A Learning Day at an Oregon Grass Seed Farm VIDEO

Travel Memories TuesdayA couple of years ago, I spent almost two weeks out west just rambling around, visiting friends, etc. I flew into Portland, Oregon and started my trek south until I flew home from Fresno, California. I called it my Oregon-California Roadtrip. I was sharing some of the trip as I went, but I was learning and experiencing so much that I could have kept writing only about that trip for months and I got distracted on lots of other things. That’s happened a few times & yes, I wish I had done better. But hopefully this Travel Memories Tuesday will help me get some of the stories shared I’ve been remiss in packaging up!

growing grass for seedWhat makes a share-able story? For me, there are a variety of stories I want to remember and to share with others. They involve people, places, experiences, etc that you don’t want to forget because they helped you learn more, helped you laugh harder, helped you see the world differently and more. That definitely happened when I headed south from Salem, Oregon and found myself on the farm of my long-time social media friend Marie Bowers (since married with the last name Stagg!) and had the chance to check out their family’s grass seed farm.

close up of grass seedDid you say grass seed farm?

I have to say, until I met Marie and some others online, I didn’t give much thought to the fact there were grass seed farmers. And even once I knew they existed, I didn’t really get it. See, I am a city girl so I think of grass in a city way — it means lawns or smoke in my opinion.

Well the Bowers aren’t growing pot but they do have turfgrasses they grow for seed. And while I didn’t think much about it before I got there, farmers who grow crass pastures, yes the kind that are used to grass feed some animals, have to get see from somewhere. With all the mild, wet weather Oregon gets it can be INCREDIBLY green in winter.

farmer Eric BowersWhat grasses do they grow for seed?

The Bowers farm in Linn County which they call the grass seed capital of the world — it is in the Willamette Valley is known for producing grass seed, wine, berries, hazelnuts and flowers. In terms of grasses — sounds like they have everything that may go on pastures that lets you have grass in the diets of livestock. Things like ryegrass seed are grown here. The Bowers focus on producing seed that will be high quality for other farmers to plant. As they harvest it, they clean it up and package it.  Then farmers like Will Gilmer at Alabama’s Gilmer Dairy plant ryegrass as feed.

farmer Marie BowersI have to admit, even though I have thought about some different grasses, the list of things the Bowers’ grow astounds me. Check this out:

  • Forage varieties (5): Gulf Annual Ryegrass, Tetraploid Annual Ryegrass, fawn Fescue, K-31 Fescue, Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass
  • Turf grass(2): Turf fescue, turf perennial ryegrass
  • Other crops:  wheat, meadowfoam, radish & forage oats

It is pretty cool that they grow the seed and have a shop where they clean it up — basically separating seed from blades of grass, etc — and then bag it up.

Before you get to the video I shot of Eric giving me the tour, I want to point out that you can learn more about the Bowers’ farm on the Oregon Green blog Marie writes, the blog’s Facebook page or her Twitter account.

Highlights from A Pickup Ride with Eric Bowers

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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