Organic Eggs from Pollen Folly Farm
For the last 12 years, Kelly Uusitalo has been living out her dream to grow her own food. Kelly, along with her husband Mike Hernandez, founded Pollen Folly Farm, a five-acre property at the base of Sumas Mountain, near Nuget’s Corner.
“The sun comes up in the morning, just creeps over the hillside of Sumas Mountain. It’s quiet. The air is fresh and clean. It’s beautiful out there,” Kelly said of the farm. “It’s great to see the stars twinkling and the moon coming up over the Twin Sisters.”
Starting off as a vegetable grower selling at farmers markets, Kelly now is known locally for her pasture-raised chicken eggs, available for sale at Elizabeth Station and the Blaine and Yew Street locations of the Living Pantry.
“Both of us came to this out of our love of food,” Kelly said. “We liked the idea of being responsible for at least a chunk of what we eat.”
While Kelly and Mike grow many kinds of berries and vegetables, most of the harvest goes to local food banks as part of an agreement for a grant from Community Action of Skagit County, which allowed them to purchase a hoop house, shipping container and walk-behind tiller in 2018.
The farm’s name, Pollen Folly, harkens back to the time when Kelly and Mike were living as artists. Pollen Folly was originally the name of their homemade beeswax candle business. Kelly and Mike met at Evergreen State College, where they studied art. They were both working for universities in Seattle when they decided to make the leap into farming.
“We decided to leave our jobs and go to WSU to do their brand-new organic agriculture program,” Kelly said. In 2009, while attending, their son, Quinntin, was born.
Kelly wanted to end up back in Western Washington to be closer to family, and after a year of looking and research, they purchased the land that would become Pollen Folly Farm in 2011.
When Kelly’s parents bought a neighboring property in 2017, 18 hens came with it. Now, she has about 90.
The chickens are fed a soy-free, organic diet. Kelly ferments feed from the local Scratch and Peck Feed company for three days, in order to aid the chickens’ digestion.
“It makes for a better quality tasting egg,” Kelly said. “The yolks stand up, they’re firm.”
The hens also get juicy grubs on occasion. But it’s not just what the chickens are fed that make a difference, it’s how they live, too.
“The chickens are year-round on pasture, so they’re out eating bugs, they’re eating grasses,” she said.
Unlike many large-scale egg operations, Pollen Folly doesn’t cull the hens who no longer lay. “We have some chickens that are four years old, production goes down but they are still living a quality life,” she said.
“It takes a lot of work to produce an egg,” Kelly emphasized.
“Chickens are like cats. They have huge personalities - they’re very sociable but then they’re also kind of peculiar,” Kelly said. “You just feel like everything is right in the world when you are watching the chickens live their lives.”
Alongside the hens, there are also four roosters–– Roo Roo, Ramundo, Gentleman George and Nigel, and two farm cats, Cecil and Po.
When not farming, Kelly likes to bake, watch movies, cross country ski and hike with her family.