The scene is bucolic as I arrive at Gunpowder Roasting Ranch. The sun is warm, the air is fresh; goat and pigs are in pasture.
At 10 acres, Gunpowder Ranch is modest and easily missed when driving along Marsh Road just a few miles northeast of Tumalo, but it is not soon forgotten. Started just over a year ago by Bay Area transplants Sonia Consani and Krista Vegter, Gunpowder Ranch has a uniquely themed approach toward ranching. Rather than focusing on high quality animal products alone (pigs and chickens in this instance), they also offer high quality Fair Trade Organic coffee. That's right, Gunpowder Ranch is all about breakfast: Bacon, eggs and coffee!
Originally inspired to roast coffee and start a fruit orchard, Consani and Vegter shifted their vision to raising heritage pigs in the hopes of eventually starting a local charcuterie.
Gunpowder Ranch is home to 33 beautiful Rhode Island red hens, although a handful of hens have escaped the coop and moved in to the barn with the pigs, which Consani and Vegter are happy to abide. "If they don't mind being bossed around by the pigs, we are happy letting them be," says Vegter.
The ranch also boasts four breeds of pasture-raised heritage pigs, including a regal Tamworth named Ginger. Ginger, with his auburn hair, is a "rock star" on the farm, says Vegter, and is the progenitor for the ranch's best selling bacon, which has been selling out at Bend's Locavore for the past year. In fact, most of the ranch's pork products have been selling out and with Whole Foods soon to be carrying their products, Consani and Vegter have their hands full keeping up with demand—which is fine with the ranching newbies.
"I like the challenge," exclaims Vegter.
Their coffee is available at Locavore, Whole Foods, and Newport Avenue Market, and pork products are carried by Locavore, Whole Foods (soon) and School House Produce. They also offer drop-offs at the Locavore and direct delivery for orders over $25, and welcome people directly at the ranch.