Diversified Markets and Value Added Products
Midori Farm, Quilcene, WA
August 15, 2016
In the hot August 15th sun, Marko Colby and Hanako Myers hosted 32 farmers, farm interns, students, and agency and extension personnel at their certified organic farm in Quilcene. Marko attributed the success of Midori Farm to the many enterprises they have built over the last 13 years. Seed starts sales to local farms peak in May and June; annual vegetables sold directly and through wholesale orders are the focus in the mid-late summer; a small CSA operation and produce sales to food co-ops and restaurants runs throughout the season; and processing for sauerkraut and kimchi picks up in the winter months with sales generated year-round. In addition, Midori contracts with several seed companies. This year they even expect to make a small profit on a flock of 150 organic chickens. These diversified operations are manageable because each peak at different times of the year, with the downside that year-round ventures leave little time for rest.
We toured the annual vegetables, including cabbages, leeks, daikon radish and burdock used in Midori’s sauerkraut and kimchi. The long shelf life of cabbage—10 months—allow for year-round sales and processing. Three years prior, Midori Farm migrated to Jefferson County from Port Townsend. The move came with climate differences, and Marko and Hanoko discussed how they have learned to adapt. In the near future, they will lease an additional 10 acres to keep half the farm in production and half in cover crops every year.
After the walk, Hanako provided sauerkraut and kimchi samples, while discussing the processing side of the operation. After sharing a commercial kitchen for several years with another business, they plan to transition to their own facility in downtown Quilcene this coming January, which one day may also turn into a small retail space. At one time, their sauerkraut and kimchi products caught enough attention that they could have gone big, but after careful consideration, Hanako and Marko decided they didn’t want to elevate one product above anything else. The farmers are true to their intention to remain diversified, which allows for, and requires, constant shifting and adaptation to market, climatic and seasonal demands. All the more fitting when we learned that Midori Farm was named after the farmers’ cat, which means “green” in Japanese.
Summary by Lia Spaniolo
This farm walk funded in part by the WSDA Specialty Crop Block Program.