Crazy couponer, sweepstakes champion, entrepreneur, globetrotter, wife and mother. And, let us not forget, the owner and founder of Farm Fresh Market! Celia and her husband, Tom, started Farm Fresh Market in 2009 with their own blood, sweat, and tears. Their vision and dedication has turned this once small farm-direct online market into a thriving natural food store.
Can you give us a brief history of Farm Fresh Market and it’s evolution?
Tom and I bought property in Chehalis and started poultry farming. We realized there weren’t many outlets to sell our products, so we came up with the idea of Olympia Local Foods, an online farmers market. It was an easier way for farms to connect with the community. For the first few years we were basically an alternative to a CSA. Farmers would post what they had available, customers would shop online and we would package it. It was good for the farms because they could harvest exactly what was sold and good for the customers because they could choose the farms they wanted to buy from. When customers picked up their orders they would want other products, so we just kept expanding our selection. It was customers requesting more and more products that they couldn’t find anywhere else. It just sort of developed into a local, natural, organic food store.
How would you like to see Farm Fresh Market evolve for the future?
More square footage! But I don’t want the store to get too big. I want people to be able to walk in and see the whole store. I’d like to offer more prepared food, organic fried chicken, fries cooked in coconut oil, a larger meat selection, organic soft serve, fresh cold-pressed juice, smoothies, a bulk department, books and magazines and a butcher counter where you can order sliced deli meat!
What do you do in your spare time?
Hang out with my kids, Sammy, who’s 7 and Jacob is 3. We cook together, and read a lot. Sam really likes mysteries and encyclopedias. I also love gardening when the season is right and watching TV…
What show are you into right now?
Dexter, I’m obsessed with it. I’ll stay up late watching it in bed on my phone!
What drew you to natural foods?
It’s funny, we didn’t start out as a natural food store. I was actually one of those crazy extreme couponer people. It wasn’t health food. It was packaged stuff. I feel like I’ve learned so much from my customers. I learned how to eat healthy and started reading more about it.
Are you a native Washingtonian?
No. Native Californian, from Sacramento. I moved in 2003 to go to Evergreen and then just stayed. I Met Tom at a party while at Evergreen and the rest is history.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Farm Fresh Market?
I love the customer interactions. I learn a lot everyday. I love helping people learn how to cook healthy and teaching them about the different squash or how to cook vegetables they’ve never heard of.
Do you have any products that you absolutely love?
Jalisco corn tortillas from Shelton! They are a staple in our house. We eat a ton of tacos and taquitos. It’s our go-to meal. Also, Dungeness Valley raw milk from Sequim and my kids love the Tunawerth Dairy yogurt from Tenino.
What is your favorite seasonal fall produce?
I really love delicata squash. I recently learned you can eat the skin!
Do you have a specific recipe for the delicata?
Yes! Cut it lengthwise into little moon shapes. Cover it with olive oil and salt, then roast it in the oven. You can just eat the whole thing with the skin and everything. It is so good!