Our Nestlé Health Science team visited Royal City, Washington to meet the farming family responsible for growing the organic butternut squash used in Compleat® Organic Blends Chicken-Garden Blends tube feeding formula.
Our team arrived just as the sun was setting over the fields where some of the butternut squash for Compleat® Organic Blends tube feeding formula is grown on the Christensen family farm. We walked the fields where the organic butternut squash for Compleat® Organic Blends tube feeding formula had recently been harvested with Ryan and his father-in-law, Shane. Here is their story as told by Ryan, the next generation of Compleat® Organic Blends farmers.
5 generations of farming family
My wife and I are the 5th generation to work on the Christensen family farm. Coming into this family I got to see the deep and rich feelings that they have for farming. My father-in-law is the first one in his family to get into organic farming. It takes a lot of work to maintain an organic farm, including weeding all 215 acres and picking our butternut squash by hand! People do not realize there's a lot of love that goes into every single piece of organic food.
Maintaining the rich soil
After every harvest you have to reestablish the ground and reset for the next year’s crop. To ensure we keep growing highly nutritious butternut squash, rich in vitamin A and other important nutrients, we replenish the soil by planting other crops that can put back some of the nutrients that the butternut squash took out. When people think of organic farming, they tend to imagine Farmer John in his overalls and a straw hat, but there is actually a lot of science involved, in figuring out what the soil needs.
Tender loving care produces the best squash
When our squash is harvested, we put it in a bin that we can trace back to a specific field. Within four hours of harvesting, our organic butternut squash goes in a climate control cellar to maintain the freshness of the product. The butternut squash is then stored for several weeks while we carefully monitor the starch and sugar levels so that it meets the strict nutritional standards required for Compleat® Organic Blends tube feeding formula.
Minimizing the environmental impact
We work hard to minimize the environmental impact of our farming. We lay little hoses in the ground which are able to water within inches of where the seed is planted. This watering method uses about half the amount of water of traditional methods. We also take any leftover butternut squash and truck it over to one of our local dairy farmers. The dairy cows love it. Oh my gosh, they think it's like Christmas for them.
Want to learn more about the Christensen family farm? Check out the video of our visit:
The rewards of farming for Compleat® Organic Blends
It is gratifying knowing that our butternut squash is going into Compleat® Organic Blends formulas. I personally had family members who have been in the hospital and needed to be tube fed. It’s good to know that what we are doing has an even higher purpose than generating income for my family; there is actually good being spread to others by helping to create organic tube feeding formulas.
Looking to the future
We ended our time with the extended Christensen family in the place where it all started, at Roy’s homestead. Ryan spoke to us about the responsibility he feels to both the past and future Christensen family farmers.
This playground was built in tribute to Grampa Roy, whose sons started the farm. This is a nice little area where we can come to remember how our family started. It's a good reminder to stay humble, be proud of our family, and work hard.
I have a lot of high hopes for the next generation. I hope there is always a place where small farms are able to continue. I hope that my work is setting up the foundation for my kids to have something solid to build on and that I’ve taught them how to take care of the ground they walk on, so that they can leave a good footprint for the next generation.
Want to learn more about Compleat® Organic Blends tube feeding formula?
Compleat® Organic Blends tube feeding formulas are intended for use under medical supervision. Please consult with your healthcare provider to find out if Compleat® Organic Blends is right for you or your loved one.