2018 : [ Athena / Walla Walla / Willamette ]


grower: Johns Ranch

Barley: LCS Genie (63 ac)

susty: Salmon-Safe Certified; Dry-Farmed



This was our third year on the Rawhide, a gifted hill on the saddle of the Walla Walla and Umatilla River Basins, in Oregon between Athena and Weston. Bob Johns and Chris Williams of Johns Ranch farm about 450 acres of it, and they’ve been so kind as to open up up 3 years of hyper-localized barley production to Mainstem. Three fields, side-by-side, in a wheat-barley-pea rotation.

2018 was a good year, somewhere between 2016 and 2017 vintages in terms of plant stress. The yields were slightly lower than 2016 (2.6 vs 3.1 tons/acre), with comparable plumps and protein.

We’re also starting to see the rotational benefits of introducing barley into a wheat-pea rotation. You might remember that parts of our 2017 Athena field had to be fallowed for the season, as they were too wet to plant in the springtime. That entire field went into fresh peas in 2018, bound for your freezer via Weston, Oregon’s Smith Frozen Foods. This set up an A-B comparison between peas after barley vs. peas after fallow. We’ll be looking deeper into this dynamic and will report back with more information in future vintages.