About the Author
  • Brenda Frketich is a third generation farmer from St. Paul, Oregon. She has been farming full time since 2006 and currently manages her family's 1000 acre farm. They raise grass seed, hazelnuts, crimson clover, wheat, vegetable seeds and peas. She grew up on the farm but never thought that farming was what would be her future. She left her small town to Los Angeles to get a degree in Business. But after years of city living she realized farming was in her blood. Brenda is very involved in many parts of her industry and community. She is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in her small town. She is involved in Farm Bureau, is a Clover Commissioner, and always tries to find new ways to bridge the gap between her urban neighbors and her rural life of farming. One of the ways she does this is through this blog, and also her personal blog, www.Nuttygrass.com Brenda is married to Matt Frketich who has also recently started farming with her. They also have a son, Hoot, and old hunting dog, Diesel and farm dog Yukon.
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5 Winter Jobs at Our Farm

by Brenda_Frketich on ‎02-05-2014 09:31 AM

As people drive to work everyday, people who work in offices or aren't effected by the weather, I always wonder what it must be like.  To be heading to work, everyday, knowing exactly what you will be up to.  For farmers, especially in the winter, many of our jobs are weather dependent and in Oregon many times that can change in the blink of an eye.


So here are just a few things that we keep on the list of "Things to do" during the winter months to keep us busy...


1. Shop Work: We go through all of our equipment this time of year.  Fixing all the things that we broke while we were harvesting like crazy last summer, and finding all the things that might come up as issues in the season to come.


2. Orchard Pruning: The hazelnuts are pruned this time of year.  Since they grow more like bushes (suckering at the base every year) we have to cut them down so that once harvest does come next year the nuts don't get stuck at the base of the tree when they fall.  You can see a pruned tree pictured below and a small pile of what we cut off the base.  We also have to cut out the blight that continues to infect our older orchards.

Pruned Hazelnut Tree


Small Sucker Pile

3. Walking fields & Checking on progress: Our climate here at the farm never really gets too cold, so many times even during the winter you still have to go out and scout for weeds, growing issues, or my most favorite enemy...slugs!



And of course the dogs get to go along on nice days!

Dogs in Pick-up.jpg


4. Paperwork: Although this isn't the most fun part of the job, it is a necessary evil and one that usually comes along with rainy days.


5. Meetings: There are hazelnut meetings, there are ryegrass meetings, farm bureau, co-ops, the list really goes on and on.  But this time of year many of us catch up on education.  Not just about crops, but also new pest controls, and best practices that we can implement in the year to come on our farm and in our fields.

Hazelnut Meeting 2014.jpg


So as you can see, no matter what the weather brings there is just about always something to do on our the farm...even in the winter!

on ‎02-11-2014 03:44 PM

Can you grow truffles on those hazelnuts?

by Brenda_Frketich
‎02-12-2014 09:37 AM - edited ‎02-12-2014 09:38 AM

There are a few farmers that I have heard of trying to innoculate the truffle to the variety of hazelnut trees that we grow.  It is all very new and I'm not sure if they are having any success.  When we looked into it the ability to "double crop" the tree was the most difficult hurdle.  The nutrients needed for truffles are different than the nutrients needed to grow good nuts on a tree, so there would have to be a sacrifice on one end or the other.  Also soil pH plays a big role in how well truffles grow and how well hazelnut trees grow, unfortunately in our growing area these didn't match up very well.  So we decided that focusing on growing hazelnuts was our goal.  Who knows in the future though if this could be come a possiblity.  Thank you for your question!