mostly formed throughout field, plants reaching an average peak height of 6′ by July 28th.  There were issues with plants toppling throughout field, worst in areas with wider spacing.  Some of these toppled over plants became moldy when in close contact with ground(especially CO407D).  July 30th, irrigation ceased.  After this, flea and cucumber beetle populations slowly declined but lygus continued to flourish, and an aphid population blossomed simultaneous to the drying of lower foliage.  Maturation took about a month, and started with an evident pigmentation intensity increase in the seed head, and moved down the stalk and into lower foliage.  Some damage from lygus sporadically throughout field became apparent during maturation with small dark spots on seed heads, that contained shriveled up “empty” seeds.  In a few toppled over plants, this damage led to faster molding throughout head.

10 hours of work was put in during this period of time, mostly in observation.

Harvest, Processing, Yield, Cost of Production:

            Harvest began on August 28th in the first sown area where a peak in pigmentation was evident throughout.  This consisted of bundling some select few whole plants to be kept for subsequent plantings, and hanging them upside down in a barn to dry.  The rest of the crop, seed heads were cut off, and spread out on a tarp in the sun to dry.  Sept 10th with the 1st section complete, harvest began in the 2nd, and was fully completed on the 16th.

Once dry, processing began with threshing, the bulk of which was accomplished thru dancing.

Separation of chaff and stem from seed was accomplished thru gravity screen, followed by winnowing.

Several prototype machines were fabricated to automate this procedure. The bulk of the gravity screening was powered by a reciprocating jigsaw.  Winnowing was accomplished mostly using a 150 watt 6″ in line duct fan, with a motor rated dimmer switch and some flexible ducting. Improvements to this machine should include a large filter chamber and rigid ducting to minimize debris build up, and a bigger feed hopper with an auger to prevent clogging.  At this point, not including an estimated 25% crop loss due to rotting seed heads laying on ground, and crudeness in harvest and processing technique, the total yield weighed in at 280 lbs.  This equates to a 1400 lb/ per acre rate(1700 incl. 25% loss), which is above standard yields indicated by other reports of North American growers, but far below some Bolivian reports.

After threshed and winnowed, desaponification was accomplished by washing with cold water in a small concrete mixer, then dried in pillowcases in a clothes drier, and sent through the winnowing machine once more.  This resulted in a product no more bitter than most bolivian imports available at retail outlets, but with a more rich and nutty flavor. Improvements to this process should include a larger (55 gal) washing machine that can be also used as a dryer, and/or a dry process friction desaponifier.

Excluding time spent designing and building various machines, harvest and processing took about 40 hours of work.  In total, the project took about 90 hours of actual physical labor.  Land and equipment rental cost totaled almost $500, fertilizer and fuel cost combined was about $100, and material cost for processing equipment totaled around $300.

Considering labor valued at $20 per hour, the total cost of production was about $2,700.  Amortized down, the cost of production was about $9.64/ lb of quinoa.  This is far above current wholesale price of bolivian imports.  In order for this crop to be viable for farmers in the area, that production cost should be cut almost in half.  Some suggestions to help achieve this would be denser plant spacing, using a seed drill, more like wheat or other grains, so it may be harvested by combine.  A higher level of mechanization in the processing would cut down on labor costs as well.  Of course, as with many crops, the economy of scale is something to be considered.  Many acres would need to be put into production to justify use of seed drill, harvest combine, professional seed cleaning machinery, etc.

Poultry & Rabbit Grower’s Cooperative Development

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Poultry & Rabbit Grower’s Cooperative Development 

 

In 2014-2015, the Berggren Demonstration Farm will be leading efforts to develop a poultry and rabbit grower’s cooperative in the southern Willamette Valley. The Demonstration Farm is a project of Cascade Pacific RC&D, and also serves as an outreach and education branch of the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB)’s ‘Healthy Farms Clean Water’ program.

 

Why a Grower’s Cooperative?

The market for locally grown poultry and rabbit is significant and growing.  Small-scale poultry and rabbit production can be a viable and low risk entry in farming.  However, a barrier that many producers have identified is the need to aggregate the purchase of feed, chicks and other supplies to bring down fixed input costs.  A grower’s cooperative would allow for collective purchasing and marketing arrangements to help small farm businesses become more economically viable.

 

Another potential stumbling block for small poultry and rabbit raisers can be a lack of nearby processing facilities.  At Berggren we are currently in the process of renovating our on farm processing facility to meet Oregon Department of Agriculture licensing standards. This facility may eventually be available to members of the cooperative.

 

What are the benefits?

One major benefit of developing a cooperative would be to bring down the input costs (feed, chicks, processing) of individual growers by combining orders.  As an example, we were able to reduce the price for Cornish Cross chicks from $1.35 to $0.80 per chick by combining orders of several growers. Feed purchased in bulk can be brought down in price.  By increasing the supply of locally grown poultry and rabbit, the cooperative may also develop the ability to sell to new markets such as grocery stores and restaurants, which require larger quantities than one small farm could supply.

 

In discussions with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, we have also learned that if we license the processing facility at Berggren to a grower’s cooperative, then all “member farms” would also be able to operate under this license, and share the $250 yearly license fee. Processing at the facility at Berggren would be ‘do-it-yourself;’ cooperative members would need to supply their own labor needs.

Goals

  • Decrease input costs (feed, chicks and other supplies) by combining the purchasing power of many small growers.
  • Develop an ODA-licensed processing facility for poultry and rabbit processing. If completed, the processing facility would be licensed to the cooperative, and individual members could use the facility to process their own birds or rabbits.
  • Develop market accounts for the cooperative at local grocery stores or restaurants, to provide a consistent market for product and reduce marketing costs.

 

How to get involved or learn more

During the winter of 2014 and spring of 2015, we will be hosting information sessions to discuss the cooperative development efforts and initiating cooperative purchasing with our grower network. To receive notifications about upcoming meetings, contact Jared Pruch at jared@cascadepacific.org or 541-359-8987. For current opportunities to participate in the cooperative purchasing (e.g. adding chicks to a group order, or ordering feed collectively, or use of the processing facility) contact Angela Andre at farmer@cascadepacific.org or 541-510-8888.

Become a Farmer, Join Rogue Farm Corps

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New Farmers Needed. Be one in a million— Join Rogue Farm Corps in 2015!

We’ve had the fortune of having Shelby with us since last April when she began her internship at Berggren Farm as part of the Rogue Farm Corps program.  We are excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2015 season.

FarmsNext is an entire season of hands-on training and skill-based education in sustainable agriculture for aspiring farmers and ranchers. This immersive on-farm experience combines field training with a mentor farmer, classroom learning with agricultural professionals and expert farmers, tours of local farms, and opportunities for farm-based independent study. Positions available on a diverse network of commercial family farms in four communities across Oregon. No experience necessary to apply. More info here.

FarmsNOW is a two-year advanced training program designed for the student who has a solid foundation of farm experience, and the goal of managing a farm operation. This program will propel beginning/intermediate farmers to the next level of planning, designing and running integrated farming systems. FarmsNOW is for those seeking mastery in the art and business of farming. Candidates must have two years, or equivalent, of vegetable production experience. More info here.

Rogue Farm Corps trains the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs. Our host farms are located in four clusters around Oregon: the Rogue Valley, the Portland Metro Area, the South Willamette Valley, and Central Oregon. For complete program descriptions, information on our host farms, and applications, visit our website: http://roguefarmcorps.org

Winter is Coming

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The rains have started!  We’ve been getting ready for the wet weather, moving animals, transplanting in the greenhouse, finishing up our extended CSA, and making sure our Turkeys are ready for Thanksgiving.  We’ve also added a few new faces to the farm–5 sheep from our neighbors and 3 new interns from the University of Oregon!

 

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The first of many rain filled days.

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Garlic getting established for the winter.

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Long Island Cheese just got scarier.

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The trotting turkeys are getting so big.  They are quite the characters.

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New sheep mixed in with our little goat doelings.

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These guys are also getting bigger.  Holiday goat could be on the way.

DSC03454Shelby and Max are clearing out our tomatoes to make way for more greens.