Orting Valley Farms, a 100-acre former dairy farm.
Throughout 2008 and 2009, PCC Farmland Trust worked in close collaboration with Pierce County, in order to secure funds through the Washington State Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP) and Pierce County’s own Conservation Futures program. The Farmland Trust co-holds Orting Valley Farms’ organic conservation easement with Pierce County, ensuring that the property remains an organic farm in perpetuity. Funds administered through the WWRP by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) were used to both secure the farmland, and to bridge the increasing gap between the high cost of farmland and affordability for farmers.
Orting Valley Farms is located in the southern end of the Puyallup Valley. The farm is bordered by the Puyallup River on the west, a tributary to the Carbon River on the east, and is separated by Orville Road. The same family ran the farm as a dairy operation for 45 years. The property has prime agricultural soils, is priority habitat for White River Elk, and its salmon-bearing streams will thrive and benefit from the farms’ organic and sustainable practices. Orting Valley Farms is also uniquely located in an open space corridor that forms a continuum between Mount Rainier National Park and Commencement Bay.
Orting Valley Farms is home to 3 farm families, who grow a wide array of produce. Kim and Dan Hulse of Tahoma Farms and Terra Organics were the first to break ground on their 40 acres in 2009, growing a variety of vegetables. Ken and Carrie Little operate Little Eorthe Farm on approximately 30 acres of the property, and grow berries, flowers, mixed veggies, honey, eggs, and organic seeds, as well as ingredients for beer, wine, and mead. A third portion of the property, formerly Crying Rock Farms, is now Sanford’s Farm.