Strawberry season is upon us!
Nothing says summer like a juicy ripe strawberry picked straight from the farm. Last week we visited two Pike Place berry farmers to learn a little bit more about their farming practices and sample plenty of berries along the way.
Christy Mua at Lee's Fresh Produce farm stand
Our first stop was Lee's Fresh Produce, a thirty acre mixed vegetable, flower and berry farm just outside the City of Kent. The Lee family has been farming for over 15 years in the Kent Valley, slowly expanding their land base and growing their business each year. The farm started when Pha Lee began farming on five acres and sold or donated most of the produce to the local food bank. Now more than ever they benefit from the hard work of their son Xiong and daughter Christy who help run the farm.
Flowering strawberry plants
The Lees are passionate about growing healthy food for their family as well as the surrounding community. They even started their own late season Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to extend their produce offerings into the fall months. Of course, you can also find the Lees selling their delicious berries and veggies on summer weekends at Pike Place Market.
Freshly picked strawberries at the Lee's Fresh Produce farm stand
Our next stop was Sidhu Farms, a multi-generation family berry farm near Puyallup. The Sidhus immigrated to Northwest Washington from Northwestern India where they had mostly farmed grains and other staple crops. When they came to the U.S. Chet Sidhu took over a humble, overgrown blueberry farm. As more and more land is being turned into warehouses and residences in the Puyallup area, the Sidhus have gone against the tide by purchasing land for farming. They proudly shared news with us that they were recently able to purchase over 100 acres of farmland with the help of the non-profit Forterra. Now the Sidhu family can keep happily farming without worrying about development pressure or unstable lease terms.
The Sidhu family
Chet Sidhu with his first grandchild Jay
Kamal Sidhu with the some of the 50 beehives he manages