Local family offers alternative to industrial food 'game'
For several vendors at the Mount Hood Farmers Market, their trade is not only a pastime, but a lifestyle, especially for Nute Farms.
Tiffani and Ric Nute, and their daughter Lu, have been raising their own food for five years, and now grow vegetables, edible flowers, rabbits, ducks, chickens, the food those creatures eat — you name it — on a small plot of land at Slice of Heaven Farms just outside of Sandy.
"I'm really dissatisfied with the industrial meat game right now," said Tiffani. "(I believe) it's a life, so it should be sacred, and also because it's our food. As my mom used to say 'garbage in, garbage out.'"
The family's ultimate goal, therefore, is to provide a "clean, humane resource" for not only the food on their dinner table, but also their neighbors'.
The Nutes came to work at Slice of Heaven Farms in 2015 for Marieta and Brandon Easley. Before that most of their "farming" took place within the confines of a small apartment in Portland.
"(Brandon told us) 'not only are you going to farm, but you're going to be a farmer, because that's what I'm growing: farmers," Ric Nute recounted.
Since then the Oregon natives have traded labor for their own plot of land, and they've even grown that plot by five rows this season, which has "really allowed them to diversify."
As a growing farm, the family says the biggest challenge they face is "being able to keep up with succession planting."
"(We need to have) an adequate supply from week to week," Tiffani said.
"The biggest challenge is finding time to sow seed and cultivate, and still run a household," Ric noted.
This is their first full season at the farmers market.
"The Easleys are really strong supporters of farmers markets," Tiffani said, noting that so far the Nutes have enjoyed the small-town experience. "It's good to feed people. We're trying to become the home of the dollar bundle."
The Nutes offer small bunches of salad greens at a dollar apiece so local families can afford healthy food.
"The people at the market, not just the customers, but the other vendors there are great people," Tiffani noted. "It's almost like a family."