What Are We Up To?

"The food-hub phenomenon isn't just gastronomical, it's experiential...{they} bring so many people under one roof to create an event of food consumption, and there's nothing more joyous than that." —Mario Batali

It was Tyla's vision really. 

It came to her in a dream.  Let's create a true Food Hub. Not just a farm. Not just a kitchen. Not just a cooking school. But a place that will be central to our family and to our community as whole. No problem, right?  Well, we are making progress. 

Ever heard the saying that the second best time to plant an orchard is right now, and the best time was 5 years ago? That's why, not long after we bought the property in 2011 we started with the replanting of the historic orchard.  It had dwindled to just five trees, so we selected 35 new cultivars to fill in the gaps.  The 2011 year was also the year we met Blake Mennella and his wife Bobbie, who became our partners in bringing life back to this old farm. They broke ground in September of that same year, converting pasture to row crop farm. 

Orchard Kitchen Chickens on the Organic Farm Owners Chef Vincent Nattress Wine Maven Tyla Nattress Whidbey Island.jpg
Orchard Kitchen Getting the Rows Crop Ready Owners Chef Vincent Nattress Wine Maven Tyla Nattress Whidbey Island.JPG
Orchard Kitchen Fresh-picked Strawberries from the Farm Owners Chef Vincent Nattress Wine Maven Tyla Nattress Whidbey Island.jpg

The chores, they have been many.

There has been a lot of scraping and painting of the 9 buildings that make up this farm, and the removal of a lot of unsightly chain link fence. Our birds have been flourishing here, and in July of 2011 we had our first birth, when the goat Heart was born in the old barn. 

In 2012, things continued apace, with Blake and Bobbie ushering in a bounty of fresh produce and flowers from the newly revitalized front pasture. Vincent's fig grove was established on the south side of the shop, with good moist soils and great sun exposure. And we increased our Narragansett Turkey flock to 20 birds. At some point, in late spring, we crossed the 60 critter mark!

2013 was a great year, with warmer than expected weather and an expanded planting plan from Blake. Vincent got the first of the Raspberries, Blueberries and Marion Berries in the ground. Our historic farmhouse got a much needed new front porch, and the projects just kept coming. 

2014 brought our most successful year of our catering business. We also built two fences, planted an herb garden, put in parking spots for the Farmstand that Blake built and landscaped the front of the main house.

We have started to see what the end result might look like, but we are not quite there yet.

We will break ground on our much needed kitchen this year. We filed our Rural Event Center permit with Island County and things are happening! The kitchen and event space will be open for classes and Farm dinners in July 2015. We have some more painting, planting and renovating to do but we are so close!

It's great when a plan comes together!