the grower: local roots farm
It's Memorial day, but there is no day off, or bbq with friends for the famers of Local Roots Farm. Farmer Siri, her husband Jason, and a handful of interns settle in to the greenhouse on this rainy day to plant flats and prepare baby vegetables to be transplanted to the fields. Felix, the resident pre-schooler doesn't have school today so he's helping to trim leek roots with his safety scissors. It feels idyllic with a lovely pace, the rain hitting the roof of the greenhouse, creating the music for the slower-paced mood. Such was the day that I was fortunate enough to visit this farmer who has created a 215 person (and growing) CSA, and vends at several local farmers markets in just a few short years.
Siri, born and raised in the Seattle area did not initially dream of being a farmer. It was a series of serendipitous moments and meetings that led her here, a farmer on 80 acres in the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley just a few short years ago.
It all began when Siri and Jason, her husband and high school sweetheart, decided to spend 6 months roaming Europe. Their roaming stopped abruptly when they reached Italy and they spent the rest of their time working on a small farm in Tuscany in exchange for room and board. It's where they fell in love with the gorgeous Italian heirloom vegetables that so prominently make up their harvest today. When the two returned to Seattle, they discovered it was almost impossible to find the quality produce they craved and so began to faithfully visit the local farmers markets and even grow a few vegetables in a small plot outside their apartment.
Siri was finishing up her masters degree in Public Administration and Jason, his law degree and working towards passing the bar exam. While working in a job she didn't love, Siri was tending her plot and visiting the farmers markets when a friendly conversation with a farmer from the Snoqualmie Valley turned into a job offer as an intern for the summer. Jumping on the opportunity to learn how to farm and market the produce, Siri quickly moved from intern to partner and Local Roots Farm was born. Jason, working at a local law firm, eventually quit to join Siri on the farm and the two later decided to strike out on their own when the opportunity to purchase 40 acres in Snoqualmie Valley came up.
This past spring, the adjoining 40 acres came up for sale, Siri and Jason jumped at the opportunity to double their farm for crop rotation, as well as provide space for the small farming operations they are incubating like Blue Bridge Botanicals and Early Bird Farm Eggs.
It's a lot to happen in a short period of time, just under seven years, but even more so, since Siri was pregnant and had her son Felix during this entire process. Siri credits all of her recent successes to Felix. She says having a baby motivated her to get organized. Taking Felix with her to the farm, strapped to her back while working in the rows, letting him toddle in the fields, spurred Siri and Jason to fix up the farmstead's house so that they could do away with their daily commute from their condo in Seattle. Now the family of three lives full time on the farm and is expecting a second baby in the Spring. Siri's days are full during growing season and Jason prepares the family's meals and is on point for Felix. The new addition to the family will require some juggling again, but Siri relies on her strong organizational skills to realize her dreams.
Siri's former life as a public administrator has been brought to the forefront again since being appointed as King County Agriculture Commissioner. She represents local farmers by helping to develop farm bills and policy, all while building and growing a new farm and family.
She's busier now than ever, but she can see the leveling-off point a few years out. She looks forward to the day when she is finished growing the farm and she can spend more time researching and analyzing the success and failures of her crops and spend time educating interns and incubator farms.
Thank you to Siri and Local Roots Farm for being a part of The Female Farmer Project. You can learn more about Siri and her farm here: Local Roots Farm
Originally published: November 18, 2013
Emily Peck 2 years ago
Such a wonderful feature! As a Carnation native, I'm so happy to see our area used for wonderful things. Congrats to you for pursuing your dream! I hope I too, can make the leap one day. :)
audra mulkern 2 years ago
Thank you Emily! I'm so happy to see your name here! Thanks so much for the visit!