Tilth Alliance has been happily coordinating with local growers for many years to grow and supply our edible plants for our plant sale. In the past few years we have added more small farms to the mix and we want you to know about our growers. We purchase from farmers and growers who use certified organic or regenerative and sustainable methods.
Rents Due Ranch
Mike Shriver has been our main grower for the plant sale for many years, and this year is growing in the neighborhood of 35,000 plants for us to sell! His farm is in Stanwood and he grows starts for many nurseries, as well as PCC stores. He doesn’t have an online presence but he is a well known producer in Western Washington.
Located in Acme, Washington, on the south fork of the Nooksack River, Nick Guilford and Margaret Gerard grow an assortment of plant starts for us each year. A few truckloads of 11,000 plants, including 1,200 Sungold Tomato plants, arrive each spring in premier form for us to offer our customers. They supply the Bellingham Farmers Market with their fabulous produce all season as well. Nick drives the truck down himself, so we are charmed to meet and accept the plants from one of the growers each year!
We have been sourcing plants from this farm for many years and they have been working the land in Bellingham for the past thirty years. Currently owned by Aurora Lindquist and associated with Dandelion Organic Delivery, Aurora brings us an assortment of herbs, veggies and flowers each year. We split our basil order with The Growing Garden and Sunseed to fill the redolent, spicy basil tent with an assortment of colorful annual basil plants. She also brings us unusual plants like Motherwort, ‘Resina’ Calendula and ‘Mexican Mint’ Marigold and specializes in many of the peppers we sell.
This wholesale nursery in Bellingham focuses on flowers, herbs, bulbs and succulents and sells to PCC and many local nurseries too. We purchase a majority of our perennial herbs from them, as well as our hops and some specialty flowers like Dianthus and Scented Geraniums. They have been growing beautiful things since 1980 and their ownership has changed hands over the years. They started as a cut flower grower and are now owned and operated by Bizu Getachew, an Ethiopian immigrant who came to Washington State as a refugee and began her businesses in providing home health care to adult homes.
We source our native pollinator plants from Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center in Carnation, a research and teaching space and farm with a CSA focused on sustainable, regenerative northwest agriculture. Always hugely popular and selling out quickly, this year we will offer specialties like Yarrow, Checkermallows, Viola, Showy Fleabane, Beach Strawberry, and Gumweed, encouraging regional gardeners to re-establish flowering perennials that are familiar and beloved of our native pollinators. This year we are also trying some of their new annual offerings like Sea Blush, Clarkia and Gilia. We love supporting another educational organization.
Down south in Onalaska, one of two of our growers not up in the north counties, Lucas and Paterka Town run a farm and CSA and provide veggies and flowers for local farmers markets and restaurants as well as deliver a truckload of plants to us for our sale. Graduates of the farm business incubator Tilth Alliance used to operate in Auburn at Red Barn Ranch, Root Cellar Farm brings us all of our melons and a few varieties of pumpkins, cucumber and other veggies and flowers helping to round out our assortment of plants. This will be our third year ordering from Root Cellar Farm.
Also a friend from the farm business incubator and in our third year of working with this farm, Sound Vegetables is nestled out in the South 47 complex in Redmond next to other small farms including our good friend Jessi Bloom’s NW Bloom Farm. Erik Goheen and Sound Vegetables primarily run a CSA and we source a slew of cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes and tomatillos from them. We also get two unusual offerings from Erik – the Mexican Sour Gherkin, which lives under the cucumber umbrella but is not a real cuke, and Wonderberry, another of those edible Solanums.
Another old friend and family team, of which one member was a Tilth Alliance staff member who created and ran the Just Garden program, Michael and Stephanie Seliga-Soulseed supply a variety of veggies to the mix. Growing at their urban farm in SE Seattle and now from their new home in Trout Lake, WA, this year we are hoping to get flower starts, purple peas, unusual greens like Red Malabar Spinach and Italian Dandelion and other veggies from the Soulseed family.
A new grower in 2019 we lucked into, Nick Spring and Sarah Robinson’s family farm when The Growing Garden needed help growing plants for our sale because they were maxing out their greenhouse space. Aurora introduced us to Spring Time Farm up in Everson, WA, on the headwaters of the Sumas River. This year we look forward to our addition of Zinnias to the sale as well as Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Nigella, Amaranth, Quinoa and Lettuces that Nick and Sarah will grow for us. Nick follows in his grandfather’s footsteps who started the first Spring Time Farm in upstate New York in 1922 and where he farmed for 75 years! Spring time sells their produce at local farmers markets, stores and restaurants.
In the search for more perennial herb growers following the reduction in growing space that occurred at Cascade Cuts in 2018, we were introduced to Cheri Nunamaker and Dirty Knees Nursery up in Bellingham, WA. Cheri has been growing her vibrant herbs since 1996 for the wholesale market and we are lucky to have her product added to our tables. We expect to see many of the standard perennial culinary herbs like Chamomile, Chives, Mint, Marjoram, Thyme, Lavender, and Rosemary and her most luscious Dill for the sale. Along with these we are also expecting some of the other harder to find specialties like Shiso, Purslane, Lovage and Epazote.
Our newest grower added for 2020 is the Duvall Herb Farm, a new venture started up by by Lyndsay Warshaw who will be trialing three plants with us this year in very limited quantities. Look for these to sell out by Saturday morning! We will be bringing in Licorice, Monarda and Arnica in from Duvall Herb Farm. Look for them this year in the pollinator plant section.