When Agostino Calcagno began selling his produce in Portland in 1926, he couldn’t have known that he was starting a business that would be thriving almost 100 years in the future. But his son Ambrose had caught the farming bug and, after serving in the army in WWII, worked as a seed salesman in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. During his travels he learned about growing techniques and better farming methods, and this inspired him to start his own farm on 5 acres in Milwaukee, raising lettuces and radishes that he sold to local grocers. Ambrose’s son Jim grew up working on the farm, and the Calcagno family eventually purchased farmland along the Clackamas River. They continued selling to local markets while raising Ambrose, Christina and Marissa, who all followed the family tradition, although armed with university degrees in agriculture. Named after his grandfather, Ambrose today manages the family farm on the Clackamas with Marissa and the Calcagnos have also expanded into Madras in Central Oregon.
The farming practices at Cal Farms incorporate the highest level of food safety and sustainability from start to finish. From disking cover crops in the early morning to hand-packing the final product, the Calcagnos are involved in every step. Water conservation and energy efficiency are high priorities, and are constantly being monitored and improved. The foundation of farming lies in the health of the soil, and replacing essential nutrients is done through crop rotation and selected cover crops, composting and seed selection. They also maintain about 400 beehives on their farms, and use integrated pest management to insure the health of their hives. In addition, Cal Farms is certified by the Food Alliance for its safe and fair working conditions.
Taste the bounty of the Calcagnos hard work in our fresh, made-to-order salads, pastas and house made soups on your next visit or take out order. Pastini is lucky to have such a terrific source for local produce! It’s been a great partnership, and one that we know will continue for years to come.