Seeders: Clare Carver & Brian Marcy, Big Table Farm
The Farm: fully diversified – 70 acre historic farm in Gaston – 40 miles Southwest of Portland
What They Seed: egg-laying hens, pastured poultry (Freedom Rangers), heritage breed pigs (Guinea Hogs), Dexter cattle and a large garden, complete with 2 beautiful draft horses and a couple of farm dogs
Where You Can Find Them:
Direct to Consumer: Products from Big Table Farm are a hot commodity on the farm and what isn’t consumed is offered to their mailing list each season.
Wine: Visit the Big Table Farm website to learn about purchasing their wine.
Their Story: In the early 2000s, Clare and Brian were living in downtown Napa, working hard in the wine industry and fully restoring their old craftsman house. Lucky for them, they sold in 2006, right before the economic downturn. They bought a historic farm with an old farm house in Oregon and moved North to establish Big Table Farm. Brian started to make wine under this label, renting space from a nearby winery and purchasing grapes from Oregon and California, while Clare continued her artistic endeavors and created beautiful labels for the bottles in addition to marketing and managing sales. Their second full-time job became the 70 acre farm with heritage breed pigs, cows, pasture raised chickens and a garden. Most of what they grow goes to feed themselves and their friends around the long table in the dining room of their old Victorian farmhouse. A limited amount of meat is sold direct to consumer.
In 2013 Clare and Brian made a call out for Founders of their new on-farm winery project: a $1700 contribution would get a Founder 2 tickets to a special Founders Dinner Summer 2014, 6 magnums of special release wine and their name on the winery. They received support from 87 people and the project now is underway, with expected completion by winter 2014. Eventually they hope to plant grapes on the property as well.
Brian and Clare are living the dream.
Mentors: Duane VanDyke of Yamhill mentors Clare with her draft horses. Otherwise, Clare and Brian have what they call a “cooperative mentorship” with other farmers in the area including Square Peg Farm, Champoeg Creamery and Afton Field Farm.
Advice to New Farmers:
“Grow as slowly as you can”
“There is no right way to farm, that’s like someone telling you how to run your small business, your restaurant, or your life”
“There’s this old saying that green plus green equals black and blue” – on a new rider with new horses