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Five farms come together for spring tour

Local farmers invite public to catch a glimpse of rural life


by: TIMES PHOTO: CAITLIN FELDMAN - This is one of Tonie Tollens four horses on her 32-animal farm. Tollen Farm is a featured stop on the Favorite 5 Country Farm tour.The forest behind Ed and Laura Wild’s house hasn’t been touched since the 1930s.

At nearly eight acres, most of the land remains untamed and unaltered, a myriad of trees and native plants stretching toward the sky. Ed is well versed in these old growth woods and has forged paths for visitors to use while exploring.

The couple’s property, named Birdsong Gardens for the chirpers in the trees, is a hidden wonder. By the end of this month, their front gardens will be full of their biggest attraction — blooming peonies.by: TIMES PHOTO: CAITLIN FELDMAN - This rare Kurabyashi plant is part of the old growth forest behind Birdsong Gardens.

For a sneak peek of what’s to come, Birdsong Gardens is participating in the ninth iteration of the Favorite 5 Country Farms Spring Tour Friday, Saturday, Sunday and April 18-20. This self-guided tour takes visitors outside the metro area and into the rural land beyond.

Shelby Crecraft, the owner of another Favorite 5 attraction, Pure Pizazz, said the urban growth boundary line is what makes it possible for people living in the city to have such easy access to the countryside.

“Out here in the country, when you say neighbors, it extends a great deal further than in the city,” Crecraft said.

Because of this, the tour’s incarnation was a result of the “neighbors” wanting to help showcase local rural artists and ways of life otherwise tucked away. In addition to the views, animals and gardens at the farms, many of them also have art and trinkets for sale from around town and the world.

For their first year on the tour, Darkest Peru Alpacas will have alpaca yarn, rugs and textiles for sale. Visitors will be able to see the farm’s chickens, goats and alpacas on site and buy fresh eggs to take home. For the recommended second stop on the tour, Hand to Heart Stables gives visitors an opportunity to see horses and sign up for future riding lessons.

At Tollen Farm, owner Tonie Tollen sells countless treasures she’s collected over the years. Some of her 32 animals, including miniature donkeys, are even for sale.by: TIMES PHOTO: CAITLIN FELDMAN - Currently, 12 Meditteranian miniature donkeys live at Tollen Farm.

“Everything you see looks like it lives here, but it lives here until it lives in your house,” Tollen said.

Many of the other participants share a similar view, whether it’s with the jewelry that Crecraft makes or the peony plants Laura Wild spent so much time potting. These neighbors are passionate about their crafts and want to share them with the greater community.

Admission for the event is a food donation for the local food bank. For a map and brochure, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-625-6032 or 503-682-1604.



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