Hi everyone, I'd like to introduce myself and my farm.
My name is Joanne Rigutto. I have a very small farm in Mulino, Oregon, USA. We're located in the northern Willamette Valley of Oregon, about 15 miles south and a bit west of Portland, the largest city in Oregon.
Here are the specs on my farm and the business I'm building around it -
Size - 6.67 acres located right on highway 213 in Mulino, Oregon
What we produce - chicken eggs (free range, aka range hen eggs) ~ emus (the bird in my avatar is our foundation hen Sheila who turned 18 this year), emu meat, emu oil, emu eggs for eating and hatching, boer and boer cross goats for meat, milk (milk replacer for orphaned animals), brush control ~ purebred and partbred Lipizzan horses ~ culinary herbs, vegetables, greens, fruit and berries ~ some limited amounts of vegetable and herb starts ~ vegetable seeds (seed exchange through various networks).
Growing season - year round
Production methods - I start the bulk of my own seedlings in a small greenhouse with a capacity of 560 4" pots per lot. Seed for this year's production is primarily from other sources, both local seed suppliers and national seed suppliers. I use some seed saved from our own crops every year and I'm working on increasing my capacity for that. The greenhouse is being expanded to tripple its capacity this year, and I'll be adding worm bins in order to produce worm castings and worms for sale onfarm. This along with onfarm composting of horse manure, vegetable waste and other plant material harvested on farm will enable me to create my own seed starter from primarily onfarm sourced materials for next year's production. I'm also researching the possibility of incorporating aquaponics, which integrates hydroponics with aquaculture, to expand the farm's production capacity and variety of foods that I can offer my customers.
I use integrated pest management, and while I try to use organic farming practices when ever possible, I also use some conventional farming practices as far as weed and pest control go. I do a lot of hand pulling of weeds and recycle all of that plant material either directly back onto the ground it was pulled from, or it goes onto the compost pile.
Marketing - I sell produce, eggs and meats from the farm direct to consumers through a non-prepaid subscription CSA. Essentially the way I've set this up is that I have a 2 tiered list, with a set number of slots for tier 1, and an unlimited number for tier 2. People can sign up for the list on a first come first served basis. The first 6 who signed up were automatically placed on the tier 1 list, the rest on tier 2. People on tier 1 have first right of refusal for what ever is available that week, and the people on the tier 2 list can select from what's left over. Anything left over after that each week will go to the produce stand that just opened about a mile from the farm. The fellow there, while selling produce sourced both locally and from out of state, is trying to expand his locally produced offerings as quickly as possible. He's also the primary source of the vegetable waste that goes into my composting operation. I'll probably be getting 100-200 lbs of vegetable trimmings and discards each day.
I have an online store where my customers can log in to their account and select the types and quantities of produce, meats, eggs, and plants they'd like to purchase each week. Then I pick the morning of delivery day, and I deliver to their door. My current delivery area is the Mulino/Molalla area. Molalla is a small town about 5 miles from Mulino. I normally deliver on Saturdays, and people outside the delivery area can come pick up their orders on Sundays. I'm seriously considering adding one delivery day during the week and offering delivery to employees at their place of employment. There's an outfit in Portland that organizes deliveries like this. They provide a hookup for local farms and businesses so that those businesses' employees can order from the farm and then the farm can deliver to multiple people at work during the employees' lunch break.
Here's a list of what I'm producing this year
Online farm store
The Little Homestead Farm main website
I'm also currently working on another marketing project to help promote local farms and the infrastructure that keeps those farms up and running. I'll post about that next.