I bought the farm in 1988 from two elderly sisters who had been growing raspberries on the land since sometime around World War II. In the past, the Puyallup valley was a prime location for raspberry production, with all of the attendant infrastructure necessary to support farming berries. Local raspberry farms diminished in number as their lands were converted to housing and other development. The local packing company closed up shop, taking away the cold storage facility necessary for the “seconds”, the berries not pretty enough for the fresh market. Large farms further north were more suitable for automation, hence making hand picking of small farms like mine less competitive.

Sadly, my career would take me away from Puyallup before I even had a chance to live on the farm. The farm has been leased to various sharecroppers for the last 30 years. Now, less than 4 acres of the farm are devoted to berries, with other crops such as beans, corn, and pumpkins filling the void.

Development of the Puyallup Valley has continued, and sadly, farmlands are becoming less and less feasible. As a landowner, my thoughts over the last several years have revolved around how best to serve as a good steward for as much as possible of the land.

The farm consists of three contiguous tax parcels of land totaling 17 acres in Pierce County, WA. Two of the parcels (10 acres) are within the City of Puyallup’s future urban growth boundary, with current zoning of “Moderate Density Single Family” both in Pierce County and in the City of Puyallup’s long term plan. This zoning allows for 4-6 dwelling units per acre. My hope is that Cohousing could be developed as a “PUD; a Planned Unit Development” that would allow for clustering of homes, thereby preserving as much of the land as possible.

Location: Puyallup, WA
County: Pierce
Owner: Mike Slama
Size: 17 acre farm comprised of 3 parcels
Not developable: 7 acres - 800 feet riverfront

Developable: 10 acres flat farmland w/view of Mt. Rainier
Zoning: Moderate Density Single Family
History: Raspberry farm since WWII
Start Date: Core group formation Spring 2020

Photos of land