Seattle firm offers Sequim farm tour

Winter organic farming is theme of daylong event

Nash’s Organic Produce farm is becoming an educational destination as well as a produce supplier.

Owner Nash Huber and field production manager Scott Chichester are welcoming a tour bus loaded with Seattleites and other east-sound residents Jan. 19 as part of an organic farmland preservation tour. They plan on discussing the challenges and benefits of year-round farming.

"The winter farming isn’t as much of a challenge as one may think because of the microclimate that we live in," Chichester said Jan. 3, taking a moment away from packaging beets. "Our ability to farm during the winter is an asset that many people in the Seattle area are interested in."

The tour also will host local open-space advocates to talk about farmland conservation and land-use issues in the Dungeness Valley and statewide.

The tour organizer is the PCC Farmland Trust, a nonprofit organic land trust formed under Seattle-based grocer PCC Natural Markets. The trust owns about 100 acres of land Huber leases for organic cultivation called the Delta Farm.

"We really hope Sequim people come out and enjoy the tour as well," trust spokeswoman Kelly Sanderbeck said. "Development is encroaching on the Dungeness Valley and if people living in the area see how important land conservation efforts are first hand, they may gain a better appreciation for preserving those open spaces."

Sanderbeck explained the large amount of interest in the tour from Seattle-area residents comes from ownership.

"These people have dedicated dollars and hours toward our effort to conserve the organic land base in Washington state," she said. "They feel a type of ownership and connection to the lands the trust owns and they want to experience the farms that bring their produce in person."

The cost is $45 for the tour of the more than 400 acres that Huber farms, a dinner provided by Field to Fork Catering, acoustic blues music and lectures by Huber, Chichester, a Friends of the Fields representative and Curtis Beus, the Clallam County Washington State University Extension director.

"There should be a lot of really great conversations going around, especially with land conservation," Chichester said. "That’s our unique relationship with the PCC Land Trust – they trust us to farm the land they have protected, and we provide them with veggies year-round, something people will hear a lot more about on the tour."

Huber was the fourth producer to join the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s organic certification program. He and his staff are known for the quality of their produce and their efforts toward sustaining organic land bases. The farm acted as a drop-off point for supplies and donations for farms affected by the Dec. 3 floods along the Chehalis River. Huber also has a long-term plan for his own operations. He eventually will turn ownership of the farm, in the form of a limited liability company, over to his farm managers to have a streamlined transition when he is finished farming.