Tucked in a corner of Silverdale, WA, Pheasant Fields Farm is a fifteen-acre farm located just north of retail big box stores. The farm was originally part of a homestead purchased by Pete Peterson in 1885, back when Silverdale was all farmland. The Petersons purchased wood from Port Gamble mill in 1927 for three dollars a sling, and built the house that Nikki and Allen
Johanson reside in today.
When asked about the history, Nikki said, "By the early 1920's, Silverdale was known as the Egg Capital of the world." The Cloud family purchased the farm from the Petersons in 1942, and in 1948, Nikki's parents purchased th
|Allen and Nikki Johanson
e farm from the Clouds and renamed it Clear Creek J Farm. They produced thousands of chickens and eggs all housed in five buildings built for the chickens. At one time there was capacity for 5,000 chickens but since then they've scaled down and diversified the farm.
In 1987, Nikki and Allen were set to retire. "We thought retirement would be too boring, so we took over the operation of the farm." At that time, the farm had diversified and Nikki's parents had added vegetables, cattle and other animals. They no longer have the cattle but currently have chickens of the Golden Sex
Link variety. Nikki says, "I'd like to add Barred Rock chickens to our assortment because they are larger, eat less feed and make great stewing chickens of the five to six pound variety." Nikki sells the chickens in live weight and is investigating certification by USDA to sell the chickens butchered. "Asian and Hispanic customers love to purchase the live chickens because they utilize every part of the chicken with minimal waste."
In 2004 Nikki and Allen created a CSA (community supported agriculture) program for the farm. Two years ago they began using a new subscription model and it has greatly benefited both the farm and their customers. The program allows customers to purchase a certain dollar amount and receive credits at a discounted price. Customers can then redeem their credits anytime at the Bremerton, Silverdale or Poulsbo farmer's markets or at Pheasant Fields Farm. The credits can be redeemed for any of their products: eggs, chickens, vegetables, flowers, or entry to their spring egg hunt or autumn events. No more throwing out unused produce or worrying about leaving a box of produce while you go on vacation!
Like other local farms, Nikki and Allen have looked at ways to diversify their farm to keep it viable. Their spring and autumn events generate a lot of business and are fun for the community. Nikki has a Farm Day Camp program for young kids and is working on a second program for kids ages twelve to sixteen years old. "The opportunity to see a working family farm is so rare these days. It gives children a chance to learn about responsibility, nature and work ethic."
When asked to help decipher the difference between organic, vegetarian and free-range titles listed on store bought eggs, Nikki says, "Just know your food source. That is the best way to assure you're getting the best quality food." Pheasant Fields Farm uses certified all-organic feed grown in Eastern Washington for its chickens. Nikki's mentors are Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver and Joel Salatin - all advocates of the local food movement. She opposes
GMO (genetically modified organism)
engineered foods. "Monsanto Corporation has a responsibility to stop production of Roundup because of the effect it has on animals and vegetables. "Please tell your readers to log on to http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/dr_hubers_warning/ to find out more."
"The local consumer is my greatest advocate!" Nikki says. "They are much more aware of food quality than in the past and it is wonderful to hear them asking specific questions. I would like to see a full-blown 'Buy Local Food' campaign launched such as Sustainable Connections in Bellingham." Nikki hopes the farming community will band together and share a common voice. County codes are being revised this year and she is hoping that local farmers will be able to voice their concerns and desires so that their farms can remain viable. She likes and is comfortable in the farm advocate role. The way she see it, it sure beats retirement.
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When asked what are the favorite ways to cook with her eggs, she replies," There is nothing better than eating five fresh pullet eggs for breakfast. The eggs are rich in vitamins, nutrients and like fresh peas, have great flavor."
Pheasant Fields Farm
Nikki and Allen Johanson
13274 Clear Creek Rd NW
Silverdale, WA 98383