In the Valley, the Hills, and by the Water 
-Renée Woods-

     Before visiting Mystery Bay Farm I thought nothing of the cheese I put on my sandwich and what it takes to make it. However, after meeting Rachel Van Laaen and her herd of goats, I realized that the products we take for granted are made by amazing people who put their heart and soul into their craft and take pride in providing for our community. I hope that after you read Chimacum Heritage’s third farm profile you think a little more about the simple foods we eat every day and about the farmers that cultivate them.  

     Rachel Van Laaen had a garden-centric education majoring in ecology. After completing her studies she asked herself, “What can I do in the world to create positive change?” Thus began the creation of Mystery Bay Farm whose main goal is to do just that, to make a valuable and lasting impact on the environment and the community. This is the tenth season the farm has been running and it has been a W.S.D.A. certified dairy since the spring of 2009. To help create awareness of sustainable farming, they hold tours of the cheese making process and their farm in general. Through these tangible experiences, Mystery Bay Farm wants the community to see the value in local farms and continue to support them by buying their products.  

     To show us this process and their values, Rachel eagerly opened the doors of a large, brown barn. There to greet us with “bleats” and “baas” were several groups of young and energetic goats. Some of the kids had been born just four days ago while others were a few weeks old. Mystery Bay Farm is home to many American Alpine goats and is currently milking 24 mothers. With such unique personalities and markings, Rachel states, “We love them. They’re all individual.”

     She then led us through the barn and past the enclosures of wiggly goats to the milking parlor. There, a poster on the wall acted as a family tree and record of all the goats apart of Mystery Bay Farm. The name “Moshi” was written at the very top in bold letters. Moshi was the first animal on the farm and is considered the “totem” goat who is also on their logo. Unfortunately, this animal died several weeks ago but her collar hangs in the milking room. This small memento of a very important part of Mystery Bay Farm shows Rachel and her crew’s commitment to providing healthy lives for these goats and their desire to continue to create clean and wholesome food for our community and beyond.

     Here in the milking room, the goats file in and munch on local barley and organic grain while being milked. They are then sent through the “gauntlet” as Rachel calls it, a long corridor that leads the animals to a fenced off area to graze. They move the goats around to a new area with portable fencing every three days so they can browse. Eating the top ten inches of plants and other bushes like blackberries, high-intensity browsing like this creates healthy soil. Milking happens twice a day on the farm and takes quite a while.

     The milk is collected in a large metal jug and sent to the adjacent room that houses refrigerators and prep tables. A small-scale pasteurizer sits in the corner. This style and size allows them to create small batches of special recipes or large amounts of products they regularly sell. "We pasteurize because it’s federal law and we don't want to mess with the feds, we just want to make cheese,” she said. Once pasteurized, the cheese is placed in cloth and hung to separate the whey from the curd. Whey is a byproduct of cheese-making filled with proteins and minerals. This whey is given to another farm close by called One Straw Ranch, which mixes it with grain to feed their pigs. After the whey is drained out, they add enzymes and a vegetarian rennet along with spices and herbs grown on the farm. Every two days the cheese making process takes place and chevre, a soft cheese and yogurt are created.  Whole milk ricotta is also produced a few months of the year. These decadent cheeses are sold to the restaurants in Port Ludlow, Finisterre in Port Townsend, Finn River in Chimacum, and are available at the Chimacum Corner Store, the Nordland Store, and at the Port Townsend Farmers Market.

     After meeting little goats and learning about authentic cheeses made right on the property, we ventured out to the fields. This rich and fertile land not only provides a place for goats to feed and for herbs and plants to grow but acts as a backyard for the Van Laaen family. Married six months before the farm was started, Rachel ended up being a new parent and a business owner at the same time. Managing both new experiences at once, she states, “you just go with it.” While Rachel and her husband’s children attend public school in Chimacum, their family places value in raising kids on a farm and integrating them in their whole life. Mystery Bay Farm produces quality goods for others and a wholesome lifestyle for its founding family.

     This year the Heritage Staff and I have traveled to a variety of farms. Each has given us a new experience and revealed more about our community than we could ever imagine. The third and final farm we visited this season was breathtaking, enlightening, and the best way to end this year's newsletters. We are extremely fortunate to live in the valley, the hills, and by the water. Highlighting these remarkable areas of land that remain unknown to a majority of students and even some of those that have called Chimacum their home for many years is crucial to the continuation of the heritage of our small community.




Building Fields and Community
 -Keeley Atwood-

     During the baseball season, hundreds of people gather at Bob Bates fields to watch teams compete, play baseball, and come together as a community to enjoy the spring sport. The baseball fields build our community and the character of the next generation who participate. 

     The baseball fields, located at 84 
Elikins Road in Port Hadlock were built in 1983. The lot was once nothing more than a place for people to dump their garbage. Then, Mr. Bob Bates came to the realization that “the kids around here have nothing to do.” So, he used the money from his fuel company to buy the land from the town of Hadlock and then signed it over to the East Jefferson Little League. It took more than a year, lots of materials from the community, and old-fashioned elbow grease from whoever would help to transform the barren land into what it is today. Most days, you could find Mr. Bates using machinery and doing whatever he could to help; after all, it was his project. People and small businesses from the community stood alongside him doing the same. It took teamwork, commitment, and many years to finish the fields.

   Mr. Bates stated, "it was all for the kids." Not only do the fields give kids in our community something to do, but also the act of building them bonded people in the community. While the construction was going on many people-pitched in however they could, whether it be materials, machinery, or manual labor. 
     After the fields had been built, it was hard to find people who could work on baseball nights. Because of this, Mr. Bates would often be 
at the fields running concessions, raking the fields before games, and doing his favorite thing: bossing around whoever was there to help. “I hardly saw him during baseball season,” said Rosie Bates, his wife. Many parents and kids enjoyed attending little league games. It is the same today. “Without the baseball fields our son wouldn’t have been able to learn about teamwork and sportsmanship which we believe is a valuable lesson all kids can carry through life,” said baseball parents Mrs. and Mr. Hollingsworth.

     On April 28th, 1984, the Bob Bates fields were dedicated and soon after opened to the public. However, Bob Bates didn’t stop there, he went along to build two more baseball fields, one in Quilcene and one in Port Townsend. But it's more than that; he didn’t just build fields he built communities, places to gather, relationships, friends, and even families. 

Photo by Junior, Kaitlyn Ejde.

Chimacum Forever
 -Natalie Grant and Isabella Harvey-

A girl as wild as the wind
Shifting, moving, never still
Mountains, valleys, river
and ocean

A girl quiet
as a whisper
Until a friend is found or in need
Racing, dashing, hunting, or helping

Trees mingle with roads and homes
With rain and sun, a rainbow
Hope, loyalty, trust, genuine smiles

Cars race by, mixing among the people
In a town where everyone knows everybody
Our Heritage is seen in everything

Sprouts herald the arrival of spring
Vibrant green against brown Earth
Carrots, cabbage, apples, grapes

I walk in, searching, wary of trickery
Chimacum, do you have the rain and trees?
I walk out, satisfied, but soon return

I was not born here
But here my soul rests
How can I leave the place my spirit was born in?

Those who feel the thunder in their heartbeat
Live here alongside me
Chimacum calls us on

Chimacum, Chimacum
Our heritage, our life


Why You Need Chickens
-Lillian Golden-
     If you know anything about Chimacum, you know we love self-reliance, specifically with our own food and produce, and what better way to do that than with a few chickens? Really, there isn't really much of a reason not to get them. They are very easy to care for, extremely entertaining and provide eggs and fertilizer.
Where to Get Them
     Obviously, there are good and bad places to get chicks. However, I don’t know those places, so the best thing to do, in my opinion, would be asking a friend who has good chickens where they got theirs. Personally, I got my chickens from three different places. In the spring, we got six from Hadlock Building Supply, and three from Farm Land supply store in Silverdale, but more recently, in the fall we got three from Coastal in Sequim. Not to advertise, but all of our chickens are very happy and healthy.

When to Get Them
        Normally, chicks are in stores at the beginning of spring to the end of fall, since hens stop laying in the winter due to the shorter days. If you get them in the fall, the hens will be laying by the late spring, however, if you get them in the spring, they will only lay for a few months before they stop for the winter.
How Many to Get and Where to Keep Them
        Honestly, chickens aren't that picky, and even if you don't have much space, you can still get them (as long as there are no rules against them in your neighborhood.) It is not a good idea to get just one; like humans, chickens can get lonely and need to socialize. For a person with not much space, four chickens would need at least a 4’x4’ coop, and room outside as well. Four hens with no roosters would be a great independent food source. Ideally, you should let chickens free range, but if it is too dangerous or you don’t have enough space, you can just give them a spot that will let them peck around in the grass.
Moral of the Story
        One of the biggest things you can do to feed your urge for self-reliance is to get some chickens. They don’t require much, they give you eggs and most importantly, they are very entertaining.

Editor’s Note:
In conducting research for this newsletter the Chimacum Heritage staff found an amazing local source of heritage breed chicks. We encourage you to support our local farms whenever possible and we are lucky to have this amazing resource in our community. For more information on heritage chicks or to place an order please visit the Peninsula Poultry Breeders website.


Our Young Community
-Chloe Patterson-


     Our community holds something special for all the children who get to grow up in it. On one chilly morning at Sunfield Waldorf School, this became clear to me as I watched my little sister in her little rubber boots skipping and running through the wet grass. I could tell it must be a day of excitement because the children she was running to meet were giggling and pushing each other as if they could not wait for it to begin. These children are too young to understand how lucky they are to live in the small town of Chimacum, Washington.

     Chimacum, being the little town that it is, is quite often overlooked or judged prematurely by its modest appearance. But this town holds something that is important, community. The squirming little group of kids bundled up in that crisp cold air of the Pacific Northwest, excited for a day filled with fun, are already heading into a healthy lifestyle with the potential for greatness bursting at the seams. It made me realize just how special this place is. Waldorf education intentionally prioritizes outside activities in the lives of young people, believing that it helps contribute to their development as growing human beings. Sunfield just happens to be in a location where the children are exposed to nature and animals every day. Fortunately, Chimacum Schools are also located in the heart of our Chimacum Valley, rich with agricultural resources and opportunities. Although our town is small, it offers abundant nature, thriving farms, and fresh food right in our backyards.

     At a young age, it is healthy for children to be wild without being restricted by rules and books. As I have looked at my life, and as I watch my sisters grow up the same way I realize that what you are exposed to as a child helps shape who you are.   

     I watched the giggling herd of kids as they chased chickens, squealing at the top of their lungs out of pure joy. They are the people that will make up our future generations. Their delicate, brilliant minds are just beginning to understand the complexity of what is around them. Our community is a tiny window of exposure to nature and it’s creatures, and that culture of awareness and appreciation is something that is becoming lost in our society. It is places like these that I believe can save some of what is most forgotten in our modern world. We are not isolated, but we are sheltered in a way. As the world works on around us, this tiny pocket in the Great Northwest is nurturing significance of our small town values. There are children that do not know where their food comes from, or what makes an egg, but not in Chimacum! Places like Sunfield, and Finnriver, and all of the farms making up Chimacum are helping enrich the lives of the kids running through them.

     Technology is obviously creating many advantages in our daily lives, but it is beginning to substitute real play and adventure with a screen. A lot of this new generation is afraid to get dirty or has never dug their hands into the ground just to feel it crumble through your fingers. These things are comically simple, but so many children wouldn't think to venture outside to try them. So by our community reaching out and creating Farm Tours, film festivals at Finnriver and Lantern Festivals at Sunfield, we are offering an environment where children can learn.  

     Become involved in our community and take your families to visit all of the wonderful places our lovely Chimacum has to give us!


Recipe of the Season
Uno, Dos, Tres….. Chow Down!
-Amyiah Fisher-

     I live in a Mexican/American household, so we cook a lot of Spanish style food. Food is an important part of the culture, it helps people express themselves, and can be a bonding experience when families cook together. Cooking as a family has become a way for us all to wind down and talk about our day.  To bring us closer and share stories of our past ancestors and their way of life. Our family believes that is is just as important to know where you came from as it is to have a plan for where you are going.  Cooking helps pass down customs from generation to generation, so let's get to it!

     This recipe connects to my family because my stepdad is from Compostela Nayarit, Mexico.  He and his family moved to the U.S.  more than 18 years ago. They continue to uphold traditions and culture while adapting to a new way of life.  His family taught my mom and I the traditional way to prepare and cook Mexican food. One of the biggest differences is that when living in Mexico they would cook most of their meals in an outdoor kitchen or an open fire with a wire rack and pans. All of the salsas were ground in a stone bowl called a molcajete. This is a very long process to get the salsas to just the right consistency.         

     In the Hispanic culture, the women do most of the cooking. This happens to be one of the first meals my mom learned to cook and quickly became a favorite!  Whether you're getting ready for Cinco de Mayo, or Taco Tuesday, here is a recipe and her step by step instructions to one of the most delicious meals you'll ever eat.


First, start by measuring out 3 1/2 cups of Masa and a 1/2 cup of flour.

Mix them together and slowly add 3 cups of water until it forms a dough.  You want it to be as wet as it can without sticking to your fingers.

Then roll into palm sized balls of the dough.
Flatten each piece of dough between your hands to form a pancake-like shape, no larger than the inside of your palm. They will look like an extra thick uncooked tortilla like the picture to the right.
Heat each piece on a flat ungreased pan until each side is golden brown.  As you pull each one off, pinch the sides to form a bowl-like shape.

Once those are all shaped, heat oil and fry each individual 
sopito until again they are golden brown on both sides.

Finally, top with beans, your choice of meat, chicken, beef or pork,  lettuce, sour cream and Cotija cheese and enjoy!

The articles contained within this newsletter were completed by Chimacum High School students in Mr. Coyan's art, horticulture and foods classes. Edited by Renee Woods and the Chimacum Heritage Club.
Copyright © 2018 Chimacum Heritage, All rights reserved.
Logo designed by Chloe Patterson
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CHS Foods/Horticulture · 91 West Valley Rd · Chimacum, WA 98325 · USA

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