When John and Phoebe Kesting’s children ate too many strawberries from the patch, their punishment was not the usual time out. Instead, they had to grow their own. Amid rusty farm equipment and a menagerie of farm animals, Elle, Anna, and Nolon are growing up in a special place. Their great-grandfather farmed this same land, using some of the same machinery.
John and Phoebe both grew up farming and never stopped. Today they are the center of an extended family which continues to cultivate the land and raise livestock to sustain themselves and sell at the Lewis County Farmer’s market. During the season, John also drives to Yakima once a week to supply the market with produce from east of the mountains.
Last fall these farmers skipped some of their chores to attend our Small Farms Business Training Program specifically designed for agriculturally-based businesses. This collaboration with the Mason County Small Farms Program and several other organizations was designed to help farmers in the region focus on the bottom line within the context of sustainability. John and Phoebe finished their homework. And they are glad they did.
Phoebe and John are starting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this year , which will allow local veggie-lovers to buy twenty weeks of produce up-front.The buyers get the benefit of fresh-picked in-season fruits and vegetables at a great price, while helping the Kesting’s cash-flow at the onset of the growing season and sharing in the risk.
Passionate about helping other small family farms, John and Phoebe will also offer shares of the Yakima produce that John picks up each week. If that weren’t enough, they also plan on selling delicious grass-fed beef, from cows which they’ve raised since birth.
If you would like to get a piece of their crop, now is the time to buy a share of their CSA – they are offering a five percent discount until January 15, with a drop-off locations at the Lewis County and Tenino Farmer’s markets, as well as a location in Olympia to be determined. You can also support the Kesting’s by buying the dahlias that they sometimes let their children sell at the market in Centralia.