Along the banks of the Stillaguamish River, in Arlington, Washington, the grass is sweet, dense, and ripe for grazing, and Linda Neunzig has been raising Angus beef cattle and Katahdin Hair sheep sustainably at her Ninety Farms there for 20 years. Chefs like Holly Smith love the lamb Neunzig produces for its sweet flavor and lean meat, and farmers like Neunzig, one of the first to bring the Katahdin breed to the West Coast, love it not only for the high quality of meat it offers but because it’s a gentle, easy-care sheep—it sheds its winter coat (of hair, not wool) so doesn’t require shearing.
When Neunzig isn’t doing a multitude of farm chores and overseeing the breeding and harvesting of her cattle and sheep on the 52-acre farm, she’s helping other farmers thrive in her second full-time job as Agriculture Coordinator at the Snohomish County Economic Development Division. A self-proclaimed “farmbudsman,” Neunzig helps farmers and county government meet in projects such as a year-round farmers’ market that plans to kick off in spring 2014.
Ninety Farms sells their products direct from the farm by appointment, holds tours for school groups, and has a CSA, whose members (in Seattle and Lynwood, Washington) are supplied weekly with veggies and meat.