By Matthew McDermott, Seattle Tilth Farm Works Manager
Karla Farias saw a niche to be filled: pastured pork raised using organic practices in the Puget Sound region.
While there are a handful of farmers raising pigs in the region, Karla’s research identified a growing demand for local pork products. She set about building a business plan, connecting with customers and gaining the specialized education she needed to raise pigs in Western Washington. Her efforts culminated in the establishment of Feliz Farm. She only needed some land – a place where she could get trotters on the ground.
Karla is not new to farming; she comes from a family of farmers. Both her mother and father were farmers who specialized in livestock. She and her husband, Ignacio, continued that tradition by raising chickens and pigs at their family farm outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Their business had been successful; a growing customer base was anxious to get their healthy meat and this allowed for expansion. Life was good. And then a severe weather storm wiped out the farm – a swollen river literally swept away the farm’s infrastructure. It was a devastating loss, and Karla and Ignacio were left empty handed.
The two of them decided to immigrate to the United States in 2005. Her love of working with animals and the dream of continuing to raise her family with the farming values she grew up with spurred her to seek out opportunities to launch a small farm in the Seattle area.
But they had difficulty finding land they could afford in Washington state. “For more than two years we knocked on doors in four different counties and nobody opened the door,” Karla explained.
As part of the Viva Farms incubator program in 2013, Karla completed WSU’s farm education program, Cultivating Success. But the commute to the Skagit Valley was too far and proved to be cost prohibitive for the daily needs that a livestock project demands. At the Tilth Producers Conference that same year, she was introduced to Seattle Tilth Farm Works and began crafting a plan to locate Feliz Farm to the farm incubator in Auburn.
Now entering its second year with STFW, Feliz Farm continues to raises Duroc, Berkshire and Yorkshire pastured pigs. Karla and her family have a strong commitment to raising their animals with care and providing sustainably raised pork to the local community. Find out more about the variety of ways you can get support Feliz Farm and get a chance to eat some of their wonderful products.