Checking out their stall at the Friday 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 the other two 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 the mountain valley in Northeastern Washington, comprises about 300 acres, plus much more leased land nearby. According to his wife Kira, Brent started farming in the mid 1990s with a vegetable crop, then switched to growing potatoes, then to hayfields. Sticking with the potatoes and the hayfields, he then got interested in raising livestock.
Today their cattle are raised on green grass pastures and are fed their 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 multi-taskers: farmer’s wife, mother, and office worker (including at the farm’s USDA-certified meat processing plant nearby). And with Kira there’s a personal connection to our farmer’s market: She managed it in 2009, then met her husband through that connection. With all that, the couple have two daughters, 15 months and 2 ½ years.
Oh yes, the potatoes…the farm’s huge variety in both flavor and color lends itself to tasty recipes—suggested likewise on the Olsen Farms website, www.olsenfarms.com.
Oh and heads-up: there are only three more Fridays left for the Market this season.
story by Dick Gillett