One fateful day in Chicago, Rob Jordan walked into a bookstore. Preparing for a cross-country move to attend University of Washington, he picked up a Seattle travel book. It described the weather in Seattle as a persistent mist, as “vertical fog”. The words stuck with him, and years later, he settled on Vertical Fog Farm as his first farm business.
Vertical Fog wasn’t the beginning of Rob’s farming journey, however. “I was looking for a career change and I was doing a lot of volunteer work with community gardening programs in Seattle,” Rob recalls. “I wanted to do something related to that work. I went to an internship in California, thinking I would move into community gardens and urban gardening. While I was there, though, I decided to be my own production business.”
That dream led him to an internship at Cloud Mountain Farm Center, after which he found himself looking to lease space and start his own business. Luckily, Cloud Mountain’s incubator farm program offered him land access. “It’s been really useful to have access to land and to people who know local markets and buyers,” Rob says.
Rob started his farm in Everson in 2017, growing mostly greens and mixed vegetables to distribute to customers in Whatcom County and beyond. “I sell mainly through the Puget Sound Food Hub,” Rob explains. “I also sell to a couple of the local food banks and Twin Sisters Markets. And in the past I’ve sold to quite a few local restaurants.”
Rob has always grown produce he’s interested in, and always tries one or two new things every year. “I started out with salad mix because it’s so popular, and those kinds of vegetables are easy to grow here. I’ve always liked growing lettuce and different kinds of greens.”
And Rob’s customer base has responded with enthusiasm and appreciation, even as the pandemic threw a couple wrenches in Vertical Fog’s distribution. “My business was 75% restaurants at that time,” Rob explains. “I’ve moved more towards institutional and grocery sales to better balance my sales channels.”
Luckily, Rob can still sell to local restaurants through the Puget Sound Food Hub. And he’s always interested in figuring out how to improve and grow. “Farming is kind of like a big puzzle to me,” he says. “I like the planning, working things out, and seeing it going into motion. To a certain extent, you plan as much as you can and then let go of the wheel and hope it all works out. And, of course, I like providing good food for people.”