Living histories of local farmers
Alan Mesman, right, and his son, Ben, produce milk for Organic Valley at Mesman Farm near La Conner, Wash. Their family has been farming in Skagit Valley for six generations.
Photo by Sarah Sakurazawa
Our hope …
… is to help sustain local family farming through storytelling. We honor generations of local fair, farm and food history.
Context and history
There once were 2,000 dairy farms in Whatcom County. Today there are about 70.
There once were nearly 2,000 newspapers in America. Since 2008, about one-quarter have closed and more than 50,000 journalists have been laid off.
Like us. We used to write and shoot for the Arizona Republic, Bellingham Herald, Colorado Springs Gazette, Miami Herald, Phoenix Gazette and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
We put a face on farming
If you’re fascinated by food production, curious about cattle, beguiled by bygone days — or just want a great banana bread recipe (link) — settle into the nearest rocking chair (or plug in your pods) and explore our stories.
Writer Sarah Sakurazawa worked as an editor at Phoenix New Times, the Arizona Republic, Phoenix Magazine, and The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald under her former byline Sarah Eden Wallace. Her great-grandparents raised rice and wheat on a four-acre farm in Hiroshima, Japan, and corn in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Sarah enjoyed a college summer job on a Vermont dairy farm, but would rather do barn duty with a microphone.
Writer Meri-Jo Borzilleri worked as a sportswriter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, Miami Herald and Hilton Head Island Packet, covering everything from Super Bowls and the Olympics to college football and baseball. Now a freelancer, she enjoys writing about a different kind of farm system. She lives in Bellingham, where she and her husband grow just enough produce for summer salads.
Stories with Western Washington University fourth-year journalism student Rowan Westwood were completed as part of an agriculture-reporting internship with the Whatcom County Dairy Women underwritten by the Dairy Farmers of Washington. She visited cattle barns, interviewed farmers and 4-H kids, talked to veterinarians and equipment experts, and learned more about cow anatomy than she ever thought possible. Who knew cows have four stomachs!