They’re separated by dozens of miles, but Sweet Home Farms and the Deck Family Farm are united in their mission to providing natural, hormone-free meat.
“This was not a mistake–the way they decided to raise all these different animals,” said Daniel O’Malley, Sweet Home Farms Manager.
O’Malley’s parents started farming just more than six years ago.
“They were health researchers at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, and they were driving home one day from somewhere out in the country, and Carla decided this was something her and her husband Mike, my father, could go ahead and do,” O’Malley said.
So they did, but not before putting that background in health research to use, figuring out how to raise their goats, chickens and sheep.
“We know it doesn’t have antibiotics. We know we’re not using hormones, and we’re letting the animals get to express their natural instincts,” O’Malley said.
“We do grass-fed and finished organic meats. We do beef, lamb, pork, chicken; all animals that can be grazed on pasture,” said Christine Deck, Deck Family Farm Owner.
Deck offers a tour for those wanting to walk around the dozens of acres that house all the animals.
“The farm has an open-gate policy. We’re open any day except Sunday for people just to come by, and people come by a lot. That’s awesome because we get to share this beauty and what we do with the community,” Deck said.
The farms also share with the community in the form of shares.
“CSAs are really at the heart of what we do because that’s when we can really involve families and get people out to the farm,” Deck said.
It’s essentially a share of the harvest, which is different for each farm.
“We bring in a beef, a lamb, a pork and 32 chickens,” Deck said.
“A third in ground meats, a third in roasts and a third in steaks with the about difference being made up with occasionally bones and organ meats,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley puts together shares for about 50 customers each month.
“We’d like to have 75 to 100,” O’Malley said.
“If we could sell everything directly to the customer, we would,” Deck said.
Because the more directly goods get to customers, the more directly money comes back to the farm.
“It’s a lot of work, and the margins are thin,” Deck said.
Those thin margins are augmented only by community support.
“It’s really a bond. This way of farming can’t exist if people don’t believe in it,” Deck said.
You can check for a full list of year-round CSAs here.