Sequim: Newspaper article leads to farm's purchase

SEQUIM — At first glance, John and Heather Erskine could not believe the front-page news article in the Capital Press.

Someone named Bob Carlson, representing an organization calling itself Friends of the Field, had written the article for the agricultural newspaper that circulates throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

“The story explained how this community of people in the Sequim Valley had invested their money to buy a farm just to protect it from development,” John Erskine said. “Now they wanted to find someone interested in buying the farm and making a commitment to farming it.”

The Erskines were among the applicants subsequently expressing interest in the 30-acre parcel of prime farmland known locally as Olympic Valley Farm.

“We received eight applications,” Carlson said Saturday. “Five of them were from within Clallam County, two more were from within the state and one was from Utah.

“They offered a wide variety of proposals from strawberries, vegetables and sheep, to equestrian facilities, to a small dairy and cheese-making plant and sales outlet.

“Any one of these applicants would have made a great contribution to our community.”

When Friends of the Field decided to purchase the farm from Norm and Marilyn Siebens late last year, it was being offered on the market in five-acre parcels for redeveloment.

The community fund-raising drive resulted in the purchase of the 30 acres for $240,000.

As it was, Friends of the Field Foundation ended up selling it for $2,500 per acre and $35,000 for the right to build one home on the property.

Full details appear in today's Peninsula News, on sale through Clallam and Jefferson Counties. Or click onto “subscribe” to order your copy via U.S. mail.

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