by Meggan Simpson, Downtown Produce
Farmers Nick Spring and Sarah Robinson enjoy a quiet moment on their farm in Everson with farm dog Henry.
photo by TwoFish Photography
Here at the Co-op we realize that farming is hard work, seven days a week, and a pretty challenging way to make a living. It is also an integral part of our community and local food system, which is why the Co-op has created programs like the Farm Fund that offer resources to help small farms like Spring Time Farm make their dreams of bringing fresh, nutrient-dense food to their community a reality.
Sarah Robinson and Nick Spring took the next step, with the assistance of a Co-op Farm Fund Next Step grant, and purchased property for their expanding produce and flower farm.
Nick Spring and Sarah Robinson at Spring Time Farm recently received a Next Step Grant—a relatively new Farm Fund program designed to help small farms take the next step and scale up to provide the wholesale market—and we are so happy to help them expand to their very own property. After farming their first four years leasing land, sharing tools, and receiving mentorship from Dusty Williams at Broad Leaf Farm, they are now in the process of moving to their recently purchased 37-acre property where they plan to farm 5 to 7 acres at a time while rotating their crops to ensure soil fertility and health.
Sarah washing lettuce. Look for signs identifying their organic produce and flowers in our stores this summer and support these up-and-coming local farmers.
photo byTwoFish Photography
So where did it all begin for Spring Time Farm? Nick Spring is originally from Portland, Oregon, and was attending Western Washington University in 2012 while running a garden system in town called Bellingham Urban Growers Syndicate (BUGS). You may have seen him bicycling around between classes with rototillers, rakes, and shovels in his trailer, or perhaps you owned one of the 11 plots of land he grew veggies on throughout town. He didn’t grow up farming or gardening but it is in Nick’s genes.
The name Spring Time Farm was the name of the farm Nick’s grandfather ran until he was 90!
Not only was BUGS a transition to reconnecting Nick to his farming heritage and his realization that he wanted to make a career growing food for the community, but BUGS is also how Nick met his amazing and talented partner Sarah Robinson. Sarah grew up in Maryland, went to college in Boston, and spent many years bicycle touring the continent before coming to Bellingham. It was here with the already passionate vegetable-growing Nick that she discovered her love for farming. With the constant and diverse challenges of farming—keeping her mind and body engaged while allowing her to be outside connecting with nature— she was hooked!
Nick with an armfull of giant alliums. The farmers of Spring Time Farm found a natural division of labor with Nick Spring taking the lead on the vegetable side of things and Sarah Robinson using her decidedly green thumb as the lead farmer-florist. Of course, they both frequently work together across all areas of the farm.
photo by Sarah Robinson
Nick and Sarah have been farming together for four years now and the quality and abundance of fruits, veggies, and flowers they bring to the community makes me feel like they have been doing this for so much longer. He is “in charge” of the veggies and she is “in charge” of the flowers, and they have a wonderful employee named Josiah who has been there from the beginning and whose knowledge, hard work, and fresh perspective have been an integral part of their success.
Sarah, Nick, Josiah, and the rest of the crew at Spring Time Farm are always trying new things, looking for new ways to nurture their land and preserve their bodies so they can continue to farm for a very, very long time. And we hope they do!
Nick and Sarah are such a joy to be around, you can see and feel the genuine passion for what they do, and for life in general, shine through in even the smallest interactions with them. You may see them delivering sun-kissed boxes of produce or flowers to either
Co-op store or selling at the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturdays. Either way, we hope you get a warm and happy feeling when you put something from their local farm into your reusable shopping bag.
Nick and Sarah's enthusiasm for organic farming is contagious. Here they are jumping for joy during the garlic harvest.
photo by Meaghan Flesch
We all benefit from the vibrant local organic farming community in Whatcom County. Maybe you have never grown a vegetable, or just didn’t have time to plant a garden this year, or perhaps all your greens have bolted—don’t fear! Spring Time, Broad Leaf, Terra Verde, Cascadia Mushrooms, Rabbit Fields, Viva Farms, Cedarville, Moondance, Spring Frog, and so many others deliver their
farm-fresh produce to the Co-op to make sure you have delicious and healthful local food to eat.
We know the hard work, dedication to sustainable farming, and connection to nature of these farmers is a large part of what makes the Co-op where you love to shop and Whatcom County such an amazing place to live, eat, and play. Thank you, Hamsters, for supporting your community and all the people who make it go round.