‘We view ourselves as temporary stewards of the soil’

Mercer Island brothers run family’s organic vegetable farm.

The Wright Brothers Farm in Ferndale, Washington, has been owned and operated by Mercer Island resident Craig Wright’s family for four generations.

He remembers tending to a small garden at the farm as a young child with his two brothers, watching his grandfather mark and measure a pole bean growing an inch in an hour.

“We worked there full time every summer starting after third grade,” Wright said. “We would do everything from weeding, to harvesting, to irrigation. We basically grew up on this little farm.”

Wright and his brothers Chris and Mark took over the organic vegetable farm from their uncles in 2015.

Wright’s great-grandparents originally purchased the land in 1903, and his grandparents operated a dairy farm there. In 1971, his uncles transformed the farm into an organic vegetable farm that remains a family business.

“The camaraderie that comes from having the entire family [working together], there’s not anyone that hasn’t worked on the farm,” Wright said. “It’s very collaborative and it brings us together in a way that’s very different from just showing up for a family picnic. To have a common project and a goal of making a really vibrant, viable family business is pretty cool.”

Although not yet officially certified as organic, Wright Brothers Farm operates according to organic practices.

They also offer a Community Supported Agriculture program, delivering weekly boxes of fresh produce to subscribers during the 16-week summer season.

“I love the results — good, high-quality food. I always have,” Wright said. “That was another one of the real motivators for us to do this. We remembered how great-tasting the produce we grew [when] we were growing up was.”

Wright Brothers Farm typically delivers their produce within about a day of picking it.

As a family operation, everyone contributes how they can, Wright said. While he is more involved with business and marketing, his brother Chris contributes more to problem solving and farm machine management.

“I’ve had a lot of different desk jobs over the course of my life and to be able to go out and say ‘I’m going to tackle this project today,’ whether it’s transplanting a bunch of starts or weeding or harvesting or whatever, that’s pretty satisfying as well,” Wright said.

Wright added that they love how supportive the community is of each other.

“We view ourselves as temporary stewards of the soil so we want to preserve and enhance the farm to make sure that when it’s no longer under our guidance it’ll be a great place,” Wright said. “First and foremost, we want it to be a viable family business that produces great tasting, nutritious, high-quality produce.”