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The Moment I Became A Farmer

Warm and wet! That is how I would describe the weather around the NW corner of Washington. Most of you will concur, unless you are on vacation in Texas. Then it would be warm, wet and tornadoes! Climate change is a real deal. What is causing that change might be up for debate, but change is not.

Such change means that as a farmer, I have to mitigate risk all the time, even though by “nature” many of us farmers are risk averse (and this farmer is really risk averse.) But, because of where I live and farm, I have the opportunity to grow a great variety of crops and can even grow crops throughout the year. Toss in a greenhouse or hoop house, some propane, some artificial light and a you can make it Spring a whole lot earlier. But then, that would be more like farming in California and I have chosen to farm here.

How I remember when I first caught the farming bug. 1993 was the year and I was working in Portland Oregon at Kruger’s Specialty Produce as one of the produce guys that built displays in the produce section. Every day Organic growers would come to the store and bring in fresh lettuce, berries, and carrots. That’s when I caught the farming bug and I am afraid there is really no cure. We had a couple of kiddos and 32 sq. ft. of growing space and we were on our way. Every first-generation farmer starts with their first crop; mine was lettuce and that year I grew the most beautiful head of lettuce.

We wanted to farm so badly but needed to find an actual farm of our own. I still remember loading up the kiddos and heading to Goldendale or Tonasket or Montesano to look at a farm, but every time we came back to Snohomish County, literally when we crossed over the County line, we knew that this is where we wanted to farm, to live, and raise a family. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but oh so rewarding.

Fast forward 24 years. I am still growing the most beautiful heads of lettuce and many more vegetables and fruit. But every year, when I harvest that first head of lettuce it recreates that magical moment for me, the moment Klesick Farms was born, the moment I became a farmer.

Growing good food for your family,

Tristan Klesick

Farmer, Health Advocate