LORANE, Ore. — Christina del Campo said she has two babies: her two-year-old son, Quincy, and her farm, Oaksong Farm. The one-acre farm was established last year in the spring, and del Campo said she’s enjoyed the challenge of raising her son with the farm.
Already, he knows the names of the crops and other items around the farm, and doesn’t understand why his friends don’t have food in their backyard, del Campo said.
“I really like when Quincy goes out and picks carrots in the morning, is munching on cucumbers or obsessed with tomatoes,” she said. “He’ll eat basil. What kid does that? He’s a huge part of why I wanted a farm.”
Oaksong Farm is certified organic because del Campo’s background was environmental studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz, where she worked on the college’s organic farm.
“I learned so much about conventional versus organic agriculture,” she said. “It’s what we’re putting in our bodies and giving to others. I often joke that I can understand why someone’s conventional. I’ve just learned to embrace the weeds.”
After her time at the university, del Campo went into the Peace Corps as a Natural Resource Management Volunteer and helped farmers in their fields. She interned at the Dawn Institute in Northern California, managed Morning Star Farm on Orcas Island, Wash., tended olives in Spain and planted coffee in Hawaii.
“There are probably three to four times a week that I think of something another farmer has told me,” she said.
Although the Spain and Hawaii experiences were interesting opportunities for her, del Campo said they weren’t relevant to what she wanted to do because she knew she wanted to farm in the Pacific Northwest.
Oaksong Farm produces predominately vegetables, flowers and herbs. Del Campo’s mother, who is retiring to work on the farm full-time, also creates a value-added aspect by making preserves and sourdough bread. The family owns turkeys, but at this point the meat is raised for the family members for themselves — excluding del Campo, as she’s vegetarian — but in the future could be expanded to sell to customers as well.
Del Campo sells her produce at Oaksong’s farmstand as well as at farmers’ markets. She sells the flowers to local wineries, Iris and Silvan Ridge.
One of the more rewarding aspects for del Campo has been meeting all the customers.
“If they try something new and like it, or when the people at the farmstead are locals and tell me I’m filling a need in the community,” she said. “They’ve said, ‘We’re grateful you’re here.’”
As a beginner farmer, del Campo said the first five years will be experimenting with which products grow and sell the best. One of the biggest challenges she faces is that underneath her soil is clay, and there is excess water that bogs down the plants; next fall she aims to replant the beds downhill to correct that.
For del Campo, having the experience of farming is an important skillset that she wants to instill in her son through the farm.
“It’s important to have real life skills,” she said. “If it’s the end of the world, can you survive? He’ll be able to say, ‘I can kill animals to eat and grow my own food.’ I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always admired hands-on, practical skills.”