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Winlock Meadows Farm is the inspiration of Susie Kyle, the founder, owner, and developer. Susie's life, in her words, narrowed to being 50, newly single, and on 15 acres of land originally purchased to raise her family in a rural setting. Looking at what she wanted to do with this next phase in her life, she knew several things. She wanted to do something she enjoyed, something that made the world a better place, and she clearly didn't want to get a job to get money.
In evaluating her resources, she determined her 15 acres was her greatest resource. Standing in the middle of her undeveloped 15 acres contemplating her next steps, she declared, okay, farming is our next adventure. After contacting the local Cooperative Extension office to find out what crops she could grow on her land in her area, she eliminated each one of the options for different reasons.

Christmas trees required the extensive use of chemicals, a capital investment, and 6 years before income comes in. She couldn't make a living selling wheat or hay, and the list went on. Had she tuned in to the suggestion of growing strawberries, this would have changed the course of her life, but she didn't choose strawberries. But now she did have to figure out what she was going to grow.

Her first farming adventure became growing 2 acres of certified organic potatoes for another local farm who had contracts with 5 Star restaurants in Seattle. She was advised to begin with only one acre, but why do one acre when you can do two, she thought. At the end of the season she knew why. With limited resources and help, no farming experience, and no equipment she stepped in to a high learning curve. She was serendipitously networked with a young man by the name of Craig who was also deciding to grow potatoes for the same local farm, but he had no land. They decided to undertake what became "the potato project" together.

One of the first big learning curves was when the growers came to the farm with a mechanical hiller to hill the potatoes to be told that the potatoes had grown too tall and the mechanical hiller couldn't be used. She'll never forget being told with no emotion, "you'll need to hill the two acres by hand and it will only take you two weeks". That she did, and amazingly enough this is when she fell in love with farming. The actual physical labor of hand hilling 2 acres was arduous and she's still healing her knees, but it gave her time to dream, and as you will discover, a dreamer she is. Once the season was over she realized she couldn't support herself selling potatoes by the pound so she put the farm on the side burner giving it some time to redesign itself.

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Last updated on: Monday, April 10, 2006 11:12 AM