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Four farms grow Field of Greens

Jul 13th, 2010 | Category: Community, Farms

Everson farmer Dusty Williams delivered fresh vegetables to Joy Monjure at the Field of Greens farm stand in Everson. Photo by Brita Adkinson

The Field of Greens farm stand in Everson officially opened in May, offering fresh, organic vegetables and chemical-free herbs, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, walnuts and hazelnuts.
“All the produce sold in this store is grown right here, within half a mile,” owner Joy Monjure said. “The four farmers grow the food on a combined 14 acres of farmland which begins right here behind this stand.”
The store is the outcome of years of friendship and collaboration between several Everson families. Monjure’s neighbor Dusty Williams, who grew up in Lynden, has farmed in Everson for 23 years. Williams said the cooperation with other farmers evolved over several years.
“Around five years ago, one of my farm workers, Gretchen Woody, needed some space for growing her own vegetables,” Williams explained. “I invited her to use an area of my farmland.”
Then, another farm worker, Amy Fontaine, also wanted space to grow food. Williams offered her some land, too. Eventually, three families began growing food, in earnest, on Williams’ farmland.
“It was clear to me that these farmers were serious about it,” Williams mused. It turned out to be a beneficial arrangement for everyone. Williams commented that farm work is hard physical work and takes a lot of time and commitment.
“Dusty is a wonderful man,” Monjure said. “He helps everyone, lends his tools and mentors the younger farmers.” She said the farmers support each other in many ways by sharing equipment and also exchanging ideas and expertise.
Gretchen and Jeff Woody live on Holistic Homestead Farm. They sell a large variety of vegetables, berries, fruits, herbs, flowers and organic farm fresh eggs. They offer a local CSA program – a system whereby customers receive a box of fresh produce every week – and also sell via the Field of Greens’ Farm Market, the Farmers Markets in Bellingham, and a number of local health food stores.
Amy and Sküter Fontaine, now in their fourth year on the farm Terra Verde, doubled their acreage this season, producing around 50 different vegetables. Terra Verde also serves customers through a CSA program. Amy expanded her farming knowledge when working at Cedarville Farm for a couple of years.
Rabbit Fields Farm is managed by Roslyn McNicholl, who began her career in farming working for Williams about eight years ago. McNicholl built experience by managing the administration of CSA programs in the local area, before she engaged in her own farming.
Broadleaf Farm is Williams’ enterprise, providing farm products in Everson since 1988.
“In October last year, I was laid off from my work at the City of Bellingham,” Monjure said. “I realized this was my golden opportunity to follow my dream.” She said unless she had lost her job of 23 years, she might never have started the business.
Together, Monjure and her husband Ron, who works as a bus driver for Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA), built the farm stand, using only hand tools. “Ron helps me a lot,” Monjure said. “I always wanted to be in my community,” she continued.
“I want to support small farming in our county,” Monjure said, “because small farms have particular challenges.” She said the challenges include farming without heavy equipment and without chemicals. Monjure said so many people wish to rebuild a sense of community and return to a lifestyle where we eat locally grown food.
The produce sold at Field of Greens is 100 percent chemical-free, and is harvested within a few days of sale. In addition to fresh produce, the store offers greeting cards by Everson artist Rio Thomas and on Fridays flower bouquets by Nancy Vekved, owner of the enterprise Sweet Peas and Carrot Cake.

Field of Greens is located on the corner of Kale Road and Everson Road in Everson. The stand is open Wednesdays-Fridays 2-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sundays 12 noon-4 p.m. For more information, call (360) 303-7391.

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