Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Farmers

Fruit arranged in a face
Winter 2020

More faces of small farms

Meet more of Washington state’s small farmers here — from the godmother of the modern small farms movement to the owner and operator of a 100-percent grass-fed dairy and more.

Introducing: Lora Lea Misterly (Quillisascut Farm), Jill Smith (Pure Éire Dairy), Martin and Charlotte Frederickson (One Straw Ranch), and Jason and Margaret Parsley (Omache Farm)

Read about small farmers and WSU support.

 

Lora Lea Misterly

Lora Lea Misterly

Quillisascut Farm, Rice

Lora Lea Misterly was a 4-H kid. Growing up on a small farm near Leavenworth, she raised dairy calves and … » More …

Fall 2013

First Words for Fall 2013

Uncle Sam took the challenge in the year of ’33

For the farmers and the workers and for all humanity

Now river, you can ramble where the sun sets in the sea

But while you’re rambling, river, you can do some work for me

—Woody Guthrie, “Roll, Columbia, Roll”

In the early 1950s, Washington State College and the Bureau of Reclamation published a Farmer’s Handbook for the Columbia Basin Project. Written for new farmers breaking ground in the newly irrigated Columbia Basin Project, the handbook offered advice on everything from what crops to grow to what kind … » More …

Spring 2012

A Feast of Good Things

Fall was a fortunate season at the Tonnemaker farm in Royal City, Washington. A warm October provided brothers Kurt ’84 and Kole a few extra weeks of squash, tomatoes, and peppers to load into their trucks and deliver to farmers markets and restaurants around the state.

This family farm has changed since the current generation took charge of it. It was established by WSU extension agent Orland Tonnemaker ’22 and his wife Pearl. In 1962 they planted orchards of cherries, pears, and apples. Like many of the farms around them, they sold their fruit to area warehouses.

During cherry harvest in 1981, Orland died, and … » More …

Ron ’86 and Shelly Muzzall with their daughters
Spring 2012

A Cattle Drive

Penn Cove may be known for its mussels, but just across the Whidbey Island bay from Coupeville is another operation—the Muzzall family farm, known to local grass-fed beef fans as the Three Sisters Cattle Company.

The farm was founded in 1910 by Ron Muzzall’s great-grandparents. For generations it was a dairy. When Ron ’86 returned from college, the farm had 50 cows. With his wife, Shelly, who grew up with family farming in Eastern Washington, he planned to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

But the dairy business was changing so fast. To keep up, the Muzzalls had to continuously add to their herd—something … » More …

Fall 2011

Westward Ho!

There was a time, not so long ago, in our great Northwest when boundaries were not a great concern. When the first non-Indian settlers reached the Palouse and the Columbia Plateau, they could look to the distant horizon and see nothing but blue sky and virgin prairie and shrub-steppe, potential farmland as far as they could imagine. And as they learned to know the land, they reveled in what the college scientists told them, of seemingly endless topsoil, of windblown loess 200 feet deep. But even as that soil washed and blew away at an unsettling rate, they also learned to ignore the worries of … » More …

Stuffed Peppers from the Harrah Café

12 large peppers-cut tops off, seed, and blanch. 3 lbs lean hamburger Diced pepper tops 1 medium onion, diced 2 cups instant rice 3 cups tomato sauce (reserve enough to top peppers) 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 1/2 tbsp. Johnny’s seasoning dash of Tabasco sauce optional 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients, stuff peppers, top each pepper with tomato sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with cheese last five minutes.

P.S. Please be mindful we are country cooks and don’t measure a thing. These are approximate amounts. Just play around with it!

Tana Olney, Owner Susan March, Manager … » More …

Fall 2005

Bounty on the bluff

The small farming community of Green Bluff lies nestled in the foothills of Mt. Spokane. Its bucolic setting belies the fact that it’s just 15 miles north of Spokane. Take a meandering drive around “the Bluff,” and you’ll pass by dozens of family farms, each with its own roadside fruit stand. Stop at any one for fresh fruit and locally made jam, wine, cider, pie, and other harvest bounty.

Green Bluff has been a production area for fruit, berries, and vegetables since the early 1900s. Back then, farmers could ship their produce from a nearby rail station to customers clear back in Eastern cities. Many … » More …