After another classic cold and rainy Washington winter, the time to add locally-grown ingredients to your meals has finally arrived. The Sundance Farm Stand in Olympia is a community food hub, bringing together an abundant variety of farmers’ produce, all from within a 30-mile radius of the stand. If you have ever driven down Boston Harbor Road NE, chances are you have noticed the little white house with the colorful Sundance Farm Stand logo painted on the side. Their inventory includes fruits, herbs, vegetables and many other surprises. They are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, so stop by and see what fresh food they have in stock this week.

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Sundance Farm Stand Roots and Harvest

Sundance was founded in 2021 and is currently run by Willow Whitton and her farming partner, Frank Mcintire, from the Mcintire Family farm in Rochester. The staff at Sundance consists mainly of family, but they also have two work-for-trade people operating the stand in exchange for fresh produce. Their combined farming land consists of two-and-a-half acres, and various collaborations with other surrounding farms also contribute to their bounty, such as Wild Child Greens, which supplies their microgreens.

“I have been growing food for my family for years, and I have always been farming my whole life,” says Willow. Before Sundance, she founded a natural bedding products company in 2000 called Holy Lamb Organics. For the company’s first 18 years, she shepherded the business to benefit both the customers and the planet through sustainable practices, using minimal to zero waste manufacturing. She has made remarkable environmental strides throughout her whole life and business ventures, and her farm work through Sundance is yet another part of her passion for giving the love she finds within the earth back to the community of Olympia.

woman holding a cabbage head as big as her head up on her shoulder
Willow poses with a massive head of cabbage from this year’s winter harvest. Photo credit: Willow Whitton

They grow all their produce using organic methods. This means no pesticides, herbicides and never any synthetic fertilizers. Sundance also has two interns from The Evergreen State College Organic Farming Program working between their farms. With 71 garden beds in their Rochester River Valley farmland, they compare the soil quality to fluffy dark chocolate cake. “I love every part of it,” relishes Willow. “We plant teeny tiny seeds in January, and then people come in once they have grown into these beautiful harvests, and everyone is so excited.”

Their current spring inventory consists of arugula, salad mix with edible flowers, chives, cilantro, parsley, oregano, mint, onions, potatoes, garlic, radishes, rutabagas, parsnips and lots more in varying quantities. Organic eggs are also on the roster. And they just did their first pea and carrot harvest of the season. Now that the lovely warm weather permits, they have planted tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers, soon to be added to the long list of food they sell. In the meantime, their nursery also offers a variety of such starters to plant in your own garden.

Large domed green house with lots of plants inside
The produce at their farm in Boston Harbor is flourishing within walking distance of the stand. Photo credit: Willow Whitton

The Sundance Nursery is in Full Swing

Right behind the farmstand is their small but mighty nursery. Willow’s nursery partner is Marisha Auerbach, an internationally recognized permaculture design teacher and a professor at Oregon State University. She believes permaculture design allows the community to respond to and have an impact on the current environmental changes. Her teachings revolve around this practice of lowering our ecological footprint through developing regenerative communities that support the needs of the people while maintaining an environment that supports plant and animal communities of the region. Stop by the farmstand, and walk through the nursery to see what it’s all about.

Their plant starters include various perennials and annuals such as fruits and berries, native plants, medicinal plants, pollinator plants, vegetables, and flowers. These make for sweet gifts, and as you know now, they began with organic practices and more love than you could probably imagine.

people on their knees planting plants in a large dirt field
Sundance farmers work hard to plant cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and much more. Photo credit: Willow Whitton

The Benefits of Buying Local Food from The Sundance Farmstand

When you buy locally grown foods, the act benefits the whole community. Local food supports the economy, has more nutrients for your body and benefits the environment. “Sometimes, by the time a fruit or vegetable reaches the grocery store shelf, it devolves into this sad mushy produce that no one even wants to buy, and it just goes to waste,” Willow describes an experience we have all more than likely experienced ourselves. “If you’re interested in learning about what is healthy and nutritious for your body, join our community food hub.”

Willow stands proudly in the Mcintire Family Farm beds lined with plants ready to go in the ground. Photo credit: Willow Whitton

It takes a lot of hard work, but it is worth it for the people at Sundance. This year, they expect a sizable harvest and are staying open every day until October. “We will also be offering bulk items at great prices, perfect for canning and fermenting,” adds Willow.

She adores Boston Harbor and leaves a blank journal on a table at the farm stand where customers can leave notes or drawings to show gratitude and love for the work put into providing all the fresh food that they do. She picked up the book and flipped through the pages exclaiming, “There is so much love that comes back to us.” Once you step inside the stand, you won’t only find fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but as Willow describes, “There is a special energy here. We rely on everyone’s human kindness within their hearts to keep this place going, and we hope people will support it.”

For more information, visit The Sundance Farm Stand website.

The Sundance Farm Stand
4227 Boston Harbor Rd NE, Olympia

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