Jefferson County is home to a diverse population, and histories. For a small county, we have a vibrant community teeming with local food enthusiasts, farmers’ markets, educational opportunities, conservation efforts and a widespread feeling of connection with our agricultural and wild lands.
The Conservation District is honored and proud to work with many of our local farmers toward a more sustainable, productive and economically viable model of farming.
Below are just of few examples the great work being done in this area:
Jerry Holmes and Elizabeth Fields are working with the Conservation District to install a riparian buffer, a livestock exclusion fence, and a livestock crossing (bridge) in order to protect water quality and improve salmon habitat along Chimacum Creek through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
owned and operated by Julie and Chuck
Julie and Chuck Boggs have been farming a long time, their entire lives in fact. I asked them if there was anything interesting about themselves that others might not know and they both laughed. “We have been here our whole lives. There isn’t much folks don’t know.”
That is, in a nutshell, what community farming is all about. There is a transparency that allows for consumer confidence in the products purchased to feed ourselves and our families. In Jefferson County we can go right to the producer and buy direct, or we can find the products in our local co-op and markets. Unlike factory, industrial farming, we can see how the animals and plant products are raised. And, we know what kind of people we are supporting.
Julie is from a 6th generation Jefferson County family. She went to school in Chimacum and drove school bus here for 28 years while running the farm and raising two children.
Her great-grandfather was a Blanchard who settled in 1874 in Chimacum Valley across the valley from where Westbrook Farm is now located. Her grandfather Westergaard ran a small dairy and large chicken operation into and sold their dairy products to the old Dairygold and Glendale creameries. When dairies started shutting down in the 1960’s, Julie’s father started raising beef and breeding cattle. He built the barn they now use in the late 60’s. Today, Julie and Chuck raise prize winning Black Angus for breeding and as high quality, grass fed beef.
Chuck is from a 7th generation Jefferson County family. He went to school in Port Townsend. The two met at the dance hall that was located where the Chimacum Farm Stand stands today. There were dances every Saturday night with live music. It was the place to be, apparently. They were married in 1970 in their early 20’s and have been together ever since. Chuck was a fire chief in East Jefferson County and, before that, was with the Teamsters for 20 years.
When I asked them what the best part about being a farmer was, Chuck replied “It is hard to pick a best part. All of it is the best part. But, if I had to pick one thing, it would be the open space.” Julie likes having her own schedule, achieving the goals they set for themselves for the highest quality cattle and meat, and the gardening which she feels “compelled” to do. It must be all of those anti-depressant microbes in the soil! They both enjoy having a cup of coffee by their pond and watching the fish and the ducks interact.
Westbrook Farm has worked with the Conservation District on several farm improvement projects. Through EQIP they built a waste storage facility for storing manure; nitrogen and phosphorus are detrimental to water quality, and why lose any of those great nutrients which are a key part of a pasture nutrient management plan! They also put in a heavy use area to protect the pastures during wet months, and an enlarged sediment pond that is stocked with Trout and wild ducks. In 1985, the Conservation District worked with the Boggs to fence off the pastures from Chimacum Creek, in order to protect water quality. A buffer of trees was planted to shade the creek and to provide shelter for fish.
One thing you might not know about Julie is that she loves classical music. And Chuck… well, did you know his ancestor jumped ship in Discovery Bay in 1852!
You can find a great selection of local products, including Westbrook Farms beef, when shopping at the Co-op or the Chimacum Corner Farm Stand, and at our great Farmer’s Markets.
owned and operated by Jim Rueff and Linda Davis
Solstice Farm owners, Jim Rueff and Linda Davis are pioneers in implementing best management practices on their farm.
In 2002 they were one of the first local farms to enroll nearly 6 of their 35 acres into the CREP program.
CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program), a federally funded program that pays for high quality fencing along water bodies to keep livestock out of the streams, creeks and rivers in order to minimize introduction of fecal pollutants, and native tree and shrub plantings to shade the water body and provide habitat for wildlife. The program will also pay for off-channel watering facilities, heavy use areas and bridges or crossings, if needed. In addition the program pays rent for the use of this land and pays for maintenance of the buffer. Landowners have the option of renewing their contract at the end of a 10-15 year time period.
One of the largest buffer reserves the District has helped implement in our area, the Solstice Farm buffer is an average of 128 feet out on either side of East Chimacum Creek and extends 1004 lineal feet along the creek, comprising a total of 5.9 acres.
Ever the innovators, Jim and Linda are constantly looking for ways to improve their farm. They are currently exploring a way to transfer the farm to a young couple who started as interns some years ago, while allowing themselves to age gracefully on this oasis they have created. What a great idea! This way they can continue to enjoy the fruits of their hard work while mentoring the new farmers in the ways of natural sheep, pig and chicken farming and land stewardship.
One thing you might not know about Jim and Linda is that they were world traveling sailors before setting down roots in Chimacum. They spent years braving the marine elements and exploring the far reaches of our planet before anchoring in the floating “peat” pond that is Beaver Valley.
Thank you Jim and Linda for all your dedication and conscientious care of your page in Jefferson County’s agricultural history.