Ellen and Greg Wilt run a diverse organic farm in Sublimity Oregon.
By Jeremy Scott
The oldest definition I could find of the word “organic” is “a relationship between elements of something such that they fit together harmoniously as necessary parts of a whole.”
This definition seems to embody Greg and Ellen Wilt of Sublime Organics, their sustainable farming practices, and how the two of them have come together to grow organic food on their farm in Sublimity, Oregon.
Greg and Ellen met in Alaska, where Greg worked as an engineer installing underwater submarine cables and Ellen was a wildlife biologist. There they spoke about their mutual love of farming and how they always wanted to have a truly sustainable farm. They had both previously lived in Oregon: Greg had a small hobby farm in Astoria and Ellen worked for Nearly Normals, an all-natural, vegetarian restaurant in Corvallis. They both were well aware of how fertile the Willamette Valley is.
As Greg and Ellen’s personal connection grew stronger, they decided to leave Alaska, which they loved, intent on making a connection to the land in a different way: to grow high-quality food without compromising the land. Thus, Sublime Organics LLC was born. They sought out that perfect property in the fertile Willamette Valley. With a lot of hard work, love, and patience they realized their dream of growing organic food was possible on their new property in Sublimity, a 67-acre farm Greg and Ellen bought in the summer of 2014. They worked the land for over 3 years before finally getting it USDA organic certified in 2017. Now all the produce or meat they sell to LifeSource is truly organic. They have even taken their organic labeling a step further by getting their farm certified by the Real Organic Project. The Real Organic Project was started by farmers to tighten the definition of organic: they only grow food in soil, not hydroponically, and all livestock must be raised in pasture and not in confinement.
Sublime takes their dedication to the land and their organic food even further than that. They solar panels generate 85% of the power to run their farm, and they even deliver the majority of their produce in an electric car. They take sustainability to an even higher level by using their livestock for their weed and insect control as well as the fertilizer that gives life to their produce. These practices are not easy and very time consuming, but they limit the need for substantial outside inputs and amendments.
One of the most important ways to be sustainable and regenerative for the soil is a cover crop. The downside to a cover crop is not being able to use your full organic acreage for producing food, but if you care about the land and the organic food you produce it truly makes a difference. Even more importantly, it makes a difference to the generations to come that will also use that same land to feed their communities.
What Sublime Organics does and their sustainable farming practices is not something that goes unnoticed to many consumers these days. More people are conscious of the quality of food they eat and the farming practices of those who grow their food. With their kind hearts, Greg and Ellen have embraced others who they trust coming onto their property and into their home to learn their trade, share their knowledge and break bread with them.
One of the best avenues for this collaboration between a farm and an interested future farmer is a program called WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). WWOOF is a worldwide movement to link visitors with organic farmers, promote a cultural and educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming and sustainability. Evan Bindas, 23 of Hopkins, Minnesota, has been living and working at Sublime Organics for over four months. He says his experience has been “great, and I love their food.” He started the program because of his love for food, cooking and caring for animals. Evan says he plans on working at their farm at least until the raspberries that he has been working with come to harvest.
LifeSource looks forward to seeing those raspberries and sharing them with our customers, too. Look for turnips, potatoes, onions, tarragon, goat chops, goat stew meat, and more from Sublime Organics this summer!