Which Wine Should You Be Drinking This Thanksgiving?

0001wXIf you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, now’s your chance to find out the answer to the all-important question: What wine should you be serving? Whether your turkey is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, herb-infused, or spicy cajun, the Wine Cellar of Yelm’s “Virtuose de Vin” Anne Marsh can help to find the perfect bottle(s) for you and your guests.

In the days leading up to the holiday, Anne will be offering tastings and free consultations at the Wine Cellar. Here’s the schedule:  

Saturday, November 21st   12:00 to 5:00

Monday, November 23rd   2:00 to 4:00

Tuesday, November 24th 2:00 to 5:00

Wednesday, November 25th 12:00 to close

If you can’t make it into the store or want to get a jump start on your grocery shopping, Anne has recommendations to get you started.


Basic simply seasoned turkey:  “You can pair that with any light to medium bodied dry red. I like Rhone reds, meaning a Syrah-Grenache blends,” she says.

Example: Domaine Boisson Cotes du Rhone

Herbed Turkey: With this style of bird, you can explore bigger, fuller-bodied Cotes du Rhones. “One wouldn’t normally associate white meat bird with a big powerful red wine, but it depends upon how you do the stuffing, and how you herb it,” says Anne.  “When you consider the gravy and the potatoes and typical rich side dishes, you’ve got all the fat to cut through the tannins, plus the bigness of the herbs rounds it out.”

Example: Vacqueyras, Domaine Le Couroulu

Cajun Turkey: “Hot and spicy goes great with fruity wine,” says Anne. Most people think the only red that would be appropriate for a turkey would be Beaujolais Nouveau. It actually is a really great wine if you’ve got that Cajun style or hot spicy dirty rice stuffing. I offer an alternative called Fleurie or an Italian red called Matte that pair perfectly with that syle.”

Example: Fleurie, Domaine de la Chapelle des Bois

Other than Turkey: For wines that will go with pork, turkey, lamb or duck,  Anne recommends Pinot Noir especially from Burgundy France.

Example: Lou Dumont Savigny les Beune

Roses and Whites

“Rose is not just your light, when it’s hot outside wine,” says Anne.   “I have an array of rose wines that will compliment your turkey feast and these wines are full bodied, dry and not at all sweet.” She will be opening a Beaujolais Blanc as well as a non-vintage Grand Cru Champagne for tasting, along with a Soave Brut sparkling wine.

Examples: Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose

After dinner

“We have a great selection of Finnriver organic wines made in Washington. I’m going to open their Blueberry Brandy for tasting. It’s great after dinner,” says Anne.  “I’m also opening a Late Bottle Vintage Port and a Vermouth. Vermouth is yummy poured right over ice. You can have it while you’re cooking or after dinner.”

Example: Finnriver Black Currant Brandy

Anne’s specialty is pairing wine and food, and she offers free consultations for dinner parties and gatherings any time of the year. Consultations are complimentary with your wine purchase and many folks love the experience of tasting and choosing their wines. It gives them a confidence in serving the wines they wouldn’t normally have.” says Anne.  “If you tell me your recipe, I will point you to the exact bottle that not only will fit your budget, but you’ll love it with your meal. It will be a whole new experience.”  

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Reasons to Buy a Mary’s Free Range Turkey This Thanksgiving

happy turkeyIf you want to feel confident that your post-Thanksgiving dinner food coma is strictly due to tryptophan and not say, antibiotics, GMOs or unpronounceable chemicals, come pick up your turkey from the Yelm Food Co-op. If it matters to you that your dinner was raised in humane conditions, all the more reason.  The store will have a limited number of free range, GMO-free, hormone-free and gluten-free birds from Mary’s Free Range Turkeys on hand in the week before the holiday.

Since a highly infectious strain of Avian bird flu hit midwest poultry plants this spring, decimating 20% of the population, the demand for healthy birds has spiked, along with an interest in their living conditions. Unfortunately, in high-volume commercial plants, it’s not a pretty picture.

On factory farms, turkeys are hatched in incubators. A few days after they’re born, their upper beaks are snipped off, with the effect that they can no longer pick and choose their food. Subsequently, they’re fed a regular diet of corn-based grain that contains antibiotics.  

The first three weeks of their lives are spent crammed into a brooder with hundreds of other birds, but in the fourth week they’re moved to a giant, windowless room with 10,000 other turkeys. Bright lights blare 24 hours a day, disrupting their natural eating, sleeping, and fertility patterns. Kept awake – and eating – non-stop, they have no opportunity to roost on the crowded floor. Eventually, 45 million of them are slaughtered at Thanksgiving alone, with an additional 22 million following at Christmas.

Factory farms also contribute to environmental degradation, generating 61 million tons of waste each year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, waste from industrial hog, chicken, and cattle farms has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

In contrast, the birds at Mary’s Free Range Turkeys are fed a high protein, vegetarian diet and allowed to roam in an area four times the size allocated by commercial turkey ranches. Their feed does not contain antibiotics, animal byproducts, GMO corn or soybean meal, pesticide treated grains, or grains grown with chemical fertilizers. The company has been family owned and operated since 1954.  View Video

Get a turkey you can truly be thankful for! Order yours today at 360-400-2210.

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No More Sawdust! Gluten-Free Products Your Tastebuds Will Love

Patty Bahney WarterSawdust, with the texture of hockey pucks. That’s what most gluten-free products tasted like when Patty Bahney Warter was diagnosed with a wheat allergy in 1995. “There was very little out there at that time,” she says. With four children to feed, several of whom were wrestling with their own food allergies, Patty continually tried to bring something home that everyone could eat. “The kids were very verbal in their feedback,” she says, laughing. “Two of my sons played hockey, so that’s where the hockey puck analogy came from.”
Compounding the problem, what was available was also sold in small quantities at a high cost. “As time went on it was very costly,” she says.  “I was used to buying in bulk, but that wasn’t an option.”

“People will call for me when I’m back in the kitchen, and I’ll assume that they have a question,” says Patty. “But when I come out, they want to thank me. They hug me or they shake my hand because they’re so grateful to have something that tastes so good. That’s the blessing of it. I would feel selfish if I kept this to myself.”

By 2000, she was ‘pretty sick’ after attempting to cheat, she says. “I tried not eating the gluten-free lifestyle.” Deciding that enough was enough, she went to the public library and started researching everything she could find about gluten free options. “I wanted something that had a bit more nutrition than brown rice or tapioca,” she says. “Legumes were nutritional but the taste was too strong.”
After much trial and error she hit upon her own recipe, one that combined the nutritional benefits of gluten-free with the taste advantages of wheat-based flour. She calls her product line ‘A Blend Above.’ 

“I slowly created what I came up with as my blend,” she says.  “When I first introduced it, it still had cornstarch in it, but I discovered that many people who are allergic to gluten are allergic to corn starch as well.” She wanted the product to be available for people with multiple allergies, and to be usable for both baking and cooking. Her ingredients include brown rice flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, millet flour, organic sugar, gluten free oat flour, potato starch, potato flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum.
Patty began incorporating her product into menu items at the Country Rose Cafe in Tacoma. “People would say, ‘I can’t tell that this is gluten free. It rises and it looks normal,’” she says. “They wouldn’t believe me, so I would take them back in the kitchen and show them. Then, they wanted to buy it.”
After checking into FDA requirements she started shopping around for a co-processor and discovered GF Blends in Richmond. Since then she’s gone public, published her first cookbook, Family Recipes Made Gluten-Free, developed a pancake and waffle mix and introduced banana bars which will be going on sale this month. She is also developing an online presence.
Currently at Country Rose Cafe the chef uses a dedicated gluten-free waffle iron, and 75% of his waffle sales on weekends come from that iron. “People will call for me when I’m back in the kitchen, and I’ll assume that they have a question,” says Patty. “But when I come out, they want to thank me. They hug me or they shake my hand because they’re so grateful to have something that tastes so good. That’s the blessing of it. I would feel selfish if I kept this to myself.”

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Harvest Festival Ends Farmers Market Season With a Bang

unnamed (9)When the skies opened up in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 25th, Yelm Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae experienced a moment of misgiving. Rain, today of all days? Would the first annual Harvest Festival get pre-empted by Mother Nature before it even got off the ground?

The answer was an emphatic no.   Hundreds of adults and children turned up to paint pumpkins, bowl with pumpkins, paint their faces, enjoy live music, and end the 2015 Farmers Market season with record breaking sales. The rain persisted, but wasn’t enough to deter families from waiting in line for wagon rides and enjoying everything the festival had to offer.

“It was incredible to have so many families and kids come, even in the rain,” says Karen. “They kept light hearts and I heard so many people say, ‘When you live in Washington you have to expect some rain.’  The general attitude was to keep going and have fun.”

It was incredible to have so many families and kids come, even in the rain.The general attitude was to keep going and have fun.  – Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae 

The day took a combined effort from volunteers, she says, including members of the Schorno family which hosts the market at Nisqually Springs Farm. “Glenn Schorno did the wagon rides and explained the farm’s history, and his daughter Laney sang to everyone,” she says. As usual, her own family was out in full force along with a group who has been volunteering throughout the season. “One of our regular helpers introduced three new volunteers that were gifts from heaven,” says Karen. Several board members from the Yelm Cooperative were also on hand.

As is often the case with first time efforts, a few hiccups occurred. “We had lots of learning curves,” says Karen. “We’d never done any unnamed (4)of it before so it was all experimental. We could definitely have done more with the parking.” The designated parking area has limited space, and at one point the lot was so full that there was a line out to Highway 507 waiting to get in.

Overall, she’s pleased. “It was  a wonderful event and we’ll be doing it again bigger and better,” she says. “There was so much positive feedback from the vendors. People in the community came up and said, ‘This is what we dreamed of all these years ago.’ It was a lovely atmosphere having all these families and the joy and the laughter. We’ve got so much to grow from. I’m very excited about it.”

Congratulations to the Yelm Farmers Market on a great season! View Photos

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Why the Co-op Continues the Fight for GMO Labeling

non_gmoCome visit the Co-op this month and you’ll notice something unusual: every item in the store is labeled according to its GeneticallyModified Organism (GMO) content. While being GMO-free is important every month of the year, October is when you get to find out exactly what’s in every item that you buy due to the diligent research of buyer Florence Vincent.The Co-op has always been at the forefront of the fight for consumer rights, says General Manager Barnaby Urich Rintz. “Yelm Cooperative is the only local organization that I know of who has actively lobbied for the labeling of GMOs,” he says. “Safeway has funded the fight against GMO labeling, and Wal Mart has only started to consider supporting it because of consumer pressure.

Yelm Food Cooperative has consistently been part of the consumer pressure that has led to companies changing their minds and we continue to remove products from our shelves that have GMOs or growth hormones.”

The United States currently lags behind sixty-four other countries who have mandated labeling, leaving it up to states and municipalities to decide. In Washington State, Initiative 522 failed by a slim margin in 2012 but the pressure to label continues. To understand why, says Rintz, you first need to understand what a GMO is.

“GMOs are plants and animals that have had their genetic composition altered through the process known as splicing,” he says. “Splicing is when a genome fragment from a different organism is incorporated into the intended organism, normally with the use of a dormant virus.”

According to the Non GMO Project, virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide. “This makes the altered plants more resistant to synthetic herbicides like Roundup, which contains glycophosphate – a likely carcinogen,” says Barnaby. “As a result, farmers are encouraged to use more synthetic herbicides, thereby increasing our dependence on hazardous chemicals for the purpose of food production.”

Increased usage also leads to increased resistance to products like Roundup. “This means that dependence on the herbicides not only increases, but eventually they will not work at all,” says Barnaby.  “At that point, if GMO crops continue to prevail in our agriculture, a new gene will need to be spliced-in so that the GMO plants will have a new herbicide that it will have a resistance to, meaning even more herbicides and pesticides will pollute our biosphere.” This will eventually foster new, resistant ‘superweeds’ with a perpetual increase in cost, pollution, and dependence on huge multinational corporations for the production of food, he says.

Although some groups, including the Gates Foundation, point to GMOs as the solution to the world’s food crisis, the reality looks quite different. A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights, according to the Non GMO Project.  “GMO crop production in areas like India have already compromised biodiversity, and dropped the value of commodities to the point of leading to greater starvation, destitution, suicidal stress, and even death,” says Barnaby.

“The only way science and technology will help is if the methods applied look at the holistic aspects of the effects of our impact on the planet,” says Barnaby. “In other words, what happens in Washington State can directly affect the environmental health in place like India, China, and Africa.

As the largest per capita consumer of energy, the United States directly impacts the global environment. If we do not begin to accept our collective responsibility to reverse the negative effects of our day-to-day lifestyles, then this problem will never get properly solved.”

Another important issue has to do with the patenting of crops and other life forms, the result of a landmark judicial decision from the 1980’s. “As a result, major GMO – developing corporations like Monsanto have been suing farmers when the farmers’ crops have tested positive for signs of the GMO genome within their crop yield,” says Barnaby. An analogy? “It would be similar to someone putting a loose stack of $100 bills right next to their property border, and then suing the neighbor for stealing when the neighbor picks the bills up off of his land,” he says.

While the situation is absurd, its larger implications are more sinister. “The important issue to note is that these companies are patenting their GMO crops, and they are also buying up all of the other seed companies smaller than them in an effort to make money on every plate of food produced anywhere in the world,” says Barnaby. “This profit motive will directly increase the cost of food, disenfranchise local food empowerment, and cause more global hunger and starvation as a result.”

More recently, GMO production has been moving into new areas like genetically modified animals such as salmon. “Just like with plants, if GMO salmon is allowed in waters with wild salmon, it will invariably alter the natural genome of salmon during the mating process,” he says. “Moreover, splicing animal genes into plant genomes is also being experimented with, which is a huge concern for vegans and vegetarians.”

All of these reasons and more are why October is GMO awareness month at the Yelm Food Cooperative, he says.  “In Yelm, Yelm Cooperative is the only organization that I know of which actively advocates for a different future which would require the labeling of GMOs, ban the approval of any future GMO crops, and demand a change in the direction of corporate control of our food systems through: education of the reality of our food system; access to local and non-GMO foods; and fighting against the ridiculous concept that a living creature can be patented.”

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Gift of Gobble Changes Lives During Holiday Season

linda and carolAt the end of last year’s Gift of Gobble, a woman came in unexpectedly at the last minute. “She was losing everything, and she had several families living with her,” says Carol Franks, who volunteers at the event every year. “We didn’t think we had any meals left.”

Equally unexpected, another woman showed up who been nominated to receive the full holiday meal, including turkey with all of the fixings, side dishes, and pumpkin pie. “She walked in to tell us that she didn’t need the meal this year. Things had turned around this year and she wanted it to go to someone else.” They were able to supply the first woman with everything she needed.

“There were a lot of joy and tears for everyone,” says Carol. “It was just incredible for all of us. We have special moments like that every year where all of us get to know that we were making a difference in people’s lives.”

Nominations for this year’s Gift of Gobble are now open, and the Yelm Co-op will be accepting financial donations. A donation of $60.00 will feed a family of six. This year’s goal is to feed 125 families and raise $8,000.

Linda Shub has also been volunteering with the event for several years, and she says it has evolved.  “The word is getting out and people are more aware that it’s going on so it’s not such a mystery,” she says. “There’s more joy.  People aren’t as anxious about coming in and receiving or about getting it right when they’re giving it out.”

Both Carol and Linda say their motivation to volunteer every year comes from the people involved. “It’s the whole process and seeing so many people come and walk away a little lighter in their step,” says Linda. Carol says there’s also a seasonal component. “Fall is the season of putting everything up –  the abundance of the labor of the summer,” she says.  “I’ve always loved this time of year and I love sharing it with other people so they have that sense of abundance and know that there’s support. I also love working with the other volunteers because everyone is like-minded. We all have a common goal, and that’s a lovely thing to be a part of.”

The event is fully staffed with volunteers for the day the meals are distributed, but Linda says that everyone who contributes financially is part of the outcome. “They won’t be able to see the comfort it gives people and the joy, both for the volunteers and the receivers and it would be nice if they could participate in that wonderful feeling,” she says.

To nominate a family or make a financial contribution to Gift of Gobble, please visit the Yelm Food Cooperative.

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Co-op to Debut Sweet Version of Hot Babe Hot Sauce in November

hot babe hot sauceSandra Bocas has a new fanbase, and it’s not who you might expect. Every week at the Yelm Farmers Market, children are bringing their parents to Bocas’ booth and insisting that they buy her Hot Babe Hot Sauce. “Kids as young as seven are eating it a lot,” she says. “It’s a new clientele that has surprised me.”

While children love the taste, their parents appreciate the ingredients, which include no artificial flavors or sugars. “This recipe is really a taste that I grew up with,” says Sandra.  “My grandmother would make this seasoned food and the taste stayed with me all my life. I’ve been using it in my own cuisine. I tweaked it until I actually remembered the full taste.”

Hot Babe Sauce made its debut at the Yelm Co-op during the Christmas season in 2013. Today, it retails in stores from Seattle to Olympia, but the Yelm store still has the strongest customer base. “The product holds its own at the Co-op,” says Sandra. “I don’t have to do as many demos here because it has a constant selling point. I’m very happy about that.”

Originally she created just one sauce, but now there are four, with another scheduled to arrive around Thanksgiving.  “A lot of people don’t know that there are four levels of heat,” she says.  “I started with a medium one, and people kept asking me for more. The levels are light, medium, hot, and extra hot. I encourage people to read the label and see which one they’re buying.”

In November she’ll be rolling out a sweet version of the sauce. “It will be wonderful for the holidays,” she says. “We have a waiting list of people who want it. The Co-op will be the first place where it will be launched, just in time for Thanksgiving.”

Hot Babe Sauce was born after Sandra moved to Yelm in 2011. “I had been a hair and make-up artist in Germany, and when I moved here I realized I couldn’t really follow that career unless I moved to Seattle,” she says.  While I was staying here, I would take hot sauce to friends’ houses for dinner. People kept saying, ‘Where can you buy it?’ but there wasn’t anywhere to buy it, so they’d say,’When can you come back for dinner?’”

Eventually, she decided to bottle and sell it and within two weeks discovered Susie Kyle and  the commercial kitchen  Kyle uses for her Local Flavors product line, which is also carried at the Yelm Food Cooperative. “Susie really helped me with the steps of how to bring a product to market – the licensing and labeling,” says Sandra. “Everything had to be done to the letter.  At first I was under the banner of Local Flavors but within three months I had my own label.”

Her sauce is versatile enough that she’s always hearing of new uses for it. “I hope it inspires the creative in each cook,” she says. “There are so many ways to use it, from seasoning meats to raw vegetables or as the base of a soup. Lately I’ve been posting pictures of how I’m using it to encourage people to try something different. I want people to have fun with cooking.”

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Wine Cellar Nominated for Best of Western Washington

anne marshFor a section of a little store in a small town, the Wine Cellar of Yelm is getting some big recognition. The nominations for the annual Best of Western Washington contest have been announced and the Wine Cellar is holding its own alongside Seattle and Tacoma outlets with multiple locations. Currently, it sits in fifth place. “This is a big honor,” says Anne Marsh, “Virtuose de Vin” at the Wine Cellar. “We’re small. There are huge wine shops that are in the running for this.”

Anne believes that the Cellar’s unique qualities contributed to the nomination. “There are not many wine stores with this artisanal feel, even in Seattle,” she says. “We have some wines that come from vines that are a hundred years old. Nothing grows and produces fruit for that long if it hasn’t been loved.   We have so many good, clean, beautiful wines here. There’s no guesswork in choosing.”

That’s something regular customers already know, and Anne appreciates their excitement and enthusiasm. “I want to thank everybody for their love of the Wine Cellar,” she says. “I appreciate the confidence that people place in me. People tell me, ‘I came here because I wanted something and I knew you would know what wine would go with this food.’ It’s like my heart going out and being shared in a way that others can enjoy.”

A win, or even a top three finish, could have a great impact on  the Yelm Co-op. “It’s important for the recognition from the general populace,” says Anne. “There are so many people who are going to see if we win. When more people know about the Wine Cellar, more are going to come into the Co-op. Our whole goal is to increase our membership and our sales so that we can improve our store and our services, and fulfill some of the things on our wishlist.”

If you’ve never been into the Wine Cellar, there’s no time like the present. Wine tastings are available on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to close and Saturdays between 12:00p .m. and 4:00 p.m. “What are you waiting for?” says Anne. “Now’s the time. If you haven’t discovered us yet, come in and give us a try.”

To vote for the Wine Cellar of Yelm and help to move us into the top three, vote here:  http://best.king5.com/wine-cellar-of-yelm/biz/700506

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Yelm Cooperative Board Officers for 2015-2016

At the Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors Annual Meeting on Sept 24th, the Board voted for the officers to serve until Sept 2016.

Those positions remain unchanged and are:

Bill Wyman                President

Barbara Morando     Vice -President

Tom Dewell                Treasurer

Marilyn Raerdon        Secretary

We are all looking forward to serving you well in the upcoming year of your Cooperative!

~ The Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors ~

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2015 AGM Voting Results

At the 2015 Yelm Cooperative Annual General Meeting held on Sept 5th, the Directors standing for election introduced themselves and the members had the chance to vote for, or against, them. Voting continued with ballots available at the YFC until Sunday, Sept 20th.

Our members really took this election to heart and we had 17% of our eligible voters completing ballots! This is a number much greater than in past years. Thanks for making your voices heard!

The final results were:

Director                                    Yes         No      blank

Diane D’Acuti                            70           2          1

Jeevan Anandasakaran          67         6           0

Tom Dewell                               68         3           2

On Sept 24th, the Directors will hold their annual meeting to elect the officers for the upcoming years. We’ll announce those results when we know them.

This next year will be an exciting and challenging one and your Board of Directors will be doing everything we can to make this a successful year for the Yelm Food Co-op, the Farmers Market and the Yelm Cooperative.

Remember, this is your Cooperative – your membership counts and your voice counts!

~ The Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors ~

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Smith Brothers Farms Delivers Fresh, Local Milk to Yelm and Beyond

Smith Brothers Farms Delivers Fresh, Local Milk to Yelm and Beyond

smith brothersYelm is a rural community, and there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you a) own a cow b) have a neighbor who owns a cow or c) frequently see cows while driving home from work. If the latter is true, you may not have direct access to fresh milk, unless you’ve made friends with that neighbor. While such relations are encouraged, you have another option: Smith Brothers Farms.
Located in Kent, Smith Brothers has been delivering milk for over 90 years. In 2006, after legislation was passed that forced the company to choose between dairy farming and processing and delivering milk, they chose to stick with the second option. “All of our milk comes from about five or six family farms,” says Sean Flaherty, Director of Public Relations and Marketing. “It comes in on a daily basis. We process it and deliver it within 48 hours.”
Increasingly, says Flaherty, customers care about values the company embodies. “Our milk has always been hormone free,” he says. “We’re local and we’re fresh. There’s more awareness and because of the internet, there’s so much information about products. We find that particularly in the Puget Sound area, people really like to support local business.”
Recently, the company has been getting a lot of attention. In 2014, Smith Brothers was selected Dairy Plant of the Year out of 12 processing plants throughout the U.S. by Dairy Foods Magazine.  That same year, Seattle Business magazine gave them aLegacy Award for “a company promoting multiple generations of family leadership.” In 2015, CEO and fourth generation family member Dustin Highland was recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 “top business leaders who excel in their industry and show dynamic leadership” by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“I want the legacy to be that the idea of neighborhood and community still exists,” says Flaherty. “We make milk, but we’re also serving people. The milkmen are the face of what we do. They represent that community local spirit.”
Smith Brothers Farms milk is delivered fresh to the Yelm Co-op. The company also has a both every other week at the Yelm Farmers Market where you can sign up to have milk delivered to your door.

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