Located off a winding two-lane road in Deming lies a small farm, Mama’s Garden. A reddish-brown wooden stand advertises fresh eggs and stands out from the rolling green of the landscape behind. On this summer day, row upon row of flowers adds a pop of color that can be seen from the highway. Behind the flowers lies an expanse of almost every fruit and vegetable imaginable, pumpkins, blueberries, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, radish, spinach, peas—the list is almost endless. Large trucks race by honking their horn as co-owner Renee Kalsbeek raises her arm to offer a cheerful wave in return. It is an occurrence that she has become accustomed to.
“Over the years I’ve started seeing more and more people from even as far as Canada that I recognize. We definitely have a lot of regulars that come in, whether locally like Deming and Acme or from out of town, like Seattle,” Kalsbeek says. “A lot of people honk and wave because we know them.”
Kalsbeek owns the farm with her two sisters-in-law, Kim Cook and Kelly DeKriek. Each takes on different responsibilities: Kalsbeek runs the social media and advertising, DeKriek runs the new blueberry U-pick in summer. But Cook is the true green thumb of the operation. She has been a part of the farm since it opened in 2008. She maintains the crops, decides about crop rotation and where new crops will be planted.
Cook’s experience in agriculture and farming comes from growing up in the industry and years of experience. Their family did dairy milking for several years and the Mamas, as they call them-selves, rent the land from their father. It is a complete family business, from their children coming to help when available, to DeKriek and her husband, Kris, supplying the cattle needed to stock their newest venture, beef.
The Angus beef, from the DeKriek farm in Van Zandt, is sold Fridays from 3–7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. It can also be purchased at Acme General Store and Everybody’s Store. Mama’s has a stand for produce and eggs that operates on an honor system. The price for the products varies depending on what you’re looking for. Single items of produce can cost as low as 50 cents to as high as $4; eggs cost $4 a dozen. The price of beef depends on what cut you are looking for; the price ranges from $6.75 a pound for ground beef to $15.50 for a nicer cut. In the fall, the farm transforms to harvest season with a harvest festival (see box). The farm not only provides people with fresh produce, it allows their customers to experience and understand where their food comes from. It is a topic that the Mamas are passionate about.
“People want to know how their food is grown, and they want to know where it comes from. It’s really nice that we can offer this choice to our neighbors,” Kalsbeek says. “I think people want to feel like they’re part of the farm and the garden in a way. They can come here and they can walk around the gardens and a lot of times we’re here so they talk to us. We get to know our customers and they get to know us.”
2600 Valley Hwy., Deming
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