Bailand Farms: Western Washington Farm Diversification

Bailand Farms, Snohomish County.

Bailand Farms, Snohomish County.

DNR lessee, Bailand Farms, has diversified into composting and road-side u-pick vegetable marketing in their effort to protect water quality and fisheries habitat and maintain the economic viability of their family farm.

The Bailey family has farmed in the Snohomish River Valley since 1918 and has leased State trust land for 46 years. Their fifth-generation family dairy and crop farm has grown a variety of vegetable and seed crops over the years for local processors.

Bailey Farm tractor in pumpkin patch.

Bailey Farm tractor in pumpkin patch. Photo: Bailand Farms.

The Bailey family initially diversified their operations by expanding into a u-pick garden endeavor in 1986. Over the years, the customer base has gradually expanded as have the offerings. Today, Bailey Vegetables sells strawberries, lettuce, raspberries, snap peas, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, beets, carrots, onions, leeks, Swiss chard, kale, flowers, pumpkins, gourds, squash, and herbs. Customers from the surrounding area, including nearby urban Everett, enjoy the opportunity to get out and enjoy the fresh air, harvest their own produce, and show their kids where food really comes from.

In 1995, the Bailey family further diversified into composting by forming Bailey Compost to use manure waste from the farm’s dairy operation. Initially, they used the compost on their own crops to cut down the use of commercial fertilizers. They continued researching composting science, hired an on-farm compost expert, and then obtained permits to expand into compost yard debris, which is a regulated material defined as a solid waste. Soon, they began accepting clean green yard waste such as leaves, small branches, grass clippings, plant material, and brush to add to their own dairy waste. And before long, they were selling compost to the public, building a strong following of loyal customers, many of whom attribute their own gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens to the well-aged, high quality compost produced by Baily Compost.

DNR has leased farm land to the Bailey family since 1968. We have cooperated on a stream riparian buffer fencing project and approved the application of shredded yard debris on the DNR lease. Commitment to the environment and commitment to the community make Bailand Farms a valued lessee.