The Farm & The Farmers
Mahonia Gardens is a one-acre market garden in Sisters, Oregon, dedicated to growing quality produce. While we are not certified organic, we use absolutely no harmful chemicals in our production—no pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or anything. Instead we focus on growing healthy soil by making and adding loads of compost, adding minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. We also maintain strong biodiversity of plants with both annual and perennial varieties. This creates habitat for many beneficial organisms including insects, mycelium, and bacteria.
We primarily cultivate in 4’-wide intensive, permanent beds resembling the French-Intensive or Bio-Intensive styles of Alan Chadwick or John Jeavons. Given our limited space, we maintain small paths—usually about 1’ wide—to accommodate the greatest amount of cultivated space. Most labor on the farm is done by hand, using broadforks and digging forks to create and maintain beds. Though we occasionally use a small rototiller, we are gradually working toward a no-till system.
2017 will be our fifth season as a market farm. We grow around 40 vegetable crops that will be included in your weekly box throughout the summer, including: beets, carrots, turnips, onion, potatoes, garlic, radishes, sunchokes, broccoli, cabbage, napa cabbage, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, kale, chard, parsley, cilantro, salad mix (baby kale, radicchio, baby chard, arugula, spinach, lettuce, mustard), and more.
Some of our other visions include expanding our compost production, growing more seed crops, mushrooms, and producing more value-added products.
Carys and Benji, now each 28 years old, met in college in Southern Oregon. Having already established a love for organic gardening and permaculture, they bonded quickly and began gardening together and working on various farms. After completing apprenticeships in 2012 in Sonoma County, California, the two decided to move back to Benji’s hometown of Sisters to start Mahonia Gardens.
Aside from farming, the two love to hike, swim, practice yoga and enjoy live music in the evenings. Carys teaches yoga and is a skilled carpenter, and Benji works as a semi-professional musician throughout the year.