Meadowbrook Farm continues to grow

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - You say potato, they say ... red, Yukon gold, fingerling, yellow finn or blue?

Full Circle Farm just harvested the last of many varieties of spuds on a plot of land that hasn't yielded a crop in 50 years.

The Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association agreed to allow Full Circle to plant on the old farmland as long as a portion of the harvest benefited the community. Full Circle made good on that promise by donating heaps of potatoes to the Mount Si Senior Center and Helping Hands Food Bank in North Bend since November.

Full Circle received clearance from the preservation association, as well as the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie, to plant on 25 acres of the historic farm.

"We're happy to be the first people to plant over there in such a long time," said Matt Ewer, general manager of Full Circle Farm. "We want to give back to [Mount Si Senior Center and Helping Hands] on a weekly basis."

Each year the organic farm in Carnation donates literally tons of food to charities and other organizations that can use it.

"We're organic farmers and the idea behind Meadowbrook Farm is to restore it. By coming in and doing what we've done, it allowed us to keep the farmland as farmland instead of it just sitting there idly," Ewer said.

Full Circle agreed to give the senior center 50 pounds of potatoes each week as well as whatever incidentals the farm has in excess, such as cabbage or beets.

"I think it's wonderful," said Ruth Tolmasoff, director of the Mount Si Senior Center. "Seniors like fresh food and this is about as fresh as it gets ... lunch will be spiffed up a little bit."

Andrew Stout and his wife Wendy Munroe own Full Circle Farm. Stout said the benefits of planting on Meadowbrook are two-fold. By turning the soil and growing in it, they are replenishing the land and adding nutrients to it. Also, Full Circle is supplying food banks with something they rarely see - organic produce.

"This is an opportunity for them to get something that is really a healthy, good, grade-A product," Stout said. "I think when it all comes together, it'll be a win-win situation for everybody.

Full Circle is hoping to strike another deal with Meadowbrook for next year's growing season, but no arrangements have been made as of yet.

"We want them to know it is a valuable resource for the community," Ewer said.

The Meadowbrook Farm Preservation Association, the citizen group that looks over the farm, wants to give back to the community by celebrating the culture of the area. The farm's long-anticipated interpretive center should be open for Greenway Discovery Days this June 11 and 12. Association member Mary Norton said the group is just waiting for some grant money from the state to finish the project.

The association was recently awarded another grant that will cover the costs of finishing the center, but that money is pending in the state's final budget and won't be released until spring.

"The June date is what we're aiming for," Norton said. "We hope to run some classes and have activities over the summer."

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