Meet the Farmer: Amanda Marino, Fall City Farms
If you tickle the earth with a hoe she laughs with a harvest. ~Douglas Jerrold
The Fire & Vine Hospitality sourcing philosophy is based on serving the very best ingredients, with local and organic produce at the top of that list. The company’s newest partnership is a custom farming operation at Fall City Farms. Chef Jason Wilson, Maggie Trujillo and the rest of the Fire & Vine culinary team are working closely on planting lists with Amanda Moreno, of Fall City Farms to complement the menus at each location and develop plans for preserving the best of each season to serve throughout the year.
Fall City Farms began in 1980 selling corn out of a garage. The farm has evolved over the years into a special destination for Seattle-area families looking for an authentic, small farm experience. A beloved Pumpkin Patch is open in the fall and u-cut Christmas trees each December, while The Lodge at Fall City Farms is available year-round to host events up to 250 people.
In the winter of 2017, Fall City Farms manager, John Stoddard, began looking for a farmer to manage a new 10-acre custom farming operation for Fire & Vine Hospitality. He was having a tough time finding the right person. Amanda Marino was his regular server at a Seattle-area restaurant and noticed that he seemed a bit distracted and asked him about it. He told Amanda about his search. To his surprise she replied, “John, I’m your girl.”
Amanda grew up in New York State with little experience with gardening or farming. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Community and International Development. While there, she also acquired a Certificate in Sustainable Farming. While studying community development, she says, “I became fixated on food systems. I began to see food as the linchpin for many complex issues. From there I explored the many different facets of our food system.” Amanda apprenticed at Edible Schoolyard NYC after college and got the growing bug. “I pulled my first carrot out of the ground and felt a deep sense of purpose and wonder. I felt a return to an old skill that is fundamental to human need, layered with deep history and nuanced with artistry. I knew from that moment that that farming was for me.”
She then moved to Portland, ME, where she completed an Americorps term with Cooking Matters, a program that helps families to shop and cook healthy meals on a budget. “Through this experience, I saw the healing power and impact sharing a home cooked meal has on people,” said Amanda. After the term ended, she managed the volunteer program at the Good Shepherd Food Bank and partnered with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to host a Master Gardener class. “Through this class, I was able to recruit volunteers to help create a food growing demonstration garden. I found myself coming full circle – I had explored food growing, cooking and hunger issues and saw that these realms were all siloed. I was hungry for more information.”
Amanda then enrolled in the University of Vermont’s Farmer Training Program. Through this program, she gained experience in small-scale organic farm management and developed an understanding of crop planning, harvesting and processing techniques and CSA/ farm stand operations. After completing the program, she moved to Washington, DC and became the Capital Area Food Bank’s Food Growing Specialist and helped build community gardens in southeast DC, teaching garden education in a half acre urban garden. She also met her fiancé, Logan, and the two decided to try something new and moved to Seattle. She took a job as a server in a Ballard restaurant while planning their next step.
Amanda is grateful for the serendipity that led to her new role at Fall City Farms. “I am continuously inspired by the land and the people with whom I am working. I feel really fortunate to be in this role and to help assist the execution of a dreamy vision for inspired, excellent restaurants to source delicious, local ingredients.” We feel fortunate to have found a sourcing partner so closely aligned with our values. Amanda’s positive attitude, farming skills and warm heart are sure to bring a beautiful harvest.
Planting List for Fire & Vine 2018
• Brussels sprouts
• butternut squash
• delicata squash
• kobocha squash