Sitting in the midst of the urban community that is Medford, Oregon, Dunbar Farms and Apiary is a grand experiment on a scale not seen in the Rogue Valley for decades. It is now the soul and DNA of David Mostue, a fourth generation farmer who has reinvigorated this 102 year old family farm that was tended by his grandfather, Dunbar Carpenter, and Dunbar’s uncles dating back to 1909.
Together with his fiancee, Kat Nesbit, and his mother, Emily Mostue, he is now crafting a community food resource designed to be fully self-sufficient, sustainable and diverse. He is a farm artisan on a new order, planting and testing seasonally with organic practices to continually identify the cultivars that are ideally suited to his land.
With five+ acres of wine grapes, 90 acres of hay, 30 acres of orchard fruits, 30 acres of grain, six acres of row crops in year-round production, Dunbar Farms is serving as a local food hub for home cooks, small batch food producers and bakers alike. What particularly piques my interest is the farm’s commitment to producing staple crops like the 15 varieties of beans, including my personal favorite…garbanzos, also known as chickpeas; grains such as wheat, corn and rye; a full array of vegetables, many of which are heirloom. These are just a few of the foodstuffs that bring food security.
Adapting a page from the past, David and his fiancee, Kat Nesbit, are training Dutch Belted calves as draft animals and using traditional harvesting equipment, such as the combine below (harvesting beans, by the way), to redefine today’s growing practices. Owner of Bliss Honeybees, Kat has also brought a new focus to Dunbar with development of the apiary, a treatment-free environment for bees and the resulting raw, local honey.
Unique to the Rogue Valley is their on-site stone ground milling operation that provides customers with the freshest possible cornmeal, polenta and wheat flour. Their freshly milled flour becomes the bread that can be ordered through the newsletter and picked up each Friday along with produce at the farmstand.
I recently cooked up another batch of their garbanzo beans, also known as “chickpeas”, that I picked up at the busy farmstand. Fresh garbanzos lend a great earthy flavor to any dish compared to store-bought, so they’re worth the little effort required to fill a pot of water and boil them up. Having a steady source of locally-grown garbanzos in my pantry means I’m ready to cook up healthy super-protein dishes, from homemade hummus to my favorite Winter Squash and Garbanzo Stew.
For a quick and portable “wrapped” meal, watch how our guest contributor Karen Pavone of Farminista’s Feast puts hummus to easy use.
Garbanzo beans are a nutritious source of fiber and protein so turn on the stove and get those beans cooking…any time of year. If you’re looking to stock your pantry this fall with organic, sustainably and locally grown items, visit the farmstand, sign up online for their newsletter, and connect with them on their Facebook page.
2881 Hillcrest Rd.
Photos: Barb Magee, Dunbar Farms