But somewhere along the way, what started as a daydream matured into what became our passion, our profession, and our life’s work. Along with the box of good we deliver to thousands of families each week, we cultivate hay and vegetables and raise grass-fed beef on a beautiful farmstead near Stanwood, Washington.
It started in the early 1990s when my wife Joelle and I began raising vegetables on a 4 x 8 foot garden plot in Vancouver. That’s where we discovered the magic of farming: given good soil, proper care, and lots of hard work, little seeds—as well as big dreams—one day grow and blossom, producing a harvest of incredible bounty.
I was working for Kruger’s Specialty Produce in Portland back then, and the more I interacted with the organic growers who supplied us with fresh produce, the more farming became a serious goal. They were real people with real dirt under their fingernails, folks who made their living growing living things. But although we had three small kids and a growing desire to try farm life, we had little money and even less land.
A fruitful decision
Nevertheless, Joelle and I headed back to Snohomish County and opened The Organic Produce Shoppe in Mountlake Terrace. It was an exciting time. Every morning I built beautiful, vibrant displays of produce. I loved having shelves full of fresh fruits and vegetables for our shoppers, people who later became the first customers of our produce delivery service.
In 1998, we bought our first farm—a one-acre spread in Machais, just east of Lake Stevens. Our storefront was doing well and our fledgling home delivery business had a grand total of 50 customers. But I realized I couldn’t be a dad, a husband, and a farmer while trying to run the delivery business and manage the store. We needed to focus exclusively on farming and produce delivery.
At first, it wasn’t easy. I remember praying that someday we might be big enough to have 100 customers. Eventually, however, it turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. In fact, the delivery business grew beyond expectations, and we ran out of room in the barn we used as a warehouse.
We finally become farmers
Clearly, we needed to expand, and in 2003 we made the move to our current farmstead in Stanwood: 37 acres, a large packing facility, and a bigger home for our eight children. Our produce delivery business expanded to more than 1,000 accounts, and I fulfilled a goal I’d always had to use Belgian draft horses for plowing and planting.
As our business has grown, the Klesick Family Farm team welcomed some excellent new people, whose skills allow us to provide superior service, top-notch quality, and competitive pricing for the organic fruits and veggies, artisan coffees, and locally grown foods we are proud to sell.
Most importantly, I see the hand of the Lord guiding us on the path we’ve traveled. We measure success not just in customers counted or revenues received. Our tagline is a box of good, because we’re committed to delivering good food to the families we serve, providing good value to the farmers we support, and sharing good news about the benefits of organic farming with the community.
We’re grateful for every box we sell. But we know that as more customers come aboard, the opportunity to do good work—not just for us, but for future generations—will flourish like the seeds we sow each spring.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about organic farming and the terrific local foods and produce we offer. And we’d love to have you visit our farm during one of the events and celebrations we host every year.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll head home with a little of that real farm dirt under your fingernails, too.
For Klesick Farms,
“I love that you guys have the online ordering system that lets us choose exactly what we want and can schedule up to eight weeks in advance. When we first signed up with Klesick Family Farms we explored all the box options; perhaps someday we'll go back to that but for now the "a la carte" method is working really well for us and our menu planning."