It’s a fresh face for Buckley’s sole fresh produce store.
The Rainier Fresh Country Store, formerly just known as Rainier Fresh, is hosting a grand opening on Jan. 24 through Jan. 31 to celebrate its new owners and the store’s expansion.
Patrick and Rachel Brown bought Rainier Fresh last December and spent the last month not just sourcing for fresh greens to get on their shelves, but many of the other grocery store items Buckley residents would normally need to get in Enumclaw or Bonney Lake as well.
“We’re trying to fill the role of both a small… high-quality grocer and a bit of a convenience store,” Patrick said in a recent interview in-between getting the store all stocked up during a soft opening earlier this month. “I just see real opportunity to give the citizens of Buckley a more accessible way to purchase common goods.”
But even though some shelf space will be taken up by toilet paper and dish soap, that doesn’t mean Rainier Fresh’s commitment to providing not just fresh, but local produce and goods, has shrunk.
Patrick, who has been running the Mom’s Microgarden farm (which grows micro-greens) right outside the city of Buckley since before the COVID-19 pandemic, is a big proponent of making sure everyone has access to healthy food that comes with a limited carbon footprint and doesn’t break the bank for his customers.
“We have some of the most fertile land in the nation right here on the Plateau, in the Kent Valley, the Snohomish Valley, and we have some of the best farmers in the world,” he said. “It just makes no sense for me to purchase lettuce from California if I have a comparable — a better product — right down the road, and I can support a neighbor and a friend.”
Of course, that’s not to say that there won’t be some product from some of the more far-flung corners of the country.
“We plan on going as locally as possible, with some international flair — you’re not going to get pink pineapples growing in Washington,” he continued. “I got a case of blue bananas that are coming from Miami. It’s just one case… so it’s just something fun and unique and cool. But… the majority of our product, we’re going to go seasonal and [as] hyperlocal as possible.”
The list of local farms and producers that Rainier Fresh Country Store is working or plans to work with is extensive and growing, but some highlights include Smith Brothers Farms, Gwerder Brothers (located in Enumclaw), and Twin Brookes Creamery for dairy; DeGoede Farms and Mom’s Microgarden for greens; Jocelyn Coffee Roasting and Java! Java! Coffee for all your caffeination needs; Emperfect Bakery, Ugly Duck Cheese Cakes, Marsee Baking, and Franz Bakery for baked goods; and multiple other producers for salsa, dips, sweets, and more.
Once Rainier Fresh is “firing on all cylinders,” Patrick wants to expand the outdoor potion of the store by continuing to sell Christmas trees (and possibly firewood and propane) in the winter, pumpkins and haybales in the fall, hanging baskets in the spring, and also host an occasional vendors market.
Additionally, come February, look out for the country store’s Valentine’s Day event, where a portion of the proceeds of a dozen roses will be donated to GoodRoots Northwest (formerly known as the Bonney Lake Food Bank) down the highway.
“I plan on continuing my work with the food bank to… fight food insecurity,” Patrick said, noting one in eight Washingtonians are experiencing food insecurity; Mom’s Microgarden is one of many local farmers and producers that contributes its goods to GoodRoots on a regular basis. “We are continuously dedicated to that.”
Rainier Fresh Country Store is located at 29290 State Route 410 E, Buckley, right next to Blue Max Meats, and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, head to facebook.com/rainierfresh.