Seeking Lease of 1-5 Acres in King or Snohomish County

Description:

We are writing to inquire about leasing farmland. Our names are Bryan and Natalie Mesa and we own a 1-acre sustainable market garden farm in Waimanalo, Hawaii called De La Mesa Farms. For some time now our family has been discussing returning back to the mainland and moving to Washington. We originally thought this might happen over a 5-year time period, but the current COVID-19 crisis has put a lot of things in perspective for us. For a variety of reasons, we now think it's time to make the leap quickly and we are hoping to move our family and start farming around the Seattle area (preferrably Woodinville) as soon as early this summer.

Who I am and What I'm looking for:

Some background on us, Bryan is a first-generation immigrant whose dad is from Michocan, Mexico. Natalie was born in South Africa and immigrated to the states when she was 6 years old. Bryan grew up around a farming community in San Luis Obispo and helped his dad with his landscaping business; he later pursued a career in finance before realizing his passion was in farming. Natalie is a trained business lawyer currently working remotely for a small firm in Honolulu. We launched our farm a little over 3 years ago (after some experiments growing peppers on our balcony). Since then, we have grown to supply 2 farmers markets, multiple restaurants and wholesale accounts, as well as direct-to-consumer sales with CSAs and a recent online store. A large part of our success is due to our participation in a local agricultural incubator program known as GoFarm Hawaii run by the University of Hawaii. We are graduates of the 8th cohort and currently lease almost an acre from the University as part of the incubator program. Our specialty crops are microgreens, salad greens, corn, tomatoes and mushrooms. You can find more information about us on our website (www.delamesahawaii.com), and we have plenty of other materials we would love to share (https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahburchard/2019/12/12/de-la-mesa-defies-small-farm-struggles-by-growing-opportunities/#5d786f2363f1).

Farming Experience:

DLM Farms is owned and operated by Bryan and Natalie Mesa, a first-generation farming family. Bryan’s background makes him well suited to the duties and tasks he oversees. Bryan grew up in San Luis Obispo County, considered to be one of America’s breadbasket regions. Throughout his formative years, Bryan participated in numerous agricultural programs and classes, including working in community gardens, hosting plant sales, etc. Bryan’s father also owned and operated (and still does to this day) his own landscaping business, which Bryan assisted with and as a result learned about irrigation systems and landscape contracting. Bryan is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business. Bryan followed up his business degree with various managerial and finance positions in California, Seattle and Honolulu. Ultimately, however, a desk job didn’t fuel his passions so in 2016, he decided to utilize his dormant growing skills and address Hawaii's lack of local affordable produce with opening De La Mesa Farms Natalie plays a supportive, yet critical role, in DLM Farms. Natalie grew up in Los Angeles where she eventually attend UCLA. Her intellectual curiosity eventually led her to law school at the Richardson School of Law at UH Manoa. Since 2012, Natalie has practiced real estate, business and finance law at a local Honolulu law firm, which a particular emphasis on affordable housing development. Her legal expertise provides DLM Farms with an expert eye for contract oversight. Natalie continues to practice law full-time, but offers her support to the business during nights and weekends. We obtained access to our AgIncubator plot in Waimanalo on June 1, 2018. Immediately after obtaining access, we began selling shares of CSA subscriptions to build capital for infrastructure improvements. We also started making beds, building a screen-house, and planting trays. Within 6 weeks, we began harvesting and selling our produce at farmers markets. On average, we currently harvest 200 lbs. of produce a week, including microgreens, salad greens, roots, brassicas, tomatoes, corn (dried and sweet), and mushrooms.

Crops preferred to work with:

Vegetables
Berries
Poultry
Sheep
Tree fruit
Greenhouse crops

Short term plans for the land / farm business:

Our first priority will be setting up a greenhouse to get microgreens started and then planting salad greens for the summer.

Housing needs:

Yes