Ralph's Greenhouse
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About Us
Ralph's Greenhouse is a family farm located on a bend of the Skagit River in northwestern Washington's Skagit Valley. The de Vries family moved from The Netherlands in the late 1950's, and from 1960-1980 Ralph had a dairy farm. When he retired in 1980 he started a garden next to the dairy farm called Ralph's Greenhouse where he grew leeks for the market and Dutch potatoes for his Dutch friends. Ralph didn’t use herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizer because, he said, "We didn't use them in the Old Country!" In 1988 the retirement project got to be too much for him, and he asked his son Ray if he could help a little. This started Ray's involvement in the farming business. Since then the business has expanded a bit and today the farm grows kale, chard, collards, beets, carrots, fennel, parsnips, spinach, fingerling potatoes, and lots of leeks.

Over time, Ray and the plants developed an understanding: In exchange for food, water, and a nice place to grow the plants happily take care of themselves. Ralph passed away 22 years ago, but today there are many people working on the farm who make it possible for everything to get done – growing starts in the greenhouses, planting, weeding, harvesting, irrigating, tractor driving, and many more jobs.
Ralph’s Greenhouse became certified organic in 1988, the year Washington state started its organic program. Ralph’s son Ray now carries on the family farm tradition with the help of the many good people who work with him, most of whom work at the farm all year long. Because of their good work the farm is able to sell organic Northwest produce every month of the year.

Ray believes that it is very important to take care of the land now so that it will continue to support farming for future generations. “We don’t own the land,” says Ray, “It is simply our turn to take care of it, and how we take care of it will determine whether the next generation can build on what we left them, or whether they will have to fix what we messed up.” Ralph’s Greenhouse maintains soil fertility by composting, using cover crops and practicing crop rotation. The farm makes its own compost by combining leftover vegetables and manure from the dairy farm, and it uses a system of water recycling when washing produce.