A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
A portion of Bill Zimmerman’s Bi-Zi Farms property in Vancouver, Washington has been in his family longer than Washington state has been a state. Since 1872 when Gabriel Zimmerman purchased the original 180-acre farm, much of the Zimmerman property has been incorporated into the surrounding city of Vancouver.
After high school, Bill Zimmerman initially used the land he inherited to raise pigs, and hay, and later grains, and clover seed . Zimmerman and his wife Peggy began the modern version of their farm in the early 1990′s after the bottom fell out on prices for their farm products. As they began to grow more and more types of crops on their 100-acre farm, they replaced their temporary farm stand inside a canopy tent into the farm store that we see in the video. As Zimmerman explains, the farm store quickly became the lifeblood of their farm because it enabled them to sell their products directly to their customers at prices sufficient to sustain the continued growth of their farm.
Fall is a busy time of year on Bi-Zi Farms, and is marked by their annual Fall harvest festival they call The Pumpkin Patch designed to entertain families with kids of all ages. In addition to the 7-acre corn maze that Bill Zimmerman says can take up to 2 hours to walk through, there’s a pumpkin shooting contest, a hay bale maze for younger kids, a petting zoo, and live blue grass music.