Fields Farm

FF_CSA_pickup.jpgFarm Bio

In the southeast corner of Bend, Oregon, nestled amid newly built homes, and three blocks from the public library, there is an organic farm. Jim and Debbie Fields bought the property in 1989- ten acres of high desert quack grass pasture land. In order to create a particular lifestyle for his family, Fields says, “It was part of our values to have a farmstead.” The land had been farmed in the past and had excellent water rights, and Fields says that although it was not his intention in the beginning to be a farmer, that “sometimes there’s synergy in these things…and it all kind of came together.” When they bought their property, the Fields had just adopted their three children- Hesca, age seven; Nami, age six; and Katchi, age two from Guatemala.

Jim Fields says, “We were lucky enough that when we first came home with the kids, that we had three months when Debbie didn’t work and I didn’t work... so that gave us some adjustment time that we needed to figure out what it meant to be a family. And that was a wonderful thing.” The three siblings were raised on the farm, with Jim Fields as the at-home farming Dad, while Debbie Fields continued her work as a Public Health nurse. The children attended Bend schools, and at the time of the interview, the youngest was 16.

Jim Fields is originally from Oklahoma. He moved to Oregon after a bike tour of the area, and attended Southern Oregon State College, graduating in 1982. He and Debbie were married in 1986. Upon purchasing their property in 1989, Fields took an OSU Extension Master Gardening class, and had just read Eliot Coleman’s book on farming in cool climates.FF_jim_and_dan_1.jpg

Fields Farm is situated at the edge of the Oregon Great Basin, at an elevation of 3,650 feet. Fields characterizes the climate as “extreme” and adds that while they have “tons of sunlight hours,” the cool temperatures and 90 day growing season make it impossible to grow crops with any certainty. Daytime temperatures rarely reach 90 degrees, and evenings cool to below 50, even during the warmest time of the year.

from Rural Roots Case Study of Fields Farm