This month we would like to spotlight a local farmer who is doing great things in our community. John Garcia of Skipley Farm is a 4th generation farmer who has recently taken over Skipley Farms in Snohomish. John used to be a crop guy in central/northern California growing feed for cattle. John’s father taught him how to work hard and hone his craft. In John’s eyes a farmer is a samurai, they are people who have honed their craft and dedicate their life to the art of farming. John took what he learned from his father, leased his own land, and created a successful business producing TMR (Total Mixed Ration) feed for cattle.
About three years ago John moved to WA with a little money in his pocket and a burning flame in his heart. It was then that he ran into Gill Skipley and their passions, dedications, and vigor for life created a partnership on the farm. Gill is an amazing farmer and botanist. Gill has maintained many heritage apple varieties on the farm that go back hundreds of years. Being that John was traditionally a crop guy, being on a tree farm was new to him. He soaked up and learned all he could from Gill and stumbled into an even deeper passion of farming, something inside him caught fire. It was this fire that gave Gill the confidence and reassurance to turn the farm over to John following some health and family issues. Gill and John have made a vow to preserve the destiny of the farm and the heritage of the apples. Skipley Farm has been a farm since the early 1900s and John is dedicating his life to keeping it a farm as long as he lives and beyond.
When John is not on the farm, you will find him working his two other jobs which include a Costco shift that begins at 4 a.m., or down in Seattle helping people convert their lawns into an edible food oasis. John lives his life to reconnect people to something that has been lost too long. John said that, “If I can change one thing in the world it would be to give people the courage to grow and produce for themselves.” He wants to inspire people to try gardening and not giving up when one fails. His 17 hour work days are all worth it to him. He says that it is not hard getting up at 3 a.m. when you have such an urgency, dedication and mission to provide food for his community, and more importantly, to teach others how to produce for themselves.
Skipley Farm will open around August but there are frequent nursery tours you can attend. Make sure to check out this historic farm and some of the 3,000 different species of fruits and vegetables at the farm. If you eat at a restaurant on 1st street in Snohomish, you are more than likely to run into some of John’s produce on your plate. Make sure to check out their website for nursery tours, apple grafting classes, and more.
Thank you John, Gill, and Skipley Farm for your passion, dedication, and commitment to making our community and our world a better place for everyone.