Jesse and Ashley Swofford
Jesse and Ashley Swofford moved to the Toutle River Valley in the spring of 2014 with dreams of raising their four children on a farm in a small community.
Before moving to the country from the big city of Portland, Jesse started learning how to grow vegetables in a garden made up of five-gallon buckets. The Swoffords also learned about soil types, compost, organic seeds, GMOs, and so much more.
In 2016, after they purchased six acres of land in Toutle, Washington less than 30 miles from Mount St. Helens, they dove into planting a big garden, with a goal of growing veggies for the family that summer. The kids enjoyed helping out, planting seeds, watering daily, and watching the crops pop up in the rows. The produce was delicious, and for the Swoffords, knowing where their food came from, what soil it was grown in, and knowing that no chemicals had been used, was a most satisfying feeling.
In the summer of 2017 the Swoffords decided to start “dreaming big”. With the help of family, the would try to become full-time farmers using one acre of their land. They dove into farming and farming-business books by successful market farmers such as Ben Hartman, Jean-Martin Fortier, and Eliot Coleman, along with online videos made by successful market farms across the USA and Canada.
A business plan was was written: Swofford Family Farm will specializes in growing the best selling varieties of salad greens, leafy greens, root vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other specialty vegetables. And it will grow these crops using the latest tools (germination chambers, paperpot transplanter, direct seeders) and methods (protected culture, rich composts), while being guided by three questions: What do customers want to buy? When do they wanted to buy it? How much do they want to buy?
In early spring of 2018, a starter green house was installed, two seed germination chambers were set up, thousands of seeds where ordered, along with tools and equipment needed to start this dream. We began growing vegetables in the late spring of 2018.
The dream has become a reality.