Enumclaw's Cathy Thomasson part of ongoing dairy promotion

People on the streets of Enumclaw might be asking, “Where have I seen her before?” when Cathy Thomasson passes.

The reason for the turning heads is that Thomasson, who operates a dairy farm with her husband Tim, is one of three dairy farmers featured on a poster that is part of a regional Fred Meyer promotion titled “Meet Your Local Dairy Farmer.”  The idea is to put a face on dairy producers.

“People often don’t know what we do or how we do it, but when they find out they feel good about it,” said Thomasson, who is on the board of the Washington Dairy Products Commission.

The other two dairy producers are Ed DeGroot, who owns a dairy in Mountain Home, Idaho, and Louie Kazemier of Rickreall, Ore. DeGroot’s family owned a dairy in King County but urban encroachment led DeGroot to start a dairy in Idaho. A few decades ago there were as many as 140 dairy farms in King County. Today, there are just 32.

To stay in business in south King County, dairy farmers have to see opportunities in challenges. Five years ago, the Thomasson’s daughter Mandy, who lives on the farm, was looking for a job that would allow her to stay home and raise her children.  The solution was the Thomasson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, open annually in October on 40 acres of land.

“We want to bring people back to the farm,” Thomasson said. “Get some dirt under their feet so they become familiar with what happens here.”  Elementary schools often have field trips out to the Thomasson farm.

“It helps them understand what we use the land for,” Thomasson said. “There is a circle in agriculture where everything is recycled. We feed the cows and they produce milk but they also help fertilize the fields.”

With the Fred Meyer promotion, which began in mid-May and runs through Tuesday, Thomasson’s profile will be even higher.

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