Naked Acres Farm operates on 75 acres of land in Beavercreek, Oregon in the United States. The farm’s operators, Margo and Gus Liszka, maintain a dynamic operation that includes livestock, chicken eggs, produce, and soap. The farm’s paramount commitment is to land stewardship and animal welfare, based on sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices and humanely raising livestock in accordance with the high standards set forth by A Greener World. Margo and Gus produce food with a strong commitment to improving the environment, community, and supporting their family so that they can continue farming for years to come in an economically viable and ethical lifestyle.
Margo and Gus started farming in January of 2012 on 3.5 acres, and from the beginning were selling at farmers markets. In the first year they sold at 6 markets a week at small incubator markets, but for the last 6-7 years they have been selling at two larger markets in the Portland metro area. When it comes to farmers markets, they have been at Hollywood for many years, not just because of the financial success, but “we believe in the vibrancy of the market and market community,” Gus says. “We want the success of the collective. Farmers are resilient through it all, and every day as a farmer is a gamble. The vendors and the customers share this synergistic effect of being the backbone of the market.”
Unfortunately, in September of 2020, three wildfires converged around their farm. They had increased production to meet the demand during the pandemic, but they lost power for many weeks and had to evacuate their livestock. Their top priority at all times is the welfare of animals, and they worked with other farmers to evacuate countless animals in the area and make sure that even though the farm didn’t burn, the animals were comfortable and healthy. This winter, the elements hit in the opposite extreme and ice storms lead to another loss of power. This time, they lost the ability to pump water and keep young plants warm in the greenhouse. They drove gallons of water from the local fire station in a truck to bring water back to their animals and have been working all spring to make up for lost vegetable starts.
Through all of this, Gus and Margo are powered by their love for their customers. Gus says, “we’ve had lots of rough times throughout the years, but the customers are what keep us going.” Even when they have had limited inventory or other issues, their loyal customers support them financially or in any other way they can because they truly believe in what they are doing. “We’ve seen children go up and graduate and go to college,” Gus says. “Customers who have met a partner and had children or have had customers passed away. They mean everything to us. Without the customers we have nothing. Market weekends are tough! But the minute I get to the market, I’m happy. I’m instantly fulfilled when I meet the customers.” When asked about what makes a good farmers market, Gus continues to go back to the community and the customers: “We’ve had a wide range of market managers. The market will carry on through turnover because it goes back to the customers and the vendors, the community! Vendors are financially invested in markets but are also invested in the success of the market itself.” Gus and Margo have developed this loyal customer base through their quality products, their warm personalities, and their deep commitment to animal welfare, “we raise livestock because we eat meat,” Gus reminded us. “For those that consume meat and buy from local farmers at the market, they are supporting the welfare of the animals. These animals are sentient beings, we honor their life while they’re alive.”
“I want people to understand that customers are such a huge part of markets,” Gus said. “I love that we have so many dedicated customers who are so dedicated to supporting our local food system. We couldn’t do this without all our community helping each other. We have an amazing community out here.”