Thompson Farms in Boring, Oregon, grows many crops, but extremely tasty strawberries are one of their specialties. Varieties include Puget Summer, Hood, and Rainier, which are hustled to the family farmstand and farmers’ markets right after picking. “Other varieties provide bigger yields, are more resistant to disease, and stand up better during shipping, but they just don’t taste as good as varieties meant to be sold ripe for market,” says Larry.
In keeping with sustainable farming practices, the Thompsons rely on cover crops (rather than pesticides) to control weeds and to attract beneficial insects. They rotate crops every three years to maintain the farm’s balanced, healthy soil. But in addition to taking care of the land, sustainable farming means taking care of the workers. Thompson Farms depends on a steady staff who have been with them for years. “There’s very little turnaround here because we have a smaller crew. They’re guaranteed more work that way. They’re a part of our family.”