Monday, March 15, 2021
Bernards Farms, Oregon
I have to admit to my own preconceptions and prejudices. I tend to think people who live in rural places, especially rural Oregon, will be more conservative in their politics and values. This was what I assumed about the people who run Bernards Farms, a farm and produce stand (in a barn) about 5 miles outside of McMinnville, Oregon, which is about 45 minutes southwest of Portland. Having been a Portlander for about 5 years now, I enjoy the extremely progressive atmosphere that infuses this town. Whenever we go outside its environs, to partake of the many scenic wonders nearby: the coast, Mt. Hood, etc., I always feel a bit wary that I might come across people much less liberal than I'm used to. Not that that makes them bad, but I am comfortable in my little bubble.
Whenever we drive to the beach town of Lincoln City, we stop at Bernards Farms. They grow hazelnuts there, and sell them for less than you can buy them in the Portland stores, plus the fact that they're fresh and delicious. We use them to make hazelnut milk as they are much more sustainable than almonds. Did you know that? They require much less water (almonds need a ton!), don't need pesticides and besides, they're a local crop. Bernards Farms also sells produce in season, walnuts, honey etc.
We were passing by last March, basically the day the Coronavirus lockdown was put into place in Oregon (we were not yet aware it had happened), on our way to the beach, and stopped at Bernards Farm as usual. The produce stand was open, but there was no-one there. A sign asked that you leave cash or a check in a box, and take what you want. Wow. That struck me as pretty darn sincere - and trusting - as there was probably thousands of dollars of nuts and produce. The problem was, I had neither cash nor a check. So I took two pounds of hazelnuts, and left a note that I would call them and give them my credit card over the phone or send a check. The lady who answered the phone said to just send a check and I did. That right there gets them a pretty high sincerity rating, plus the fact that their hazelnuts are amazing.
Then the Black Lives Matters protests started after the killing of George Floyd and we didn't get back down to the beach for a while. The next time we did though, in late July, we of course stopped by Bernards Farms. Everything was as nice as usual, the employees back at their jobs, wearing masks, and being safe - and over the register two huge signs: One said Black Lives Matter, the other was this one:
I was impressed. My favorite farm stand also stood proud in support of their values - those that I believe to will move our country closer to "justice for all."
Thank you, Bernards Farms. Your evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!