Seminar to aid small-farm operators

Mitch Lies/For the Capital Press Arianna Pyne with a heirloom tomato plant on her Southern Oregon farm, will lead a session on small farms with her husband, Tucker Pyne, during the Northwest Agricultural Show. The small farm showcase is new to the ag show this year.

New this year to the Northwest Agricultural Show is a presentation on small acreage farms.

Show Manager Amy Patrick said she decided to provide the presentation in deference to an increase of interest in small farms from those new to farming and from traditional farmers.

“It seemed like a natural fit, given what I’m seeing in my local area,” Patrick said.

“I’m seeing that a lot of kids that I grew up with, who came from larger farms, today don’t have the larger farms themselves, but they still have that background and still want to do something with the acreage they have,” Patrick said.

Presenters for the small acreage farming seminar are Tucker and Arianna Pyne, who operate a small farm just outside Rogue River, Ore., and sell at the Ashland and Grants Pass farmers’ markets.

The two are from the Bay Area, but took to farming as they entered their 20s. Three years ago, Tucker purchased what is now Black Dog Farmstead.

They grow a variety of row crops and are preparing to plant a peach orchard that will be interspersed with blueberry plants and herbs. They also have bee hives, goats, chickens and are preparing to branch into quail eggs and quail meat production.

They are preparing to increase the acreage they farm from 2 1/2 to 4.

Arianna, who has been farming with Tucker for nearly two years, said farm life is all she dreamed of and more.

“A lot of people who live in the city have this storybook image of what a farm should be, and what it is like to live on a farm,” she said. “But the realities about farming are different.

“The adjustment for me was realizing that your back is going to hurt, and you are going to have dirt under your nails,” she said. “If you have an animal that is sick and that needs to be put down, that is something you have to deal with.

“Being a farmer is very hands-on,” she said. “And from the second you open your eyes to the second you close them, it is a full-time job, and sometimes even more than that.”

Arianna said she hesitated when she was asked to lead the seminar, but decided she may have something to offer the more established farmers who typically attend the ag show.

“Though we may have come from the city and we don’t know a lot of the fundamentals,” she said, “we are learning pretty quickly, and we are learning things that some large-scale farmers just wouldn’t know.”

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