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……….
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!
We want to help grow the pie! Please join KCAA and friends for a special interactive panel discussion centered on the exciting and brave new world of the local food hub model! The success of local farms depends upon creating and reaching new markets, both retail and institutional. Our panel of experts will discuss issues of particular importance to local farmers, producers, and other parties interested in growing and being a part of a thriving local-food model.
Guest Panel Includes: Beth Robinette – a fourth-generation rancher in the Spokane area, and co-founded LINC Foods, a Spokane food hub connecting local farmers and producers and institutional consumers.
Roni Smith – Owner/operator of The Smithshyre, helped found Kitsap Fresh, Kitsap County’s online farmers market.
Laura Ryser – Kitsap County Community and Economic Development Specialist in the WSU Community and Economic Development Program Unit.
This discussion is FREE and promises practical information, insights, and inspiration for any farmer or producer in Kitsap County hoping to grow more, sell more, and connect more with consumers eager to access the rich resource of Kitsap-grown food and farm products. Please join us!
When: Sunday, September 25th from 3pm – 5pm Where: Olympic College (1600 Chester Avenue) – Rotunda
Farm Business/Farmer of the Year nominations are going on now through September 16th.
Do you know a really great Kitsap Farmer?
The 2016 Farmer/Farm Business of the Year will be announced at the 8th Annual Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner (KGHD) on Sunday, September 25th at Olympic College, Bremer Student Center.
Now is the time to nominate a Farmer that you think has had an outstanding year and deserves some recognition. Maybe they have provided you with delicious local goodness throughout the year or perhaps been active in promoting agriculture in your area. Anything YOU think makes a great Farmer.
Please send us your nominations to email@example.com by September 16th. Don’t forget to stay tuned to Facebook and here on our website to start voting for your Farmer of the Year between Sept. 17th and 25th. Then make sure to come on out to Olympic College and celebrate with us during this years dinner. Tickets are on sale now through Brown Paper Ticket at http://kghd2016.bpt.me
Some additional things 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 8th Annual KGHD to celebrate the winner!
The day will consist of:
– Introduction to noxious weeds in our region
– Show & Tell – Bring your noxious weeds (bring up to 20 weeds found on your property to discuss with the group).
– Interactive, hands-on Weed Circus (identification and control recommendations).
– Q&A with Dana Coggon, WSU Kitsap Extension Noxious Weeds officer.
Mark your calendars for this years Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner on September 25th!
The 8th Annual Kitsap Grown Harvest Dinner brings a bounty of locally-grown food in a showcased community dining experience prepared by top-line local chefs, led by Chef Chris Plemmons (Olympic College Culinary Program & Two Snooty Chefs). The dinner will be held at Olympic College on Sunday, September 25th, 2016. Tickets go on sale August 1st!
Also not to be missed this year is the Silent Auction which will feature an array of local products and services as well as our special keynote speaker, Beth Robinette with LINC Foods.
We hope you will save the date and join us in celebrating and supporting our local farmers and culinary masters!
Keynote Speaker – Beth Robinette:
Beth Robinette, MBA, a fourth generation Spokanite, has been a food activist in the Spokane area for over 10 years. When she is not connecting farmers to markets at LINC Foods, she can be found building fence, or chasing cows, on her family’s cattle ranch, the Lazy R, where they raisegrass-fed beef. Her academic studies have revolved around
business, marketing and sustainable food systems.
Interview conducted by KCAA Board Member Elizabeth Hoffman
Sagging Fence is a small scale goat dairy operation owned by Juli and Bob Fisher out of Port Orchard, WA. They currently have a closed herd of seventeen rambunctious Nubian dairy goats. Their main market product is a Farmstead Aged Goat Milk Cheese that they distribute to local restaurants, shops, and sell personally every Saturday at the Port Orchard Farmers Market.
Did you grow up on a farm?
Actually both Bob and I were raised in cities. I was born in Denver and my dad used to farm in North Dakota. Bob was raised in the Denver area. I did not want to be around a lot of people on a day to day basis. I like to garden and I like to have a lot of space and a lot of greenery around me. Bob does as well.
How did you start farming?
When I met Bob I was professionally landscaping and I tease him that when he saw my apartment, he was more interested in the fact that I had flowers drying than in me. He thought that was the coolest thing…. We started thinking about buying a place outside of the city because a lot of the perks of the city theatre, restaurants, etc., we didn’t do any of that stuff…Bob was a chef and I think he cooks better than most restaurants. He was always interested in growing things, right now he grows bonsai and he always wanted to be a farmer.
How did you start making cheese?
Bob used to cook professionally and he worked at places in Denver and in Seattle… He has always been interested in making and growing our own food. When we came out here we found a couple with some goats because he said he wanted to get ahold of some goat milk and make some cheese, and so we did. For a year or two we bought milk and made cheese, some was good and some was not. We made it in the kitchen and we got better at it and a neighbor down the road had two wethers (fixed male goat) Calvin and Hobbes who were for sale and they were going to be butchered so we bought them. Once we had success with those two we advanced to breeding our own milking goats. We started with two sisters we bought from people that we knew and since then all our goats have been born on our farm.
When did you decide to start marketing your cheese?
Sagging Fence Farm was licensed in January of 2014. About 8 years ago Bob said I think we should get licensed so we toured many different farms including Kurt Timmermeister’s farm on Vashon Island we toured Estrella farms and took a class with her. Bob makes all the cheese now, I used to, but now I help with all the milking. I am also comfortable doing a lot of the hands on things with the goats, my undergrad was in microbiology and I worked in a lab for many years.
What was your biggest hurdle starting as a goat dairy?
We didn’t really start selling right away until we had insurance and because we don’t pasteurize it is difficult to get insurance. And we were surprised by that big stumbling block.
Bob has been working on the recipe, making it for ten years so he has been learning how to keep the quality uniform even though the milk changes throughout their cycle. We make the soft cheese as well but it is not aged so we cannot sell it.
Have you seen a change in the public’s attitude towards goat milk since you started?
Some people can tolerate it better because the protein molecules in goat’s milk are already broken down somewhat which lends itself to goat milk being naturally homogenized, it does not separate in the fridge. The only issue then is if you want to make goat milk butter you have to have a cream separator. One of the big differences with goat milk is it is quite rich because it is whole milk. Most people don’t drink whole milk anymore. A lot of people have issues with lactose. Now why there is more of that going on is a different story.
We drink strictly goat milk and have now for many years. When we are in a position where we have to buy cow’s milk we have noticed that it takes a few days to get used to the taste… A lot of people say that I don’t like goat cheese/milk because it tastes “goaty”. Well we have found that once you heat the milk that flavor comes out. I believe Pasteurization adds to that flavor.
How do you differ from other goat dairy’s? What is the philosophy behind Sagging Fence Farm?
We have a closed herd meaning we do not freshen every year and all goats are born on the farm. We do not take our goats off site except to breed. We are very soft on our animals, we brought them into this world they are our responsibility. I don’t treat them like stock. We retire our goats when they are too old to produce milk, they stick around and live in the pasture. We keep wethers on site and they have their own space. Typically, on other farms they are butchered at around 6 months to a year. We find good homes for our wethers where they will not be butchered. Our last wethers were sold as brush eaters.
I think if we have a philosophy it is that I never want to get too big that I don’t know each goat individually and when you get to having fifty or a hundred, like other cheese farms in the United States and France. There were huge herds hundreds of goats and there is no way to know each of them. I really enjoy knowing them individually, each of them has a personality and I like getting to know them… I don’t like all of them (laughs)..but they all have a personality.
What advice do you have for people who want to start farming?
And I think a lot of people are looking back to farming traditions to self-sustain their household…I enjoy being more self-sustaining not having to buy eggs, milk, vegetables. I think you can but it could be a rude awakening for some people. It takes a lot of work physically and also time. You have to want to live in this environment and it can’t just be “I want to have a farm because I want to grow my own food” and I know people who have down that or said that. Realistically, you don’t have much of a social life, you don’t do much beyond your farm. It takes a lot and it takes money. When we wanted to start the dairy everyone told us it was going to be $100,000, we did it for less but it took planning and five years of time. We designed our own dairy and poured the foundations ourselves. We started in the kitchen trying things out and I would advise others if they wanted to start a dairy or making specialty products that you start small in the kitchen and do that for a while, even years, just to see if you like it. I think you should try it in small pieces first, we started with a garden and then a farm and finally it evolved into a dairy.
Sagging Fence Farm’s Farmstead Aged Raw Goat Milk Cheese can be found at the following locations:
Kurt Farm Shop
1424 11th Ave Ste C2, Seattle, WA 98122
Bay Street Bistro: featured ingredient on Northwest Cheese Plate
834 Bay Street, Port Orchard, WA 98366
On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 from Midnight to 11:59pm, the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance (KCAA) is participating in the Kitsap Great Give. We invite you to take part in Kitsap County’s greatest nonprofit fundraising event and support KCAA!
How your donation works:
Your donation on May 3rd will help KCAA further our mission of providing education, resources, and advocacy for local agriculture on the Kitsap Peninsula. Donated funds will go directly to help support our scholarship program and Kitsap Grown campaign.
How you can give on May 3rd:
Step 1: For 24 hours on May 3, you can review the profiles of 200 local nonprofit organizations on the Kitsap Great Give website (www.kitsapgreatgive.org).
Step 3: Donate! You can donate any amount that suits you. Every dollar you donate will be proportionally matched by the event sponsors. This means the nonprofits you donate to will actually get more money than you donate – Your $100 donation could become $120 or more!
Please also consider joining us that evening from 6pm – 8pm at The Slippery Pig Brewery (18801 Front St NE, Poulsbo) where we will be celebrating and connecting with KCAA supporters. $1 of each pint sale will go to the KCAA during the 6-8pm event, so don’t miss out!
As a supporter of local food and agriculture here in Kitsap we encourage you to donate to the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance during this years Kitsap Great Give on May 3rd. Please feel free to contact usanytime if you have questions about this event or KCAA.
Local Producer Profile – Karen Olson, Blackjack Valley Farm
Karen Olson of Blackjack Valley Farm in Port Orchard is nothing if not an energizer bunny. Over the last 6 1/2 years she has transformed her little patch of heaven in Port Orchard into the go-to place for farm-raised beef, pork, and poultry, on top of the constant flow of raw milk and high quality eggs she supplies. So it was no big surprise when Karen was named KCAA’s Farmer of the Year for 2015. Except to her. “I was surprised since I don’t participate in many community farming groups. It was nice to know people realized and acknowledged how hard I work.”
“She is extremely energetic and tough to keep up with,” says Doug Millard, KCAA board member. “Karen is deeply dedicated and concerned about her animals and her farming. She is all for local production of farm protein products and has the best farm store I have visited.”
Karen traces her love of agriculture to her childhood. “My father was in the Navy, having grown up in Philadelphia, and he was stationed at PSNS in 1967. He decided he wanted to raise my sister and me here, not in the city. So he bought some property and we learned about farming as a family.”
An indication of Karen’s support of local farming is her current effort to develop a USDA/Custom Exempt Slaughterhouse and Processing Facility here in Port Orchard. “I’m hoping to create a 3,600 sq. feet facility, located in Port Orchard, ” she explains. “We’re currently in permitting, and I have the deposit down on a steel building.” She plans to also offer transport services of livestock for those who cannot haul to site, and says the site will also have a retail front to market local meats and other seasonal products.
Karen says that two major roadblocks are financing and lack of local community (farmer) support. But she is applying for several USDA grants to get things rolling. And she sees herself completing the circle that her childhood began. “We have a lot of families in Kitsap County. Many that come for a short period of time with the military. I think it is great to provide those kids with farm fresh foods and visits to a farm.”
You are invited to join The Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance for our 2016 Annual Meeting on Monday, March 21st at 5:30 pm. We will be sharing our accomplishments from 2015 and discussing future projects KCAA will be taking on in 2016.
This is a potluck meeting (potluck dish not required to attend), and is open to KCAA members and the general community; anyone who may be interested in learning more about KCAA!
When: Monday, March 21st
Time: 5:30pm – 8pm
Where: Kitsap Regional Library Poulsbo Branch – Community Meeting Room (700 Lincoln Road NE, Poulsbo, WA)
What to Bring: Yourself and a potluck dish (not required to attend). SPECIAL THIS YEAR:
We will be holding a Seed Swap as part of this years annual meeting. During the potluck and social time we will have a section set up for those that would like to partake in the sharing of seeds. Bring any extra seeds you have for planting and swap with others! KCAA will provide sandwich baggies to carry seeds home in.
For more information/questions please email