About Heron’s Nest Organic Farm…

I’m April and I landed on the farm after marrying John. He had owned and run the farm for the 25 prior years doing fresh market, seeds and research. I had gone to school for horticulture, but was a stay-at-home-single-homeschooling-mom (boy that’s a mouthful) for 14 years. I made my living teaching homeschooled children writing, hands on history and science while running my own garden art business where I crafted steal sculptures with fused glass I made out back between lessons and many late nights. I continued making elaborate flower gardens wherever I lived.

From horticulture to organics…

Agriculture was not really my thing, so I was surprised to see how much I have learned to love farming from John. He graduated from Reed College in Oregon after writing a thesis in 1988 about the up and coming GMO revolution that would threaten the world’s food system; this was before they had learned how to genetically modify plants. He set out to save the world through growing and saving open pollinated seed and through organic advocacy. While running his organic fresh market farm John worked for Oregon Tilth as editor of their newsletter, then director of research and education, manager, and much more, during which time he traveled around speaking passionately about the importance of seed saving and organics. He is proud to have worked alongside many others to develop the NOP (National Organic Program).

About Heron

There was a crazy chicken lady in there all along…

So how did we come to produce the best organic pasture raised eggs, fermented hot pepper sauce and aftermarket yummies? Well, I fell in love with chickens and my husband said, ”maybe you want to do something with poultry out here…”, so I ordered 100 hens, read everything I could, used all the years of science I had from teaching homeschooled kids and a lot of trial and error, ONLY to find out a 100 chickens wasn’t enough. That’s OK! I discovered I loved breeding and chicken genetics.

 

Now I breed my own layers from commercial and heritage breeds to create hens that lay eggs in amazing colors and who are good pasture foragers. I began collecting and breeding English Orpingtons, upholding strict standards to create the finest quality birds possible which I ship all over the U.S. I even have new colors I’m working on.

John gets smokin’ hot for peppers…

About the time I figured out I was destined all along to be a crazy chicken lady, John decided that fermentation was what he was crazy about. So he dove in with his lawyer intelect (did I mention John went back to school for a law degree somewhere in there?). He learned everything he could about fermentation while we grew our first dedicated hot pepper sauce crop. I have to admit I thought this was insane (and the constant talk of the incredible microbial world of fermentation, Ph, blah blah was making me nuts), but I have learned that when John wants to do something he can’t be stopped. Low and behold our first batch of pepper sauce was a success, beloved by so many we sold out!

Making organics better…

So here we are. With pepper sauce, chickens, a wealth of knowledge, and a deep desire to make organics not just organic, but sustainable. We both love innovation and so it has been natural to spend our time designing systems that make the farm as biodynamic as possible. We run our chickens on paddocks of specially designed pasture (this makes for those great eggs high in omegas) that we then till to create fertile beds for our peppers to thrive in. We use our peppers and herbs on the farm to make chicken supplements and the deep littler in our hen houses to make the richest fertilizer for next year’s plantings – without chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. All the while isolating pepper varieties and saving seed for higher yields and vigor. It’s cyclical and sustainable!

Why we do what we do…

John and I are deeply spiritual and our connection to God has driven us to admire and respect the land. We feel it is a privilege and an honor to make our homestead a place that is as sustainable as possible. It may sound woo-woo, but we feel that by putting as much love and care into our animals and plants that you receive that love when you eat our food. We are truly grateful to be a part of sharing this planet with you.
We love organics, permaculture applications, biodynamic concepts and the chance to share that with people through the products we make and our conscious decision to farm the land with loving intentionality.