About the FarmIN THE BEGINNING: Allen Creek Farm, located in Southwest Washington at the very northern end of the Willamette Valley, is the pride and joy of Ray and Carolyn Young. Like so many folks who've spent their lives in careers in the city, they made the choice at retirement to escape to the country where the air was clean, it didn't take half an hour to drive 5 miles on Friday afternoon and they couldn't hear the neighbors TV next door. It didn't take long for them to give up the suits and silk blouses and get comfortable in jeans. They learned that dressing for dinner in Ridgefield means clean jeans.
Today they find themselves with a larger than average size chestnut orchard and all the work that its management and maintenance entails. While their friends may have personal trainers, the Young's will tell you that they have an orchard, and that in itself provides more than enough exercise. They do all the work themselves from weeding to fertilizing to harvesting to processing to marketing, and everything else in between. And yes, we even do our own website, complete from start to finish. Whatever it takes to produce the finest quality chestnut for you.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS; The Young's have been concerned about the environment since the '50's when they began hiking and climbing throughout the United States, Central Europe and Scandinavia. Their boys would tell you that insecticides were never allowed in their home garden and that they had to pick the tomato worms off the plants for two cents a piece. They could also regale you with the "midnight snail hunts" the family went on in the backyard. If it was a good practice then it still is, and no insecticides are used in their orchard today, but in the Spring and Summer you'll see non-pesticide traps hung around the perimeter to control shot hole borers, the only insect attracted to the trees in this area.
While chemicals aren't disallowed in the orchard, an annual analysis of the nutrient content of the trees is done so that fertilizer use can be minimized. A portion of the nitrogen requirements are provided by mulch which is used on each tree.
VISITORS WELCOME: If you're in the area in the fall on a weekend you're welcome to visit. You can pick up your nuts while you're here. Harvest is an exciting time and is fun to watch. You may also like to visit our authentic English-style maze -- the only one in the area that we know of. Nothing like a corn maze, the original design was a modification of the Hampton Court Maze, found just outside London. It was changed when the Young's decided that maze was too easy, that folks needed something more challenging, and challenging it is.
VIDEOS: Check out our harvesting and processing videos: