Alyssa Link is the owner and operator of Link'd Hearts Ranch. She originally intended to be a self-sustaining hermit, but people begged for her high quality, locally-produced products, so she began the business. She now sells lamb, fleeces, pork, chickens, turkeys, eggs, and CSA shares. Everything is pre-sold directly to customers.
The property, originally just a hay field, has been developed for produce and livestock through much hard work. Alyssa and her husband Richard own six acres and her parents own six adjacent acres, also used for the business. Alyssa is the main operator of the ranch, with assistance from their three children. Richard, a computer programmer at WSU, calls himself a “flashlight farmer” because he works on the farm nights and weekends.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the property is the “Hen Mobile”. They converted a cool 1950's farm truck into a chicken coop, providing roost boxes for 75 laying hens. Alyssa also raises pastured boiler chickens and turkeys. In addition to pasture greens, the chickens are fed a locally grown grains mix, purchased from neighbors Eric and Cheryl Zakarison. Alyssa raises and sells over 600 broilers a year and gets rave reviews about how delicious her chickens are.
Their children have taken on the care of various animals. Son Joe, 14, tends to the pigs. The pigs, frequently moved to new areas, are great for the soil . They root up dirt which tills the ground and exposes the pathogens to sunlight. Alyssa says, “Pigs are God's plows.” Son Andrew, 11, is raising rabbits. Daughter Coraline, 6, cares for the ducks. Alyssa finds the ducks fascinating. “They always sound like they are laughing.” The sheep and goats share a pasture with llamas who act as protection against predators like coyotes.
Alyssa has “fallen in love” with the goats. She used to hand-milk the does, but now has partnered with Cheryl Zakarison and Mary Stewart. They put their goats together to create Thatuna Hills Dairy. The three women are experimenting with making various types of cheese. They are working toward getting a full Grade A USDA dairy license so they can sell their cheese locally.
In addition to livestock, Alyssa plants and maintains an orchard, large garden and berry patch, all grown as organically as possible. She is experimenting with a quadrant garden, which helps her to rotate crops for the best nutrition and health of the soil. The quadrants contain multiple vegetables like peas, lettuce, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, tomatillos, beets, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and melons. People can become members and buy shares for a U-Pick CSA. Members are allowed to pick all summer and get reduced fees if they do ten hours of weeding.
Alyssa earned two degrees from WSU, a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Pre-Law. She finds farming a practical application of her education. She learned to be a good steward of the environment and has an understanding and respect for the laws and regulations that apply to farming.
Alyssa is cheerful and energetic. She has many future plans to improve their property including expanding the garden and berry patch, adding bee hives, planting a nut tree windbreak, and pasture renovation.
To learn more about Link'd Heart's Ranch, check out the websitehttp://www.linkdheartsranch.com/
LINK'D HEARTS RANCH IS A MOSCOW FOOD CO-OP BUSINESS PARTNER
· Through our Business Partner Program, Co-op owners receive a discount on locally-owned businesses that partner with the Co-op, and the Co-op promotes our locally owned partners.
· At Link'd Hearts Ranch members receive 10% off a whole pastured lamb OR 10% off any raw Romney fleece OR $2 off your first pastured chicken of the season
· Link'd Hearts Ranch can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; 509-878-1807.
· For more information about the Co-op's Business Partner Program, please ask for a brochure and/or an application at the Customer Service Desk or click here.