81. Ruby Reid on Value-Added Farming on Your Own Terms

Are you seeking insight on Certified Naturally Grown farming, beekeeping, and/or including value-added products into your business repertoire?

On this week’s episode of the Thriving Farmer Podcast, we are joined by Ruby Reid of Valhalla Organics. Based in Talent, Oregon, Valhalla Organics are committed to and highly passionate about sustainable living and growing premium organic food. In 2017, they purchased five acres of rural land in Bonanza, Oregon (Klamath mountains). The land is in a secluded evergreen forest with towering Ponderosa pines surrounding natural clearings…making it a perfect location for building their infrastructure for farming and beekeeping. Their apiary is the only Certified Naturally Grown apiary on the West Coast, and the first in Oregon. Join us today to hear all about Ruby’s farming journey, value-added products, and unique perspectives!

You’ll Hear:

What made Ruby and her partner decide to start a farm 1:29

What a typical day looks like on the Valhalla Organics farm 3:58 

About the bee products they sell 6:06

What kinds of pickled products they offer 8:19

What systems are in place to ensure prioritized productivity 10:13

The hardest thing Ruby has done since she began farming 16:37

Who Ruby’s mentors were on her farming journey 19:34

What systems Ruby would put into effect sooner if she could go back in time 25:07

How Ruby operates with her partner, Chris 31:42

How Valhalla Organics goes about hiring and delegating 34:29

Why Valhalla Organics chooses to market the way they do 38:21

About Ruby’s experience with the Farmer’s Market Challenge 40:33

About Ruby’s stance on the BLM movement 46:54

What promotional tactics Ruby finds to work well 58:34

How Valhalla Organics got CNG certified 1.00:50

The biggest mistake Ruby sees new farmers making 1.03:48

What words of encouragement Ruby would give her former self as a new farmer 1:07.29

Ruby’s favorite farming tool 1.09:09

Where you can find out more about Ruby and Valhalla Organics 1.10:58

About the Guest:

Ruby Reid is a farmer and beekeeper in Southern Oregon. Ruby’s parents grew vegetables in the backyard for the family table, and caretaking the garden was a family affair, with all members sharing responsibility for cultivating the food. Ruby tended her own small plot and raised rabbits as pets, providing a valuable compost source for the family’s organic garden.

Ruby holds a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. As she advanced in her social work and community organizing career, she continued growing organic food simply as a way of life. When the garden started overproducing in 2017, she and her partner Chris Day launched Valhalla Organics to share their pickles, preserves, and raw local honey with their community.

Resources and mentions:

Website – https://www.valhallaorganics.org/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ValhallaOrganics

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/valhallaorganics/

And if you want to keep the conversation going, join us in our Facebook Group to connect with us and other farmers looking to grow their business!

We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.