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Dairy Farm Highlight

Jamie Bansen is the 4th generation to manage her families Dairy Farm in Dayton. The farm sits on beautiful hillside acreage and provides space for their Jersey Cows, a breed of cows that provides delicious and nutrient dense milk. The farm has a deep-seated sense of nostalgia with a sturdy farm house and tractor sounds in the distance. Visitors are greeted by the family farm dogs – one golden retriever named Brewer is especially friendly, and upon arrival greets visitors with his toy tractor wheel in-tow.

Jamie shares her farm life and experiences with pride and thoughtful humility. One of three sisters, she laughs and says “My sisters are in other parts of Oregon – my dad has me, you know, the ‘son’ I guess!” Her dad’s family emigrated from Denmark to Ferndale in Northern California three generations ago and made the move to Oregon in the 1960’s. Her grandparents had purchased property to farm and sustain the family for generations. It turned out only Jamie’s father, one of three brothers, and three sisters would be interested in that career.

Being raised on a farm was a dream for Jamie, she loved riding horses and the freedom of being out on the acreage. She says “My sisters always wanted to be in town, they would ask why they couldn’t live in town like their friends. I wasn’t interested in that. I loved my horses and riding out without a cell phone in those days – I’d be gone all day enjoying being a kid and being free.”

She has many fond memories of growing up on the farm, especially ones with her grandmother. She was an amazing woman. She taught me how to feed take care of the calves, the garden, to drive and so, so much about life. I miss her a lot.”

Jamie, like many of us, has her own fond memories of Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

“My grandmother would call them toasted cheese. When she made grilled cheese, she would take orders from each one of us. She’d ask ‘do you want it golden brown, or black?’ I loved mine burnt. She’d ask whoever was on the farm, workers and my 14 cousins, it would be quite an order by the end of it. She would cook them in a cast iron skillet, and we’d eat them with Campbell’s tomato soup.”

Jamie and her family have a lot of pride in their dairy farm. Around the year 1995, they made the shift to organic and have continued to this day. They sell to Organic Valley, and you can find their milk being made into items like cheese and butter.

Golden Valley Brewery, the winner of “The Biggest Cheese” for The Melt Down 2018 fundraiser, started a relationship with Jamie’s family back in the 90’s. The Kircher’s (Golden Valley Brewery owners) needed a place to take their spent grains from the brew pub, and the Bansen’s herd was a perfect partner. Jamie shares how the relationship grew to much more.

“We used to get spent grains from the brew pub in the early 90’s, but our story has grown.  It went from there to the owners of the pub (Kircher family) bringing their 3 young boys out to hang out at the farm, and eventually one brother Robert, started to work for us. Fast forward a bit and now two of the brothers Robert and Stewart are becoming partners with Dad and I in the farm. The middle brother Alex manages Golden Valley's Beaverton location. The Kircher family now uses their own brewer's grains to feed their herd of Black Angus which they use as beef for their restaurants!”

We are so grateful for farmers like Jamie who add such beauty and roots to our community. In getting to know her, we would like to end this look into her story with a quote that we feel truly fits her kindness and sense of humor. “Some of us grew up playing with tractors, the lucky ones still do”