2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5, Page #10[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Heritage Grains Helped Them Stand Out From The Crowd
"We wanted something we could sell throughout the year to spread out our risk," says White. "We can grow enough Dakota Black popcorn in one year for 2 years of marketing."
They sell their niche products at farmers markets in Eugene, Portland, Corvallis and Bend, Ore. They also sell their crops direct to 50 families and offer wholesale prices to larger buyers. Customers can also order from their website.
"We are one of a few in the area doing popcorn, grain and beans," says White. "We are unique."
The Dakota Black popcorn pops white with a black hull. It also makes attractive corn flour and has built a following among restaurants, as well as their popcorn loving customers.
Originally a small amount was obtained from Seed Savers Exchange. (www.seedsavers.org). White and Broadie grew it out, tried it, loved it and multiplied the seed until they had enough to start selling it. They now sell about 7,000 lbs. a year with a retail price of $6 per pound. It is a pattern they have followed with other grains and beans.
Lonesome Whistle doesn't just sell the raw products. They also sell whole grain flours, polenta, corn flour and rolled oats.
If the seed business wasn't unique enough as it its, White also added Cultivation Jewelry, earrings she makes from heirloom beans.
Lonesome Whistle also sells seed for open-pollinated vegetables, flowers, and heritage beans and grain.
One of their newest products is an English heirloom wheat. "Sara Kleeger and Andrew Still of Adaptive Seeds (www.adaptiveseeds.com) brought Maris Widgeon wheat back from England and grew it out for a few years before giving us enough for a quarter acre," says White. "We grew out enough to plant 5 acres of it. It is an all-purpose wheat for bread and pastries with a really superior flavor."
White says the heritage wheat grows tall and stands up well. It was the source of straw used to thatch roofs in England. Currently they flail the straw back into the soil. However, given Lonesome Whistle's ability to maximize market opportunity, they may find a way to market their straw just as they did with their popcorn.
"We bought a small commercial popcorn popper and set it up at our stand," says White. "We can sell several hundred dollars worth of fresh popped corn, and people get a chance to taste the product."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lonesome Whistle Farm, LLC, 92112 River Rd., Junction City, Ore. 97448 (ph 541 952-4876; firstname.lastname@example.org; https://lonesome-whistle.myshopify.com).
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