Organic farming communities in Oregon have seen a great deal of growth in recent years. Once considered a novelty, organic farms are gradually becoming more numerous as farmers see that they are indeed profitable. This is great news for consumers as well as those who care about the earth.
Oregon Organic Farming
As of 2006, Oregon was home to 360 organic farms totaling 59,207 acres of certified organic land. That is quite an increase from the over 31,000 acres farmed by 287 producers 2004.
Oregon's organic crops are primarily forage crops that provide food for domestic farm animals. Other crops produced organically include fruits and vegetables, herbs, grains and nuts. Organic dairy, beef, sheep, goats and poultry are also raised in organic farming communities in Oregon.
About Organic Farming Communities in Oregon
Organic farming communities in Oregon are not just comprised of commercial farming operations. According to Oregon Tilth, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture in the state of Oregon, 40 of its 760 members are involved in the group's Yard and Garden Program.
The Yard and Garden Program is a voluntary registry of organic gardeners throughout Oregon. While this registration does not allow the gardener to sell his or her produce as organic, it does show the gardener's commitment to enriching the earth as naturally as possible.
Organic farming communities have the benefit of having thriving farmers' markets. Farmers' markets help communities by allowing those living in them to purchase organic, locally grown foods while also helping to support smaller organic farms. Numerous farmers' markets are held each week all over Oregon.
Popular Organic Crops from Oregon
There are 15 crops that are most in demand from Oregon organic farmers, according to the Oregon Tilth:
- Seeds and plants
There are many organic communities throughout Oregon. These communities offer many options to those looking for organic produce from CSAs (community supported agriculture), U-pick operations and farmers' markets. Oregon Tilth has certified eight U-picks and eight CSAs in addition to the many farmers' markets throughout the state.
- Alvadore: Berg's Berries and Organic Produce offers grapes, pears, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, marionberries, peaches, nectarines and Asian pears. 541-688-3034
- Ashland: Valley View Orchard is a U-pick farm that can be reached at 541-488-2840. Ashland is also home to Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market.
- Blachly: Horton Road Organics is a CSA located 35 miles northwest of Eugene. They produce 35 different organic vegetables from April through November.
- Corvallis: Denison Farms is a very active CSA offering surrounding communities a choice of over 100 organic fruits and vegetables. You can also find their goods at several community farmers' markets. The farmers' market in Corvallis is only one of them. You can find them in Portland and Beaverton as well.
- Eugene: Visit the Green Hill Aire Blueberry Farm for certified organic U-pick blueberries. Call 541-688-8276 for more information. King Estate Marketplace is the location of the farmers' market in Eugene on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as being home to an organic winery and restaurant.
- Noti: Winter Green Farm has organically grown fruits, vegetables and herbs and distributes farm boxes in Eugene/Springfield, Bend, Portland and other areas of the state.
- Portland: Perhaps the largest organic community of farmers in Oregon, Portland has much to offer. With at least a dozen different farmers' markets and at least one CSA, Portland is a paradise for organic consumers and growers alike. Here are a few of the farmers' markets in Portland:
- Hillsdale Farmers' Market
- Hollywood Farmers' Market
- People's Farmers' Market
- Moreland Farmers' Market
The variety of farming communities in Oregon is amazing. Organic farming is becoming more profitable for farmers and as a result, consumers benefit from the ever-expanding choices available to them. Whichever community you are in, take advantage of the locally grown, organic foods available to you and support your local farmers.