Shari Raider, Founder
After earning my BS from Cornell University, majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management it was time to move west. I landed in San Francisco where I was able to work and apprentice in some of the finest restaurants in California’s Bay Area. I apprenticed at Chez Panisse, Le Trou and The Acorn Café, and then spent a year cooking at Greens in San Francisco. I had the privilege of being taught by great chefs who truly believed in connecting with local farmers. The next step in my journey was to learn more about growing the food that I was cooking. I entered the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Farm and Garden Apprenticeship Program. Upon completion of this program I moved to Portland and in 1993 founded Sauvie Island Organics. The farm has grown tremendously over the past 20 years in both size and efficiencies, but one thing that never changes is the farm’s commitment to growing delicious, seasonal, local vegetables for you and your family. I am honored to be part of this process.
Jennifer Surdyk, Harvest Manager
Born and raised in Oregon, I have been growing vegetables in the Willamette Valley for nearly a decade. I attended college at the University of Oregon where I began my journey of food production while earning my degree in Landscape Architecture. My studies focused on ethnobotany, sociology, and urban food production, and I became an instructor at the Urban Farm program on campus for seven years. I graduated from college and the realm of the home gardener by landing an Americorps job managing a two acre educational farm that partnered with an alternative high school and youth summer camps to supply a CSA, farm stand, and fresh produce for the school lunch program.
After a season helping a local farmer start his farm from the ground up, I joined Food for Lane County’s Youth Farm as Assistant Manager. There I worked with volunteers and at-risk youth to raise organic produce on six acres. Meanwhile I had begun my very own urban CSA by tilling my own backyard plus several of the neighboring yards to create The Ant Farm, which has since become a thriving local food business collective. I enjoy teaching others about food production and introducing them to the fascinating world of plants- from container gardening to commercial farming. I moved to Portland to join the Sauvie Island Organics team as Harvest Manager in 2012, where I am able to continue to share my joy and passion for education, growing, cooking, eating, and preserving with others. I hope you enjoy cooking and eating our vegetables as much as I love getting to work with them! I am currently a board member for the non-profit Apples to Applesauce, adventuring in off-grid living, and also enjoy foraging for mushrooms and keeping honeybees.
Brian Wood, Field & Equipment Manager
While attending The Boise State University Horticulture program I got a summer job at Peaceful Belly Farm in Boise. It was the only CSA Farm in the area at that time and a radical departure from any agriculture process I was used to seeing anywhere around Idaho. After that wonderful experience I knew that the agrarian lifestyle was the one for me but I still had a lot to learn and places to see. A few years passed without doing any real farm work until I decided that I would take the plunge and dedicate myself to farming. I then worked as an apprentice with Beth Gibans at her farm in Joseph, OR for a season and apprenticed here at SIO for two seasons. I have been helping to grow you vegetables here at Sauvie Island Organics since 2008 and couldn’t be happier.
Jesse Olian, Distribution Manager
I graduated from Reed College in 2010 with a BA in anthropology and an intense desire to flee from my library desk. I decided to follow my romantic boyhood fantasy of being a farmer and signed up with WWOOF to explore different options. I was excited to discover sustainable food production, something I never experienced growing up in suburban New Jersey and attending college in Portland. Serendipity guided me to the Puget Sound in Washington, where I helped develop a one-acre property as a small production veggie farm and permaculture education center. I quickly realized that I was diving head first into an incredibly inspirational and meaningful world.
Then my ‘real’ education began. I have been very fortunate to learn and work on diverse organic farms in Washington, California, Central America and Oregon. With a mind to pursue a career in intensive organic agriculture, I moved back to Portland in 2012 to attend a farming apprenticeship program (BUFA). I joined the SIO team as part of a seasonal field crew that same season. Thus, the seed was sown and my love and passion for our community, land, and amazing produce continued to grow. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to farm with Sauvie Island Organics and it gives me great pleasure to ensure all of our veggies find the right plate!