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As is so often the case on Orcas Island, the story of OrcaSong starts with a bike trip. We, Doug and David, were biking with our son Carter around the San Juan Islands in 2002, when we ended up on Orcas Island. We knew we were home as soon as the ferry landed. The peaceful, rural community on Orcas Island inspired this family of city boys who grew up not-far from farms, to buy a hundred-year-old farm in the middle of an Island off of Washington State. Our hope was to build a center for education, environmental advocacy, and biodynamic farming. We wanted to build a sustainable organic farm that could demonstrate how farming was and continues to be an essential part of the story of our success as a species.
On the back of those hopes, the mission for OrcaSong took shape. We wanted to create a botanical destination and community education center for both the community on Orcas Island and the people who visit. We hoped to build a place where all could discover the joys of healthy living, being outdoors, growing one’s own food, protecting our planet and connecting with others.
In the summer of 2018 we added a pond, a natural playscape for young folks, developed the OrcaSong Garden as a dynamic space for all to explore, launched the OrcaSong Botanicals line, opened a food cart and diversified our lavender fields with yarrow, chamomile and hemp. Now, we want to introduce the rest of the world to the healing, magical properties of Orcas Island.
While our mission has always been clear, the path forward was not always the same way. Our early days saw us experimenting with different businesses, crops and stewardship models for farming. Quickly, though, it became clear to us that sustaining a farm on Orcas Island would require more than growing just hay and vegetables. We spent months researching plants that could survive in both the dry summers on Orcas Island, and the wet winters of the Puget Sound. We learned that lavender- an ancient plant often cultivated for its healing properties- has a variety of uses for sustaining and nourishing life. We planted an acre of lavender to start. Today, we grow more than 10 acres of lavender alone, as well as 7 acres of hemp, chamomile, yarrow and other botanicals.
Through the many changes we have made at the farm while under our care, one thing has remained the same: our mission. We hope to create a destination where people can learn, connect, and become inspired by the magic of Orcas Island—and to appreciate the planet that is their home.