South Whidbey Record


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Berries better than marijuana

January 20, 2013 · Updated 2:52 PM

To the editor:

I always enjoy the wit in your editorials. I particularly enjoyed your suggestion that we grow marijuana at the Greenbank Farm to pay the bills. I personally favor a u-pick berry operation modeled after the highly successful Cascadian Farms organic blueberry farm with its accompanying roadside coffee and ice cream shop, located off Highway 20 near Marblemount. But I do appreciate your willingness to offer creative solutions.

I would also like to remind your readers that the tax burden of the farm is mainly born by those of us who live within the port district and pay the tax that funds the Port of Coupeville that owns the farm. The Conservation Futures money that preserved the open space forest land adjoining the farm is of countywide concern, but it is open space parkland unrelated to any farm operation.

At the same time I encourage all who dislike some aspect of farm management, which is, in fact, all of us to a degree, to keep those complaints coming. The only way the port, and whomever they select to run the farm, will improve the operation is through management based upon the public’s best suggestions. I offer my own criticism whenever I think it might be of help, since I am often at the farm tending our leased garden plots there.

I do think that all the managers of the farm over the past 15 years have worked hard to advance the farm’s mission and each has made some positive contribution.

I was also part of the effort years ago to restore some loganberry production at the farm, and I managed the half acre plot we planted for about five years. So I know something about how much hard work it would require to restore some berry production, as compared with something like the installation and maintenance of the field of solar panels. All the same, come spring I intend to urge the Port of Coupeville commissioners and their farm managers to join me on a visit to Cascadian Farms organic berry farm near Marblemount. No one I’ve seen knows more about how to succeed where we have failed. And they did it without poisoning the environment with a single drop of chemical weedkiller or insecticide, keeping their farm “dog and kid” friendly, while turning a tidy profit.

Mike Seraphinoff


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