by RYAN MOEGGENBERG
Boundless Farmstead is a new Central Oregon farm, starting their first full year already committed to supply fresh food to 30 CSAs plus contracts with local restaurants and Agricultural Connections for distribution. Jackson’s Corner alone is buying 400-500 lbs of potatoes per week from Boundless owners David Kellner-Rhode and Megan French. Megan and David showed Marcee and I around their new operation at the family farm on Walker Road in Alfalfa at the end of March and things were already growing. The hot house was filled with waves of sprouts and many had already graduated to the brand new, huge hoop houses.
This passionate, young couple are off to a great start with their new venture due to their history in the local food movement and commitment to providing the best quality food for our community. Megan volunteers at Central Oregon Locavore working to promote local food and farmers and is a board member for the Bend Farmers Market. David has six seasons of farming experience under his belt. He started in McMinnville by organizing a community garden and then managed a farm-to-table farm. With those experiences under his belt, he leased land on his own to grow for a 30-member CSA. Then, after moving to Bend he spent two years working with Jim at Fields Farm. With his mother and father, they now own a larger piece of land in Alfalfa that has enabled the dawn of Boundless Farmstead.
David and Megan have a goal of creating a full, on-farm income for each of them grossing $100,000 per year. Through growing up on a farm spending my summers on my grandparents dairy farm I can tell you that $100,000 sounds like a lot until you figure in the expenses. Their biggest challenge so far has been the startup funding for their infrastructure including major expenses for new irrigation pipe, three greenhouses costing $7000 each, a wash facility and a walk in cooler. David admitted that the non-farming tasks have been daunting, but are an important stage before they can get to their love of actual farming. Along with the setup of their new farm they have gutted and are finishing the inside of their new home. I had commented about the difficulty of marketing for a new farm, but through their years of volunteering and connections they said that it was a fairly easy process. They agreed that Wholesale Success classes through familyfarmed.org was a great benefit that taught them food safety, selling, postharvest handling and packing produce.
When I asked what I could do to help them through highlighting them in this article, their answer was “awareness.” First, Megan said that everyone needs to know the difference between the
taste of store bought vs fresh and local. They said that it only takes one high volume restaurant to support the startup of a new farm. Getting to know their customers is a priority so they scheduled the CSA pickup at Jackson’s Corner East where they are able to enjoy a meal and hang out together. Lastly, they are looking for volunteers to help with the Farm Kids program. Boundless has partnered with Central Oregon Locavore to host a total of seven schools on the farm to teach kids about farming in the high desert and give them hands-on experience. You can meet Megan and David by visiting them at their CSA pickup or at the Downtown Bend Farmers Market this summer.
photos by Marcee Hillman