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JOMEL Adventures Positivity (def): "Anything other than being in the office."

Kings Valley Gardens

USA | Wednesday, 21 May 2008 | Views [1806]

Our 3rd organic farm was in Kings Valley, near Corvalis in Oregon. It was a beautiful 7 hour drive to Kings Valley- so green! It was cool though, a little more sunshine separating the rain would have been nice. We arrived on 21st May.
Andrea and John are the couple who run Kings Valley Gardens. They were the most positive couple we have ever met! I swear neither uttered a single negative word during our stay there. Their house was full of smiles, laughter and terribly lame jokes.
Andrea and John run an organic farm and sell jellys, jams, and spreads which Andrea makes herself at the local farmer's market. But they also both have day jobs as it is just so hard to make a living from a farm. They had self sustainability down to an art though, with a solar powered shower (backed up by their wood heater for periods when there isn't much sun- exactly like the week when we were there), a tractor that ran off biodiesel so it smelled like french fries, and a composting toilet (which I was not game to try!). Plus they had a huge garden, blueberry patch, and green house.
Jo and I had our own room inside the house- and a double bed! This was a luxury we had not had for a while and it was very much welcomed, especially as it was a pretty cold and wet week in Oregon and we didn't want to be sleeping outside. We didn't start work til 10am there- yay for sleeping in! (which I did a lot of :).
There were two other wwoofers at Kings Valley, Kendra and Crystal. Jo found he had a captive audience at each meal and went on and on about Australian this and that- we all learnt a lot about Australia at that dinner table! :)
Kings Valley Gardens had a few different practices to ourselves- but that was all part of the wwoofing and learning experience. Before we began each meal everyone around the table held hands, closed their eyes and said what they were thankful for, one after another. Jo and I were both pretty uncomfortable to start with, but after a while I began to appreciate it, (despite my food gettig cold on my plate before me) I thought it was good way of reminding yourself of the good things in your life. It wasn't a religious practice, it was anything you wanted it to be. By the end of the week however Jo and I were having trouble finding new and creative things to be thankful for. Sad to say we have not continued giving thanks before each meal since leaving Kings Valley, but it will be a lasting memory of our time there.
Another interesting fact was that Andrea and John are vegan so we ate a completely vegan diet while there. And the food was awesome! Very tasty, very fresh and lots of it! Though you needed to eat a lot to fill you up. It's not a diet I could continue on my own as there is just way too much preparation needed to be vegan.
The first few days we worked in the garden, mostly around the blueberry patch- I'd have to guess they had 200 bushes and each one needed to have the long grass pulled (by hand) from around the base, and then mulched. It was a tedious task, especially in the rain but we managed to finish it before we left! We also did a little planting and transplanting. This is where I first discovered my love for gardens.
Next day we started making lavendar jelly. Jo was not so keen on this so he remained at the farm and dug up the green house (expanding the indoor garden) while the girls hit the kitchen. It was great learning the process of jamming- something I had never done before- and it is a long and time-consuimg job! We were using a local school kitchen which had been hygenically approved so the products could be sold to the public. The lavendar jelly was oh so sweet and we learnt the difference between the types:
jelly- super super sweet and sugary!
jam- sweet but not as much
spread- much less sugary
I'm very keen to do some of my own jamming in the future- though I might opt for a spread rather than a jelly.
On Friday one of Kings Valley's oldest and dedicated wwoofers, Emily, came for a visit and brough two friends, TJ from Banks nearby and Renault from France. It was fun having such a full household and meeting some more new people. Turns out TJ's dad is Aussie so we hit it off and TJ even offered for s to visit her and her family.
On Sat 24th May we helped Andrea at the farmer's market. Her jams were a hit! We couldn't keep up with the samples- everyone loves free food.
Corvalis is a great town- we loved it there. Small, but funky, a really nice vibe. Definitely a town worth visiting.
Suddenly a week had flown by and it was time toleave. We decided we needed to stay longer at our next farm- a week is just not long enough! We said our goodbye's and hit the road again.

Tags: blueberries, corvalis, farm, oregon, wwoofing


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