A look back and looking ahead
Howard and Gladys Gibson tie the knot. After many years of teaching others about farming, the couple decides to buy their own plot of land and farm.
The Gibsons purchase 120-acres four miles west of Junction City, Oregon, and call it Lochmead Farms. After a tough first year, a modest $40.78 remains in the checkbook.
Grandpa Howard quits his government job and moves his family to the farm. This is the first year the farm produces crops and income. Great Grandpa and Great Grandma help finance the purchase and work on the farm.
Lochmead Dairy begins to produce milk shortly after the first dairy cows arrive.
The farm shifts to a full-fledged dairy operation with 100 cows, a milking parlor and expanded acreage that produces food for the herd. At ages 5 and 6, the Gibson children begin helping out on the farm before and after school.
The farm grows steadily as Grandpa Howard adds land, experiments with different crops and expands the dairy operation to 500 cows. Like other dairy farmers at the time, they sell their milk to wholesale processors who bottle and ship it to market.
Lochmead Farms dairy opens and Grandma Gladys begins selling milk at the family’s first of five start-up Dari Mart stores. To control product quality, Grandpa processes only milk produced on the farm. The farm also grows grass seed, mint and row crops to sell at market.
The third generation of Gibsons moves into leadership roles. Uncle Buzz tends the dairy herd. Uncle Mike grows the crops. Uncle Jock manages the dairy. And Aunt Pat and her husband, Gary, oversee the stores.
Lochmead Farms Dairy begins to create new products, such as Lochmead ice cream. Partnerships are also formed to produce several kinds of frozen yogurt and non-dairy desserts.
Dari Mart stores grow steadily, reaching 31 stores by the mid ’90s.
Grandpa Howard dies at age 82. Grandma Gladys, proud of all that they’ve accomplished together, remains the anchor of the family.
The family’s herd grows to 1,200 Holstein cows, kept free of disease by advanced livestock practices. Growth is limited to cows born and raised on the farm.
Lochmead Farms expands to 3,000 acres, producing food for the herd, grass seed, mint, filberts and row crops.
Dari Mart grows into a regional chain to include 500 employees and 43 stores that stretch from Albany, north of the farm, to Cottage Grove, south of the farm.
A fourth generation of Gibsons, including seven of the eight grandchildren, has joined the business and looks toward the future.
Sustainability continues to be a deep-rooted priority. Milk is always produced without artificial growth hormones. The farm is working to capture methane gas to produce energy.
grab-n go green reusable shopping bags are made available in all stores.