ADDRESS: 39123 Mason Rd. NE, Albany, OR 97322
OWNERS: Bridget Chipman, Marshall Haueter
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 3
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Volunteers only
WHAT THEY SELL: Fresh produce, chicken and duck eggs, wheat and beans
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For unique foods and flavors – and to support young farmers
Goosefoot Farm offers high quality produce, including some varieties you can’t find anywhere else in the region. Owners Bridget Chipman and Marshall Haueter are fairly new to the business, but they’re doing well selling their goods at the Corvallis Farmers’ Market and through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). They are passionate about producing healthful food in a sustainable way, helping to promote good nutrition and a healthy food system for local residents.
When and why did you decide to start your business? We started our farm three years ago. We had a great opportunity to rent a good piece of land with a path to ownership, so we seized it! We had met while we were in student leadership positions at OSU’s College of Agriculture. So this was a dream come true for us!
Tell us about your products. What are your specialties and favorites? We grow and sell mostly vegetables, including a lot of unusual varieties. We want to introduce our customers to some unique flavors. We also grow a lot of storage crops, such as onions, root vegetables, and squash. We farm using sustainable practices, including drip irrigation and dry farming.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? It’s a great way for us to get our name out there. It means a lot for a small, local business like ours to have a platform!
Do you fill an unusual niche? Why should folks patronize your business? We grow some unique varieties of produce that you can’t find anywhere else in the community, such as Jelly Melons, which are also known as Horn Melons. Providing fresh, high-quality local food to the community is important to us.
What challenges have you faced as independent local business owners, and how have you met those challenges? Access to capital is a big challenge for us. We meet that challenge by being very frugal and careful about what we purchase. We haven’t needed to take out any loans. We work hard to make ends meet. I (Bridget) work at two jobs in addition to the farm. Marshall works at a bakery, as well as running the farm. We’re constantly working to improve our farm. For example, we’re currently in the process of buying a cooler to store food, and we’re building a shed for supplies.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for the local independents? It’s the local independent businesses that give the community a sense of place. They also help educate people about the value of buying locally. Our customers are looking for local eggs and meats because they’ve learned why it’s important to purchase your food from people you know and trust. As for the future, we hope to see more staple crops grown in the area, along with a higher proportion of peoples’ calories consumed coming from local foods.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you? What makes you keep changing and improving? We enjoy living our dream as farmers. One of the most exciting things about farming is seeing the direct correlation between action and outcome – being part of the process from the seed to the fruit. We learn a lot from other farmers: what they’ve done, efficient practices, insights, and data on what sells. It helps to know where to put our energy, since we expend so much of it providing healthy foods for the community.
What is your relationship to the community? What charities or community organizations do you support or participate in? We take personal satisfaction from our relationships to the community. We both came here for school, and we found that there’s a small-town richness in Corvallis. In terms of giving back to the community, we donate vegetables to the gleaners group and to the food bank in Jefferson.
How important is sustainability to you? Have you taken steps to save energy, reduce your use of other resources, decrease your carbon footprint, reduce waste, etc.? Sustainability is a really strong driver for our farm, our choices for the land and for the people working it. We use ecological farming practices, and we’re also working on getting enough solar power to meet most of our needs, such as powering our house and cooler.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. Goosefoot is a small farm with high quality produce and eggs, working to expand local food availability to the community.
(Interview and article by Nicole Riehl – February 5, 2017)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).