Farmers Hanako Myers and Marko Colby met in 2006 while working at the Port Townsend Farmers Market and married in 2007. Together, the couple started Midori Farm in 2008 on five leased acres as they searched for farmland to buy where they could put down roots. It took them six years to find the land in Quilcene where they could build their organic farm.
Video by Plumb Productions
Midori Farm set its roots in the quaint village of Quilcene, Washington. The farm is nestled in a fertile floodplain created by the Little and Big Quilcene rivers flowing from the Olympic Mountains into Quilcene Bay. This confluence has created a deep and fertile sandy clay loam soil ideal for raising crops. Here owners Marko Colby and Hanako Myers grow an abundance of vegetables and fruits, alongside a fledgling chestnut orchard.
“It’s very comforting to know that what we’re creating won’t be undone later. We’ve preserved a really prime piece of agricultural land for future generations.”
— Marko Colby, Midori Farm
Hanako Myers and Marko Colby of Midori Farm with their dogs. Photo by Jen Lee Light.
After meeting at the Port Townsend Farmers Market and marrying, Hanako and Marko started Midori Farm in 2008 on five acres of leased land and began searching for farmland to purchase. They finally found and purchased the land for the permanent home for Midori Farm in 2013. Their experience was not unique. The lack of available farmland and competition for residential zoning can make acquiring land difficult for new farmers. This difficulty motivated Marko and Hanako to become interested in agricultural land preservation.
Upon buying their farm, they began working with the Land Trust to ensure the land they farm would remain open for agriculture beyond their lifetimes. Protecting Midori Farm required a big team effort. It took four years to garner adequate funding to protect the farm. Matching dollars were required to unlock a Conservation Futures grant from Jefferson County. Two years of attempts for state farmland preservation grants went unfunded, so Hanako and Marko turned to their local community to help fill the gap. Generous community supporters donated $48,000 to match the grant from the Jefferson County Conservation Futures Fund. Midori’s 16 prime acres of farmland are permanently protected in an agricultural conservation easement through the Land Trust.
The economic impact of a conservation easement can be vitally important for new farmers. The funds from the easement purchase allowed Hanako and Marko to invest in infrastructure, make their business more efficient, lease additional farmland, and hire employees, which has allowed them to grow and thrive.
Thriving local farms are a big win for our community. A strong local agricultural economy creates jobs and makes our community more resilient. It also means that we benefit from having healthy, locally grown food produced by our neighbors.
Midori Farm grows and sells more than 100,000 seedlings every year, as well as producing 12 acres of organic vegetables available through farmers markets, local retailers, caterers, restaurants and a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. They also produce a gardening guide for the Salish Sea bioregion, as well as traditionally fermented sauerkraut and kimchi, sold locally and regionally to specialty food stores, food co-ops, and restaurants.
Marko and Hanako are dedicated to the long-term sustainability of local agriculture, a philosophy reflected in their farming practices, which are designed to sustain and enhance the land’s productivity over time. They work hard to build their farm’s soils and implement sustainable systems. They plan to expand their fresh produce selection to include a number of perennial tree and vine fruits and have planted a chestnut orchard that will eventually grow and mature to produce marketable quantities. The long term vision for Midori Farm also includes creating a more diverse habitat for natural pollinators and wildlife.
Midori Farm’s positive impact and commitment to sustainable farming is felt throughout our community. Marko sees security in the relationship between farms and the Land Trust, “I drive around the county and see the farmland that exists, and I know many of the parcels are protected by agricultural conservation easements.” He continued, “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the world as we go forward, but all we can do is hope that we’re taking good actions now to plant the seeds for things that will continue to grow roots forever.”
Find Midori Farm products in local produce aisles, the Port Townsend Farmers Markets, or at the Midori Farm farmstand — it’s open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset.