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Certified organic is Danas way at market

Gales Creek garlic growers follow organic lifestyle


by: COURTESY PHOTO - Candii and Gordon Dana of Gales Creek use organically certified methods to cultivate garlic and other veggies to sell at the Forest Grove Farmers Market.Candii and Gordon Dana, new vendors at the Forest Grove Farmers Market — a program of the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres — are selling a certified kind of aroma this season.

As the owners of Three D Ranch, they grow 15 varieties of certified organic garlic as well as a selection of other vegetables. In 2000, the couple moved to Gales Creek and, with limited space, they decided to start with garlic.

“We bought five pounds of our popular Bavarian variety from a vendor at the North Plains Garlic Festival and began our garlic growing journey. We have varieties that cover a broad spectrum, from mild to very strong, and which have various characteristics such as very large cloves, robust flavor, high quality yield and interesting names,” said Gordon.

Growing organic vegetables is not a hobby, “it’s a lifestyle,” the Danas explained. Candii has spent the last 20 years as a health educator with organizations supporting balanced living, stress management and healthy nutrition.

Before Gordon retired to take up the garlic business, he worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry, first as a firefighter and then as the South Fork Camp Manager, where he spent more than 30 years working with minimum-custody inmates and employees to complete forest management projects.

While there are plenty of toxins in the atmosphere humans are exposed to daily, food is one factor the Danas can help control by using only organic methods of farming.

The process to become U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic is often a barrier for small farmers, but the Danas, who first received this designation in 2008, feel like it was important to their niche business.

“Organization and record-keeping is the most challenging part of the certification process, but it’s not too hard,” said Gordon. At the Forest Grove Farmers Market, most farmers grow their produce using only natural and organic methods, but Three D Ranch is currently one of two vendors that actually sells certified organic produce.

“We appreciate that market staff are interested in having local certified organic vendors participate in markets in western Washington County, where there is less of a presence of this type of product,” said Candii.

The Danas can be found at the market on Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. For more information about Three D Ranch, visit galescreekgarlic.com.

— Kaely Summers is manager of the Forest Grove Farmers

Market.



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