At first, Sarahlee Lawrence may not seem like your stereotypical farmer. She’s hip, young and loves spending her free time river guiding and hanging out in Mexico - that is, when she gets a rare break from running her family’s 80 acre Terrebonne farm, Rainshadow Organics.
Farming is clearly in her blood, and she and her husband Ashanti are passionate about supplying organic, sustainable produce, grains and meats to the region. Situated 15 miles northeast of Sisters, Rainshadow had its beginnings in the 1970s as a family farm where Sarahlee’s parents grew wheat and raised cattle and pigs. When Sarahlee returned to the farm in her mid 20s, she brought new ideas for transforming the business into a sustainable, certified organic operation. Today, Rainshadow runs a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), sells at local farmer’s markets, and provides produce, grains, and meats to local restaurants.
There is no doubt that Rainshadow is serious about its sustainable practices. Sarahlee and Ashanti carefully foster the farm’s intricate ecosystem with companion planting, nutrient cycles, flowers, bees, riparian areas, crop rotation, and undisturbed native desert. It’s a vision of sustainability that matches our own, which is why Juice Counter sources produce from their well-loved farm.
Free from chemical pesticides, fertilizers and pesticides, their fresh produce travels less than 15 miles to us before being cold-pressed into our glass bottles. We LOVE that kale, chard, beets, carrots, ginger and more arrive at our doorstep with Central Oregon dirt still clinging to them with their precious micro-nutrients intact. And you can taste and feel the difference in our juices.
Free from chemical pesticides, fertilizers and pesticides, Rainshadow’s fresh produce travels less than 15 miles to us before being cold-pressed into our glass Juice Counter bottles.
Of course, Central Oregon farming isn’t easy. From searing heat in the summer to harsh spring frosts, the high desert climate offers year-round challenges. “You have better luck gardening in Bend than you do out here,” laughs Sarahlee. “But greenhouses help us extend the season.”
The heart and soul of the farm is a humble looking passive solar greenhouse Sarahlee built for her mom a decade ago. Surrounded by busy chickens (and one watchful rooster) pecking around the gardens, the structure is a year-round powerhouse when it comes to revving up the farm’s production.
“It’s a relatively small space, but we grow thousands and thousands of starts in here all year long.” explains Sarahlee. “It’s specially engineered with a heat exchange at night that puts out more BTUs than if you were running heaters.” This little plant nursery allows Rainshadow to start peppers, tomatoes, chard and other plants well in advance of their growing season until timing is right for planting them into fields and the farm’s ten larger greenhouses.
Rainshadow also uses biodynamic planting to chart optimal leaf days, root days, leaf days, and flower days. “Biodynamics encompasses soil preparation, a balanced ecosystem and a lot more,” she says. “It’s very important to us as a holistic approach to what we’re doing out here.”
As Juice Counter expands from delivering fresh, organic juices to serving up a vibrant plant inspired menu at Tiny Counter, we know we couldn’t make it all happen without the support of local farmers like Sarahlee. We’re committed to sourcing all that goodness locally because it’s good for our customers, it’s good for the local economy, and it’s good for the Earth.
Learn more about Rainshadow Organics here!