Hard Red Wheat
The landscape and geology of Dunbar Farms is unique. The “Rocky Knoll”, seen on our home page header and which serves as the inspiration for our wine label, is a landmark in the landscape of East Medford and the Rogue Valley. With a host of different fields, forests, riparian zones and crops arrayed upon and beneath it, we have been compelled to diversify our agricultural activities. Few of our fields are flat, and there are only a few pockets where the soil is loamy enough to support growing vegetable crops. Most of the soils on our side of the valley are heavy clay - fine for growing pears, hay, other perennials and grains, but limited in their use. There are a number of wetland areas on the farm, home to all kinds of riparian life, and the farm also boasts a den of coyotes, an elusive bobcat, and a few errant deer that nibble their way through the vineyards and the vegetable rows.
The Native Farm Landscape - 1909
Because the terrain is so diverse, it seems only natural that our activities should be diverse, too. As our understanding of agriculture has evolved, we have moved towards wanting to model the farm as an ecosystem, balanced in its types of uses and generating the necessary inputs for one activity from the by-products of another. The metaphor “everything is connected” is an overused cliché in the newly green-obsessed world, but we have a very tangible and practical opportunity to put the concept to work.
We are interested in looking at the farm, whenever possible, as a closed-loop ecosystem, generating as much of our inputs on the farm itself -- be those nutrients, seeds, or power. As we learn how to do more tasks with our team of draft horses and hopefully replace some of the tasks we currently do with tractors, we will move towards truly generating our own power on the farm. We have also placed tremendous effort towards learning how to efficiently process, clean and reuse seed, particularly grain, gradually adapting the genetics to suit our region and climate.
Diversity and integration also play a very important economic role on the farm, helping ensure a stable base. When one or two crops succumb to a strange weather year we have about 80 others to take their place or storable foods like grain and beans stockpiled in the barn to provide to our customers. With our focus on selling directly to the local community, the diversity of production means the convenience level for our customers is very high (one-stop shopping) and that our market can be smaller in numbers but bigger in degree of support. We cultivate dedicated customers who eat largely and directly from the farm, year-round.
Lastly, we aim to serve as mentors to the next generation of farmers, both by offering internships to learn the delicate art of farming and through our work with children in our education garden. We have partnered with Kids Unlimited of Medford and Rogue Valley Farm 2 School to offer after-school programs, school field trips and summer programs for youth at the farm.