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Author: Jess Sappington

Wilco Opening A Store In Bremerton

Wilco Opening A Store In Bremerton

EAST BREMERTON — Wilco, an Oregon-based retailer of farming and pet supplies, plans to open a store within a struggling East Bremerton strip mall on Wheaton Way in early 2018, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The company, which proclaims itself to be “the largest farmer and rancher owned agricultural supply cooperative in the Pacific Northwest,” will hire 35 people and refurbish the big box location at 4220 Wheaton Way vacated by a Lowe’s home improvement store 15 years ago.

Bremerton will be Wilco’s 19th store in Washington and Oregon, following additions in Puget Sound in Puyallup and Gig Harbor.

“We’re excited to add a store in Bremerton to compliment the overwhelming community support we’ve received in Gig Harbor,” Wilco marketing director Jake Wilson said in a press release. “We look forward to working with homeowners, animal enthusiasts and farms in the area as we point towards a grand opening celebration next year.”

The eclectic store will cover 37,000 square feet and will include a 5,000-square-foot greenhouse, a dog-grooming shop, pet and livestock supplies, other farming equipment and clothing to go with it. READ MORE……….

Marketing Your Farm Business

Marketing Your Farm Business

Farmers, producers, processors! Come one, come all!

Even if your business isn’t quite off the ground, you´re welcome to attend

Marketing Your Farm Business is 4th in a series of monthly classes in the ¨Cultivating Success¨ curriculum for farmers and food businesses working within our local food system. It’s going to be a great class!

You´ll learn:

How can you differentiate yourself from the pack? What’s your secret sauce?

How do you develop a niche product or market?

What´s your ¨brand¨?

How do you know if your marketing efforts are successful?

When: October 16 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Olympic College, Poulsbo, Room 219

Two top notch marketing professionals will be sharing their knowledge with you:

Stuart Walton, local business entrepreneur and business mentor will share tips and tricks for cost conscious and impactful use of traditional marketing techniques.

Jeffrey Hora, owner of Social Sapiens, social media strategy and marketing firm, will share how to effectively engage social media to grow your customer base and increase sales.

This class, and the Cultivating Success series, is presented by WSU Kitsap Extension, together with the Farm Services Agency and Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance, with generous sponsorship from the Olympic College Foundation.

Register at:

Day-of-class registration permitted on a space-available basis; cash/check payment only.
Light refreshments served, but please bring a sack dinner.

WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Laura Ryser at 345 6th Street, Suite 550, Bremerton, WA 98337 360-337-7157 ext. 7281 or  at least two weeks prior to any WSU  event

KCAA’s Farmer of the Year 2017 – Nominations

KCAA’s Farmer of the Year 2017 – Nominations

It’s that time of year again! Farm Business/Farmer of the Year nominations are going on now through August 31st.

Nominate by emailing us at Be sure to tell us why you are nominating the farmer/farm business (include criteria below). We will compile the nominations and send/post a link to a survey to vote in early September.

The 2017 Farmer/Farm Business of the Year will be announced at the 9th Annual Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner (KGHD) on Sunday, September 24th at Olympic College, Bremer Student Center. Tickets for the KGHD are available on Brown Paper Tickets

Criteria to consider when nominating:

1. Contributions that the farm business has made in the community as a whole.
2. The growth of farm business over the past year.
3. Contributions to the furtherance and advocacy of farming and agriculture in Kitsap County.
4. Past history of farm activities.

Thank you in advance and we look forward to seeing you at the 9th Annual KGHD to celebrate the winner!

July 25th – Board Meeting & Update

July 25th – Board Meeting & Update

After the preliminaries, we spent some time discussing the Central Kitsap Farmers’ Market. We are generally pleased with how it is going, and are looking at ways to increase public awareness and bring in more produce. We discussed the idea of having a ‘community table’ available, which would allow farmers to drop their merchandise at a manned table, and not necessarily have to be at the Market to sell it. This has some advantages and some disadvantages, and JJ Meland – Board member, will be checking out the community table at the Kingston Farmers’ Market to get some information on how that works there.

The Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner (KGHD) is taking shape. We are excited to bring Dr. Steve Jones of WSU’s “Bread Lab” as our keynote speaker. Dr. Jones has been pioneering research into developing grains for non-traditional grain growing regions, like the Puget Sound region. He is a highly respected and visionary researcher, and a captivating speaker  and we anticipate a fabulous evening with him at the KGHD. We will be releasing more information on his presentation and the other wonderful events of the day. Mark your calendars – Sept 24th at Olympic College. Tickets will be available through Brown Paper Tickets in early August.

Lastly, Jess is gearing us up for Farm Funk on the 12th of August. Here’s a description from the Farm Funk webpage: “Farm Funk will include vendor booths for local producers, artists, and non-profit organizations that support all things local. We will have hot food, treats, and a beer garden stocked with locally produced beer, wine, and cider. On the main stage, we will feature live music performed by local singers, songwriters, and musicians throughout the festival.”

It runs from 1pm to 10 pm at the Minder Farm. Put on your party duds and get out there! Now I’m going to run…till next time

Bob Geballe
KCAA Board President

Is Farming Right for You?

Is Farming Right for You?

When: July 17 @ 4:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Olympic College, Poulsbo

Sponsored by Farm Services Agency, WSU Extension and the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance, Presented by Paul McClellan of Corvus Northwest with guest speakers.   We’ll learn from local farmers about their journey into farming, and discuss some predictors for farm business success. We’ll explore how clear goals, limits, and needs-determination drive good business decisions.   This class is the first in a series of monthly, local food systems courses for new and beginning farmers and producers. To learn about the series, visit   Doors and registration open at 3:30pm

Course fee $20;  3-course set $54; Full series $136

Register at 

Pre-event registration open through July 16 @10pm.

Day-of-class registration $25 permitted on a space-available basis; credit card payment only.

Light refreshments served, but please bring a sack lunch.

Corvus NW is a Kitsap-based consultancy helping local farms, food ventures, makers, and small enterprises manage their business for true sustainability and resilience.

June 27th Board Meeting & Update

June 27th Board Meeting & Update

KCAA Board Meeting Summary – June 27, 2017

Well, folks, we came, we ate some pizza, and we talked! This time, the Central Kitsap Farmers’ Market was a bit more enjoyable – we didn’t dodge raindrops and Roni didn’t shiver her way through the meeting.

The Highlights:

The Farmers’ market is doing well – receipts and visits are up, and the farmers finally have a bunch of beautiful things to sell. Our long-term plan is to be able to hire a Market Manager, but in the interim, various board members (Michelle, Peggy, Scott, especially) are carrying the load.  And…July 11 is Family Day at the Market – with music, face-painting, and much more fun.

We are planning our Annual Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner – taking place on Sept 24 at the OC Bremerton campus. The KGHD is our biggest event for the year, and our biggest fundraiser. We are finalizing our theme and guest speaker (more on those next time) and have hired Marie Vila to help us shepherd the gala event to the finish line.

The other BIG news is the incredible $50k gift KCAA received from the Petersen Estate. So…we took a vote and decide to hold our next 3 meetings in Hawaii (NOT!).  In actuality, this is a wonderful opportunity to shape the future of the organization, and we’ll be discussing ideas on how to do that over the next few meetings. If YOU have ideas, let us know!

Much more happened – but don’t want you to be board (bad pun…)

Till next time –

Bob Geballe

KCAA Board President

May 30th, 2017 Board Meeting & Update

May 30th, 2017 Board Meeting & Update

We held a KCAA board meeting on Tuesday May 30 – a cold and damp day for the end of May! We gathered at the Central Kitsap Farmer’s Market, and I wanted to share a few of the highlights with you, our dear members and supporters.

We discussed the Farmer’s Market –still in its infancy. We are anticipating more traffic and much larger selection of produce and protein as the weather improves, but farmers, like everyone else in Kitsap, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our favorite summer guest…the Sun!

We welcomed a new member of the KCAA board – JJ Meland. JJ is a chef, culinary instructor at Bates Technical College, and a businessman with ambitious and wonderful plans to add to Kitsap’s growing culinary scene, as he works to open his lifelong dream – Maynard’s in Silverdale.  It will be a combination restaurant, market, and event space. He brings a lot of food and business acumen to KCAA, as well as plenty of energy and a good sense of humor. KCAA board is still 3 members short. Please contact us if you are interested in being considered for a board position.

We talked about two upcoming and fabulous events – Farm Funk, an afternoon of music, food, and fun set for August 12 out at Minder Farm in Bremerton, with proceeds benefiting KCAA and the Washington Academy Of Music.

And our yearly spectacular – the Kitsap-Grown Harvest Dinner, which will take flight on September 24th (a Sunday) at Olympic College, Bremerton.  Save the date! More exciting details on both these events to follow.

We have received a grant for $34,314 with Washington State University Extension from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Marie Vila has been hired to work on this grant to create a series of workshops, webinars and conferences focused on strengthening farm’s business plans, marketing, and financing. She will expand on this in our next update. Scott Hall brought us up to date on the County’s crafting of the Critical Areas Ordinance, a topic we will follow closely as the County works towards its long-overdue update.

Other than that, it was the typical board business, so this is enough for now. Look for another exciting KCAA news flash after our next meeting, the end of June!

Till then –

Bob Geballe
KCAA Board

Petersen Estate Gifts $50,000 to KCAA

Petersen Estate Gifts $50,000 to KCAA

Petersen Estate Gifts $50,000 to Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance

On Tuesday, June 6th, at the new Central Kitsap Farmers Market, Dorothy Lind, executor of the Gerald Petersen Estate presented the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance (KCAA) with a donation check of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). The generous donation was a gift from the Estate in recognition of Scott & Peggy Hall.

The Halls were deeply involved in the historic Petersen Farm before the passing of Gerald Petersen in 2009 and continued to be champions for the farm through the inclusion of the land under a conservation easement as well as during the sale of the farm in 2015. The Halls, owners of Legacy Farm in Olalla, have been long-time stewards of agriculture in Kitsap County, as well as long-time board members and supporters of KCAA.

“We are so overjoyed at the generosity of the Estate for honoring the KCAA” stated Peggy Hall during the presentation. Bob Geballe, board president of KCAA, said the gift was a testament to the hard work and long-time commitment the Halls have shown the farming community. “We are speechless, and we are so deeply in debt to Scott and Peggy, whose tireless work and generosity has borne such fruit for us as an organization.”

Geballe said the donation moves KCAA onto a new level in terms of how it can impact local agriculture. “We have several new initiatives in the works; creating an intellectual resource bank for farmers, developing a matching service for people interested in farming and property owners interested in having their land in production, working with local educational institutions to develop scholarships, programs, and internships to fill the pipeline with prospective new farmers. This is going to help us make those things happen.”

The Kitsap Great Give – May 2nd

The Kitsap Great Give – May 2nd

KCAA will be taking part in this years Great Give on May 2nd.
Join us in our “I’m Committed” campaign to support farmers and locally grown food! Your donation supports scholarships for budding agripreneurs, educational workshops that we provide, the Central Kitsap Farmers Market and the Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner.

How it works:

  • For 24 hours on May 2, you can review the profiles of over 200 local nonprofit organizations on the Kitsap Great Give website (including KCAA’s!).
  • Donate to as many of them as you’d like
  • Help our community reach the goal of raising $1.5 Million for charity in one day!

The best part is that every dollar you donate will be proportionally matched by the event sponsors so that the nonprofits you donate to will actually get more money than you donate! Your $100 donation could become $120 or more actually going to the nonprofit. Your donations can also help the nonprofits win extra donation prizes throughout the day.

Join KCAA on May 2nd at our opening day of the Central Kitsap Farmers Market to donate in person between 3pm and 7pm or go online to the Great Give website and support KCAA!

County Updating Critical Areas Ordinance

County Updating Critical Areas Ordinance

County updating Critical Areas Ordinance

By Scott Hall, KCAA Director & Local Farmer

Kitsap County is currently undergoing a required review/update of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO)

The CAO covers several topics, but the one that most directly affects agriculture on a continuing basis is wetlands.

The Kitsap County CAO has always included certain wetlands exemptions for agriculture. The exemptions are related to “existing and ongoing agriculture” on lands that contain wetlands. Generally, if land containing wetlands was used for farming at the time the CAO was enacted (early 1990’s), and has remained in agricultural use since that time, the normal CAO wetlands restrictions do not apply.

During the update process KCAA and many private individuals will be keeping a close eye on any proposed changes to the CAO that would affect agricultural use of lands that may contain wetlands. So far, the county has collected quite a few comments through the “electronic town hall” process.

County staff reviews all comments received, and several comments generated by members of KCAA and others have already resulted in modifications to the draft CAO. It is our intent to ensure the county does not make existing CAO exemptions subject to unreasonable conditions or additional requirements that conflict with the basic agricultural exemptions allowed under federal law.

There will be multiple opportunities to provide testimony, either in person or in writing at a number of public hearings related to the CAO update. Please keep yourselves informed about the CAO, and all it covers. Wetlands and agriculture are just one small, but important aspect of everything the CAO regulates.

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