One Willow Farm
Contact: Mark & Melissa Stewart
Address: 29332 State Route 20 Oak Harbor, WA, 98277
Email Address: Onewillowfarmwa@gmail.com
After a 23-year career in the US Navy, we were accepted into the Armed to Farm course offered to Veterans through NCAT. We went to Bozeman in April of 2019 for this immersive learning experience. We came out of that course with lots of really good information and tools that we could use if we ever ventured into farming for ourselves. Fast forward a year and here we were facing a pandemic, growing meat chickens and asking questions like ‘Can we find a hatchery closer to home?’ and ‘How fast should we scale up?’ In our early conversations we knew that we could easily grow meat chickens, because we had done it a few times. But we also knew that we wanted to grow a better product than those first few batches we did for ourselves. We knew three things. One, we wanted to raise our animals in an ethical, humane way, on pasture whenever possible. Two, we wanted to make sure we were taking care of the land in the process and not deplete it. Three, we wanted to be in service to our family, friends, neighbors, and community. These three basic principles helped us to develop our little homestead and we are still growing and learning along the way. Here at One Willow Farm our mission is pretty simple - grow quality, nutritious food for our family, friends, neighbors, and surrounding community; and while we’re at it, leave the land better than we found it.
From the day the chicks arrive here on the farm, they are fed a NON-GMO Corn and Soy free feed from Red Bridge Farm in Kettle Falls, WA. Once they are on pasture they can forage for all the good stuff chickens love. We keep them in tractors to protect them from predators, but they are moved at least once a day, and sometimes twice depending on a number of factors. We do not graze the same spot twice in a year; once the tractor has been on a spot for 12-24 hours we will not use that spot again. This allows the soil to absorb what the chickens have left on the ground. We are focusing on building a permaculture system as well as regenerative practices.