Member Spotlight

Billy’s Gardens

Billy’s Gardens

Tilth Producers caught up with Billy Allstot, founder and owner of Billy’s Gardens in Tonasket, WA, while he was in Imperial Springs, CA. Billy and his partner Stephanie Blackstad were farming there for the winter both to keep their hands in the soil and to warm their bones. In the Okanogan valley, Billy’s Gardens have been a constant on the organic scene for over 40 years. They cultivate certified organic tree fruit and berries, winter squash, melons, flowers, and two acres of greenhouse crops. Continue reading

Northwest Agriculture Business Center

NABC

Lucy Norris is Director of Marketing for Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC). Funded in part by a USDA Value Added Producer Grant, NABC and partners have developed a food hub model for farmers to increase sales while sharing resources. Farmers set their prices, and buyers from businesses and institutions purchase from multiple farms online, receiving their orders at one location. Lucy’s work helps to build a strong, local food infrastructure. Continue reading

Little Eorthe Farm

Carrie and Ken Little, Little Eorthe Farm

By Jacqueline Cramer

I caught up with Carrie and Ken Little of Little Eorthe Farm in Orting, Pierce County, amidst August harvest. Little Eorthe Farm strives to improve habitat, community, and connections for all farmers. Carrie manages crop production on ten acres with two excellent interns she found through the Tilth Producers website; Ken works the infrastructure and is also the egg man. Continue reading

Farm At Waters Edge

Sara Roberts

Sarah Roberts works at Farm at Waters Edge, and is a recent graduate of Evergreen State College. The Farm at Water’s Edge (FAWE) is a demonstration farm run by the non-profit Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. The Farm is a work in progress as staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing the community with a place to acquire fresh vegetables and learn about how agriculture and salmon ecosystems can co-exist. FAWE is currently working toward Organic Certification through WSDA. Continue reading

Healing Hooves

Healing Hooves

Tilth Producer’s own Jacqueline Cramer spoke with member Craig Madsen, owner of Healing Hooves LLC, about his goats, shepherding, and his overall business. Craig lives in Lincoln County, travelling around Washington with his herd, putting them to work for vegetation management and to reduce fire risk. Continue reading

Rosie’s ORGANICS

Jennifer Wengeler

Jennifer Wengeler lives and farms twenty-five acres north of Spokane, moving there three and a half years ago, after working, living, and growing food in Seattle for many years. Continue reading

Central Co-op

Central Coop

The Central Co-op in Seattle is a member-owned grocery store open to all shoppers and located where the densely-populated Capitol Hill neighborhood meets the Central District. Late one mid-January afternoon Amina Parker, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and Shelby Jors, Produce Manager, sat down with Tilth Producers in the Central Co-op’s offices atop the busy grocery. Beforehand Shelby gave a tour of the produce department, work areas, and modest cooler. Continue reading

Burnt Ridge Nursery and Orchards

Burnt Ridge Nursery and Orchard

Michael Dolan and I talked a day after a November storm raged through Lewis County, creating power outages and flooding. Michael was upbeat nonetheless, still eager to talk about trees, the harvest, the ridge, past storms.

By Jacqueline Cramer Continue reading

Dharma Ridge Farm

Dharma Ridge Farm

Dharma Ridge Farm is a certified organic vegetable farm about 20 miles outside of Port Townsend. Farmers Haley Olson Wailand and Zach Wailand started farming in high school and recently consolidated their operation from multiple leased parcels to a single 100-acre parcel of leased land in the fertile Leland Valley. Continue reading

Arabesque Farm & Bakery

Arabesque Farm & Bakery

Tom and Louise Tuffin are long haul advocates for a healthy local food/agriculture system in the Spokane area. They run Arabesque Farms and Bakery in Spokane, WA. Along with sons Nick & Jake, and Jake’s partner Robin, They sell fresh primarily through farmer’s markets. The Tuffins are developing a new location for the bakery. Continue reading

Maple Rock Farm

Maple Rock Farm

Maple Rock Farm is beginning its 12th season on Orcas Island. Farm owner John Steward invited me to the farm-house for breakfast and heart-filled confabulations about his drive to meet the year-round demand for local food in his community, challenges to farming on an island, and the future farmers. Continue reading

Kershaw Fruit

Kershaw Fruit

Dave Gleason is Chief Horticulturalist for Kershaw Fruit in the Yakima Valley. Since 2003, Dave has been managing about 1,000 acres of orchards around Eastern Washington. Continue reading

Bone Dry Ridge

Bone Dry Ridge

Selma Bjarnadottir was born and raised in Iceland. She grew up in the city, though her grandparents and uncles are sheep farmers. At twelve years old, Selma went to work on a sheep and horse farm that became her second home. Selma went to college in Eugene, Oregon, and fell in love with the West Coast of the United States. Eight years after college she bought the 40-acre Bone Dry Ridge farm with her husband Markthor, where they now raise Icelandic Sheep, Scottish Highland cows, pigs, and chickens. Continue reading

Grateful Food Farms

Tilth Producers of Washington May 2012 Member of the Month

Valerie Rose spent her childhood on a 150-acre commodity crop farm in Northeast Illinois. She left for college, and followed up with 12 years in public broadcasting and 12 years in research and health at the University of Washington. Just before Seattle Tilth’s Rainier Beach Urban Farm came to her South Seattle neighborhood in 2010, Valerie moved to Mount Vernon. There she became a Master Gardener and wrote a gardening column for the Skagit Valley Herald. Valerie recently started an exciting new endeavor—leasing one acre of land at Viva Farms, an incubator farm in Whatcom County. On her own Grateful Food Farms, Valerie currently grows snow peas, collard starts and garlic, with high hopes for a hot summer yield of melons, sweet corn and pole beans. Continue reading

Punkin Center Farms

Tilth Producers of Washington April 2012 Member of the Month

Nearly twenty years after leaving their hometown of Zillah, Spencer and Susan Wilson returned to their native Yakima Valley in 2008 to embark on a new adventure—owning and operating 65-acre Punkin Center Farms. Named for a small store that once served laborers making their way through the valley picking fruit, Punkin Center Farms boasts 30 acres of fruit orchards, a 4-acre market garden and 30 acres of “hope and potential.” Along with four-year-old son, Laek, dogs, Quincy, Colonel, and Tater, the couple has been hard at work restoring the orchards to good health, cultivating the market garden and refurbishing an old building into a guesthouse for agro-tourism. While Spencer may still call himself a ‘novice,’ Punkin Center Farms will see its second season of sales this year, with a new CSA program beginning in June. Continue reading

Blue Skies Farm & Bakery

Tilth Producers of Washington January 2012 Member of the Month

Krissy Biernacki and her husband Todd made a decision to change careers six years ago and have since established a small farm and bread bakery on 20 acres between Trout Lake and White Salmon. With backgrounds in horticulture and chemical engineering, as well as in managing the 30-member Trout Lake Farm CSA this past season, the pair was poised for success. Todd has come full circle as a chemist, applying his skills and drive to baking. Krissy manages the farm and its local connections, and delights in her community and the food ethics that surround them. “It surprises people from the city,” says Krissy, “but being a part of this community – it’s a little utopia.” Continue reading

Cliffside Orchard

Tilth Producers of Washington December 2011 Member of the Month

Jeff Herman’s path to a 30-year career owning and operating Cliffside Organic Orchard in Washington began on a whim. In 1973, Jeff emerged from a Cascadian backpacking trip to find himself in Central Washington at the height of the fruit season. Jeff decided to take a seasonal job picking fruit, even though his previous farming experience had been limited to cattle and hay in Maryland as a teen. After two seasons picking, Jeff and his wife-to-be, Jeanette, teamed up to begin managing a traditionally farmed nine acre orchard in the Wenatchee Valley. In 1982, Jeff and Jeanette bought seven pristine acres near Kettle Falls and began producing fruit exclusively with organic practices. Twenty-nine years later, Cliffside Orchard remains completely organic and has grown to include 1,000 trees, including myriad varieties of apricots, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines and apples. Continue reading

Granny’s Farm

Tilth Producers of Washington November 2011 Member of the Month

Larry Warnberg, child psychologist-turned-oyster farmer-turned farmsteader, is truly a man of all trades.  Larry and his wife, Sandy Bradley, own and run Granny’s Farm on 100 acres in the Willapa Valley.  After only three years, Granny’s Farm is bustling with … Continue reading

Kai Ottesen

Tilth Producers of Washington October 2011 Member of the Month

Although Kai Ottesen works on his family’s farm – his journey to farming is an unusual one. Kai grew up in Juneau, Alaska where food (save fish and a few seasonal blueberries) arrives on a barge after three days at … Continue reading

PDQ Farms

Tilth Producers of Washington September 2011 Member of the Month

When Stu Simmons bought land outside of Zillah in 1986, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the property.  Stu married Sandra, time went by, and they decided they needed to do something with the property “pretty darn … Continue reading