Brenna Wiegand/For the Capital Press
Goschie Farms near Silverton, Ore., is owned and managed by fourth-generation farmers Gordon, Gayle and Glenn Goschie.
“Our great grandparents were immigrant farmers from Germany, making their way through Ellis Island, the Midwest and settling temporarily in California, where our grandfather, Carl Goschie, was born,” Gayle Goschie said.
In 1904 Carl and Wanda Goschie planted the farm’s signature crop, hops, which continue to be the focus of the business today. The farm’s current location was established by Herman and Vernice Goschie, the current owners’ parents.
Their 1,000 acres under cultivation include 500 acres of hops, 150 acres of wine grapes and rotational crops of grass seed, sweet corn and grain.
In over 130 years in agriculture the family has seen many changes: new crops, irrigation, internal-combustion engine-driven machinery, public research and plant breeding, mechanization of harvests, labor supply variations and the scope of their family business expanding from local to worldwide.
“Throughout all those years each change continues to be refined and expanded, but the one constant is nature,” Gayle Goschie said. “We see it as a partner to work with, not fight against. As we educate ourselves to the potential circumstances of climate change we look at the crops we are growing and the varieties within those crops.”
For the last several years, climate change has been a pressing topic of discussion at the wine grape symposiums she attends.
“The future of our award-winning wine and beer industry depends on it, too,” Goschie said. “Will growing circumstances be the same in 10 or 20 years? Will the irrigation methods we are constantly improving upon be enough? And with the air we breathe and the ground we grow crops in, are we doing all we can to sustain those investments for the next generation? … And the scope of our farming now includes sharing those thoughts with our customers and their consumers.”
This is no easy task, especially with potential consumers across the globe. To that end Goschie Farms chose a third-party certification, Salmon-Safe, to help with that.
“After almost 20 years, Salmon-Safe continues to keep us on target and on our customers’ radar as consumer awareness continues to broaden,” she added. “The very nature of our business hinges upon sustainability; being stewards of the land is how our industry survives.”
Salmon-Safe offers a series of peer-reviewed certification and accreditation programs linking site development land management practices with the protection of agricultural and urban watersheds. Certification requires management practices that protect water quality and restore habitat.
In October of 2016 the City of Portland became the first city in the world to achieve this certification across city operations and has challenged other cities to do the same. The Goschies are happy that Oregon’s largest city has adopted for every park and byway the sustainability practices they’ve been doing on the farm for nearly two decades. “And as we always wish to point out, so many of our farming neighbors are doing the same,” added Glenn Goschie.
“It’s a great time for Oregon Agriculture and those of us multi-generational businesses that have built it and maintain it,” he said.