Danny Dalton, Martina Dalton, Jeannie Berg, Queener Farm
The Farm: 40 acre diversified heritage farm near Stayton, OR
Established: 1865 by Andrew Jackson Queener, Danny and Martina Dalton took ownership in 2014.
What They Seed:
- currants: black, red, white and pink
- over 119 apple varieties
- heirloom squash: Marianna
- flint corn from Adaptive Seeds
- 3 different kinds of strawberries
- a few Red Wattle pigs
Where You Can Find Them:
Farm is open: Saturdays from July – November
Heirloom Apple Club: open for residents of Portland, Salem, Monmouth, Independence and Stayton.
Farmers Markets: Corvallis Farmers Market (Saturday), Salem Wednesday Market
Feeders They Supply: Over 72 feeders in Oregon
Restaurants (just to name a few): Ava Genes, Higgins, Ned Ludd, Trifecta, Nostrana, Lincoln, Maurice, Hunt and Gather, Le Pigeon, Fenrir, Hot Lips Pizza, Hair of the Dog, Trifecta, Three Degrees
Other: 12 bakers, 12 grocers, co ops in Corvallis, and craft liquor, beer and cider producers
Queener Farm was founded in 1865 by Andrew Jackson Queener. Tommy Van DeCamp, originally from England, operated the farm until the 1990s and brought over many British varieties like their Victoria Plums. In 2014 Danny and Martina Dalton took over Queener Farm, applying their degrees in agricultural science. Jeannie Berg of Fertile Ground Farms and Gardens joined the team in October 2014.
Currently, Queener Farm hosts over 200 apple trees of 119 different varieties and over 100 currant plants. Dedicated to diversified farming, Queener Farm is constantly growing the diversity of the farm also producing squash, strawberries, pumpkins and always adding to their list.
Queener Farm is best known for its fruit trees and currant plants. Their apple varieties range from the Lady which was developed in 1500s, the Rambo apple which was the inspiration behind the name of yes, THE Rambo, all the way to more modern and known varieties such as the Honeycrisp.
Other fruit produced by Queener Farm is equally as assorted such as Bartlet pears, mullberries, seven varieties of peaches, and even gooseberries. One of the most outstanding fruits Queener Farm lays claim to are their currants which are black, red, white and pink.
By listening to Chefs, Producers and customers Queener Farm brings valuable feedback into their farming. While walking the LET um EAT team around there was constant dialogue about how their produce would taste and how it could be incorporated into recipes. When choosing which variety of flint corn they would grow, it was as simple as: “those will be fun bar snacks”. Or their Belle DeBoskoop apple which, according to the Dutch, is the only apple you should use to make Strudel. “My favorite apples are Rubinettes, they will melt your brain up. I’ll never forget how good my first bite was”, says Jeannie Berg.
Due to their exceptional apple varieties and focus on growing for flavor, Queener Farm has been able to carve out quite the niche for itself by supplying cider companies such as Two Towns Ciderhouse and Reverend Nat’s Cider.
Two Towns Ciderhouse buys nearly half of their less attractive apples. “Cider makers make it possible for us to be profitable”, says Berg.
While the rise in popularity of cider companies is currently a huge contributing factor to the success of Queener Farm, their staying power is rooted in their natural process of constant innovation and passion to grow for flavor.
“If it’s not exciting then we don’t make it” – Jeannie Berg
Queener Farm is also all about community and educating people about food by getting them out to the farm. Whether this is by U-Pick Foodie Pumpkin patch, open farm on Saturday or their soon-to-be Food Truck parked out front, they want people to feel free to come see their food.
To address disease and pest control a few of Queener’s secrets are planting more disease resistant varieties, spacing between plants and putting the thinnings from their first pick in packs and taking it off the farm. Berg is also a big supporter of cover crop and growing red clover between squash so she can feed the land while growing.
“We’re replenishing while we grow”
One of the secrets to their many varieties of healthy, high yielding fruit trees (both old and new) is Top Grafting. “How apples move is not by the seed, but by the wood”, Berg explains. Side note: you have to get out to Queener Farm to see how they do this!
As advanced as their practices are, Queener Farm is also defined by historical influences and varieties. Jeannie’s favorite tomato is a heart shaped tomato that first came to the Willamette Valley in the early 1900s, which can now be found in the Adaptive Seeds catalogue.
One of our favorite things about Queener Farm is their Heirloom Apple Club. By joining the Apple Club members receive a box of apples every other week from mid-August to December.
Queener Farm, Jeannie and their dedication to showing people what real apples and fruit taste like is nothing short of incredible. We are thrilled to have them as part of the LET um EAT Family!
Jeannie Berg’s advice to new Seeders:
- “Learn to live on a little”
- “Scale the bills down”
- “Try it out and make sure your passionate about farming, you’ve got to love it.
- “Spend time on farms”
- when looking for land: “Make sure the water rights fit your vision. The place and the rules have to meet your vision”