I didn't grow up on a farm. I occasionally picked some snap beans for Grandma and then snapped them with her. But how did a city boy from south Everett, that ran cross country and played soccer around the clock, ever become a farmer?
May I share with you a little Klesick Family Farm history? Joelle and I got married in 1989, when I was working for a startup biotech company. But in 1991, when our first son, Micah, was on the way, I got the nudge to make a little more money and found a job at Maryatt Industries as a Route Salesman delivering uniforms, rugs, mops, etc. to businesses in Seattle. This is where I learned the ins and outs of running a delivery business. A few years later, I transferred to the Portland, Oregon branch with the same responsibilities.
One of my customers was a high-end produce store. Eventually, we made the career move to leave a good paying job to go to work for minimum wage at the produce store. It was tight financially, but Joelle and I both new that if we waited much longer, it would be harder to make the switch. So with 2 kiddos and one on the way, we took the boldest step and stepped backwards financially to eventually move forward. I worked two jobs for three years to make ends meet. Those are still some of the sweetest years of our journey. But it was at the produce store where I learned the produce business and met my first organic farmers. It was here that my desire to be a farmer was kindled.
We had no land to match our desire, but we did plant a garden—a whopping 32 sq. ft.! Eventually, it was time to move back to Snohomish County. There, in 1997, I started a produce store in Mountlake Terrace at Manna Mills. They did the groceries and I did the produce. It was a great fit! So now Joelle and I are running our own produce business called The Organic Produce Shoppe. Not soon after, we moved to Machais and finally had a half acre to start farming. It was in Machais where we transitioned to home delivery full-time and farming part-time in 1999. A few years later, in 2003, we moved to our current farm in Stanwood. Now we farm 40 acres of vegetables, tree fruit, berries and grass-fed beef.
Everyone has a journey, our family journey included training as a delivery driver for the home delivery portion of our business, training as a produce person, so I could understand how and what to buy for you and finally "on the job" training as a farmer. Today we work with an incredible team of packers, drivers and office folk to bring you, every week, the freshest and healthiest fruits and vegetables available. And, ironically, after over 20 years of journeying, my path and desire to farm have intersected.
Now, I also have the privilege of being your local farmer.