Growers: Andrew Stout and Wendy Munroe
Located in: Carnation, Wash.
Supplying PCC since: 1996
Supplies PCC with: Tender salad mix, lettuces, leafy greens such as kale and chard, radishes, potatoes, culinary herbs and more. Visit the farm's website at FullCircle.com.
Coming full circle: Owners Andrew Stout and Wendy Munroe have trained dozens of interns over the years; many have started their own farms in Maine, Alabama, Montana, California and Rhode Island.
A top choice by many: Don't just take our word for it. Full Circle's produce is carried in many of Seattle's top restaurants, including Tilth restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, Portage Bay Cafe, Boat Street Cafe, Etta's, Tavolata, Restaurant Zoe and many more.
Full Circle sustainability
Full Circle is the manifest destiny of Andrew Stout and his wife and partner, Wendy Munroe. It was the early 1990s when, after completing an internship on an organic farm in Minnesota, Andrew and Wendy dreamed the farm dream. To turn that dream into reality, they raised money by selling homemade organic egg rolls at Grateful Dead shows.
Full Circle has since blossomed into a 400-acre organic produce operation in Carnation, Wash., along the banks of Griffin Creek and the Snoqualmie River about 30 miles outside of Seattle. The Full Circle team cultivates more than 200 varieties of fruits and vegetables, notably vibrant greens, salad mix, baby turnips, culinary and Chinese herbs, rosy red and white oblong French breakfast radishes, and a rainbow of potato varieties.
Full Circle’s first five acres were at the base of Mt. Si in North Bend, Wash. The ground was so rocky and conditions so unfavorable that only three acres were tillable. But Andrew and Wendy applied their novice farming skills to grow their first crop, and then their marketing ingenuity to get the produce directly to consumers.
Andrew’s vision drove Full Circle into a growing success through direct marketing, the hallmark strategy of the small farm business model. He began selling Full Circle produce directly to grocery stores — PCC was among the first — as well as restaurants and farmers markets. He also started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which now has hundreds of subscribers.
PCC has long been a direct marketing conduit, buying direct from farmers. By avoiding distributors, the farmer gets a larger share of the food dollar and is able to sustain the farm operation. The consumer gets fresher food and a better dollar value for organic. The community also benefits with local money staying in the local economy. When this full circle is complete, our food security is in the hands of our local communities.
But the farm soon outgrew the space, and with the help of FarmLink, a service offered by King and Snohomish counties that connects future farmers with land and services, Full Circle found its current home in Carnation.
Andrew and Wendy now provide a home to help others grow their dream of farming, offering an internship program for apprentices. Over the years, they’ve trained dozens of interns, many of whom have started farms of their own — in Maine, Alabama, Montana, California and Rhode Island.
“ What we do is work with other growers. We include what they grow in our CSA program or sell it through our existing accounts ... when we band together, we benefit from the economy of scale and everyone realizes we each don’t have to reinvent the wheel. ” — Andrew Stout, owner, Full Circle
The Stouts also advocate their principles with local decision-makers and have worked to get more local products into the marketplace.
“What we do is work with other growers,” says Andrew. “We include what they grow in our CSA program or sell it through our existing accounts. Sometimes they don’t have a direct marketing approach; sometimes they just don’t want to do the distribution. But when we band together, we benefit from the economy of scale and everyone realizes we each don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
Meanwhile, look for tender greens from Full Circle each spring through fall at PCC. You’ll find the mixed baby salad greens, bunch spinach, kales and chards in PCC’s produce section. In PCC delis, look for the mixed baby salad greens in a fresh, seasonal salad. They’re all a delicious way to support local agriculture and get the most from your food dollar.
By Mike Oseland, Sound Consumer, May 2005. Updated June 2010