October 1, 2001
'The Farmer's Daughter'
New business a growing concern
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
DUVALL - After a successful first summer operating "The Farmer's Daughter," Lynn Roney is feeling pretty optimistic about the future of her River Road produce stand.
"The business is doing fine and the crops have grown well," she says. "We have lots of pumpkins and corn and sunflowers for the crows."
The business also meets another requirement for success ‹ location, location, location. Roney's three-acre operation is the first farm on the left along the River Road northwest of Duvall ‹ easy access off the Woodinville-Duvall Road. The plot was previously a pumpkin patch on the family farm where her dad, Ward, had originally run a dairy, later converting to herb and vegetable growing.
Originally, she had wanted Ward to set up the produce stand and operate it. But that never happened.
"For three years I told him to open a stand," she said. "He never did, so I decided this was the year I needed to venture out and get it going myself."
Armed with years of experience on the farm and a business degree from the University of Washington, the 28-year-old Snoqualmie Valley native began planting veggies this spring on the three acres. Then, on June 9 (Duvall Days) she put up the Farmer's Daughter signs on the Woodinville-Duvall Road and opened for business.
It wasn't long before scores of customers, looking for fresh vegetables, were finding their way to her door.
Roney's success with her small business is indicative of the changing face of agriculture in King County. Many of the original, larger farms that haven't been converted to developments have been replaced by smaller vegetable operations. Roney is one of countless small farmers who have found their niche in the organic vegetable market.
As successful as she has been in her first year, Roney, like a few of her fellow farm kids on the River Road who have continued the farming tradition, has found she is bucking a nation-wide trend.
"Kids don't go back to the family farms much anymore," she lamented. "Farming is a lot of work. But it's important to me to keep it going."
The stand is just a short walk up the road from Herbco, the family's longtime herb business, where Roney had worked after graduation from the UW in 1997. She left the company in March.
Roney supplements the River Road stand by selling at the Wednesday Farmer's Market in Kirkland. She manages much of the physical work necessary, assisted by longtime friends Cindy Shively and Cindy's father, Jerry. Roney said her boyfriend also helps out by running the heavy machinery.
The Farmer's Daughter is open Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The stand will have produce for sale until Oct. 31, through the pumpkin harvest season. It will close in November and reopen in December for Christmas tree sales.