Nestled just outside of north Eugene, where urban growth butts against farmland, sits Johnson Farms. Established in 1915, Johnson’s is a century farm — a farm that has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Johnson’s began when newlyweds Alfred Johnson and Oma Davis started growing vegetables and raising livestock to sale. The farm is now owned and farmed by their grandson, Walt Johnson who gets business help from his daughter, Amanda.
I first became aware of the farm when Rick Obst of the Facebook page 365 And More Things To Do In Lane County, Oregon asked if I wanted to meet out there to talk with Amanda and Walt. It was also a great opportunity to meet Rick, whom I’ve talked with on social media but never spoken with in person.
For me, Johnson Farms hits the trifecta — it is locally owned, has history, and provides fresh food for the local community. I had to visit. Friday, in the midst of berry season, Rick and I met at the farm with Walt and Amanda.
Over the last several years, I’ve begun buying more and more of my produce from local growers: at farmers’ markets, the Coast Fork Farm Stand, or directly from the farm. As I’ve gotten closer to my food sources and talked with local farmers, I’ve appreciated how each has found and developed a specialty to offer. For Johnson Farms, that specialty is their berries, especially frozen berries. Amanda tells me that they experimented with the best way to freeze the berries so that they would retain the best flavor and quality. All of their frozen berries are hand picked and frozen the same day, then sold throughout the year from the farm stand.
While browsing through the farm store, I was delighted to notice that Walt has also ventured into some more unusual berry types, including red and black currents as well as gooseberries. I have never seen these old-fashioned berries for sale; hopefully other people will be as excited to see them as I was.
I enjoyed talking with Amanda and Walt, hearing about the history of the farm as well as their plans for the future. They seem to be always thinking about creating fun things for people to do at the farm. This year they have planted a cosmos field, which should be in full bloom in a few more weeks. This field will be an awesome place to take photographs, and Amanda hopes that people will come by to take family photos as well as art shots. As someone who loves to take flower photographs, I am excited for this field to come into full bloom.
Apparently, Walt has also created quite a reputation for his wild wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch each October, complete with throwing miniature pumpkins at the scarecrows as Walt drives past. After talking with him, I think that Walt might enjoy these rides even more than the people he takes.
Thanks to Rick for inviting me along. If you aren’t familiar with his 365 and More facebook page, head on over and check it out. And thanks to Walk and Amanda for taking time to talk with us and give us a tour of the farm.
Johnson Farms is located at 89733 Armitage Rd, Eugene. Check out their website to see all the frozen berry varieties they have, and stop by the store to pick up some freshly harvested berries and veggies if you are in the area.