Sam Lucy cultivates ancient grains using organic methods alone. As you might have guessed, Lucy is someone who cares about history and the quality and safety of what goes into our bodies. But he also cares about people and community. Which is why he donated his car to charity: it’s sustainable, even when it can no longer run.
What does this mean? For one thing, the parts can still be recycled. No matter in what condition, parts are still made of materials that can be remade into something useful once more. Also, a charity focused on children and their families can only benefit the community. What better investment can there be? Donating a junk car to be repurposed toward the good of society is totally aligned with all Sam Lucy does in his work at Bluebird Grain Farms.
Kars4Kids: Why farming? Is it in your blood? A life choice? A family legacy? What is the significance of the name of your farm, Bluebird Grain Farms?
Sam Lucy: I grew up on an old New England farm that has been in my family for 200 years. I have always been around farming, but didn’t end up farming in the West by design, although I’ve been at it 30 years now!
We have both western and mountain Bluebirds here in the north Cascade foothills. They arrive in the spring about when we begin planting and leave in the early fall about when we are harvesting. They sort of sanctify Nature here, and our seasonal cycles. They are beautiful and speak of a healthy place.
Kars4Kids: A typical day in the life of the Lucy family: What does that look like?
Sam Lucy: Chaotic!
Kars4Kids: What made you choose to farm using organic methods? Demand? Personal belief? Are your crops wholly organic?
Sam Lucy: We are, and always have been, 100% organic. We believe it is much better for the land, and better for the body. Particularly our children.
Kars4Kids: Your farm is located in Washington State. Can you tell us a bit about growing conditions in your location and what sort of crops grow best where you are? What do you grow on your farm and where can people buy what you produce?
Sam Lucy: We have 4 distinct seasons here in North Central Washington. Cold, snowy winters and hot dry summers.
This allows for adequate moisture most years for grain crops, and ideal curing conditions for good harvest. Washington State is the 5th largest producer of wheat in the country most years. On our farm, we grow small cereal grains and cover crops of legumes.
The best place to go for information and/or purchase of our products is our website: www.bluebirdgrainfarms.com.
Kars4Kids: What made you want to grow ancient wheat strains? Do these heirloom grains hold a kind of fascination for you? How do emmer and einkorn differ from the strains of wheat more commonly known today?
Sam Lucy: We fell in love with the emmer first, and realized that this was one of the first cultivated grains which had all the proteins, sugars and amino acids that make up a true whole food full of nutrition and outstanding taste. Naturally. It grows well here, plus it is easier on the land as far as nutrient uptake.
After a few years we discovered and began growing out the einkorn for similar reasons. The main difference is that the einkorn – which is even older and simpler than emmer – is the parent of soft wheat so its flour is much fluffier and finer. Whereas the emmer is very dense – it is the parent of the hard wheats. Both are used as whole grains in cooking and as flours for baking.
Kars4Kids: Can you talk to us about the typical Bluebird Grain Farms customer? Who is most likely to purchase your grain?
Sam Lucy: We have all sorts of customers. We have three channels of sales: direct retail – largely this is our online store for home users; direct wholesale which goes largely to food co-ops, local bakeries, caterers and restaurants; and finally distribution to larger chain stores and small restaurant chains.
Kars4Kids: Tell us a bit about the vehicle you donated.
Sam Lucy: Oh, the old Tahoe! The Tahoe was our first family car and it served us very well for many years. We used to fill it full of goods and do our first Farmer Markets from it all the way over the mountains in Seattle. We used to load up kids to go skiing, or go to swim meets. Our two daughters both learned to drive in it and used the Tahoe as their first car. So, we have a lot of history with this well used rig indeed.
Kars4Kids: You decided to make a charitable donation of your car when you might have junked or sold the vehicle. Why choose charity over profit in this particular case?
Sam Lucy: We chose to donate this vehicle because it needed a few repairs that we didn’t feel were worth doing ourselves. As well, it just seemed to “call it good” by ending on a positive note. Financially, we wouldn’t have gained enough from it to really matter if we sold it.
Kars4Kids: What made you choose Kars4Kids as the recipient of your donation?
Sam Lucy: I hear the ads for Kars4Kids all the time. This car has a ton of history and good memories to do with our own kids as mentioned. We love kids and try to volunteer the best we can at the schools here, coach sports teams, etc. Just seemed natural enough to donate to a program with similar values. Kids are our society’s most important asset. Anything we can do to help them is our best investment by far.