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Is It The Running Y Ranch Or Running Y Lake?

March 5th, 2014
A chipping potato field looks like a lake from early February moisture on the Running Y Ranch near Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Lake front property or the entrance to a chipping potato field?

Last fall doesn’t seem very far away. The fields at the Running Y Ranch were busy, full of equipment cutting hay and grain and getting the fields ready to dig potatoes.  Before long bulkers were filling spud trucks, which headed to Malin to store the potatoes for shipping season.  Occasionally, the ground would seem to open up to swallow a truck.  When that happened, you remembered these fields were once part of Klamath Lake.

We were recently reminded of that again.  On February 16th, Tricia called to say the fields were so full of water from much needed rain and snow that you couldn’t see where one field ended and another began.  Not only that, swans, snow geese and Canada geese had flocked to the fields, and in some places there were so many of the white birds it looked like the snow had returned.

By the time we made it to the Running Y Ranch the next day, some of the flooding had subsided and the massive flocks had moved on.  But what was left was still amazing.  If it weren’t for the built up roads that ran along the edges, the fields would have appeared to be one contiguous lake.  With swans and a few Canada geese swimming through the wheat and potato fields of last year, you could almost see how this area was once a seasonal part of Klamath Lake.  And you could also see how these fields became so fertile.

Moments like these remind us how lucky we are to live in the Klamath Basin.  Yes, there’s still a drought and we’re all praying for more snow to fall in the mountains and rain to fill our lakes and reservoirs.  But watching geese swim in these flooded fields and swans pick through the leavings of last year’s grain harvest help give us a moment’s respite of today’s worries and remind us of the power and majesty of Mother Nature.

We hope you enjoy the photos below, and if you’d like to see any of them enlarged, just click on the picture and a gallery will appear.

And let’s all hope for more water!

environmental stewardship, farm, gold dust, Klamath Basin wildlife, Running Y Ranch, sustainable farming, walker brothers, wheat

We Have Farm Equipment For Sale!

January 30th, 2014
A snapshot of the Used Potato Equipment For Sale page from www.golddustfarms.com.

If you need used farm or potato harvesting equipment, see what we have for sale!

Since harvest wrapped up, we’ve been looking around our equipment yard and found a few things we’d like to sell.  So, if you check out our Equipment Sales Pages, you’ll notice we’ve added a few things over the last couple of weeks.  If you happen to be looking for a bulker, a belt trailer or a disc ripper, we may just have what you need!

What kind of bargains can be had?  If you check out our Farm Trucks and Trailers For Sale page, we have a 1984 Ford dump truck as well as two (yes, TWO!) belt trailers for sale.  The dump truck has a strong running Cummins 350, an 8-speed transmission and can be driven to your farm for $4500.  The two belt trailers we have are in good shape, with one featuring a smooth belly on the inside while the other is a lightweight hauler.  We’re asking $10,000 for each.

Perhaps you’re getting ready for spring farming and need to work over some fields?  You need to see what we have for sale under Miscellaneous Farm Equipment.  We have a very reasonably priced 32′ Allis Chalmers field disc offered at $5,000.  Worried about getting it home?  Don’t worry – it folds to a very highway friendly 10′ wide.  Is that disc not aggressive enough for the hardpan or old pasture you’re needing to rip up?  You need our Wil-Rich disc ripper.  This Wil-Rich 957 DDR shank ripper features nine rugged shanks behind a set of discs that will make short work of any field.  It’s yours for $48,000.

Maybe you’re looking ahead to harvesting your potatoes?  Turns out, we have some potato bulkers and bulker beds for sale too!  We have two potato harvesters up for grabs – the first is a smooth operating 2008 Lockwood 474H potato bulker.  This Lockwood bulker can dig four rows at a time and has a holding tank.  We’re asking $115,000.  If that’s out of your budget but you still want a four-row digger that can hold spuds onboard, then this 2003 Spudnik 6400 harvester might be right up your alley.  Though it has a few dents and dings, it does have a hopper for holding potatoes while you wait for a spud truck to pull up and the tires are practically brand new.  For the Spudnik, we’re asking $38,000.  And if you need to outfit a couple of potato trucks, we have two 2010 Logan potato bulk beds as well.  These bulk beds are 24′ long and set up to self-unload.  They’re in great shape and only $24,000 each.

We have lots of photos for you to look at, and if you’re interested in any of these pieces of equipment or have any questions, please feel free to drop us a line.  We’re happy to answer any questions you have, or to arrange for a time to check out the used farm equipment we have for sale.

farm, gold dust, walker brothers

Holiday Time At Gold Dust!

December 30th, 2013
Weston Walker, Tricia (Walker) Hill, Bill Walker and John Walker, partners of Gold Dust Potato Processors, in a potato cellar.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas . . .

There’s a little snow left on the ground and the steady hum of a packing shed on the outskirts of Malin.  Yes, it’s definitely shipping season.  It’s also the holiday season at Gold Dust and Walker Brothers!

Things kicked off with the Leadership Dinner on Saturday, the 14th at Mr. B’s in Klamath Falls.  Gold Dust’s partners invited both Gold Dust and Walker Brothers’ leaders from the farm, shed and offices to drinks and dinner.  Bill kicked off the series of talks by thanking everyone there and appreciating the efforts they’ve made in helping the businesses succeed and helping create a great place to work.  Since John was unable to attend, Bill continued with discussing the future plans for the farm, including Weston’s push into new markets and the creation of a potato seed farm.  He also lauded praise onto the shed crews for going 250 days without an incident while mentioning cost savings in insurance it’s saved Gold Dust.  ”I’m so proud of this company,” he said, “and so proud of these people.”

Tricia followed Bill by discussing the partners’ efforts to change their methods of communicating and their desire to foster a more a positive environment throughout the entire company, which would require help from everyone at the dinner.  Weston also took this opportunity to discuss what the future is looking like for the farm and the impact of having visitors from all over the globe.

Once dinner was served and finished, Weston, Tricia and Bill recognized three employees who have went above and beyond in their jobs.  Trino Zendejas Rodriguez, who has been promoted to manager at the Running Y, was called “The Man Who Has Got It”, by Weston.  Since taking over as manager, Trino has stepped up and ran the ranch as if it were his own, meeting and exceeding the expectations of all the partners.  Next to receive recognition for her hard work and ability to step up was Sarah Mendez.  After receiving her blinged-out award, Tricia explained to the guests that Sarah has stepped into a new position, requiring her take on a huge amount of ownership for the analysis and book-work in the office.  The final employee recognized for his dedication was Felimon Martinez Acosta.  As Bill put it, “nobody hardly knows what he’s doing, but for the past three years he’s kept the packing shed running, taught himself welding and about machinery and how to keep things going.”  Felimon’s dedication has saved the company a lot of money by the maintenance program he’s implemented and has kept the shed from having to be closed down.  After the awards were handed out, Weston wrapped up the dinner by thanking each employee and telling the guests a little bit about each person.

The following Wednesday (December 18th), everyone at the shed was treated to lunch served by Tacos Ala Mexicana from Merrill.  While the crews dined on chicken, beef and pork tacos, the partners stood up and thanked everyone for another year of hard work and dedication.  The shed is getting close to a year without a serious injury, to which Bill and John offered a bonus if the shed crew could make it an entire year.  They also praised the crews for staying with them and helping make Gold Dust and Walker Brothers not only successful, but also a good place to work with its own culture.  Before the lunch was over, everyone had a slice of Christmas cake and mingled until it was time to put the tables and chairs away.

And if that wasn’t enough Christmas-time celebrating, the Gold Dust office crew had a lunch-time Christmas party of their own on the 19th!  As with every year, they held a Secret Santa gift exchange along with an ugly sweater contest.  Again, Necia took home first prize for her, erm, “stylish” take on appropriate Christmas wear with Tricia coming in second.

While ugly sweaters and lunch-time gatherings are fun, it’s also a time of year when we get to reflect on how to best help others.  This year, Gold Dust and Walker Brothers decided to donate a load of potatoes to the Southern Oregon Outreach Foundation (SOOF).  For over a year now, we’ve been hauling goods at a discounted rate to help SOOF with their mission of helping local food banks and other outreach organizations all over Southern Oregon, including Klamath County.  With all the good that SOOF quietly does, we’re glad to help them out and hope others will too.

Before we wrap up this post, Bill, John, Tricia and Weston hope all of our employees had a wonderful Christmas with their families.  The long hours our crews put in along with the dedication to their jobs and the great attitudes they bring with them help make Gold Dust and Walker Brothers successful.  Thank you.  And to our business partners, vendors and customers, thank you for making 2013 great!  Here’s to a successful 2014!

The Gold Dust Staff posed with two potato trucks for the 2013 company Christmas cards.

. . . and here’s to a Happy New Year! Cheers!

 

awards & recognition, farm, gold dust, gold dust office, holidays, potato shed, walker brothers

Organic Potatoes? Yeah, We Grow ‘Em

July 31st, 2013

 

A field of organic potatoes growing on the Running Y Ranch near Klamath Falls, OR.

Check out the purple blossoms on our organic potatoes!

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you’ve probably noticed the organic produce section has steadily been increasing its territory.  Consumers are becoming more concerned about what they eat, and more and more they’re dropping organic items in their grocery carts.  As farmers, we’ve noticed this trend for years, hence adding organic hay and grain fields to our crop portfolios.  However, we’ve never tried our hand at organic potatoes.

Until now.

This year we planted our first organic potato fields.  If you’ve checked out our site or read our blog, you know that we’ve been growing organic grain and alfalfa for some time now.  It takes years of planning to get fields ready for organic crops, making it an investment in time as much as it is money.  While we’ve had success with our organic crops, we’ve never tried our hand at organic potatoes.  But this year, down on the Running Y, we’ve planted two different organic potato crops – one red (Modoc) and one yellow (Yukon Gold).  You may have noticed something; neither of those varieties are chipping potatoes.

Why not organic chipping potatoes?  One reason is the current marketplace isn’t asking for them.  Most organic potato chips use non-chipping varieties, such as Russets.  With little want for organic chipping potatoes, and chipping potatoes being rather delicate, at this time we’re not growing any.  But you can bet if we have successful organic potato crops this year, you may find more of our potatoes in the organic section of grocery stores and in your favorite restaurants in coming years!

 

farm, gold dust, Organic Potatoes, Running Y Ranch, sustainable farming, walker brothers

The Fields In July

July 12th, 2013
Chipping potatoes growing at the Walker Ranch outside of Merrill, Oregon.

The chipping potatoes at the home place look green and happy

The summer sun and the click-clacking of sprinklers in the fields make July one of the greenest months in the Klamath Basin – despite the lack of precipitation.  Thunder storms have threatened to drop rain, but in the end the clouds dissipate or head in a different direction.  However, as long as we can irrigate, and the temperatures stay in the sweet spot, our crops will continue to thrive.

With that said, we figured it was time to show how some of the fields have progressed.  As you may recall from a previous post “Chipping Potatoes And Grain Are In The Ground!“, we shared photos we took of our fields being planted in mid-May.  Since it’s been just shy of two months, it’s a good time to see how some of our fields are doing.  While it’s a bit early to say how the crops will turn out at harvest, things are looking pretty good!

We took photos of grain and chipping potato fields at the Running Y, an alfalfa field in Malin, a chipping potato field at our Malin potato processing plant as well as one of a grain field that was in chipping potatoes last year.  We also have some snaps of the big, dry-land organic grain field on the Lower Lake Wildlife Refuge as well as chipping potato fields at the home-place outside of Merrill.  These field photographs don’t tell the whole story, and represent a fraction of the acres we farm around the Klamath Basin, but should give you an idea of what we’re seeing.

Enjoy!

chipping potatoes, farm, gold dust, grain, Running Y Ranch, walker brothers, wheat

Happy Independence Day!

July 3rd, 2013
A chipping potato field at Gold Dust Potato Processors' Malin, Oregon, facility taken July 2nd, 2013.

It’s the 4th and the rows are growing in!

Everyone at Gold Dust Potatoes and Walker Brothers would like to wish you, your family and your friends a very happy Fourth of July.  We also ask that as you celebrate the holiday, to take a moment and think about the brave men and women who fought to make this country the bastion of freedom that it is, and that you also have those who are serving our nation in your thoughts this day.  Freedom isn’t free, and we appreciate the people and their families that make the sacrifices that make America the great nation that it is.

Also, if you’re in the Klamath Basin on the 4th, we hope you can make it to one of the many events that are going on.  One event in particular that comes to mind is the Independence Day Jamboree and Parade.  Out of all the things going on, why are we focused on it?  Because our CEO and COO, Bill and John Walker, are the grand marshals of the parade!  The theme for the parade this year is “The 4th On The Farm” and we’re excited Bill and John have been picked by the Chamber of Commerce for this honor and to represent Klamath Basin farmers. We hope you’ll join us in downtown Klamath Falls at 5 p.m. to watch the parade and join in in the festivities going on at Veteran’s Park after the parade is over.

Finally, something potato farmers are always interested in is whether or not the rows have grown in by the Fourth of July.  And, by the looks of it, our chipping potatoes look pretty good – especially since the photo at the top of the post was taken the 2nd!

Again, we hope everybody has a fun and safe 4th of July.  And thank you to the veterans those currently serving for keeping America free and Americans safe.

awards & recognition, chipping potatoes, community, farm, gold dust, walker brothers

Chipping Potatoes And Grain Are In The Ground!

June 25th, 2013
Chipping potatoes peeking through soil in a field at Gold Dust Potato Processors, Malin, OR.

The baby potatoes were already getting their grow on

During the hustle and bustle of shipping season, spring farming began, making the months of March, April and May some of our busiest months of the year.  And as quietly as it began, last month, wheat and potato planting came to an end.

This year, our crops include chipping potatoes (of course!), wheat, barley, alfalfa hay and organic potatoes.  We worked and planted fields as far north as the Running Y to just over the California border on Lower Klamath Lake and in the Tule Lake leases.  However, instead of telling you about farming, how about we let the photos show you instead?

The following photographs were taken from the beginning to mid-May.  From getting stuck to happy alfalfa fields, these pictures will give you a glimpse into joy and frustration of planting season at Walker Brothers.

 

Before we wrap up this post, John, Weston, Bill and Tricia would like to thank the planting crews for their hard work.  We covered a lot of ground this year (literally), and did so through the perseverance and dedication of our hard-working crew.  Thank you!

Let’s cross our fingers for a event-less growing season and a fantastic harvest!

chipping potatoes, farm, gold dust, grain, walker brothers

We Have Equipment For Sale!

May 22nd, 2013
A 2005 Spudnik 6400 Potato Harvester for sale by Walker Brothers.

2005 Spudnik 6400 Potato Bulker For Sale

From time to time, we decide to upgrade our equipment or thin out our collection of farming implements.  As a result, we have farm equipment to sell!

We just added a 2005 Spudnik 6400 potato harvester to our Equipment Sales pages (look under Potato Equipment).  This bulker has always been stored inside and comes with a multitude of features to ensure your potato harvest goes with as few issues as possible.  It’s in great shape, has a new elevator chain and comes with a spare tire, canopy, lights and cameras –  all you need to supply is the action!  Please feel free to check out the details on the link above, and if you’re interested, let us know.

Another item we’ve had for sale for some time is an Allis Chalmers 32′ tandem disc.  This disc folds for easy transport (to ten feet wide) and has recently had the bearings and hydraulics gone through.  Big bonus – we’ve significantly decreased the price!  If you have a field you need to work over, then you need to get in on this good deal while you can.

If you’re interested in either pieces of equipment, please feel free to get in touch with us at equipment.sales@golddustfarms.com.  And be sure to check back to see if we put anything else for sale!

farm, gold dust, walker brothers

Happy Holidays From Gold Dust!

December 26th, 2012
The Christmas cake served at the Gold Dust Holiday party in Malin, Oregon.

. . . and a Happy New Year!

Snow is on the ground and cheer is in the air.  It looks quite a bit like Christmas around the Klamath Basin.  The holiday spirit is alive and well at Gold Dust!

Last Thursday (December 20th), if you visited the offices at the shed you may have noticed some of the office staff were dressed in “festive” (the word being a euphemism) sweaters.  Since these folks usually are sharper dressers than what the photos show, you can surmise it was the annual ugly Christmas sweater contest.  This year, there was a tie (who knew there could be two sweaters that terrible, right?) between Laura and Necia.  If you thought those were nice enough to wear to your Christmas dinner, you may want to fire your stylist.

The next day, Tacos Ala Mexicana were brought in for Christmas lunch for the shop, shed and office crews.  Tables were set up on the shed floor while Gold Dust’s employees visited and lunched on enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans.  After the cake was cut and served, on behalf of the partners, Weston thanked everyone for their continued hard work and dedication before wishing a Merry Christmas to all.

As you read in our last blog post “Gold Dust Hits The Road For Food Bank and SOOF“, Gold Dust donated 40,000 pounds of potatoes to Southern Oregon Outreach Foundation and the Klamath Lake Counties Food Bank.  Also in the blog post, you may have noticed the employees were raising money for Toys For Tots and the food bank.  How much was raised?  The employees pooled together $300, which was matched by Gold Dust’s partners to bring the total to $600 to be split evenly between the two organizations.  Well done!

Before wrapping up this post (unintentional Christmas pun!), on behalf of Bill, John, Weston and Tricia, we hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year.  And to our employees, who work in the shed, the fields, the shop and in our offices, again, thank you for everything you do to make Gold Dust and Walker Brothers successful.  Without our hardworking crews, we couldn’t be the best farm and processing plant in the Basin.  Thank you.

Here’s to a bright 2013!

farm, gold dust, gold dust office, holidays, potato shed, walker brothers

Chipping Potato Harvest Ends

October 20th, 2012
A potato bulker in a Malin, Oregon field near Gold Dust's campus.

Quiet for now, this potato bulker is waiting to harvest another chipping potato field

Our potato fields are littered with the remnants of dead potato plants and chippers that didn’t make it through the bulker.  Tracks from our diggers and spud trucks have replaced the long rows of plants.  The bulkers and tractors are quiet, while the spud trucks have changed duties from hauling chipping potatoes from the fields to storage to hauling them from storage to the packing shed.

Potato harvest is over.

On Monday (October 15th), just before lunch, our last field was dug.  This year potato harvest lasted a little over a month, and considering the ground our harvest crews covered, it’s a pretty amazing feat.  We had spuds in fields we traditionally farm in the Leases as well as around Tulelake, Malin and Merrill.  However, this year we also farmed the Running Y Ranch, which didn’t add much to the acres we had to harvest, but it did add to the miles our equipment and crews had to cover.  And now that it’s all said and done, this year we had a beautiful crop with impressive yields.

So, how did we get through harvest so quickly?  To start with, we have a hard-working, experienced, dedicated crew who stepped up and put in the hours to make it happen.  From the guys on the bulkers to the folks in the spud trucks to everyone at the storage sheds, packing shed and in the office, every person worked hard to make potato harvest go as smoothly as possible.  We also had beautiful weather which allowed us to start on time every day and not wait for the day to warm up, or cool down, or the soil to dry out.  It’s been a beautiful fall for digging spuds!  Finally, we’ve been doing this for quite a while now.  Though every harvest is different and presents new challenges nobody could foresee, we’ve developed a knack for growing and harvesting chipping potatoes.

Before we get to some final pictures of potato harvest on the Running Y Ranch and around the Malin area, John, Bill, Weston and Tricia would like to thank the crews and staff for making this another successful potato harvest.  Everyone’s hard work is appreciated, and there is no crew around that’s better than the one that works for Gold Dust and Walker Brothers.  Thank you, everyone.  All of you helped make this a success.

Now, for some final potato harvest pictures!  And enjoy the Klamath Basin Potato Festival!

chipping potatoes, farm, gold dust, potato harvest, Running Y Ranch, walker brothers