Greetings! We’re Rob and Linda Cordtz, the owner-operators of Eagle Creek Orchard in Richland, Oregon. Rob comes from a background in mine reclamation, and Linda’s background is retail. At age 52, we left our home of 25 years in McCall, Idaho, for a working retirement at the orchard. In 2005, we purchased a conventional orchard, which we immediately converted to organic management techniques and got certified by Oregon Tilth. It’s a thriving business that grows each year, and this is our ninth harvest.
This spring, an unseasonably warm spell in March brought the trees out of dormancy and into early full bloom; then a cold front moved through the northwest United States, and temperatures dipped well into the low twenties. This hard frost killed 90% of our apricots, peaches and plums, which equates to a loss of more than 70% of our total yearly harvest and income for 2013.
Handfuls of frost-killed blossoms mean fruitless trees
Up until this spring, our frost protection equipment has adequately handled the weather. We now see global changes and wild swings in weather, and our concern is that we could lose the ability to continue farming, should the orchard experience another killing frost next year.
We are asking for help to upgrade and increase our frost protection equipment so that we can continue growing organic, nutrient-dense fruit with sustainable and holistic care of the land. We need to raise $30,000 to purchase the equipment that will help prevent another massive loss like the one this spring. Eagle Creek Orchard's continued existence is important for numerous reasons:
Just over 1000 families rely on our fruit each week.
This is the only organically-certified orchard within 200 miles.
This is the only orchard within 100 miles.
Our fruit is naturally sweet, tree-ripened, and nutrient-dense.
School children and seniors benefit greatly from our handpicked harvests.
This money will be used to upgrade two main parts of our frost protection system:
Under tree sprinkler system
Efficient propane orchard heaters
What you get
We are starting our campaign off with a handful of great perks. We will add some exciting new perks later in the effort, so keep your eyes peeled.
Adopting a tree is a great way to be in touch with the production of your food supply. You can come to the orchard and help with whatever we are doing with the trees at a given time: pruning, picking, thinning, watering, and more. It's a great way to learn about the care of fruit trees and is a skill you can use all your life. We have two types of tree adoption: one for young trees and one for mature trees.
You just can't beat the taste of an Eagle Creek Orchard organic, nutrient-dense peach - sweet and juicy! This is the perk we all get with the improved frost protection.
If we don't reach our goal, we will use what we raise to do as much improvement to the frost protection as we can. For us, growing fruit in an organic, sustainable way is a passion.
This orchard is truly special, as Rob and I have tended the trees and the land holistically and naturally since we came to Eastern Oregon. Choosing to ask for help in this way is difficult, but as it unfolds, we have found it is connecting us to a wider group of wonderful, supportive people who are concerned for this small but vital part of our local food supply. We would likely not have made these connections if it had been "business as usual" here. As we go through this fundraiser, we are bearing witness to a broadening awareness, and it fills our hearts.
Thank you for joining us, from the bottom of our hearts. (And that goes for Tattoo, too!) We hope that we will soon get to see each and every one of you, shake hands, and bite into a peach or two.
We know some of you may not be able to contribute monetarily, but that doesn't mean you can't help! Here are some other specific ways to help beyond donating:
Talk up the campaign when ever you are around folks.
Make some posters to put up around your town, with this link to the indiegogo page igg.me/at/eaglecreek
Share things when any of us post them to your Facebook feed (just hit SHARE) – but also add language as to why this matters to you! Personally ask your friends and relations to repost and share on Facebook via a private message.
If you know people willing to do a little more than share messages on Facebook, have them contact Rob and Linda on Facebook
If you are on Twitter - tweet the link to this page and ask for a retweet. igg.me/at/eaglecreek
If you know any food or ag bloggers or writers who might be willing to blog or write about us, send them our way.
If you are not local to Eagle Creek Orchard, please do participate in the online campaign – donations come in from all corners because people all over the world care about local, sustainable food systems.
Keep the messages going out over the next 45+ days until the fundraiser deadline
Every donation, share, tweet, retweet, blog post, email, and bit of encouragement helps!
Thanks to United Community Partners and Liz McLellan for donation of web design and social media expertise - and to our son Jesse Cordtz for providing his amazing video skills in creating our campaign video.
Robert and Linda Cordtz
Eagle Creek Orchard
Thank you to the following
organizations and businesses for their
support and encouragement:
Eagle Organic Farms in Eagle Idaho