Travel north from Bellingham towards the Canadian border and you’ll find that Whatcom County boasts large swaths of fertile farmland. Just south of Everson and east of the Nooksack River, you’ll also find Spring Time Farm. Its owners, Sarah Robinson and Nick Spring, have spent years cultivating an all-organic farm while making Whatcom County their home.

Sarah is from Maryland and Nick from Portland; Nick originally came to the area to attend Western Washington University.

“And Sarah was brought here by traveling,” Spring says. “We met up 10 years ago, and I was working on some farms in the area when we started dating. About a year and a half later, we had the opportunity to rent some land from a friend and mentor of mine, and we decided to start our own business venture: Spring Time Farm.”

Nick Spring worked on a few farms before he had the chance to rent a place of his own, resulting in Spring Time Farm. Photo credit: Rose Sharon Stokley

Now in their ninth season, the two farmers talk about adjustments they’ve made to adapt changes they’ve seen in the last few years.

The couple sold their produce at the Bellingham Farmers Market for seven years before COVID hit. They also traveled to the Seattle Farmers Market for two years and loved being able to see customers face-to-face week after week. “But it’s a lot of effort to go and set up a storefront for five hours,” Spring says. “We wanted to be socially responsible, and also wanted to develop a greater connection to our customers that didn’t require such intensive labor.” That’s when they decided to offer a CSA.

Sarah Robinson makes it clear that she values the community’s investment in the future of their food sources. Photo credit: Rose Sharon Stokley

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, an idea that’s been brewing globally since at least the 1960s and took off in the United States in the 1980s. It allows consumers to subscribe directly to farms, which then provide a box of fresh vegetables every week. They also establish a local food connection that simply doesn’t exist at the grocery store. “That’s what we’ve been focusing on for the last two and a half years — the weekly box program — and also selling to local retail outlets, restaurants, and grocery stores,” says Spring.

In addition to knowing that each week their customers receive a box of the freshest food possible, Robinson values the direct relationship with folks. “It’s a committed relationship,” she says. “The community signs up for 20 weeks of food from us, and that commitment allows us to plan our whole year out and have the up-front financial support to grow a lot of beautiful food.”

Just south of Everson, Spring Time Farm produces food and provides CSA members with a connection to the land. Photo credit: Aaron Straight

His own commitment to the organic veggie business has given Spring insight into what his customers are looking for when they seek out a business like his. “I feel like people really want community and connections to the land; in the 21st century, we’ve lost a lot of that,” he says. The couple’s motto is that Spring Time is a farm that skipped a generation. “Both Sarah and I are urban-grown, but we come from agrarian backgrounds, and if you go one or two generations back, someone in your family was working the soil. People have jobs, they have lives going on, and we want to help them connect to the land again.”

That connection is certainly important, but there’s another layer to Spring Time’s mission that’s very much about the business of day-to-day living.

Spring Time Farm members also have access to an online store that offers additional produce, like flats of strawberries, tomatoes, and bouquets of flowers. Photo courtesy: Spring Time Farm

“A lot of people are worried about food security in these times, and this CSA is a way to ensure that our farm is going to continue operating, and that our members are going to have food on the table,” Spring says. “They’re taking a risk as well as the reward because nothing in nature is ever guaranteed — there might be a flood, there might be a freeze. But in general, we’re confident in our ability to produce healthy, beautiful, nutritious food week after week, year after year.”

Anybody interested can sign up on the farm’s website, and then pick up fresh produce weekly in Everson, Fairhaven, or downtown Bellingham. There are also three Seattle pick-up locations for our neighbors to the south, and built-in vacation days so that members’ busy summer schedules won’t make them miss out on any fresh veggies. Members also have access to an online store that offers additional produce, like flats of strawberries, tomatoes, and bouquets of flowers.

The exact contents of CSA boxes vary weekly, as the seasons dictate the produce that’s ready for harvest. Photo courtesy: Spring Time Farm

Subscribers will also discover more personal perks with their membership. Since they’re focused on production, Spring Time doesn’t maintain a full-time public interface. “But if you’re a member, we want to honor that relationship, so we have events where people are welcome to come tour the farm and pick produce and flowers,” says Spring. “It’s one thing to go to the grocery store and buy some food, and it’s another to know that it was grown right here on the soil in Whatcom County, and to come out and feel that soil.”


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