Anne BerblingerForest Grove, OR, US
Gales Meadow Farm
After leaving past careers behind, my husband, René , and I have been organic farmers for 13 years, growing vegetables, herbs and starts for home gardeners. We also teach farming classes on and off the farm.
We employ two or three part-time employees year round at Gales Meadow Farm and up to 10 at the height of the season. About half of our business comes from sales to restaurants and we also sell at farmers’ markets.
Don't expect to make a living from your farm right from the start. Build your financial resources and your gardening or animal care skills while you are planning your transition to farming. Visit farmers’ markets, go to conferences and take classes. Learn all you can about how to farm sustainably and without poisons and dangerous chemicals. Stay in shape - farming is a physically demanding profession.
René and I look forward to providing you the advice and know-how you need to determine if you might become an organic farmer!
Farming is not a way to make a lot of money, but it is a way to live like a rich person in so many ways. We live and work in a beautiful environment, eat the most delicious food possible, and wake up every morning with important and enjoyable work to do.
Our philosophy at Gales Meadow Farm is, “If you don’t have too much, you don’t have enough.” It’s important to share the surplus crops with the hungry.
We split the workload between us. René manages the equipment, irrigation, and soil preparation. Anne selects the crops, plans the season and the planting schedule, does most of the marketing, and farmers’ markets and handles the paperwork for organic certification and licensing.
I worked in economic development with economically depressed communities for 36 years and for seven of those was a part-time farmer. In 2007, I “retired” and have been a fulltime farmer ever since. I loved my previous career and serve on economic development boards and advisory committees.
The farmer's most important job is to pay attention - to everything going on in the field and to the customers. The farmer's biggest challenge is deciding what to do right now.
And…here’s a great factoid: you can be a real farmer even if you don't do it full time. 85% of US farm households have off-farm income.