In the spring of 2018, Mark, Terri, Amelia, and Adeline left the hustle and bustle of the Twin Cities, MN to start their lives as farmers in beautiful Southern Oregon. That same fall, Judy and John, having recently retired from the foreign service and wishing to be closer to grandchildren, drove across the country to settle into their new home on the farm. Since then, we’ve planted 2,000 lavender plants, added a 5 acre vineyard, built a guest house, laid miles of irrigation, and built a new barn, among other things. In 2020, little Finley joined the family and he keeps us on our toes daily!
With no backgrounds in farming, winemaking, or starting a small business, the learning curves have been long. We have learned about planting and tending to crops, laying and repairing irrigation, caring for chickens, measuring brix levels, distilling lavender oil, and so much more. Our family and friends have been indispensable helpers! From Minnesota to Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and right here in Oregon, friends old and new have pitched in with their time and talents to help us learn, build, and grow. Though the journey to this point has been rife with challenges such as fires, droughts, and a global pandemic, we are so happy to opening a space where everyone can enjoy the beauty we have found on our little farm.
Amelia and Adeline were the inspiration behind our name, Dos Mariposas, which means two butterflies. Both girls have a passion for grapes (mostly eating them) and are developing into very helpful little farm hands. Amelia is interested in how things work and is always full of questions. She is innovative and creative and we anticipate she will be directing operations around here before we know it! Adeline is a hands-on helper who loves to help with harvesting fruit, vegetables, and lavender. She is learning to sew and enjoys creating lotions and potions, so be on the lookout for Adeline-inspired lavender products!
Finley, our little caterpillar, is the newest helper on the farm. He may be small, but his dreams are big! He asks to drive the tractor many times each day and is fascinated with big trucks. He also enjoys eating anything we grow in our vineyards, fields, and gardens and smelling the products we make, especially the wine. Finley may become our official “nose” for wine notes in the near future.
Lady and Nsima are the farm dogs. Lady lives with Mark, Terri, and family and loves living on a farm. Visitors may see her in the fenced backyard or hear her barking a greeting from the house. She longs to be a tasting room dog and to interact with our guests, but she likes to give big muddy-pawed hugs, so for now she’ll greet from afar. Nsima came to live with Judy and John temporarily about two years ago, but she’s decided to stick around for a while. She also enjoys farm life. Nsima is a bit anxious around strangers, so she does not make public appearances very often, though if you kick her soccer ball for her, she’ll be your friend for life.
Judy and John
Judy, a retired nurse, and John, a semi-retired physician, spent a number of years before moving to Oregon traveling the world with the foreign service, spending time in Beijing, Mexico City, and Washington DC. Though they are world travelers, John and Judy have deep roots in the southwest, having spent many years living in New Mexico and Colorado. John still enjoys seeing patients via telemedicine several days per week and is looking forward to spending his “off” days in the tasting room visiting with our guests. In retirement, Judy’s new job title keeps her busier than ever! Mimi to her seven grandchildren, most mornings finds her chasing Finley and Nsima around. She too envisions a future in which she can take some time off to interact with our visitors.
Mark and Terri
Before taking up farming, Mark spent nearly 20 years working with a sculpting and design firm. His design and construction background have been invaluable in the construction of our tasting room and guest house. Prior to her new roles on the farm, Terri worked for a university in operations and analysis. Terri also has a doctorate in educational leadership in management and it turns out that educational management skills translate pretty well to managing a small business. Both Terri and Mark are looking forward to moving from the building phase to the maintenance phase of this endeavor.
acres of wine grapes
With 6 acres of wine grapes, nearly an acre of lavender, about 100 table grape vines, and over 150 fruit trees, our farm is always full of life! We do all of our farming using organic methods. We follow an organic spray program created by local agronomists for our wine and table grapes and for our fruit trees. We plant flowers that draw in beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, praying mantis, and spiders to help keep the bad bugs away. We also grow pollinator plants to encourage bees and butterflies to spend the summers with us and we leave our gardens in place after the growing season as a place for pollinators to overwinter. We work hard to conserve water, so all of our gutters run off into the irrigation pond and we use drip irrigation on nearly all of our crops to minimize water losses.
In addition to serving as the irrigation supply for our crops, our large pond provides a natural habitat for numerous water fowl, fish, and bullfrogs. Every year we welcome one or more Canada goose families to the pond where they nest and raise their goslings. Occasionally we have a duck family that will also venture into the pond to raise their young. A blue heron regularly frequents the pond in search for dinner and we have seen green herons, mergansers, coots, and more as they migrate through our area. A farm would not be complete without chickens. Ours spend their days lazing about under the apple trees and occasionally produce a few eggs.