Stocked and loaded!

fyp-2016-collageWe are consistently impressed by the community’s commitment to fortifying a vibrant food system. The second Portland Fill Your Pantry exemplified the extent to which Oregonians engage in our regional, sustainable agriculture by supporting local producers.

The 2016 online sales surpassed $36,000 (up from $23,000 last year), and vendors sold an additional $14,000 worth of local food during the three-hour event! That means, Fill Your Pantry shoppers directed over $50,000 dollars to local producers!

Check out the chart to see the breakdown of sales by product.  fyp-graph

The value of this event reverberates beyond the financial impact to our local economy because that $50,000 translates to thousands and thousands of pounds of healthful possibilities. Whole foods like winter squash, beans, honey, grains, root veggies, etc. have made the migration from the fields to home kitchens where creativity and handcraft will morph them into nutrition and sustenance.

fyp-2016-collage-3For those of you who participated in this event, we hope your experience was positive and that your pantry is prepared to sustain you throughout the winter!


Pizza Party for FoFF!

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for farmers. Price of tickets include pizza & salad, one drink ticket, ice cream, chocolate, music, a raffle ticket, and a donation to FoFF!  Additional drink tickets may be purchased for $4. Ages 21 and over.

Get your tickets here!

Money raised at this party will fund our Urban Outreach Program which includes events like InFARMation, Fill Your Pantry, hands on workshops like the one with Sandor Katz, farm visits, and much more. It is important that FoFF facilities educational experiences for urban consumers so that they know who is growing their food and with that knowledge, feel empowered to vocalize the kind of food system they want to see in Oregon.

We have some awesome silent auction items available for the taking, too! Products have been donated from: Patagonia, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Equal Exchange, Coava Coffee, Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply, Nel Centro, Worthy Brewing, Duck Pond Cellars, Dove Vivi Pizza, and more yet to come!

Verdant Hills Farm: FoFF in the Field

img_8209“All of my grandparents escaped the farm. Sometimes when I’m working, moving cow manure, I think to myself, is this what I envisioned myself doing with my life, you know, when I was 16?”

Michael laughed. We were in his kitchen, having wrapped up a tour of Verdant Hills Farm, which he has operated with husband Rich and 12-year old daughter Emily since 2013. Around us their 80 acres fanned out like a great skirt – a “throwback” to times when farmhouses stood at the heart of the land which supported them.

Our first stop on the tour had been to visit the newest addition to the farm: a calf born just that morning, curled up in the “deep bedding” layer of straw in the loafing shed. She was joined by the other recently born calves and the new mothers of the season, licking their calves to keep track of which were theirs – as they primarily tell by scent, until the calf picks up its signature “moo”. Beyond the loafing shed in the pasture there was another group of cows with more mature calves, and in a third area – a group of yearlings, born the previous year. They’re approaching the target population of 27 cows: 9 cows, 9 yearlings and 9 calves. They’re a closed herd, meaning no other cows come onto the property; new genetics are introduced via artificial insemination.

shade-and-mistersIn today’s confusing and sometimes misleading landscape of labels, Verdant Hills Farm has found strength in directly marketing to customers who can know their farmers and determine if their values align. The core value of the meat production aspect of Verdant Hills Farm is the humane treatment of the animals. Butchering is done onsite by a local certified butcher, and the meat sold by the ¼ cow (vs. by cuts) to avoid sending them off to a USDA-certified slaughterhouse. These Angus cows, selected for docility and marbling, are 100% grass-fed using intensive rotational grazing, and all of their feed (pasture and haylage) is produced on-farm. The farm, near McMinnville, previously produced grass seed for lawns, and had to be replanted in forage-grade seed. They’re in the process of transitioning from annuals (ryegrass and clover) to a perennial mix with more forbs (chicory, Boston plantain) and have a no-till drill to accomplish re-seeding with as little erosion as possible. “We look at ourselves as forage farmers first,” asserted Rich. herd-3

Verdant Hills Farm has recently joined the Oregon Pasture Network, a program of Friends of Family Farmers that works to support the growth of pasture-based farming in Oregon for the benefits of connecting with other producers as well as more potential consumers.

We visit the flock of 16 layer hens in the pasture, next to their mobile chicken coop, and toss them a treat of watermelon rinds. Their job is to help control pests (flies) by breaking up the cowpies and eating the fly larvae. They also produce marvelous, orange-yolked eggs; Emily pulls out two this afternoon – one blue and one brown. They are sold at a weekly town drop-off; customers are also able to add on whatever produce is spilling over from the numerous raised beds right outside the kitchen window.

cow-farm-dogLast stop is the beautiful silvery cedar wood barn. The requisite cats are found snoozing atop the remaining strawbale towers – soon to be joined by many more bales in anticipation of winter bedding needs. Throughout the farm, Michael, Rich and Emily’s love for their animals and land is evident. From the loafing shed, which has had a passive rain shelter added on to it, to the portable shade structures built to be moved in the pastures to follow the cattle, to knowing just where on the head to give a little scratch – this family loves their animals and the land and life they help support. Verdant Hills Farm embodies the level of care that can and should go into food production – the delicious baby elephant-sized melon they sent me off with is proof positive! 

-Written by FoFF volunteer Ellen Mickle

FoFF in the Field at Naked Acres Farm

IMG_0649When envisioning Naked Acres Farm, one might imagine empty fields or uniform row crops. This farm is nothing of the sort. It is a wonderful specimen of diversity, a bouquet of heritage animals and heirloom vegetables, a lovely juxtaposition of the plant and animal kingdoms. Seeing as how the farm is so full of life and colors and characters, my guess is the adornment missing from this naked farm scene is a veil of synthetic chemicals and confinement infrastructure for their animals.

Naked Acres Farm is the result of dedication, long days, and tenacity. Farmers Gus and Margo manage the 3 ½ acres every day while juggling two farmers markets and off-farm jobs. Having an off-farm income is critical for many, if not most, beginning farmers.  The high cost of land and water, particularly urban land and water, equipment and amendment costs, and the inherent risk of working at the whim of Mother Nature makes farming a high investment, low return sort of profession. Naked Acres accounts for this precarious formula by growing the farm incrementally as to avoid debt, even if it means the physical growth is slower than their reveries.

IMG_0644FoFF’s Urban Outreach program recently teamed up with IRCO (Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization) to organize a farm tour for parents enrolled in the Seed to Supper programs at Gilbert Park and Lent Elementary. Most of the folks who attended the field trip had never experienced a commercial farm setting nor met a farmer producing food in their own community. IMG_0648

Naturally, the tour kicked off with the most amusing feature, the animals. Gus described the process of raising animals humanely and why they concede extra labor and additional space in order to ensure their animals receive the highest welfare possible. It shows. The chickens, hogs, goats, sheep, and even a llama all exhibit their natural behaviors, outside in fresh air, with plenty of space to scratch and jump and root around for hidden treasures in the dirt. Due to their commitment to humane and ecologically responsible animal husbandry, Naked Acres Farm serves on the advisory board of Friends of Family Farmers’ Oregon Pasture Network.

IMG_0646Livestock animals are not the only creatures tended to on the farm. Beneficial insects, the kinds that feed on pests like aphids and mites and pollinate crops, are catered to with hedgerows, spray-free management practices, and forage abundance. Their vegetable production is an arduous one because, like everything else on the farm, Gus and Margo opt to take time to hand-weed rather than using herbicides. Thanks to the additional time, labor, and love they devote to the land, farm visitors are free to touch and taste with ease and enjoyment.

Naked Acres hosts an open farm a couple of times per year. If you are itching to witness hilarious goats and happy hogs, email Gus to receive notifications.


Fermentation Fever- A workshop with Sandor Katz

The Art of Fermentation-

Wild Fermentation

purchase tickets here

Sunday, March 6th
Living Learning Center South, Performance Hall
(1455 East 15th Avenue
University of Oregon, Eugene)
4-7 pm

Come learn how simple it is to make your own kraut, kimchi and other fermented delicacies. Learn about the healing qualities and nutritional importance of live-culture ferments, as well as their illustrious history and integral role in human cultural evolution. Empower yourself with simple techniques for fermenting these healthful foods in your home. Be part of the fermentation revival!

We will begin by hearing from Sandor about just what is so artful about fermentation. He will then lead a hands-on workshop where you can learn how to ferment your favorite (or winter appropriate) veggie!

This is a group fermentation workshop. You will be working with a handful of other fermentation enthusiasts to create a tasty, microbial rich concoction.

Please bring the following items to this workshop: 1-2 lbs. of veggies to ferment, cutting board, knife, hand grater, hand towel, and a wide-mouth mason jar with a ring. Home Fermenter in Eugene is generously donating lids with grommet holes and plastic airlocks to help your fermentation process.

Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation (2003) and the Art of Fermentation (2012), along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” The Art of Fermentation received a James Beard award, and Sandor was honored with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance in 2014.

Here is a map of the building and where you can find parking! Fermentation Map

We Filled Our Pantries, And it Was Awesome!


FYP People CollageFill your pantry was a mighty success!

Thank you to all of the participating farmers, eaters, volunteers, and community organizations for contributing love, labor, and support.

Chart Pounds of Food SoldThousands of pounds of food were carted off to happy homes. Just during the pre-sale, local farmers sold over 1,711 pounds of winter squash, 1,380 pounds of grains and beans, 3,851 pounds of storage veggies, and 840 pounds of pasture raised meats!

Of the nearly $24,000 in pre-order sales, $1,700 were paid using SNAP benefits.


Knowing that food insecure populations abound throughout the world, our nation, and within our immediate communities, we are ever grateful for the opportunity to engage in the abundance of responsibly raised sustenance. To fill your pantry is a blessing and a celebration, but it is also a choice that merits recognition.

GarlicWe look forward to expanding this event in the future, to reaching new communities with the remarkably diverse and healthful bounty Oregon farmers work so hard to offer.

Thank you again, and keep an eye out for FoFF communications regarding 2016 events!

FYP Caption Pic







Portland Fill Your Pantry

Online orders have closed, but you can still come out on to the market November 8th to find stock up on local goodies. 
facebook_event_1134354239926732Online pre-orders open between
Oct 17-31

We are excited to bring this event to the Portland metro area on Sunday, November 8th from 11:00 am-2:00 pm at Rigler Elementary – 5401 NE Prescott St.

Fill Your Pantry provides an excellent opportunity for community members to purchase bulk quantities of staple and storage crops directly from farmers. Stock those pantry shelves for the winter with dry beans, grains, nuts, honey, root veggies, garlic, onions, winter squash and pasture raised meats.

Support your local farmers, stock your shelves, and strengthen the food system all in one go!

Online pre-ordering will occur between October 17th- October 31st. Note that not all vendors will arrive with extra goods the day of the event, and some will sell out, so the best way to get what you’re looking for is to order online!

Participating vendors include: Dancing Roots Farm, Deck Family Farm, Fiddlehead Farm, Flying Coyote Farm, Goat Mountain Pastured Meats, Harcombe Farms, Lonesome Whistle Farm, Our Table Cooperative, Pitkin Winterrowd Farm, Queener Farm, Sun Gold Farm, Nehalem River Ranch, Sauvie Island Organics, and Super Natural Farm.


Get the Nerve to Preserve Recap

Food preservation is an ancient art that was once practiced in most households across the globe. Its prominence took a beating from the eruption of industrialized food items that shimmied their way onto pantry shelves. “Processed food” evokes a new meaning in this era of ready-made meals, but my hope, along with many of my peers, is to reclaim the act of processing food by adding value with fresh ingredients, creativity, and devotion.

I want to revert back to a culture where putting up food for the cold, crisp winter months was not deemed fringe or hipster, but rather quotidian and practical.

Many folks who came to our InFARMation event last night are long time canners and some are just testing the waters. My hope is that we all feel a little inspiration from last night’s discussion. Experts out there, enlist a novice and confess some tricks of the trade. Rookies, team up and tackle a batch of pickles.

And, in case you missed it, KGW Live at 7 stopped by our event to see for themselves what InFARM is all about. Here’s the clip:

Thanks to our panelists Megan Denton of Able Farms, Sarah Masoni of the Food Innovation Center, and Leah Rodgers of Rockwood Urban Farm for bringing great energy and valuable bits of information to our food preservation discussion. And many thanks to the folks in attendance!

Come out Tuesday, October 13th to hear our discussion “Food is Health.”