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Organic Dairy and On-Farm Feed Production at Methow Creamery Farm Walk, September 1

Cows grazing in Methow Creamery pasture.
Cows grazing in Methow Creamery pasture. Click image for a high resolution version.
Ron VanderYacht inside his dairy.
Ron VanderYacht inside his dairy. Click image for a high resolution version.

Twisp, Wash. — Explore a small scale, value-added dairy operation featuring 30 cows and eight hundred acres of organic grain and hay production for both cows and off-farm sales.

Methow Creamery owners Ron VanderYacht and Elise Knight sell Grade A organic milk and cream locally as well through stores in Spokane, Chelan, Federal Way, and Tacoma. Their grains for off-farm sales include soft white wheat, hard red spring wheat, emmer, barley and oats.

“We rotate the grain for our alfalfa crops. We plant two years of grain and then back to alfalfa for five or six years, said VanderYacht. “It’s much more intensive management but it’s what I believe in. It cleans up the weeds and any disease problems with grain,” he said.

VanderYacht, a third-generation dairyman, began his organic milk enterprise three years ago. Crossbred Jersey bulls and Holstein cows achieve high butterfat and protein content from the Jerseys and increased production from the Holsteins.

Methow Creamery owners Ron VanderYacht and Elise Knight (R) and their son, Chase.
Methow Creamery owners Ron VanderYacht and Elise Knight (R) and their son, Chase.

This farmer-to-farmer learning experience allows time for questions and answers at an advanced level, and an opportunity for farmers to share what practices are being used and the logic behind them. Community members are welcome.

The Farm Tour is Monday, September 1 from noon to 3:30. The address is 287 Twisp Winthrop East County Road, two and a half miles north of Twisp. The cost is $10 for Tilth Producers members and $15 for non-members. Register on-site or pre-register by mailing a check to Tilth Producers, PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145. Brown bag lunch recommended. Beverages provided.

Details about all Farm Walks are available at www.tilthproducers.org and www.smallfarms.wsu.edu. The Farm Walk is sponsored by Tilth Producers of Washington and the Washington State University Small Farms Team.

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