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Our Farm: Goodin Family Farm

Jun 5th, 2017 | Category: Community

by Cassie Goodin

Farm life is the life I always wanted but didnt know I needed. I used to ask my parents, “Can’t we just buy a farm!?” like it was that easy. My husband, did grow up doing things like raising and butchering meat birds, going to 4-H as a family, bucking hay, the whole bit. I gave up my farm life idea in high school when I was dead set on being a zoo keeper. Then I met my wonderful husband at the grand age of 16! I was barely 18 when we got married and had our first child 2 years later. Fast forward to 10 blessed years of marriage, 3 amazing kids later and somehow I’ve found myself running my own personal zoo, or what most people call a farm.

PHOTO BY CASSIE GOODIN

PHOTO BY CASSIE GOODIN

Five years ago we watched a documentary called Food, Inc. It changed our way of life overnight. I literally couldn’t eat the pork chops I’d bought at the grocery store the day before. At the time we still lived on Whidbey Island where we had grown up. I started making a weekly trek to one of my favorite places still to this day, the Skagit Valley Food Co-op. With the growing grocery bill we decided to start a garden with my in-laws on their 7 acres, which then snowballed into getting 40 laying hens, Scottish Highland Cattle, and 50 meat birds. It pretty much continued to snowball from there.

In 2013, we made the exciting move to our first farm in Skagit County out by Big Lake. Our first week of living on the mainland we purchased 2 Berkshire cross pigs. Little did we know what they would start! Those first few years taught us A LOT! Blood, sweat, and tears really do build a farm and a farmer. We had three failed gardens in that time. Countless chickens lost to coyotes. A mean sow with 12 piglets who wanted to eat us. Spent a year and a half milking goats with my first baby goat being born, a massive 14-pound buckling that I had to pull out of his poor mother, who we aptly named Hagrid. I don’t know if I would ever want to redo those first years again because they were rough. I had many a time where I questioned what on earth I was doing and if I was really cut out for doing this. But the thought of not doing it was worse.

This last March we made our final move to Day Creek in Sedro-Woolley where we found our dream farm and home. This place is what gave me hope again. We have had some trials here too already, like extremely smart ravens who were taking my meatbirds when our livestock guardian dogs were sleeping and my future milk cow that I’ve dreamed of having for five years became lame and wasn’t doing well. But this time instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve managed to persevere. We have to deal with each issue and hopefully learn something from it.

PHOTO BY CASSIE GOODIN

PHOTO BY CASSIE GOODIN

Instead of taking care of exotic animals like crocodiles or elephants like I thought I was going to some 15 years ago, I’m instead the caretaker of wide menagerie of farm animals and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Pigs are our gig here. That mean sow I mentioned earlier is what helped us to find our favorite pig breed, the ever so mellow and friendly Gloucestershire Old Spot. They are our main focus but we also have Berkshire and Hereford pigs that provide us with some lovely Old Spot crossed piglets. We have limited weaner piglets available throughout the year and we raise small amounts of farrow to finish pastured pork. Our goal in the next few years is to provide people with delicious, happy pastured pork, friendly piglets to be able to experience the joy of raising your own food for the table, and eventually we would like to add more things from the farm, like eggs from pasture raised chickens, lamb from heritage breed sheep, and maybe pastured chicken and turkey as well. I’ll be honest when I say I’m not the most patient person in the world. All of these things I want to do right now because I’m so passionate about it! But, it takes time to grow a pig, build a fence, and save up funds to be able to do it all correctly. Patience, it’s the biggest lesson I’m learning here and probably always will be! For now, I’ll be thankful for this farm life that has found me!

For more information about Goodin Family Farm, visit their Facebook page or www.goodinfamilyfarm.weebly.com, or call (360) 929-1331.

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