Growing berries is a family affair on Hayton Farms in the Skagit Valley. Angelica Hayton upholds the family tradition of farming passion – she’s now the fifth generation Hayton to oversee the farm.
Located on Mount Vernon’s Fir Island and specializing in organic and transitional berries, Hayton Farms offers sweet tastes of summer. Angelica and the rest of the folks there keep busy throughout the summer, starting with picking organic obsidian raspberries in June, then into July picking organic blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in July.
When Angelica’s great-great grandparents, Thomas and Sarah Hayton, started the farm in 1876, they focused on growing grain and hay to feed Seattle’s workhorses. In the early 1900s, the next generation of James and Maude Hayton turned the farm into a dairy. In the 1950s, Leroy and Irene Hayton focused on growing peas and making pea hay. Angelica’s parents, Robert Hayton and Susan Hughes-Hayton, continue to make some hay but now focus on berry, potato, cauliflower and cucumber crops.
Angelica has played a big role in guiding the farm toward organic and transitional methods. She felt strongly about the benefits of organic farming and convinced her father to expand their use of organic methods. We’re sure glad she did.
Hayton Farms believes in supplying the best product possible—to them, that means selling berries the day they’re picked. Their berries start the day in the field and are often available in our markets as early as 10 am. We try to gauge the daily needs of our customers so we don’t carry berries over to the next day. It’s a risk, of course, because it’s a guessing game. We might run out. And the next day might bring rain to the strawberry fields, which means none will be picked that day, which means none will be delivered that day. But it’s a risk we’re willing to take in the name of freshness.
Farming, especially organically, is definitely a labor of love. It’s clear that the Haytons have a lot of love. Lucky for us, we get to taste the care put into all those berries. We are happy to share Hayton Farms’ mission to bring people together through outstanding food.