Mitch and Michelle Lewis of Summit Farms in Thurston County are committed to offering a pastoral place for the community to grow and gather together. And they are doing just that at the 28-acre sustainable farm and event venue as they cultivate more plants, receive grants, enhance their community gatherings venue, and host RV and tent camping spots.

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Summit Farms’ Food and Agritourist Expansion is Like Climbing a Mountain

Summit Farms launched in 2021 and grows seasonal vegetables and other plants. Summit Farms uses non-GMO organic seeds and fertilizers. The delightful rural setting is also a local event venue with an historic barn, RV and tent camping slips, a sauna, plus lots more. The website explains that Mitch and Michelle are dedicated, “As environmental stewards of the land, to build a multi-generational, self-sustaining, commercially profitable, family-farm first and an agri-tourist destination with an emphasis on supporting the local community’s food needs through public/private partnerships.”

Michelle (left) and Mitch (right) Lewis opened Summit Farms in Thurston County in 2021 as a sustainable farm, agri-tourism destination and event venue. They are continually working to enhance the farm. Photo credit: Nancy Krier

And if you are wondering what the word “summit” refers to in the farm’s name, Mitch is known for climbing the world’s highest mountains. He says the farm’s enlarged plantings and site improvements that are completed and underway reflect an effort like scaling peaks. “Piece by piece, step by step,” he says of how the farm is developing and expanding, “it’s like climbing a mountain.”

It’s a Perfect Time to Add Summit Farms’ Many Vegetables, Herbs and Plants to Your Shopping List

As summer nears, Summit Farms is busier than ever. Mitch says that additional offerings this year include two new types of lettuce and two new types of snap peas. Here are other examples of the farm’s products for your shopping list, especially if you are looking for locally grown ingredients for salsa, sauce, pickles and relishes.

  • Seasonal Starts (April – June): Peppers, tomatoes/tomatillos, cucumbers, zucchini/squash, sunflowers, pumpkins.
  • Seasonal Herbs – Starts and Produce (April – October): Cilantro, basil, dill, rosemary, lemon herb, and others.
  • Early – Late Season Produce (succession plantings, May – October): Lettuce (romaine and mixed), carrots.
  • Seasonal Onions, Scallions and Garlic (April – October).
  • Seasonal Produce (July – October): Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, zucchini and summer/winter squash, fall corn and pumpkins.
Summit Farms' onions in a pile with their greens
Mark your shopping list now for seasonal local vegetables from Summit Farms, available at the Olympia and Tumwater Farmers Markets, and through South Sound Fresh. Photo courtesy: Summit Farms

Summit Farms sells its seasonal vegetables, herbs, and succulents at the Olympia Farmers Market and Tumwater Farmers Market, and through South Sound Fresh.

Thurston County’s Summit Farms Received Grants to Recognize and Enhance Its Sustainable Growing Practices

Mitch and Michelle are always looking for ways to improve and expand Summit Farms. Their hard work has recently been recognized with two grants designed to keep their good efforts going and growing.

Summit Farms greenhouse with rows of plants
Thanks to a recent grant, this Summit Farms greenhouse will be joined by a new large greenhouse this summer, increasing the growing capacity tenfold for seasonable vegetables, herbs and plant starts cultivated at the farm. Photo courtesy: Summit Farms

One grant Summit Farms received was a Tilth Alliance Grant. Tilth Alliance “provides grants to farmers seeking financial assistance to support projects that improve the economic viability, social impacts or environmental sustainability of their farm businesses.” This competitive grant program is open to Washington State farmers who employ or are adopting practices that follow regenerative, sustainable, and/or organic principles. Summit Farms will use its grant for projects that include supporting four plots of squash, pumpkins, sunflowers and corn. Two other plots will be used for community gardens because the grant also requires a community return.

“We are so excited,” says Mitch of the award. “Tilth does such great work.”  

The farm also received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service  grant to build a new “high tunnel” hoop house as a third and even bigger greenhouse. “It will help us grow in scale,” says Mitch. He adds that the large new greenhouse will increase their growing capacity tenfold.

Big Red Barn and Acreage with RV and Tent Camping Make Summit Farms a Thurston County Destination for Gatherings

Consistent with its mission, Summit Farms is also becoming a go-to destination for more community gatherings of locals and visitors. The turn-of-the century Gambrel barn (Big Red Barn) plus surrounding farmland make an ideal rustic setting for get-togethers, retreats, reunions, meetings and other community and corporate events. One example is a Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Coaching Retreat at Summit Farms on July 12-14, 2024.

“We are looking to grow for corporate retreats, team buildings, and reunions, whether they stay here or not,” says Mitch. The acreage includes RV hook-up spaces and dry camping sites that can be reserved through HipCamp.

kids on a swing set at Summit Farms
Summit Farms is a perfect event venue for family reunions, retreats and community gatherings. The farm site includes a swing set, labyrinth, sauna, RV camping, historic barn, and more. Details are on the Summit Farms website. Photo courtesy: Summit Farms

Summit Farms is a perfect place for families to come together and relax, with the barn’s rope swings, pool table, and 10-foot screen and equipment to show DVD movies. Outdoor spaces include a u-pick pumpkin patch, sunflower field, labyrinth and a new swing set. Mitch says he and Michelle did not expect the family-friendly setting they created would have such a personal impact. “It brings us so much joy,” he says.

Summit Farms is minutes from Millersylvania State Park and is on the Thurston Bountiful Byway, a 60-mile loop promoting the region’s agriculture. For more information, visit the Summit Farms website or call 707.540.5567.

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