After an amazing little road trip from California up into Oregon, we dropped off our hired car in the sweet little town of Corvallis. We were then picked up in a truck, or, as we would call it in South Africa, a “bakkie”, by our fellow WWOOFer Alex who drove us to Kings Valley Gardens, an organic blueberry farm. We spent 2 weeks at this farm and both Pete and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. Our host was so wonderful and passionate about farming and gardening and living sustainably. This farm is a well established WWOOF farm, having had over 400 WWOOFers. We got to meet and work with some really interesting people from all over the States. We camped out in the field and there was a great communal area for cooking and hanging out. The work was fun as our host, Andrea, tried to keep it diverse and interesting and made sure we had plenty of good, healthy food from the garden to eat.
We started out our mornings slow, which was a real treat as I love slow mornings. We would wake up to the birds chirping and the sun rising and would slowly make our way out of our tent to grab some coffee and oats (usually covered in fresh blueberries). I would do some yoga stretches and read my book under the apple trees before we would have some optional group meditation time for 15 minutes. This was, for me, such an awesome way to start the day, fresh and content and ready to get busy. Our work ranged from weeding to harvesting from the beautiful veggie gardens to blueberry picking and even jam making. We got to have some great conversations with the other WWOOFers and Andrea while working, which was really interesting. As one of our good friends Richard says, people are fascinating and we can learn so much from one another if we are open to it. I loved the blueberry picking, partly because I have never been given the opportunity to eat so many fresh, plump blueberries in my life. I just did not ever get sick of them. It was like blueberry oats in the morning, mid morning blueberry snack, blueberries in the fruit salad at lunch, afternoon blueberry snack and still some for dessert after dinner. I was really grateful for the beautiful food we were able to consume. We ate so much delicious fruit like melons, apples, pears and, well of course, blueberries. Another favourite from the garden were these bright orange cherry tomatoes called “sungolds” and the huge cucumbers, zucchinis and beans. We even made an apple crisp. We learned how to make some truly great meals as we had a food and clean up roster, so we each had turns to cook for the group.
The Kings Valley area is really picturesque, with forests surrounding the area and a river with an amazing swimming hole, where we spent afternoons after sweating in the gardens. On Saturdays Andrea sold her fresh blueberries and fruit jams at the Corvallis Farmers Market. We got to help her out and see some of the town. One of the other WWOOFers even took us dumpster diving, where we found some still packaged bagels. Once the market closed at around 2pm, all the farm stalls would trade their unpurchased food with each other. I loved this idea, trading blueberries for some shiitake mushrooms, watermelon and other goods. On Saturday evenings we often went to little farmer parties like the zucchini party and a talent show in the woods. Sundays were our days off and we pretty much just chilled, went hiking and ate more blueberries. I really can not make any complaints about our time at this special place. I found each person there to be really unique and inspirational in one way or another. I really look up to Andrea, our host, who has so much love for the Earth and her fellow humans on it. She worked so damn hard on her farm, but always had a smile on her face and always had a handful of things she was grateful for, which she would share with us at each meal. Her homemade jams are amazing too and she even gave us some to take on our travels. What a special person and what a beautiful piece of America. Pete and I are both really grateful for the time we got to spend there.
As my camera ran out of batteries on our first day at the farm, a lot of the photos shared here are crappy phone photos. Please excuse them.
The communal area
Our stall at the Corvallis Farmers Market
The blueberry fields
We took a hike up a mountain called Mary’s Peak and this was the view from the top
Oregon has some beautiful forests
The swimming hole
A day’s harvest from the veggie garden