Seattleites Ashley Wilson and Ellen Scheffer had been running an urban farm called City Grown Seattle for 3 years, but they were interested in leaving the city and growing more food on a larger piece of land. They had seen the demand for local food during their urban farm days and knew that they wanted to be the ones to grow it.
Ellen grew up in Whitefish, Montana, where her parents cultivated a love of the outdoors and gardening. After realizing a passion for farming during college, Ellen spent time working on sustainable vegetable farms in Oregon, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and One Leaf Farm in Snohomish, WA.
Ashley loves food. She is a Master Gardener, a Master Composter/Soil Builder, and has a Certificate in Organic Agriculture from Washington State University. Ashley spent 2011 working for Growing Things Farm in Carnation, WA. Since then, she has spent time volunteering with the Seattle Tilth and teaches composting throughout Seattle.
In 2018 they met a woman named Stephanie Lentz at a networking event for women in agriculture who told them her dad had farmland in North Bend that he was looking to lease. The rest is history, and Frisky Girl Farm had its first season in 2019.
Located on 428th in the shadow of Mt. Si (see their website for directions), the farm grows 5 acres of vegetables and flowers. They have a 200-member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and sell at their roadside farm stand.
After receiving a National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant, they built a new 30’x96’ greenhouse that can be seen prominently from the road. It is built with a domed peak and extra reinforcements to hopefully withstand the fierce winter weather in North Bend. This will allow the farm to extend their growing season to have veggies available later into the winter and earlier in the spring. Right now, the tunnel is planted with tomatoes.
Ashely and Ellen had to scramble last spring when Covid hit to reroute their sales channels. Previously, the farm sold much of its food to restaurants and at the North Bend and Issaquah Farmers Markets. Once they realized that Covid would drastically affect those things, they decided to offer more CSA shares and try to increase sales at the farm stand.
Aside from Covid, 2019/20 was an eventful time for other reasons. The farm’s wash station was destroyed by wind in the fall, rebuilt just in time for the pandemic to hit. Then, their van caught fire on their first CSA delivery day while delivering to one of their Seattle drop points. Two weeks later, a freak hail storm destroyed or stunted almost all of the farm’s crops. Despite all of that, they still managed to grow more food than they had in 2019! And in an amazing act of kindness, they were gifted a free van by someone who found them on Instagram.
Says Ellen, “We love that our farm stand has become a safe place for the community to get fresh vegetables and flowers and see them growing in the field while they shop. We’re so excited to have been embraced by this community, and we’ve seen an explosion in demand from local consumers, both in our CSA program and farm stand.”
The Frisky Girl farm stand is open daily 8am-8pm from now until the end of October.
[Be sure to follow Frisky Girl Farm on Instagram: @friskygirlfarm and @friskygirlfarmstand #saladgetsyouripped and Facebook or call to schedule a farm tour.]