Board Profile: Vice President Julie Kintzi of “Cart before Horse” Farm

Turkey poults
Turkey poults

At a young age, Julie Kintzi began to notice the disappearance of farmland in the Kent valley, and then the paving of some of the finest farming land in Pierce County for warehouses and the sale of prime farmland in our area to development. While not all kids would be thinking about the impact of these shifts, Julie is not like everyone else. She has a committed passion to advocate for keeping farmland in commercial food production, for encouraging farmland owners to keep their farms in production or sell to farmers who will grow to sell to the community. She is passionate about healthy soil and crops and to doing whatever she can to ensure the future of farming in our area is preserved. What began as a childhood observation, has become a personal mission for Julie Kintzi and and her husband Ken Ray of Cart before Horse Farm.

As you wander her personal garden and hear the expertise casually spill from her, it’s no surprise to learn she has worked and volunteered in botanical gardens, conservation districts, farmers markets and related professions for years. Plants and farming are high on her list of priorities and a topic of focus for this down to earth, relaxed couple.

Although King County passed a bond in 1979 to preserve hundreds of acres of farmland, which are primarily in the Snoqualmie valley, Sammamish valley  and Enumclaw plateau, development continues to outpace the preservation of farmland throughout the area. So Ken and Julie are doing more than talking about it. They are investing their lives and their resources to help reverse the tide.

They bought their first farm ten years ago with the vision to keep it in commercial farming and to affordably lease the land to other farmers. They succeeded in protecting this land with a conservation easement and subsequently sold that acreage to a commercial farming family. This remains their motivation today with the 33 acres at “Cart before Horse” Farm, which leases to Hell or High Water Farm and has more space available to farmers who have had a young farming businesses for a couple years. Ideally, the hope is to attract a dairy goat farmer to their property to create a local source for goat milk and cheese. For their own farm work, Ken and Julie are raising organically grown turkeys, which soon will be available for pre-order sales in time for fall holiday meals. But don’t wait, they are selling out fast and the poults have barely made their home on the farm.

Julie’s platform is simple. If Enumclaw is known for its rural appeal and we want to preserve that, then we all must play a part. If you have land you want to sell, consider leasing or selling at a price that farmers can afford. As a consumer, shop locally and buy directly from farmers. Get to know the farmers in your community and shop at the farmer’s market. Stand up for protecting farmland when it is threatened with development. And ultimately hold your city and county accountable by attending public meetings, writing letters or making phone calls. It does make a difference.

This passion is why Julie has been such an integral part of the board in establishing and organizing Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market. This is not her first venture into farmers’ market leadership. She has brought her experience in other towns to help thoughtfully guide this project into reality beginning on June 6. It is very important to Julie and Ken that the community has access to local products and that farmers can sell nearby and at prices that are sustainable for their livelihood.

Board & Vendor Profile: Ode to Joy Farm

As a programmer for Microsoft, following a career in the Air Force, Joyce Behrendt remembers joking on stressful days in the office that she was going to leave and just become a chicken farmer. Having been raised in Auburn, Washington, she didn’t really mean it, but after retiring from Microsoft, she found herself on 10 acres, with a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier, running Ode to Joy farm surrounded by more than one hundred geese, ducks and chickens. Her home is flanked on all sides by lovely gardens, plants and flowers, all prepared chemical free and with careful consideration to the soil, bees and pollinators.

An ode is a lyric or poem, written to praise something or someone. So “Ode to Joy” seems fitting for this happy little farm, run by this friendly woman with an easy sense of neighborly kindness. Stepping onto her farm is like a visit to a favorite place. Time slows down a bit and you are relaxed and welcomed.

As a founding member and vendor of Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market’s board, it’s no surprise that her passion centers around community and people. “You get to know people as they come back each week and you kind of become family,” shares Joyce as we wander her gorgeous, nearly weed-free, no-till garlic patch. She likes knowing that her work is useful and that growing fresh, organically grown food in flavors and varieties not easily available is meaningful and valuable to the customers and our community. And if you’ve ever tasted her produce or eggs, you know they are indeed valuable.

Joyce will be bringing her fan-favorite garlic varieties (Music, Asian tempest and more), shallots and onions in flavors and varieties you can’t find in the local grocery store. Of course, she will have her eggs and other fresh produce in season. That’s one of the greatest parts of a farmers market, you can’t get fresher or even anything like it at the store.

“Joy on every living thing, nature’s bounty doth bestow.” —from original poem that inspired Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.