So what happens when Heritage Farms Northwest meets Airlie Hills Farm? Lots and lots of pumpkins transfer their location from their farm to our farm. Each year the pumpkin migration is looked forward to by eager Red Wattle pigs as well as by our mixed beef cow herd.
It all started 2 years ago in the fall of 2008. We had just brought Red Wattle hogs to Oregon and I was on the lookout for good, local feed sources for them. After all, its better for everyone if you can feed your animals from local sources and sometimes it is even a bit cheaper. Anyway, there I was, driving down the road on a brisk Oct. day when I passed by a new pumpkin patch at Airlie Hills Farm. There hadn’t been one at that farm the year before, but lately all sorts of new things had been popping up at this particular farm. Hydroponically grown strawberrys and this new pumpkin patch were both part of their new projects. I gazed longingly at their 3+ acres of pretty orange pumpkins and wondered what on earth they were going to do with all of them after Halloween had passed. Would they just plow them under or did they have some other plan for them? Pigs love pumpkins you know. Cows do too.
This is likely the best time of year for the pigs and cows (in their opinion anyway). They get all they can eat at the pumpkin smorgasboard. Bellies are fat and faces are all smeared with orange goo. And for the humans, we get a good workout lifting, tossing and basically using our backs to move all those pumpkins. I’d love to weigh them all, but if I had to guess, I’d say we likely haul 5+ tons of pumpkins each year. This year Airlie Hills Farm grew very BIG pumpkins which meant fewer trips, but they were harder to pick up. Last year there were zillions of small pumpkins, which meant lots of trips, but we could stand 20 feet away and toss them into the pickup bed. Each year its something different. One year it might be pouring down rain (last year!!) or it might be warm and sunny (this year!!!). But each year it is a great gift to have this fabulous local food source just up the road from us and we appreciate it.
Next year we will be setting Aaron and his wife Sarah up with a couple of young American Guinea hogs for their farm animal petting zoo that they have at their patch each year. Cutest pigs you will ever meet and friendly too!