Hello! Thank you for wanting to get to know us. We are Jacob and Shruti Larson and presently living in Klickitat County, WA about 20 minutes from Hood River, OR. We are looking for 1 acre of good farmland with water access to create an organic (non-certified is fine) market garden that uses regenerative/good microbe and soil management farming practices. Ideally we are looking for 10+ other acres on the property or nearby that would allow us to graze a small herd (12 or less) of Highland cows. This acreage would contain a decent amount of wild forage and seasonal grass at the least. Irrigated pasture would be ideal, but if that isn’t currently available, we are open to purchasing a retractable farm sprinkler and using regenerative grazing practices, as long as water is available. The cows are for building a breeding program where we would sell the calves; Jacob has a passion for helping other breeders and beef producers build healthy and resilient herds. We would love to incorporate pasture-raised chickens in our composting and bed preparation process. We are also considering raising rabbits for meat production. Within 3-5 years of establishing the market garden and finding a way to afford employing a dependable crew, we want to focus on building community programming: short term farm stays to educate city people, farm field trips for school-aged kids, workshops on learning the local ecology, and wild medicinal plants. While we plan to run the farm operation as a for-profit business, we want to contribute something good and lasting to the community we root ourselves in.
Electricity, water availability and good pressure, and soil that is farmable/not straight clay and rocks. Wooded areas and irrigation structures in place for pasture would be ideal but not required. A usable barn for hay storage would be ideal but not required. At least 1/2 an acre for the market garden that has not been sprayed or used for conventional farming, ability to host our tiny house and potentially add a yurt or some additional living space.
This is Jacob and I'll type for a bit: I grew up in a rural town around Mt. Adams raising, showing, and selling Highland cows to breeders, and working at an organic diary for many of my teen years milking cows, setting up field irrigation systems, and doing all kinds of farm projects. Our family also had a local beef operation. I earned an agriculture-related degree at Washington State University, becoming the first in my family to go to college. The animal husbandry side of my professional experiences includes being a night calver for a large Montana ranch, managing a 400 head herd of grass fed and pastured-raised cows for a farm-to-table restaurant in CA, promoting my family's breeding program, and a longterm internship aboard for a Highland breeder. The market garden side of my professional experiences includes managing part of a horse-powered farm, several years of designing and maintaining vegetable and native plant gardens for a permaculture installation firm, and becoming the garden and farm foreman for a 4 acre hobby farm property in CA.
Shruti typing here: My background is in marketing and facilitating the nuts and bolts of running a small business; I enjoy the planning, spreadsheets, and organizing side of things that complement Jacob's intuition and working knowledge. I love to garden, work with the animals, and support our dream of becoming market gardeners and Highland breeders using only organic and regenerative farming practices. Its very important to us to make our customers feel like gold while still maintaining practical business methods that create a sustainable wage for ourselves and any employees.
We are currently in our first year of running our own market garden farm called The Gathering: Farmed and Foraged Food on 1/2 an acre of property owned by relatives. We had a successful 14 week season at our local farmers market in White Salmon, WA (feel free to contact the market managers, Gorge Grown, for insight into our experience and character) selling 15+ organically grown veggies and wild-foraged fruit, herbs, mushrooms, and herbal tea blends. We built many strong customer relationships and educated them on sustainable and regenerative farming practices, and the importance of supporting the cost of raising such food. The only hitch in our current plans is finding out that our relatives may not be able to give us the longterm lease we had talked about before breaking ground because their retirement plan changed. Therefore, we are looking for available farmland to lease/own in northern OR and southern WA.
We will answer this question based on our current situation. If we end up on your property, this is likely what our plan will look like if starting from scratch. During the winter prior to year 1, we researched and purchased seed, and create a personal and farm budget, planting and succession plan. What we should have also done was get several soil samples. In spring and summer of year 1, we built a walk-in refrigerated root cellar in the side of a hill, a post production wash kitchen, prepared and planted 15 beds out of raw land and purchased organic compost, set up a composting area, set up drip tape irrigation, a greenhouse for starting seeds in early spring. We built a veggie cart stand and became a vendor at the local farmer's market. We signed up for a farm continuing education course and went on 3 farm tours for gather farm mentors. We acquired several items for our herd, established good neighbor relations for pasturing options, and began cow consulting services in order to bring in some cash flow in the shoulder and off season in addition to the farmers market. Our year 2 goals are to add an additional 7 beds to our 15 currently in use, experiment with hiring a part time employee, set up irrigation in our shade/greens garden, add a greenhouse for hot crop season extension, add a second venue and its harvest/post-production plan, whether that be a CSA or road side stand, and continue building great herd genetics for our Highland breeding program until we have 5-6 calves to sell. In year 4, we want to offer educational nature walks, farm field trips, and wild tea blending workshops. In other words, we want to help create a thriving community.
We look forward to hearing from land owners and are grateful that you're part of the Farm Link program.
A market garden generating a family wage by selling at 1-2 local farmers markets and a CSA program, 5-6 educational workshops/field trips per year, and selling 5-6 calves per year. Building Jacob's Highland cattle consultancy business during the off-season to bring in additional income.
We would love to have a small house available on site as part of the lease or sale option, with the ability to rent out our tiny house for farm/rent help. If there is no house on site, then the ability to park our tiny house and possibly add additional living space, i.e. a yurt, if our family grows to include children. We believe in God and would like the freedom to host small community gatherings like social dinners, discussion groups, and young adult mentorship activities (farm related) on the property.
We want to build a thriving community where folks, especially from the city, can come do short term farm stays to live and learn a slice of farm life and how sustainably-raised food is produced. We will welcome all backgrounds.
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