By the time I take care of my kids, my husband, my meat birds, my laying hens, my dogs, my pigs, my garden, and my clients, there hasn’t been a lot of time left in the day to write. Notice there is no mention of my vineyard or my wines? That’s because I’ve run out of time and they are being neglected at the moment. I’m working that out.
Did I mention that I am now applying sunscreen to my pigs every morning? Yes friends, and if you have never smeared sunscreen on a pig, you haven’t lived. Their big, white, floppy ears got really sunburned adjusting to the beautiful California weather. If you think it takes some serious effort to get sunscreen on your kids, try getting a pig to stand still while you put sunscreen on it’s ears. Best way I’ve learned is to wait until they are really hungry, feed them, and then do it while they are eating. Just in case you ever have to do it, now you have a strategy.
Back on topic…Our Oregon road trip to pick up the pigs was so much fun. We saw lots of really beautiful country. At the top of my list of things to do was to visit Afton Field Farm in Corvallis.
I had read about Tyler and Alicia Jones and their Oregon farm a few years ago, although I cannot remember where. I started following Alicia’s blog, which I love! She is really funny and witty, and the thing I like best is that she is honest! If something is hard, she says so. If she has a bad day, she shares that. She is down-to-earth and real. Those are qualities that are important to me.
I was bummed that we didn’t get to meet them (they were out of town when we visited), but we did meet Tyler’s brother, Kyle, and we checked out their farm. Really beautiful. And they are doing an amazing job of growing healthy food in a family farm setting while being conservationists at the same time. It is easy to see that their animals are really well cared for. They were all so curious and friendly. Check out the little pig snout peeping out of the fence in the photo below. It is important to me to know that the animals that I raise for food had a great life while they were with me. It was easy to see that Tyler and Alicia and the Afton Field Farm crew feel the same.
One of the cornerstones of their farming philosophy is the health and vitality of their beautiful pastures.
While admiring these pastures on the beautiful afternoon that we visited, I fell in love with Cora and Irene, two of the most personable and charming cows I have ever met.
Tyler and Alicia rotate their animals on these vibrant pastures in a way that is optimal for the animals and the land, and provides the healthiest conditions for the animals. You could really spend a lot of time talking about this one important aspect of their farm alone, and I’m afraid that I am not educated enough about it to do it justice in this short blog post. If you want to learn more you should check out the Afton Field Farm website and read about Tyler’s experience at Polyface Farm where he learned the finer points of pasture raised food from Joel Salatin himself.
It is really hard work to have a farm like this, and I think that most people don’t understand that. So many people take for granted that they can just rock up to the grocery store and buy a big ol’ pork chop. Guess what folks? Somebody, somewhere worked really hard to get that food to you.
One of the things that struck me about their farm is that they are happy to share what they know with colleagues and customers, and I really believe that what they are doing is so important. They have an “open door” policy…these are generous people, guys. If you happen to be in the area check them out and support their family farm. They host some really cool events as well. I wish I didn’t live so far away…