Friday, December 2, 2011

Meet Our Farmers: Lonesome Whistle Farm

We are getting ready and excited for the first delivery from our Lonesome Whistle Farm Grain & Bean CSA. While we wait, I thought I would bring you a post highlighting Kasey & Jeff, and some of what they are doing. My earlier post about Black & White Popcorn balls was also graced by Lonesome Whistle harvest.

Growing fields of beans.
This post is an interview with Kasey White. She and Jeff are the ones growing us such good beans and grains. One of my favorite things about shopping at my Farmer's Market is developing relationships and deepening my understanding about food and where it comes from. Getting to know Kasey, hear her passion for garlic, and see her wonderful bean jewelery has been a delight.  

An heirloom bean from the Mega-Whole-Nutrition-Style store might be tasty, but one that my friend and community member grew will always taste just a little better to me. I know that it is mostly in my mind, but that's okay. I love the warm feeling I get eating foods that came from friends. 

That said, let's meet Kasey, Jeff, and their lovely 

Tell us a little about your big is it? What do you grow? 

We grow beans, grains, corn, and vegetable crops on 20 acres.  We are located 9 miles north of downtown Eugene on River Road.  

When did you start farming?

We started farming in 2003 on 2 acres and have been on 3 different farms in our 9 years.  We just secured land with the help of some investors and will be putting roots down on this farm, very exciting.

 Why did you start farming?

We have a food justice and social activism goal with our farming.  We wanted to do something meaningful and direct with our lives and provide healthy food for us and our community with the goal of becoming less dependent on corporations to meet our needs. 

Some of that hard work...Brother-Bug loves this!
What is the hardest thing about being a farmer?
The work never stops.  You are always thinking about what the next step is and problem-solving.  Often, we are using equipment we have no experience with and old equipment at that.  Like a combine from the 1970's and cultivating tractor from the 50's.  You have to be on your toes and a jack of all trades to do it well.  It's hard being "on" all the time. 

What is your favorite thing about being a farmer?
Making my own schedule and the quiet time in the field to have my thoughts to myself.  Not punching a time clock, and being creative.  We see farming as an art form.   

Why grow heirloom beans and grains? Why should we buy them?
We grow heirloom seeds because they are open pollinated, old varieties that are interesting and resilient.  They are not available through the industrial food system, and many of the varieties have outstanding taste and characteristics.  We keep discovering new and beautiful beans and corns that we can't resist to grow out each year.   

What is your favorite thing to grow?
Jeff's favorite is corn.  We grow Dakota Black popcorn and other dent corns.  I love the beans personally.  I love them so much that I am making jewelry out of them.   

Of the things you grow, what is your favorite thing to eat?
Bean burritos are Jeff's favorite food of all time.  He eats two large ones a day, in fact.  I love to eat beans too, but love making my own bread with our grains and using our vegetables too.   

Share a favorite recipe?

The beautiful booth at the Lane County Farmers Market in downtown Eugene.
My basic pot of beans is seasoned with rosemary, thyme, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Really simple. 
Besides signing up for a CSA share, what can community members do to help local farmers?
The best thing to do is come to farmers market or become a CSA member and offer support to farmers through your consistent buying, eating, and enjoying of their foods.  Small gestures go along way in the middle of a stressful farm season.  

If we wanted to come visit the farm, how would we go about it?

We would love to show you the farm! Because of our schedules, please call or email in advance of your visit to make sure we are able to show you around. 
You can contact the farm here. 

Who wouldn't want to eat beans and grains grown by such loving and beautiful people?

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