The night camping at the marijuana farm was just the beginning of my exposure to Oregon agriculture.
On July 7, I awoke before all the pot farmers did and crawled out of my tent. I guess their sleep schedule differs from the farmers I’m used to.
By the end of this day, I’d meet more Oregon farmers–food farmers. Yet like the pot farmers, these garden-growers along the Pacific coast also stood apart from farmers as I know them back home in Minnesota.
First I had to reach them.
After getting smoked out of Mike’s marijuana growing operation located in what they call “the Green Triangle”–a US region of clashing cultures I hope to cover in greater depth this fall–I ventured the coast northward to the small, beachside community Manzanita.
Oregon is famous for its terrain and wildlife. It’s well deserved. By the time I arrived to Manzanita, I had seen sand dunes, freshwater lakes, a heard of elk, and plenty of stunning Pacific coastal views.
Yes, that’s right. A herd of elk just a few miles from sand dunes. It’s wasn’t a dream or a sci-fi novel. It’s the Oregon coast, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Approaching the coastal town of Reedsport, other travelers alerted me to something in the field along the road.
So I turned my car around, hopped out, and zoomed in on these:
A few miles later I reached the coast–and a tour along famous Highway 101.
Less famous is a site I didn’t expect.
Cruising along the highway, a green embankment to my left was suddenly interrupted with a 20-foot-wide band of pure sand.
“The ocean,” I thought, as I imagined what I’d see at the top.
So I stopped to climb. And if you can stomach my panting, I got some footage. It was mighty difficult, but don’t worry. I do all the work. You just get to sit back and discover what I saw at the top. It wasn’t the ocean.
Spoiler alert: here are the photos from the top.
While regularly turning my head to the left to catch the gnarly ocean views, the right-side scenery also vied for attention from time to time. One of these times was at a stunning lake. I spotted two fisherman loading up their boat at the landing. So I pulled my car around to talk fish.
“Any luck?” I asked as I approached.
“We got fish on the line, just not in the boat,” one of the guys joked.
The fish were large mouth bass.
I told these two where I came from, and they quickly responded.
“We go to Minnesota to the Boundary Waters,” one said.
“Rainy Lake,” added the other.
There they land the small mouth bass, they said. Then these two real estate developers from Eugene talked about another Oregon-Minnesota connection.
“A lot of guys fly back and forth with the forestry service,” these #VoicesofthePacificNorthwest shared.
Indeed, outdoorsmen and women have a lot to enjoy in these two states.
The lake scene here even looked like Minnesota. Yet somehow this was a mere mile or two from the Pacific Ocean.
Finally, it was time to meet Travis…
These farming partners were my hosts in Manzanita–friends of a friend of a friend. I was told to meet Travis at the local farmer’s market. I would meet him the evening I pulled into town as well as a whole community of young, small-scale, agrarian-minded folks living along Oregon’s Pacific coast.
“These are Austrian winter peas,” Emily said to me the following day while picking flowers for a potluck salad we had that night (below left).
“Both the tops and the flowers are edible.” she concluded.
At this potluck, twenty or so “hippie farmers”–as one attendee referred to them–gathered for fresh, healthy eating and talk of the outdoor activities and the happenings within their community.
For me, it was a bizarro version of such a scene in Minnesota. Everything was the same but different–suspenders worn (stylishly), political talk (critical) of conservatism, (craft) beer enjoyed.
These #VoicesofthePacificNorthwest had me realize agriculture and the love of growing food stretches beyond one culture in America. It was another lesson about the culture here of the Pacific Northwest–and a lesson about Americans and humans everywhere. Look for my forthcoming video conversation with Travis and Emily on The Periphery You Tube.
In the meantime, our tour continues next Sunday when we head north to Washington and get back into the city. It’s Seattle and the people who make it such a great place.
If you’d like to contribute or have a suggestion for a story or interview (perhaps your own), email me at email@example.com