The Haytons come from a long line of farmers dating as far back as 1876. Located in beautiful Mt. Vernon, in Skagit Valley on the Northwest side of Washington, this area is known for their rainy days and lush farmland. Over the years the farm grew grain and made hay, became a dairy farm, then turned to crop farming in the 1950’s. Currently their main crops include a variety of berries, potatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower and the farm still grows a little grain and makes a little hay.
Fifth generation farmer Angelica Hayton and her father Robert are passionate about growing organic berries. Angelica started off selling berries in the third grade at the end of their driveway and now she is charge of over ninety farmers markets in Washington. She believes that the future of their farm is “in growing organic berries that are picked and sold fresh every day.” Angelica was very instrumental in convincing her father to make the transition to organic 9 years ago. Now you can find the Hayton Farms blueberries at Earl’s Organic. The variety of berries they grow allows them to start the season in early June and they will be available at Earl’s through mid-August.
Mt Vernon is a special little valley with cool temperatures that allows the blueberries to mature without stress and develop a good berry flavor. It can be 76-78 degrees in Mt. Vernon and 90 degrees in Portland just a few hours away. Imagine the difference between the cooler weather in Watsonville and Salinas on the California coast and the warmer weather inland.
As each preceding generation passes the farm to the next, so too passes the responsibility of continuing sustainability, adaptation, and tradition. Not only does this apply to how the crops are grown on the farm but also to the workers who tend the crops. Hayton Farm has a unique approach to labor. As a Domestic Fair Trade focused operation they have long invested in 40-50 single dwelling housing units in the Mt. Vernon, Washington Area. They are developing sustainable relationships with their employees, including maintaining above average wages, and doing what is right for the community. Angelica feels that “Each generation has been faced with a new set of challenges and opportunities. As we look to the future it is our hope that we can continue on our path towards environmental sustainability through organic farming.”
Hayton blues have that true blueberry flavor you have come to expect in summertime. Eat them fresh or freeze a bunch to enjoy during those cold winter months.