Mike and Kim Finger have known the value of organic farming from the beginning. The couple has owned and operated Cedarville Farms in Deming for the past 30 years. Over the course of that time they have cultivated a wide variety of organic vegetables and herbs, raised both chickens and turkeys, and innovated new programs to keep the farm growing strong.
Cedarville was organic even before the government implemented organic farming regulations. Mike and Kim knew organic farming was the only option for Cedarville. Their children were heavily involved with the farm, helping in the fields and eating the produce. They worried about exposing them to the toxins used in pesticides. And, if they didn’t want their children in contact with the harsh chemicals, they didn’t want to feed them to their customers, either. Even though there weren’t as many resources for organic farming as there are today, Mike and Kim made it work. They say every obstacle was worth it.
In 1992 Cedarville introduced Whatcom County’s first ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. For those unfamiliar with CSA, it’s a program that functions essentially the same as subscription boxes. The customer pays to “subscribe” to the farm before the growing season and the upfront funds cover the cost of growing food. Then, the farmer supplies the customer with a pre-picked box of produce every week during the growing season. Customers can also choose to add other items like eggs and meat.
CSAs have grown exponentially in Whatcom County, with over 20 different farms offering the service. CSAs are still the “heart of the farm” according to Mike and cover “a good chunk” of the farm’s operating expenses. Mike and Kim even host exclusive events for their CSA customers like the “Pesto Festo,” private market stands on Wednesdays and a pumpkin patch in the fall.
Mike was on the founding board of the Bellingham Farmers Market and helped turn it into the thriving hub it is today. He says one of his favorite parts of the market is meeting families and connecting with the community. Both he and Kim love farming for their friends and neighbors. They invite folks to stop by and say hi.
With a legacy like Cedarville’s, you can’t leave the next generation of farmers up to chance. Mike and Kim work with Sustainable Connections’ mentorship program to help aspiring farmers. They also hire local youth and young adults every harvest season to help collect crops. In fact, Mike recently won the “Mentor of the Year” award, though he won’t tell you unless you ask. Mike says the farm is “blessed, delighted, challenged and deeply grateful for the many young folks who have helped us harvest.”
When asked what we could expect next from Cedarville, Mike says, “Nothing. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and keep doing it better!” Although, he also says he’s particularly excited about a new part for his tractor that should be coming any day now. Besides the tractor, they also have a brand new website they hope you’ll take a look at.
Cedarville Farms’ products can be found at the Bellingham Farmers Market, the Cordata Community Food Co-Op and the Downtown Community Food Co-Op. Mike and Kim also invite anyone to check out the farm.