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OUR FARM: Baldham Farm

Jun 1st, 2016 | Category: Community

Sedro-Woolley farm offers meats, soaps, and more

by Miryam Garrote 

Never in my whole life would I have thought (dreamed) that I would end up farming. I was born and raised in city center of Madrid (Spain), I loved the country side but was living in a concrete and asphalt jungle in a country where you usually stick to your roots and see few leap into entrepreneurship. Now here I am in the most beautiful place I have seen so far and am fortunate to be farming. How did I make it here?

On-farm with their sheep, mulefoot piglets, and  Miryam and son Sam. The name Baldham comes from her mother’s hometown in Germany. COURTESY PHOTOS

On-farm with their sheep, mulefoot piglets, and Miryam and son Sam. The name Baldham comes from her mother’s hometown in Germany. COURTESY PHOTOS

I met my husband Dan (a Washingtonian) in Spain, where we married and settled down. Dan would often ask me: “Miriam, will you let me raise pigs one day?”

Dan loves pigs, he used to raise them and, as a child, he found a profound connection with these intelligent and fun animals. My response, was always the same: “Yes, one day…”

I was thinking, well, one day, when we retire we might have the luxury of being able to raise pigs. Back then, we were doing what most people do – typical office work and trying to get by.

In 2011 destiny took hold and we started the move back to the States, first landing in Utah. Then in 2014 we made it back to Washington, Dan’s heartland. The first thing we did was look for a suitable property. It was a challenge to buy a large piece of land, and by large I mean over 20 acres. It felt like lenders were okay lending money as long as it was not for farming.

We made it, though, and got our place one day before the Fourth of July in 2014. By this time, I had started researching the breeds of livestock that I liked and would read books to try to compensate for my lack of farming experience. Farming, as I have learned in these couple years, is a lot about being brave enough to take a chance. Mistakes are made but that contributes to my experience and learning process.

I envy people that were raised on a farm and got to learn everything during their childhood. Not a day passes where I don’t learn something new. And I love it! I am, rendering my own lard to cook, making soaps, and all the other daily tasks that come with farming. All joys I get to share with my own son as he grows.

Animals bring you a feeling of peace if they are raised free to roam. It fills my heart with joy to see my animals’ calmly grazing or young calves and lambs running and playing in spring and summer evenings. We raise Mulefoot hogs, Dexter cattle, Katahdin sheep, and chickens. mulefootPiglets web

We decided to raise Mulefoot hogs because they are a very rare,  nearly extinct heritage breed known to provide the tastiest pork. The hog was brought to the US by Spaniards, which I thought was a nice way to combine mine and Dan’s heritages.

Raising hogs in Western Washington is challenging. Rain, mud, floods, you name it, but our Mulefoot hogs are a hardy breed. Getting the right feed to make our pork taste the best is a steep learning curve but highly rewarding. We believe in organically raising all of our livestock and crops. That’s why our family had the farm certified as organic producers by the WSDA, in March of 2016.

Currently we attend the Sedro Woolley farmers market and sell our products at a little store in Day Creek (Sedro Woolley) and online. Our grand opening on May 21 was a big hit among the families and individuals that stopped by. We had a lot of positive feedback from people who tried our pork, which helps cement our decision that we are doing the right thing raising our livestock as organic.

Our dream has come true. Even though Dan still has to commute daily to work, we know one day he will be able to stay home and farm full-time for a living.

Baldham Farm is located in the Skagit Valley and offers pork, poultry, beef, and soaps. Stop by their booth at the Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market on Wednesdays. For more information, call (360) 722-4372 or visit their website at www.baldhamfarm.com. Follow their Facebook page for updates.Sam&miryam web

Published in the June 2016 issue of Grow Northwest

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