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Sakari Farms

Article by Lynette Confer

Photography by Miguel Edwards

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Just off Highway 20 near Tumalo, nestled at the base of a small cliff, is a piece of land that was once inhabited by local Native tribes. In 2018 this land was purchased by Spring Alaska Schreiner and became known as Sakari Farms, an Inter-tribal farm serving Native Americans near and far, growing food, saving seeds, offering a place to gather while teaching what it means to honor the seasons of each crop.

Encompassing just over 2.5 acres, Sakari Farms is not a large piece of land. “You can do a lot with small spaces,” notes Schreiner, “What we grow here is full of flavor and highly nutritious, not grown for quantity or uniformity, but for the integrity of the seed and with the intent to feed people and save Native seeds.”

An enrolled member and shareholder of the Chugach Alaska Native Corporation and Valdez Native Tribe, Schreiner is also a member of the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance. Through these connections she has been collecting Native seeds for over 15 years, and that seed is now being grown on Sakari Farms. “That’s what makes us so unique,” explains Schreiner, “we have Native seeds that other farmers do not have access to.”

Schreiner brings years of experience as a resource manager, ecologist and agriculturist to Sakari Farms. Native seeds grown on the farm are tribal seeds from Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Southwest, primarily because these tribal lands mimic the climate of Central Oregon.

A walking tour of the farm reveals sections of land planted in Hopi Blue Corn, Oneida Cranberry Beans, Hopi Red Amaranth, Apache Safflowers, White Buffalo Calf Tobacco, Bachelor Buttons, Marigolds, potatoes, Hopi Creole Red Onions, Native wild strawberries, Native American Sweetgrass, Navajo Tea and herbs planted in a large Medicine Garden. Three large greenhouses are home to Wisconsin Tribal Geti Squash, a variety of tomatoes and peppers, young asparagus, white sage and much more. Every plant grown here has a purpose and is utilized completely.

A small irrigation pond on the farm is multi-purpose. “We work hard here, we don’t have enough help, like everyone,” Schreiner states. With a smile, she adds, “This is where we do cannonballs… you’ve got to have some fun!” Schreiner also explained that this irrigation pond goes dry every other week. “We struggle, along with other farmers in the county, with issues related to farm worker housing, water rights and infrastructure development costs,” she says.

According to Schreiner, Sakari Farms has over 40 commercial accounts across the country, selling crops grown and preserved at the farm to Native-owned restaurants and chefs, and to Native Reservation stores and trading posts. “Blossoms from our Geti Squash are dried and sent to a restaurant in Los Angeles where a tribal chef uses them in dishes,” she says.

Schreiner’s husband, Sam, is an integral part of the farm, a chef and a “pepper whisperer.”  He is responsible for an original line of hot sauces made from the peppers grown at Sakari Farms. These hot sauces, along with other Sakari Farms products grown, preserved and created on the farm, can be purchased at their online store.

“Most of our products, within 48 hours to two weeks, are sold out because everyone knows generally when we harvest certain crops and when our products are available, once a year,” says Schreiner. “We are creating this anticipation and appreciation… they know there’s only one time a year something is available, so they wait, then ration it, save it and appreciate it more. It’s pretty cool.”

“We teach the value of the seed, how to take care of it . . . you only get to do it once,” notes Schreiner. “We teach the lesson to keep an eye on the sky, on the weather. We teach reconnection to the land. It’s like a form of trauma therapy.” 

One thing is certain . . . the very essence of Sakari Farms is one of honoring the natural rhythms of life and the seasons of food and plants that nourish each of us, body, mind and spirit.


Pg 4: Bullet List in place of recipe. 

Sakari Farms

  • Donates pallets of food annually to Warm Springs Reservation and through Tribal Food Boxes.
  • Saves Native seed, grows it and returns it to the tribes of origin.
  • Preserves remaining crops and sells at the Sakari Farms online store as value added products like sun-dried tomatoes, herbal teas, dried plant materials for ceremony and dyes, smoked seasoning salts, spices and body care products.
  • Offers On-Farm Educational Opportunities for both tribal and county residents:
    • Technical Assistance such as Farm Business Planning, Cover Crop and Pasture Management and Tribal Enterprise Development. Tours of the farm and traditional cooking classes are also offered.
    • Tribal Food Events including Tribal Women’s Campout and Tribal Longtable Event, a fundraiser for the farm.
  • Find Sakari Farms original Hot Sauces at Market of Choice in Bend.
  • Find Sakari Farms produce and products at Locavore in Bend.