In order to avoid building a garden bed during the heat of the day, fella and I visited Foxberry Farm in Puyallup. Tomatoes are in full swing there, oceans of red on the vine. We were given a couple 5-gallon buckets and told to go to town.

Foxberry farm is absolutely beautiful, lush and artistically laid out. Driving down the way to the farm is like entering a dreamy new land. The fence around the home is composed of trellised grape vines, which have been partially cut back to allow purple concord grapes the chance to ripen fully in the sun. Pears hang from a perfect tree in a perfectly-tended lawn that surrounded a white gazebo. A plum tree sits back behind the berry grove, and tomatoes and squash are planted simply, the tomatoes in rows with plenty of walking space between them.

Cindi Fox welcomed us and checked in as we picked early girl tomatoes, happily chatting and telling us why her and her husband choose various types of plants and how everything is tended. When I saw a honey filter, I asked if they kept bees. We were led to the back, where they kept their hives. They harvested honey, but they also keep bees to ensure heavy pollination.

Interestingly enough, the bees shared the chicken run, happily buzzing about while the handful of chickens came to the fence to see who we were and, most importantly, if we had grain.

The small farm is delightful, but here I was amazed. In backyard chicken keeping, chicken tractors are enthusiastically supported, because then you can move them about before the chickens tear up the landscape. I’ve always thought that a caged bird is a caged bird, never mind if the cage can roll to a new location. The chickens never seem happy in a trailer.

The chickens at Foxberry Farm have a small, wheeled shelter, and they have a run with a small tree. Yes, some paths and dust-bath areas were free of grass, but a large area was green and taller than the poultry. There was no smell, and the chickens were lively, pecking at weeds and making a little noise.

As we were driving away, I turned to fella and breathed, “That’s what I want.” The farm was well-tended, clean, and organized, displaying the bounty of nature in a well thought-out design.

Foxberry Farm is a tidy U-Pick farm with a harvest season from June through October, but since seasons are weird, call them at 253-926-8407 to see what’s ready. They offer:

* Honey
* Berries (raspberries and thornless blackberries)
* Plums (regular and Italian)
* Beans
* Squash
* Cucumbers
* Dahlias
* Tomatoes (canning)
* Peppers
* Potato
* Rhubarb
* Corn
* Pumpkins
* Pears
* Grapes (will juice on-site for raw juice and wine-making)

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