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Muzzall family farm celebrates its centennial

The Muzzall family in front of the farm about 15 years ago.  From top left, Shelly and Roshel, Ron, Jessica and Jennifer. - Courtesy photo
The Muzzall family in front of the farm about 15 years ago. From top left, Shelly and Roshel, Ron, Jessica and Jennifer.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

After spending time with the Muzzalls, it’s easy to see why locals have been trusting them with their food for years. They’re smart, they’re passionate and their family has been in the farming business for 100 years. This weekend they’re inviting the public to come celebrate the centennial benchmark with them. And while they’re planning for fun, they also plan to educate.

The farm was established in 1910 when Ron Muzzall’s great grandparents, Edwin and Stella, moved to Whidbey Island from central Michigan. Ron said there are lot of theories concerning why Edwin came to the island, but his guess is the weather.

“I believe my great grandfather had heat stroke,” Ron said. “He moved west to escape the heat and look for a new place to farm.”

When Edwin and Stella purchased the original 40 acres of the Muzzall farm, they had their work cut out for them. Back then the area was a dense forest and they had to clear out the trees.

“It was commonly referred to as a stump farm,” Ron said. In the beginning, the Muzzalls had a few cows, but they mainly dealt with poultry.

Ron and his wife, Shelly, took over the farm in 1985 from his parents, and the farm now spans over 600 acres. As most know, the Muzzalls operated a dairy farm on the land for about 20 years, but transitioned into producing grass-fed beef in 2006 when dairy was no longer profitable. Their company, 3 Sisters, was named after their three daughters, Jennifer, Jessica and Roshel, who each own a 10 percent share of the business.

“It’s a new world for us,” Ron said.

In addition to their cows, the Muzzalls have hogs, sheep and chickens and grow barley and cabbage for seed. And in mid-August, their new, all-natural hot dog and pepperoni line should hit local stores.

The Muzzalls believe that most people take comfort in knowing where their food is coming from. They said everyone from vacationers to Seattle families to neighbors regularly stop by to pick up beef and eggs.

“They know their food has been produced by a family that really cares about what they’re doing,” Shelly said.

And family has always been a big part of the Muzzalls’ lives.

“When it’s a family farm, it’s a team effort,” Ron said. He said his fondest memories growing up were working with his parents towards a common goal, and he’s glad his own family has followed suit.

Fifteen-year-old Roshel Muzzall said she eventually wants to go into a math-realted field like accounting, but that she’ll always be dedicated to the family business.

“As little kids, we always helped on the farm,” she said. “We were always there to support my parents.”

The 100-year celebration will take place Saturday, July 17 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 938 Scenic Heights Rd. It will include an open house, trolley tour, activities for kids, 4-H clubs, music, food vendors and a live radio broadcast.

The family wants the basis of the open house to be exposure and education. They said when most people think of farming they picture scenes from books like “Charlotte’s Web” or horse-drawn plows, but those things don’t accurately depict what’s taking place today.

“Yes, we still are similar to grandma and grandpa’s farm,” Jennifer, 22, said. “But welcome to the 21st Century.”

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