Jeremy & Kristin Smith
Cherry Creek Ranch
St John, WA
My great grandfather, Edgar W. Smith, was raised on a farm near Pendleton, Oregon. Following graduation from the University of Oregon he entered the insurance business in Portland and was very successful. He saved his money and during the depression he was able to purchase much of the farm that my family and I are so privilege to farm today.
My grandfather, Jackson W. Smith, joined my great grandfather following WWII and was actively engaged through the mid '80s.
My father, Read Smith, joined my grandfather in 1973, 4 years after graduating from Washington State. When my father returned to the farm he immediately began experimenting with reduced tillage cropping systems and seeded our first direct seed field in 1976, two years before I was born. My family has always been forward thinking by researching the best available technology to protect our farm’s steep and fragile "Palouse" cropland. As the years went by, my father continued experimenting with a dozen different direct seed systems and by the time I graduated from high school in 1997, we were 100% direct seed.
I came home to join my father following my graduation from Walla Walla Community College in 2000. I am the 4th generation to farm in St John and the 6th generation farming in the Pacific Northwest.
For as long as I can remember, my father has taught me that our number one goal is to protect our land and it’s resources with the hope we will leave them better than we found them.
In recent years it has become more and more important to consumers to support local farmers and ranchers. Farmers markets and grocery stores advertise “shop local” sections to help consumers identify local goods. Even though the packaging says “local” on it there is still no face to put with the product without someone helping consumers make that connection. Shepherd’s Grain has done an outstanding job connecting local farmers to local consumers, restaurants and bakeries in the Pacific Northwest.
My wife, Kristin, works a few weeks out of each month in Seattle and because of that we get to enjoy many of the bakeries and restaurants that use Shepherd’s Grain. I remember the first time I was out at a restaurant downtown Seattle with my wife and saw Shepherd’s grain on the wall as a local supplier to the restaurant. I was overwhelmed with pride knowing an amazing restaurant was utilizing something I grew. I immediately took a picture, sent it to my father and posted it to the Shepherd’s Grain Facebook page. As the years have gone by one of our favorite pastimes has been to seek out the restaurants and bakeries that use and support Shepherd’s Grain. Recently, I was eating lunch with my wife in Woodinville at a restaurant and I asked if I could speak to the chef. The guy came out and I introduced myself as a local farmer, part of Shepherd’s Grain, explained our message and asked him what flour he uses. I recently learned that that restaurant and its sister restaurants have since started using Shepherd’s Grain. It’s an amazing feeling that gives us a sense of pride knowing that the work and commitment we have to our land has a direct relationship with so many fantastic local businesses!