Alluvial Farms is owned and managed by Katie Pencke and Matthew McDermott. Together we have over twenty-two years of farming experience. We spent 2014-2015 studying pastured pork production and quickly went hog wild with the idea of stewarding healthy animal and cropping systems.
In 2016 we launched Alluvial Farms, connecting with eaters interested in a fuller pork experience. We raised ten hogs on a three acre lease in year one, fifty hogs and an acre of barley at our mentor’s farm on a five acre lease in year two, and fifty hogs and twenty acres of barley on our own farm in year three. Year four is coming to a close. We harvested 56 hogs this year, started our own breeding program, and harvested 36 tons of barley from our own organic grain field.
With the support of the Whatcom Land Trust, Whatcom Conservation District, and financing from the Farm Service Agency, we purchased 45 acres of raw farmland in Everson, Washington in February 2018. We established a 20 acre organic grain field, ten acres for hog pasture rotation, barn, and heavy use area, and set aside twelve acres along the salmon bearing stream for the planing of a forest in the spring of 2020 through the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. As the business grows, we look forward to building eater relationships and seeking and sharing knowledge about ecological farm systems.
A note on the name: Alluvial fans are fan-shaped deposits of soil at the base of topographical features, such as the Western slope of the North Cascade mountains. Alluvial soils tend to be rich agricultural mediums and, like most things, dynamic in their ever-shifting nature. We farm in the broad alluvial fans of the Frasier and Nooksack River deltas, and appreciate the metaphor.
Biographies of Alluvial farmers:
After three years as Food Production Manager at Cloud Mountain Farm Center (CMFC) managing organic vegetable, tree and vine fruit production, alongside staff, an internship, and small farm incubator program, Matthew McDermott has transitioned to a Farm Support role at CMFC, in order to dedicate more time to Alluvial Farms. Prior to Cloud Mountain, Matthew worked as the farm and program manager for Seattle Tilth Farm Works in Auburn, WA. Matthew holds a M.S. in Community and Agriculture from Michigan State University, and is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz's apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture & Sustainable Food Systems. He's had the fortune of working with a colorful spectrum of farmers and farm systems over the years, worked with beekeepers in Haiti for two years, and spent a season hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
Katie Pencke currently works as a Resource Specialist with the Whatcom Conservation District where she provides farm planning services to rural livestock owners. Previously she worked as a Resource Specialist with King Conservation District and as a project manager for Seattle Tilth, where she managed learning gardens and farms around King County. Katie holds a BA in Ecology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, spent a year bike touring from Seattle to Budapest, holds a Permaculture Design Certificate and co-owned a hand built bicycle business for five years.
Mr. Trout was not a fan of the pig enterprise for a long time, but during some recent pig wrangling has shown great skill and willingness to help out Trout the dog is our loyal farm companion. In Trout we trust.
Ramone Pencke just graduated from the third grade at Nooksack Elementary School. He loves bike riding, practices capoiera, and loves playing on baseball and soccer teams. He loves books about Greek mythology, graphic novels, learning about all kinds of animals, science and natural history, as well as playing outside and with his friends.
Alluvial farms in the press...
Thanks to the following partners for their support:
Small Acres Farm