by Dave Straub, Cordata Produce Department
Amy and Sküter Fontaine, owners of Terra Verde Farm, grow organic vegetables on their 12-acre farm in Everson including specialty crops like ginger, turmeric, and jicama.
If one were to trace the history of Whatcom County’s small organic farms, they would find them all connected in some way. One generation of farmers inspires the next. Guidance is offered and opportunities given. Terra Verde Farm in Everson is a product of this supportive agricultural community and, at the same time, possesses a unique flair. It is a hearty business built from the ground up by a couple of youths with top soil under their fingernails and genuine smiles on their faces.
Eight years ago, Amy and Sküter Fontaine wanted to challenge themselves to grow their own food. So, with a handful of seeds and a community garden plot, they discovered the magic of making things grow. It was such a positive experience they decided to make it their livelihood. Mike Finger, of Cedarville Farm, leased them the land and equipment to start their dream. After outgrowing that space, they moved to Everson where their business, Terra Verde, currently thrives on 12 organic acres leased from Dusty Williams of Broadleaf Farm.
"with farming there is a drive you feel to move beyond what you thought was possible and it transforms your life"
I pedaled out to Everson this August to pay them a visit. The first thing I noticed about Amy and Sküter is how friendly they are. And after spending a short time with them I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the energy and innovation with which they lived their lives on the farm. They designed tractor implements and “MacGyvered” them into existence with totally original parts. They converted a tractor to run on electricity. Besides all the delicious kale, cauliflower, and eggplant I recognized from our shelves at the Co-op, they are pioneering new crops like ginger, turmeric, and jicama; tropical treasures you’re not likely to find anywhere else in Whatcom County. During the tour I was constantly surprised by the novelty of their farm.
At the end of my visit I asked Sküter what he liked most about his job. “It’s hard to explain. People don’t make a lot of money. But with farming there is a drive you feel to move beyond what you thought was possible and it transforms your life. The reward is seeing what you can do.”