Lucie Gouin examines seeds from a friend’s tomato plant that she says tasted particularly good. On a plate at her kitchen table and labeled “9/23/13,” the heirloom seeds are among hundreds meticulously plucked, dried and saved for possible cultivation for the farm’s community-supported agriculture members. These luscious, thin-skinned heirlooms at the farmers’ market come at a price–and not just to the consumer.

By 2009, the couple had enough planted acres to start their CSA. Today members receive a weekly basket of seasonal organic vegetables, including kale, Asian greens, broccoli, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, carrots, onions, winter squash, green beans, peppers, raspberries and more. Their twenty-week season runs from May through October. Poulos makes deliveries twice weekly in Salem, Stayton and Portland.


They also sell at farmers’ markets, including the Saturday market near Portland State University. Poulos harvests vegetables Friday night. Gouin washes them into the wee hours, then he loads them and departs around 4:30 a.m. They joke that, by September, Poulos resembles a zombie.

Heirloom tomato production begins the previous season, by picking and saving seeds from the best plants. “Harvesting and saving heirloom tomato seed is like collecting dying wishes,” quips Gouin. “It is practically an obligation and comes with the promise of unmatched flavor next year.” Some of their favorite varietals include brandywine, black krim, green zebra, cherokee green, rosso sicilian and Matt’s wild cherry.

Tomatoes are just a part of their overall business strategy. “Every piece is important for a small farm,” says Poulos. In addition to the CSA and farmers’ markets, the couple, both 42, grow hay for their two cows, raise pigs for their own table, and are continually improving their greenhouse and irrigated pastures. Last year, they took their first vacation since 2007.

Twice a year, they invite their CSA members to a day on the farm. “What I liked so much was the relationship of my food, my farmer and the dinner on my table, says CSA member Madge Peinkofer of Salem. “I loved that it was organic, local and delivered. Also, it was so wonderful to be hugged by my farmer.”

Standing outside their greenhouse in rubber boots, covered in muck and wrapped in wool to keep away the afternoon chill, these unlikely transplants are a reminder that behind every produce stand is a way of life that strives to preserve the land for generations to come. “CSAs and small organic farms are powerful supporters of and investments in a clean state,” says Gouin.

Share
Published by
admin

Recent Posts

Best places for a bountiful brunch

BEST PLACES FOR BOUNTIFUL BRUNCHING HUNNYMILK With both a West Burnside brick and mortar and an eastside weekends-only pop-up, this…

1 day ago

Modern Outdoor Finds—Make your patio pop with these products

    If you need an update for a decrepit picnic table, try the Aviara Aluminum Rectangular Dining Table from…

1 day ago

DIY Concrete Planter

illustrated by Esther Loopstra AS ANYONE WHO HAS EVER STROLLED through the nursery knows, outdoor pots can add up. Try…

1 day ago

A timber-frame outdoor pavilion draws a West Linn family outside

written by Melissa Dalton An Outdoor Pavilion, rustic and accommodating When Daniel Harkavy and his wife bought their West Linn…

1 day ago

Oregon Granges continue to connect rural communities

written by Katie Chamberlain photography by Thomas Boyd ON A DRIZZLY OCTOBER MORNING, Jay Sexton dug through the archives of…

2 days ago

Strawberry Alarm Clock

written by Thor Erickson photography by Charlotte Dupont LIKE CLOCKWORK, every year in early May, I start to hear a…

2 days ago