By Kailey Fisicaro

The Bulletin

Shots wanted

Photographers interested in submitting photos for the 2016 Oregon Bounty calendar have until Sept. 15.

Photo specifications and contest rules can be found at oregonfb.org/calendar.

Central Oregon has long been coveted for its natural beauty and easy access to rivers and mountains. Farms in the region aren’t as high on people’s radar. So what’s it like when your farm here is featured in a statewide calendar?

Chris Casad, 27, owner of Juniper Jungle Farm in east Bend, had his portrait atop a tractor chosen for May in the 2014 Oregon Farm Bureau calendar. The bureau, a nonprofit farm organization, takes submissions from around the state for its calendar, Oregon’s Bounty, every year — photos of Oregon agriculture, including the land, people, produce and animals involved.

Casad, a first-generation farmer, said it was fun to be featured and he was excited for Ian Smythe, the photographer, who is a family friend. But the photo didn’t necessarily gain him any great fame.

“I’m still waiting on the fan mail,” Casad said last week, joking as he stood on one of the three plots he leases for Juniper Jungle Farm.

The photo of Casad on the red tractor was taken during sunset in late-summer harvest. Casad admitted to waking up every morning excited to be farming in an area so easy on the eyes, but it doesn’t take away from the hard work any farm necessitates, especially in the High Desert where the naturally sandy soil isn’t ideal.

“You can have the romantic side of it, but growing food is a serious business,” said Casad. “It comes at the price of never-ending self-sacrifice.”

For Casad, who’s been farming since 2008 and licensed Juniper Jungle as a business in 2012, that sacrifice is paying off. Recently, he was chosen by Deschutes Brewery to be the main source of the Bend pub’s Kennebec french fry potatoes. He grows his potatoes on 11 acres in Alfalfa.

In Bend, where the photo was taken, the Juniper Jungle Farm plots host a wider array of produce, including kale, garlic, onions, carrots, peas, leeks and squash. Casad also keeps livestock on the farm, including pigs, chickens, cattle and turkeys, among many others.

Smythe, who captured the tractor image , said he didn’t do it for himself. He wanted Casad to be better known in the farming community.

“It was cool. The main reason I did it was to get exposure for Chris,” said Smythe. “It was an honor for him.”

Smythe, also of Bend, does a variety of kinds of photography, from corporate or family portrait commissions to artistic portrayals of landscapes. The farm calendar photo of Casad was a combination of the two.

Essentially, every aspect of Casad’s farm is focused on staying local and involving the community.

“Locally oriented fertility,” said Casad. “That’s pretty much our sphere.”

Casad’s farming friends razzed him for quite a while about his picture being chosen for May, he said.

“We had this big joke where I was ‘Mr. May,’” said Casad. Even though he took plenty of light-hearted jabs, Casad is glad the photo was chosen.

Central Oregon’s inclusion in the calendar doesn’t end there, though. Ken Klock, a professional photographer in Madras, submitted a photo of a young girl, Aubrey Holliday, nose to nose with Lucky, a gelding she was learning to ride. It was chosen for the month of March in the 2012 calendar. Klock, who used to farm himself, has a ranch where he gives children riding lessons on his horses.

The moment between Aubrey and Lucky was captured back in January 2011.

“They had a fairly close bond with each other,” said Klock, explaining he used to take Aubrey riding Lucky on trails. “We ride quite a bit on our property.”

Klock said his forte is outdoor photography, so it’s fun to see what appears around him when he’s out.

“My camera’s always with me … if I see something, I can capture it,” said Klock.

He said Aubrey was excited to appear in the calendar when he let her know.

A third photo, used for February 2013, was taken at Black Butte Ranch. The photographer, Michel Hersen, of Portland, was on vacation at the resort in spring 2012. He decided to wake before dawn and capture the moon setting over the mountains.

“I got up one morning very, very early to see the moon setting over the Three Sisters, but as would be the case it was cloudy, so it was hard to see the moon through the clouds,” said Hersen. “I just happened to look more carefully and there was a herd of horses.”

The horses Hersen saw, belonging to the Black Butte Stables, were peacefully grazing in the mist. The result is a serene, cool-hued photo only an early-morning shoot could produce.

Even though the photo wasn’t what Hersen had planned, he was more than happy with the result.

“At 5 a.m., God knows what to expect,” said Hersen. “It was adventitious.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0325,

kfisicaro@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. An earlier version of the story misidentified Aubrey Holliday and misidentified the owners of the horses in Michel Hersen’s photo because of incorrect information supplied to The Bulletin.

The Bulletin regrets the errors.

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