In the 1850s, Benjamin Talbot Flint moved to Oregon with his family and a herd of sheep to start his own farm. As years progressed, the farm expanded and diversified, but still remained a family business. Thirteen members of the Flint family now live and work on the farm, which grows wheat, berries, clover and walnuts, among other crops.
Beverly and Harlan Flint are the owners of Mid Valley Farm and celebrating 150 years in business. Harlan has lived on the 250-acre Beaverton farm his entire life and recalls his father’s stories about what the land looked like when his grandfather first arrived.
“I remember my dad saying that they cut all the [fir] trees, burnt them … so they could begin farming the land,” Harlan said.
While growing up, Harlan helped take care of the calves, but when his father asked him about taking over the farm, Harlan wasn’t interested in raising cattle.
“You have to milk [cows] twice a day, whether you are sick or not, so we changed to pigs,” Harlan said. “You can get a day off now and then … enjoy life a little more.”
In 1965, Harlan met Beverly, who was attending University of Portland to become a teacher.
“The first day I walked the lane [of the farm] I knew that [life] was for me,” Beverly said.
Beverly grew up in Eastern Oregon, where her father ranched.
“I always loved the gardening and the animals,” Beverly said. “That was the first time I ever had a horse. That all fit in perfect.”
Harlan and Beverly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this June. Their adopted daughter, Sadie, lives in Portland but continues to help out.
“I think for the most part, the younger children are no longer interested [in farming],” Beverly said. “They want to go out and make their mark somewhere else. So it’s very difficult to find a family whose children want to stay and keep that parcel.”
Sadie is set to take over the land following her parents.
“I talk to her every chance I get about not to sell because the farm pays for itself,” Harlan said. “There is no way to get that much [land] again.”
The Flint Family will be honored this August at the Oregon State Fair as a sesquicentennial farm. Harlan said applying to be recognized was important to him.
“My grandfather took out the registered name ‘Mid Valley Farm’ and that means a lot [to him],” Harlan said. “This would be the same way. It means a lot to me.”
Harlan and Beverly have no plans to sell the farm even though they have been approached numerous times.
“I wanna be where I am at,” Harlan said. “I’m happy to be right there [on the farm].”