Meet your farmer: Teresa Retzlaff
Gardening is something that has always brought me so much joy. I love growing nourishing food and beautiful flowers — and helping my community do the same. In 2003, I took a leap and decided to pursue a longtime passion for organic farming. I began working leased land on Oregon’s North Coast and found myself part of a burgeoning, vibrant community of small farms and local food enthusiasts.
My dream took a major step forward in 2009 when my husband Packy and I bought land in Olney, a rural community just outside of Astoria. 46 North Farm was born! Growing my own food and flowers has long been a passion, but the farm lets me truly put community at the heart of my work. At 46 North Farm, we believe flowers and food bring people together and farming can give back to the land.
For every farmer who is the public face of their farm, there is usually a partner working behind the scenes to keep the wheels turning and the lights on, and for 46 North Farm, that person is Packy Coleman. Packy works full time off the farm at Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon, but generously spends much of his spare time mowing, tilling, building, troubleshooting and fixing the many things that need fixing on a small farm. He also wrangles chickens and collects eggs, is a renowned cat-whisperer, talks to the bees, and truly enjoys taking engines apart and putting them back together again.
We are committed to the belief that everyone should have access to responsibly grown plant starts, flowers, and food. We don’t think the land and wildlife should suffer as a result, though. We farm on only a few of our 18 acres and leave the rest open for wildlife and pollinator habitat.
We do our best to source inputs, soil, seeds, fertilizers and amendments that comply with organic requirements, but we have chosen not to go through the organic certification process. We believe it is more important for our community to know that we are local and can be contacted directly with questions about how any plant is grown and harvested.
Education is important to me. I am a staunch advocate for the importance of local food and small farms in the Lower Columbia Pacific region. I want people to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and how they can start to grow it themselves. To that end, I have worked with local food organizations to increase awareness of what is available. I often speak at regional events about gardening, farming and growing food and I co-host a twice monthly radio show, In Season, on Coast Community Radio KMUN Astoria 91.9 FM. On the show, we talk about gardening tips and techniques and highlight the work of other farmers and producers in the area.