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Oregon Consumers Pave the Way in Farm Direct Sales.

Submitted by on September 14, 2011 – 3:00 pm

Buying locally has emerged from a consumer trend into big business, with farm-direct sales in Oregon leading the way (suggested by the most recent data from the US Department of Agriculture’s census), placing Oregon at number two nationally behind Vermont in sales per consumer.

Behind the numbers are companies that strictly source locally grown products, enabling family-owned farms to grow indigenously — effecting the environment and our local economies. Barbara Baumnan, of Gervais-based Baumnan Farms, relies heavily on companies like these that support the local farms. Such patronage enables her family-owned farm to grow fruit and move beyond products such as grain or grass that have longer shelf-lives — thus turning her passion for creating and selling pies that highlight the fruit she grows into a successful business.

“Commitments from companies that embrace the farm-direct mentality not only make an impact on my business, but they affect our entire community as a whole,” said Baumnan.  “We take a hands-on approach to growing our fruit, shying away from the use of machines, which keeps more laborers employed.”

Being able to grow and sell produce that is indigenous to the land is more sustainable and makes sense economically. Craig McCurdy of McCurdy Farms has been growing pears out of Hood River’s pear-loving landscape since 1992, after taking the helm from his parents who originally bought the farm in 1969.

Growing indigenously allows McCurdy to use fewer pesticides, which in turn creates better-tasting, quality fruit. Moreover, time spent monitoring the crops can be kept at a minimum, thus decreasing costs.

“My farm could use a lot more companies like Oregon Growers,” said McCurdy. “When companies source products locally, efficiency is at its best. Farm-direct business greatly lowers shipping costs, fuel and time — increasing both sustainability and affordability.”

* Provided by US Department of Agriculture’s census released in 2009 (the census is conducted every five years).

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