This post has been a couple months in the making. A few weeks before Lulu was born, I headed out to visit Kristina and Silas at their farm, Mosier Valley Organics. I had met Kristina and Silas before in passing but I really enjoyed spending a couple hours getting to know them. Silas and Kristina obviously work incredibly hard on their various farm projects, but they also seem to get a lot back from their work. They are passionate, positive, and driven. I loved seeing the farm and Gigi loved getting to see the animals, collect eggs, and explore.
When we visited in the late spring, the weather was still a little chilly, the chicks were little, the lambs were babies, they had cider brewing for home enjoyment, legs of ham curing, and things were on the brink of being very, very busy.
We visited again a couple weeks ago with our sweet friend Steph and her kiddos, and found that, as expected things on the farm were bustling. The chicks and lambs had grown a tremendous amount, the fruit is starting to come around, and the exciting addition of eight piglets made this trip so much fun.
Now, as we reach mid-July, Mosier Valley Organics is in full swing with lots of wonderful projects in the works. I asked Kristina to share a little update on where things are at in regards to their produce, their piggies, and (the thing I'm most excited about) their cidery!
Our peaches are coming along nicely. We thinned something like 30lbs of olive-sized fruit a few weeks ago (to allow those we left to grow bigger and sweeter without over-stressing the young trees) and things are pretty well on schedule. We will not have an apricot harvest this year due to an unfortunate frost in early May. All that super hot weather we had got the trees confused and the apricots paid the price. Not the end of the world though as it gives the trees a chance to put all the energy they'd spend pushing out fruit into growing bigger branches (a plus since our trees are so young).
We sell produce to local restaurants (Celilo, Nora's, Henni's) as well as at the Mosier Farmers' Market. Primarily peaches/apricots plus whatever produce we have available that week. This year I'm planning to add in some jams and pickles as well. In the future as we have more fruit to sell we'll likely begin attending the HR Farmers' Market as well. People are welcome to contact us directly via the website to see what we have available and either pick up or figure out delivery.
Our piglets arrived last weekend. We got 8 this year and most of those will be heading to Celilo when they reach market weight. They're all Gloucester Old Spots, a heritage breed that's supposed to gain well when put out to pasture. They're cute, for about a minute, and then they're big and stinky and dirty. And SO delicious.
With Rack and Cloth/Mosier Valley Cidery, Kristina and Silas have gotten federal approval which means they're within weeks of being approved by the state of Oregon. This means they'll be given the green light to share their cider with all of us! The process for apporval has taken along time but they during that time they've been playing with blends of different apples and experimenting with back sweetening.
The mission at Mosier Valley Organics is to grow and produce healthy, delicious food and drinks in a way that's mindful of how those processes impact our land. We graze our sheep in the orchard rows; they eat the grass down and fertilize as they go. All the solids left over from the pressing of the apples is used as feed for the pigs and chickens. The animals in turn feed us, and their manure gives nutrients back to the orchard and garden. It's a relatively closed-loop system where everything serves a purpose and there's minimal waste.
It's great that we, as a community, have such great farms and people like Silas and Kristina to support.