Cultivating Community Through Farming
Bridging the gap between community and school, the Chimacum Heritage Newsletter is designed to make connections between the events that take place throughout our community and with students in our schools. It encourages our student body to embrace their local heritage and brings awareness to unique aspects of our area and highlight important members a part of the Chimacum Valley.
This month the Chimacum Heritage staff had the pleasure of visiting Egg and I Farms owned by the Yancey Family. In a small community like ours, every farm and small business is interconnected and reliant on one another. Everyone works together and the community is better as a whole. In trading grain for hay with other local farms or working with neighbors in fields together, Egg and I Farms is a symbol of unity and collaboration.
Beginning the fuchsia greenhouse in 2005, Doyle Yancey and his wife Stephanie started Egg and I Farms. Although now working mostly with the pig and grain businesses, Doyle expressed his love for the flowers and the joy that they bring. “As a mechanic, I used to have to tell people everything that was wrong with their cars, with flowers they never get sent back to me. People are always happy,” he stated. Along with the greenhouse, there is a barn on the farm that acts as a farmstand and marketplace for Egg and I pork, eggs and grain.
By having the farmstand on-site, Doyle is happy to be easily accessible and open to the public telling us, “When there are so many signs reading no trespassing, ours says welcome.” The business at the stand runs solely on the honor system and having the money never come up missing says a lot about the community’s respect for the farm and Doyle himself. A scale from the World War II era and a fridge from the late fifties are just a few of the things that make the farmstand truly unique. With two-ton grain sacks and piglet pens just inside the barn, it's a one of a kind experience for others to come to the country and see a place run like this.
Also run from the farmstand is his grain business. According to Doyle, the grain business drives the whole farm. Hauled in by two-ton pound bags, various grains are available for visitors to create their own chicken scratch or purchase cover crop. This grain is used for feed for the pigs and as trade with other farms for hay and straw. This is one of Doyle's favorite products he distributes, as it allows him to network with customers. Last year he had 100 tons of grain in sales.
At Egg and I Farms it’s all about the pork. But the farm’s main focus is not profit or production but the quality of the product and giving animals good wholesome lives. Egg and I Pork began six years ago, has grown ever since and is now home to 84 pigs. Doyle raises Tamworth pigs which are an Old English variety known as a “champion bacon breed.” All the pigs currently on the farm have been born and raised there. Again, intertwined with the community for success, he uses whey from Mount Townsend Creamery to feed his growing pigs and is in partnership with the owners of the Chimacum Corner Farmstand to raise some of his pigs on their land. Doyle also plants hazelnut trees along the fences of the animals enclosures, when they produce, hazelnuts fall directly from the trees to the troughs. This gives the meat a unique flavor. The pork is sold to many outlets. You can find their bratwurst at Finnriver Cidery, their breakfast sausage at Farm’s Reach Cafe, and other cuts of their meat sold at the Chimacum Corner store.
Doyle believes animal husbandry is quite a skill and requires patience and deep knowledge of your animals. Caring for the them from birth, a unique relationship is developed between the farmer and his pigs. “I care for the animals a whole lot,” he said. This was extremely evident as he led us to various pig pens and scratched their backs and rubbed their ears as he spoke. Various names like, Winney, Peaches, Spot, and Peter were called to summon them to him. It did not take much convincing as they eagerly scurried and squealed to where he was, desiring a scratch, pet, or any kind of interaction their loving farmer happily gives them.
Despite having no full-time employees on the farm, Doyle is content to work alone. He stated, “A lot of people blame the youth, but it's really the individual. It's about the kind of pride you take in your work.” Seeing local farming practices like this and Doyle's strong passion and pride for his work and the community, it encourages us to support Doyle and more places like this and continue their Chimacum Legacy.