Xai Cha and her husband Ker are Hmong farmers who came to the United States as refugees in the 1980s. They are one of 100 Hmong families that now farms in the agricultural valleys surrounding Seattle. Xai and Ker farmed when they lived in Laos, but have learned to grow different crops that are adaptable to the Northwest soil and climate. Xai and Ker continue to learn as they farm and are adding new products to their farmers market table every year.
Tiny’s Organic is a family-owned and operated certified organic farm located in a superb microclimate in the Wenatchee Valley. Farmer MacGregor and Erin Kolar (owners) and their dedicated team grow over 60 delicious varieties of fruit including apricots, cherries, pluots, plums and nectarines. Haven't heard of a pluot? It's a cross between a plum and an apricot.
Jeanne and Butch Carlson are third-generation ranchers. The original rancher was Butch’s grandfather, Stewart, which is how the business got its name. The Carlson family raises cattle and buffalo, and grows their own hay on the Olympic Peninsula. They make delicious jerkies and summer sausages at a retail store near their farm. They enjoy getting to see their regular customers as well as meeting many tourists who come through Yelm just to stop by their store and learn more about their passion for farming. Historically their facility was a dairy farm in the 1900’s. Some of the original coolers, barns, and one original farmhouse are still standing and in use on the property.
Silver Springs Creamery is a small family-owned and run farm in Whatcom County, WA. Along with his family, Eric Sundstrom purchased the farm in 2004, and in 2006 was licensed to make cheese. He believes that respecting the land and animals is the secret to great cheese. Hence their use of organic fertilizers, specific grain and grass blends, and chemical-free pastures.
Rick and Terri Martin began in 1986 with just 3 acres of nectarines. Today, Martin Family Orchards grows more than 90 acres of Bing and Rainier cherries, six varieties of peaches, Red-Gold and Independent nectarines, a variety of tomatoes, squash, peppers, and much more. The business is run by Rick, Terri and their three sons, with the goal of providing Washington families the highest quality, tree-ripened fruit they’ve ever tasted.
Johnson Berry Farm is a small, farmer-owned berry farm at the southern tip of the Puget Sound. Jim Johnson creates berry product recipes for jams, vinaigrettes, pepper jams and more, and is always working on something new to add to their line of goods. Their specialty products are made and shipped directly on the farm.
Ras Peynado was born and raised in Seattle. Growing up, his mother worked as a craftsperson at Pike Place Market and eventually became a Market Master and Farm Program Manager. Ras’ father lived in Jamaica where he worked as a fourth-generation farmer. After a trip to Jamaica, Ras decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and in 2010 he began growing herbs on his urban farm and developing recipes with his friends and family.
“I was at the Market behind the table as a baby when [my mom] was selling shirts, and later when she was in the office I’d come down and see the market behind the scenes. It was always the place I was supposed to end up.” –Ras Peynado
Thomas and Sarah Hayton established Hayton Farms in 1876 on Fir Island in the Skagit Valley, which has been actively farmed for five generations. Today, the 200-acre farm is run by great grandchild Angelica Hayton, growing more than 20 varieties of organic and transitional strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Family-owned and operated since it first began in 1981, Alvarez Organic Farms has been in the agriculture business for over 30 years, specializing in over 200 varieties of peppers and 300 different varieties of vegetables. The four parcel, 80-acre farm is located in the Lower Yakima Valley and certified organic, with water supplied from the Yakima River, provided by Sunnyside Valley Irrigation.
“Sometimes my customers tell me stories of how they use the peppers that I would never expect. Like one time a truck driver said that he used to drink coffee for his long drives, but after a while he switched to just eating a couple of habanero peppers from my farm because it kept him awake longer.” –Hilario Alvarez
In 1968, Huber Nash moved to the west coast looking for a place near the mountains and ocean with a good climate. When he arrived in Sequim he knew he had found his place. Huber slowly began leasing out pieces of land to farm and expanding his production. Today Nash’s Organic Produce is farming about 600 acres including vegetables, berries, orchard, grains, pigs, and poultry. Their success allows Nash to pass on his vast knowledge and experience to a younger upcoming generation of farmers.
Eric Santos’ parents emigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, where they were factory workers. They became farmers, a tradition that Eric and his five siblings have continued. Today, Eric and Clarita grow some 30 flower varieties on their 18 acres in Kent, south of Seattle.
Sidhu Farms is committed to sustainable farming through reducing and eliminating the use of pesticides. Six acres of blueberries are certified organic. Chet Sidhu has noted organic methods produce better fruit and require less watering and care. He is always looking for new innovations in farming, such as water conservation. Originally from India, the Sidhus are sensitive to their more suburban neighbors, and value being good neighbors and good stewards of the land. In 2015, along with one other farming family, the Sidhus completed the largest agricultural conservation project in the history of Pierce County. This helped prevent the land from being pavement and new construction.