About Sumas River Farm

Sumas River Farm lies tucked in between Sumas River and the Cascade Foothills within the rural Whatcom County town of Sumas in Washington State. Our farm was started in 2007 by Helen Solem. Originally from Lynden, WA, Helen has a lifetime of experience with agriculture and education. In her years before farming Helen taught foreign languages and ESL at Whatcom Community College and Native American law studies at Northwest Indian College. After many years of staring out of the window of her office wishing she could spend her days outside, Helen decided it was time to start her dream of a small organic farm in her backyard. Since 2007, Helen has increased the growing space to include over 2 acres of crops including nearly 1 acre of perennials, herbs and berries. Sumas River Farm highly values native habitats. We maintain habitats on the north, south and east garden perimeters for windbreaks and pollinators. On the western property line a 1000 foot riparian zone borders Sumas River, historically home to native salmon populations.

Farm History Timeline

  • 1890 three acres, now Sumas River Farm, sold off a 40-acre homestead

  • 1891 Folk Victorian Farmhouse built

  • 1934 Dutch Gambrel barn & chicken coop built, orchard planted by Knight family

  • 1978 Solem family moves to Sumas

  • 2007 Farm Ceritified Organic

  • 2008 Fresh Market farming begins

  • 2009 Barn listed in Washington State Heritage Barn Registry

  • 2010 Community Coop Farm Fund help build the 1st high tunnel

  • 2018 Farmer Helen received The Bright Light Award from Sustainable Connections for her contribution to local farming

A drone video of Sumas River Farm, Middle field, East field and looking north up the driveway. Notice the drone handlers sitting on the garden viewing bench near end of video. 9/9/20

BCS tiller and trailer driven by a Sumas neighbor with his children in the Sumas Parade on Sumas Days.

Sustainable Connection Virtual Farm Tour, 2020

In 2007, before a hoe even touched the soil, Sumas River Farm became a certified organic farm. I choose "Building Community through Food" as the farm's mission statement. That goal holds true today, 13 years later. Today, the concepts of "Local" and "Rural" carry more urgency than even a decade ago. While I am the owner, my farm's success owes immense gratitude to the many hard-working and skilled employees who have worked here. Sumas River Farm is OUR farm.

While our farm still focuses on growing the best food in the world, our philosophy and purpose have also grown striving for relevance in the ever-changing political and cultural milieu of the 21st century. Last summer Sustainable Connections visited our farm and helped us give voice to our passion for the land, our commitment to growing healthy food and sharing our home in rural Whatcom County.