13 May 2011

Good Natured Gardens

Good natured soil

Every organic farmer I’ve ever met has said they’re in it for the love not the money. That’s doubly true in the case of Good Natured Gardens. The proprietors, who met at Pacific University four years ago, now live and farm together in a St. John’s house nicknamed “Propagation House.”

Stephanie Moore, 28, and Brandon Mazur, 29, spent three years together at Gales Meadow Farm, in an apprenticeship-like program that has organically (no pun intended) developed at the farm located near Gales Creek in Forest Grove, OR.

Stephanie says, “Brandon was already at Gales Meadow and I decided to go after a job there and go after Brandon too!”

Besides the St. John’s house, the farmers rented a small field that is part of another family’s 40-acre lot on Sauvie Island. They borrowed a tractor, broke ground last September, and have been pretty much working non-stop since.  When Good Natured Gardens debuts at the King Market in June, much of the squash, onions, broccoli and other produce will be from the Sauvie Island garden.

The St. John’s house has earned its moniker. Stephanie sounds like any proud mama: “We grew 4,000 tomato starts in our urban, backyard garden and greenhouse.”  They are selling the starts at Portland Farmers Market and through a very grass roots CSA. “Basically our neighbors in the St. John’s community,” says Stephanie.

Good Natured Gardens will be a welcome addition to the King Market with their array of heirloom tomatoes and their special attention to greens. They’re working hard to cultivate a perfect salad mix, and hope that it will become one of their specialties.

Stephanie's fave

When asked to name their favorite tomato out of the many varietals making up those 4,000 starts, Stephanie said she loves good old sun gold cherry tomatoes. Brandon piped in, “The green zebras, and the pink heirlooms and the…”

We look forward to trying them all. Good Natured Gardens will be at the PSU Market through the month of May and will join the King Market from June through October. To find out what Stephanie and Brandon will be featuring at their booth each month, visit their website for the latest updates.

by Brooke Myers

Brooke Myers grew up in Connecticut, and moved to Portland in 1994 after graduating from Colorado College. She has worked as a bartender, Willamette Week Calendar Editor, yoga instructor,  and Farmer’s Market columnist for the Portland Tribune. For the past five years she has been at Providence ElderPlace with the world’s greatest job title: Life Enrichment Coordinator. King is her local market where she supplements her Dancing Roots CSA.