(Photo above: Adam Buresh | courtesy of Oregon Wild Harvest)
For generations, many have migrated to Central Oregon and, upon arrival, found abundance for their professional and personal worlds. Cultivating families, agriculture, economic endeavors, volunteerism, outdoor pursuits and athletics, this section is a sampling that showcases how locals are harvesting happiness in our desert community. BFQ hopes to inspire recognition of the richness of surrounding civic or geographic resources in the landscape, respect for tangible or abstract shared wealth and encourage readers to forage and grow happiness in their respective spheres.
Randy Buresh, R.N., Pam Martin-Buresh and Adam Buresh, Oregon’s Wild Harvest
In 2013, Randy Buresh and Pam Martin-Buresh, co-founders of Oregon’s Wild Harvest, ended a five year search and purchased a farm in the High Desert to grow their USDA certified organic herbal supplements. “Needing more land to help expand our business after searching the west side of Oregon, we moved the company to Central Oregon. We found good, clean land and a great source for fresh water. With the addition of many sunny days and a beautiful view of the mountains, we knew we couldn’t go wrong,” says Randy.
Randy (herbalist), Pam (CFO), and son Adam (farmer and farm manager), purchased their first and second farms, 137 and 147 acres each in Culver. The latter property certified organic and biodynamic and the former property certified USDA organic. A year later, they resurrected a 44,400 square foot manufacturing facility in Redmond, which was initially built for food processing.
“We love the land, the beauty and the people. What’s better than to move into an agriculture area with access to farm equipment, a production facility and skilled workers? Organic farming and conventional farming can and do co-exist. The local farmers are kind, hard-working people. It feels like home here,” Randy expresses.
About relocating, he says, “Many of our longtime employees wanted to come with us on this adventure. Believing in our mission, we were humbled that more than a dozen staff packed up and moved their families and joined us in our journey to Central Oregon. Our staff have settled in communities from Bend to Redmond to Prineville.”
Before his 22 years spent building Oregon’s Wild Harvest, Randy worked as a healthcare professional for more than two decades.
“Farming,” Randy describes, “growing plants with organic methods and taking care of our animals, is our way of life and allows us to be surrounded by family. Some of our kids are even hands-on in the business…looking after kids and grandkids, caring for each other and the land we farm, and the people who choose our products are at the center of our interests and lives.
“As organic farmers, we’re harvesting happiness by protecting the seeds, soil, pollinators and water. These resources are vital to our future. We’re growing medicinal herbs that help people stay healthy and making sure that seeds and plants are protected for future generations. This is our mission. We love living on the farm and being farmers.”
Elise Kukulka, Fearless Baking
Seeking, harvesting and instigating happiness is an ever present theme for Elise Kukulka, owner of Fearless Baking Bakery & Café. After moving to Bend from her hometown in Buffalo, New York five years ago, Kukulka explains how satisfied she is with the baking business she built and the home madeofferings she nourishes the community with.
“Obviously I love baking and being in the kitchen. We wake up in the middle of night to bake our pastries from scratch not only to fill Central Oregonians’ cheeks with delicious food, but to inspire community and connect with friends and family.
“Aside from the cafe and bakery, we get out in the community during the NorthWest Crossing Farmers Markets, Sisters Folk Festival and by providing fuel to the fearless runners at many of Super Dave’s Superfit Productions’ races. By connecting with groups and events that we believe in, Fearless harvests happiness…we hope to inspire the community to take a chance and be fearless in some part of their life,” says Kukulka.
“The kitchen is the one place I feel truly fearless.”
When she isn’t baking, she’s paddling the river, mountain biking or riding her motorcycle. Kukulka hopes to acquire a sidecar in the near future for Ubu, her Brittany spaniel.
“I grew up submerged in the outdoors, but got sick of driving from Buffalo to the Adirondacks every weekend so that I could be in the mountains. I always dreamed of a life on the west coast. Moving across the country with no job or family was a huge risk, some might even say fearless, but it was also exciting to have a blank slate and see how everything would evolve,” Kukulka expresses through an unyielding smile.
In the winter, Kukulka says, “If I am not in the shop, I’m skiing or dreaming about skiing. Nine years ago I fell in love with it and spend most of my vacation time traveling to ski or in the backcountry. There is nothing better than harvesting powder.”
Kukulka names Broken Top and Tam McArthur Rim as places where she is forced to be present and everything else seems to be silenced by the snow.
“I am fortunate,” Kukulka beams, “to have created a business that enables me to maintain a work-life balance in one of the raddest towns in the country. Even though the word is out that Bend is the place to be, there is plenty of wilderness to share with likeminded people looking for solitude.”
Kit Carmiencke, OD & Kirsten Carmiencke Scott, OD, MS, Integrated Eye Care
In 1976 when Dr. Carmiencke, co-owner of Integrated Eye Care, and wife Sandi first arrived in Bend the population was 15,000. Kit says locals often quipped that, “the only way one could live and work in Bend was to buy a job.”
After optometry school, Dr. Carmiencke says he, “wanted to live and raise his family in an active family-focused community, with great schools, higher education plus sunshine. I grew up in Eugene and Sandi grew up on a fruit ranch in Yakima. Professionally, I had the opportunity to buy a long time Bend Optometry practice. Bend was the perfect fit.”
In his practice, Dr. Carmiencke explains, “I am always working to develop a great team to deliver outstanding eye care while providing every patient a positive experience. Now over 40 years later, I still enjoy connecting daily with long time patients and friends, plus being able to serve their kids and even grandkids. It is a treat and honor. Of course the highlight is being able to practice with and learn from my daughter and co-owner Dr. Kirsten Scott.”
Outside of optometry, Dr. Carmiencke enjoys reading, learning, traveling, Bible study and good dialogue. His favorite forms of recreation include, “Kayaking and sunsets at Sparks Lake in the summer and fall and spending a couple of days in the fall at Black Butte Ranch biking and walking and enjoying the beauty of that magical spot.”
He has banked 40 plus years with Rotary, served with the original organization that started Bend Habitat for Humanity and served as chair on an early board for The Family Resource Center.
Reflecting on travel Dr. Carmiencke explains, “Sandi and I have been fortunate to have visited Italy now a number of times and the highlight is having made good friends in Belluno, our Italian sister city. Another travel highlight is for 15 years a good friend and I pick a college football game, generally in Southeast or Atlantic Coast conference, and we go a day early to visit the campus, then on Saturday we enjoy the game and the culture.”
Though he has harvested happiness in all the aforementioned arenas, in particular, Dr. Carmiencke says, “I have always enjoyed walking along the Deschutes River Trail as it has expanded through Bend. Originally along River Run Reach to Sawyer Park with our kids Kirsten and Chris when they were younger, and now with our grandsons walking from The Old Mill along South Canyon Reach.”
Dr. Carmiencke is pleased in the winter months when his family’s river hike ends with a hot chocolate.
Sarah Lauderdale, Elizabeth Hendrix and Samantha Green, Crooked River Inn Bed & Breakfast
After retiring from four years as sales manager with Blue Cross Blue Shield for the State of Alaska, Elizabeth Hendrix moved to Prineville six months ago, renovated a 110 year old farm house and is now the proud Innkeeper of Crooked River Inn Bed & Breakfast.
Describing the many recent transitions to accomplish her goal, Hendrix says, “It has been a fascinating and time consuming project and the results are awesome.
“I am learning and enjoying gardening and raising chickens. Neither were good Alaskan hobbies because of the weather. I am hoping my efforts will be appreciated by my guests at the Inn. My goal is to be able to use fresh vegetables, herbs, berries and fruit in the dishes I prepare and of course fresh eggs.”
About construction Hendrix muses, “Wherever possible, we kept the shiplap in order to preserve the character of the house, which was buried under at least twenty layers of wallpaper. The same was true for the floors. After removing about two inches of old linoleum, we refinished what we could and added new hardwood where needed. We kept a balance of the old look and feel while adding modern conveniences like a completely new and efficient kitchen, laundry and two comfortable guest suites.”
Recounting difficulties of the renovation, Hendrix says, “I lived in the house during the whole process. Not having a kitchen for four months was really difficult and sketchy laundry and shower availability was a challenge. I learned to cover my bed every morning to keep the sheet rock dust out and fell into it every night tired to the bone. It was messy and exhausting but the end result is well worth it.”
Hendrix says creating the inn is how she chose to harvest happiness. “It’s a beautiful properly and has already given me so much joy. I am transitioning from the construction phase into my new role as innkeeper and am really looking forward to settling into Prineville and becoming part of the community. I can’t wait to welcome guests from all over the world and have an opportunity to get to know them and hear their stories.”
Getting to spend more time with her family has been a highlight of Hendrix’s move including daughters pictured, Sarah and Samantha. “I have five children and thirteen grandchildren all living on the west coast. What a treat it has been to be close enough to attend school activities and special functions.”
Scott Allen, Hydro Flask
Living in Bend for just over ten years, Scott Allan, general manager of Hydro Flask says he moved his family here because, “I wanted my kids to grow up with access to the mountains and the San Francisco to Squaw Valley drive was getting old!” Allan names snowboarding, backcountry splitboarding, mountain biking, golf, home brewing and date nights with his, “awesome wife,” Ann amongst his favorite interests.
Contributing to diversifying local economy is Allen’s way of harvesting happiness. “During the last downturn, I lived in Bend but commuted to Silicon Valley and it struck me how worse off Central Oregon economy fared than areas with a more balanced industry. I looked forward to playing a role, along with other fast growing local companies like Deschutes Brewery, G5, Navis, Crux, Ruffwear, Humm Kombucha, etc., in providing real jobs and careers that would help smooth the local economy during downturns. Like Hydro Flask, these are all exciting companies that reflect the best of Central Oregon’s work hard/play hard lifestyle.”
Maintaining bike trails with COTA and membership with Opportunity Knocks, Vistage and Cascade Angels bring Allen great joy.
He exclaims, “Nothing beats the great workout and appreciation of our great trails than a COTA work party!”