The high desert climate of central Washington State can make it a tough place to grow food. Bambi and Eric Miller - the farmers at Parke Creek Farm - face high winds, low precip, and extreme temperatures. And yet, amidst the challenges, Parke Creek Farm is thriving!
Read more about what keeps them going. (Hint: at least part of it has to do with colcannon and 10 layers of clothing in the winter.)
Do you have any other jobs? Eric has a few off the farm part-time jobs. Bambi farms full-time
How long have you been farming? Eric has been farming 8 years. His specialty is Nursery/Greenhouse growing, which he has done professionally for over 30 years. Bambi has been farming for over 40 years, starting with raising chickens when she was 9 years old. She grew up in a family that raised their own food, canning and preserving everything. She specializes in plants and animals. She has also been a dog trainer/competitor for over 35 years; conformation, obedience and stockdog.
What do you produce? Do you have a specialty? We produce a wide variety of produce/vegetables, specializing in leafy greens. We also raise poultry for eggs and meat, grass fed lamb and pasture pork.
What are your markets? We attend 3-4 farmers markets a season, and have a CSA
Why did you get involved with CNG? We like the way CNG encourages sustainable farming practices, and that it is geared more towards the real, practical way of farming.
How did you get into farming? Bambi: I have always loved working with plants and animals. Growing all your own food, and then sharing that with others. Eric: I married a farmer.
(When) have you wished you hadn’t become a farmer? Eric: when the wind is howling between 40-50 mph. Bambi: The thought never crosses my mind.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered? Moving from a moderate climate with plenty of precipitation to a high desert, low precipitation, plenty of wind climate.
What is unique or unusual about your farm? Our Umbrella Cockatoo parrot J
What was your most positive farming experience? Having repeat customers travel over 100 miles to pick up their grass fed lamb and boxes of produce.
What advice would you give to a new farmer? Start small
One thing you learned the hard way on the farm: Pigs and goats are hard on fences.
Favorite vegetable: Potato. Hands down.
Favorite dish to cook at home: Colcannon [mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale]
Guilty pleasure: Peanut M & M’s.
Most useful piece of clothing: Overalls.
Favorite season: Summer, I can milk my goats without 10 layers of clothing on.
Do you have any hobbies? Spinning wool, drawing/painting and reading a good book.
What plans or hopes do you have for your farm in the future? Incorporate a cutting flower section and bigger u-pick area.