By Dick Gillett
Checking out the Olsen Farms stall at Friday’s Phinney Farmers Market, you see two things: a large and varied row of potatoes on one table, and an array of deep-freeze foot lockers on two other tables. Not very picturesque compared to the displays of other stalls—but the proof is in the eating!
Brent and Kira Olsen’s family farm, located near Colville in northeast Washington, comprises about 300 acres plus additional leased land nearby. According to Kira, Brent started farming in the mid-1990s with a vegetable crop, then switched to growing potatoes, then tried hay. Sticking with the potatoes and the hay fields, he then got interested in raising livestock.
Today their cattle are raised on green grass pastures and are fed hay and potatoes in the winter. “We feed the cows only what we grow on the farm, no outside food sources or animal by-products,” affirms the farm’s website. “Our pigs are fed barley grown just across the road from where they live and our lambs are moved throughout the region to remain on pasture for as much of the year as possible.” The farm’s animals are naturally raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics.
Kira Olsen is one of those multitaskers: farmer’s wife, mother, and office worker (including at the farm’s USDA-certified meat processing facility nearby). For Kira, there’s a personal connection to our farmer’s market: she managed it in 2009, then met her husband through that connection. The couple have two daughters, 15 months and 2 ½ years.
Oh yes, about those potatoes…the farm’s huge selection of flavorful and colorful varieties inspire tasty recipes—like “Lena’s Big, Fluffy Viking Purple Potato” and “Ruth’s Breakfast Binjte Potatoes”—which can be found on their helpful website: www.olsenfarms.com.
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Heads up: there are only four more Fridays left for the Market this season! Hope to see you this Friday at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 3:30-7:30 pm.