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A call to farms

Published on August 8, 2017 1:49PM

A peacock on parade at StarShine Ranch

A peacock on parade at StarShine Ranch

A restored covered bridge on North Forks River Road

A restored covered bridge on North Forks River Road

Elaine McNichols of StarShine Ranch shows one of her peacock eggs

Elaine McNichols of StarShine Ranch shows one of her peacock eggs

Poppy flowers from Rose & Baum Ranch • Photo courtesy of Rose & Baum

Poppy flowers from Rose & Baum Ranch • Photo courtesy of Rose & Baum

By Barbara B. Covell

For the TODAY

This is rural living at its finest. The Yachats River Valley is a showcase of luscious scenery, temperate climate and spacious living mere miles from the coast. The small farms up river from Yachats feature a unique blend of coastal and country lifestyles by offering a homegrown bounty of vegetables, fruit, seeds, flowers, shrubs, succulents, cactus, eggs, milk, livestock and peacocks.

Now in its eighth year, the Yachats River Valley Farm Tour is when “up river folk” roll out their welcome mats and offer visitors the opportunity to observe their operations, ask questions, and taste the fruit of their labors. A wide variety of products will be available for purchase.

Seven farms are participating in the Saturday, Aug. 12, event, each offering something unique. “The idea is to introduce people to farm life and country living,” said Catherine Lucido of Forks Farm. “It is free, fun, and outdoors. It is a beautiful environment and we have a lot of wildlife, including birds, deer and elk.”

Steven Rose and Colton Baumgartner of Rose and Baum Seed, echoed Lucido’s sentiments.

“So many people that come to the coast don’t experience rural living” Baumgartner said. “We get to share our passion.”

“And many of us have moved here from other places, other lives,” Rose added. “We’ve built our own houses, developed our farms, and dealt with waste and water systems. People come to see what is going on out here.”

Elaine McNichols of StarShine Ranch enjoys hosting visitors who are curious about her peacocks, llamas and alpacas.

“People really want to know more about the animals,” she said. “They enjoy the opportunity to pet and feed them.”

The Farm Tour draws locals from Depoe Bay, Newport, Florence, Waldport and Yachats, as well as visitors from the Valley, Eastern Oregon and California.

Each of the participating farms will have tour signage or balloons out front to attract sightseers. While visitors are free to meander the farm tour locations, Lucido recommends touring the greenhouses early, as they heat up in the afternoon hours. Many of the farms will provide free beverages and picnic areas, but suggest that visitors carry plenty of water. A public porta-potty will be available at the Forks Farm location.

Each farm offers something unique, so pack up the car, bring the kids, a picnic lunch and plenty of cold water. It is a scenic drive in a pastoral setting and the “up river folks” are waiting to share their gracious hospitality. A Farm Tour map is available at the Yachats Visitor’s Center or can be downloaded at www.yachats.org.

Not all of the farms accept debit or credit cards, be sure to bring cash. Cell phone reception can be spotty, so maps and screen shots may be helpful. For more information, contact Catherine Lucido at 541-547-4461.

The farm league

Seeds of Oregon (Judy Kaufman) and K+R Beef (Ryan and Tiffany Miner) at milepost 1.6, 1603 Yachats River Road. Offering vegetables, plants, flowers and homemade hot sauce; grass-fed cows, sheep, goats and chickens. They will have frozen meat available for purchase, including hamburger, beef, goat, lamb, and chicken, as well as fresh eggs for sale.

Forks Farm (Catherine Lucido) at milepost 7, 8 Yachats River Road, at the North Forks intersection. Offering organic blueberries, cut flowers, jam, veggies, squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers. The farm provides flowers for weddings and special occasions.

StarShine Ranch (Elaine McNichols) at 7.6 miles, 7611 Yachats River Road, South Fork. Featuring a petting zoo with 29 peacocks, five llamas, five alpacas and two goats. The farm offers feathers, fleece, four-leaf clovers, and peacock eggs for sale — plus baby peacocks on parade.

River Wind Farm (Ann Jensen) at 8472 Yachats River Road, South Fork. Offering lettuce, chard, kale, corn, cucumber and beef.

Yaquina Nursery (Gerri and Roy Foss) at 9724 Yachats River Road, South Fork. In business for more than 50 years, this is the place to buy succulents and cactus, featuring native and non-native North American varieties.

Rose and Baum (Steven Rose and Colton Baumgartner) at 10421 Yachats River Road, South Fork. Offering heirloom poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy flowers, fresh eggs, as well as the chance to see roosters and hens.

The Ranch (Nancy Kromer) at 10740 Yachats River Road, South Fork. Offering homemade breads, pies, tarts, jams, summer apples, blueberries for picking, roosters for sale and the chance to feed chickens and geese. Also taking 2018 orders for grass-fed beef.

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