About

 

 

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to support small, local farms by utilizing the whole harvest to make gourmet food products. To achieve this, we fill the infrastructure void with right-size processing kitchens, then we partner with small family farms to directly source local ingredients. The result is local, fair-trade, sustainable products that our customers love.

 

 

OUR STORY

It all began with strawberries destined for the compost heap...

While at the local farmer’s market one Sunday in 2010, Merrilee Olson, our Founder and CEO, went to buy a popular and rare variety of strawberry from Nancy Skall, a legendary Healdsburg farmer. These strawberries were so popular that they sold for twice the price of any others. 

Nancy was packing up for the day and still had three flats of unsold berries.  When Merrilee asked about them, Nancy told her that she usually had leftover berries after market and they all ended up in the same place - the compost bin.

Merrilee was shocked that such delicious fruit would go uneaten. 

So for the rest of that summer, Merrilee picked up the leftover berries at the end of market and, with her culinary skills, turned them into jam.

Nancy had no problem selling the jam. Each sale was a source of new income in what was once waste.

Plus the jam went on to win our first Good Food Award. 

And voila — the idea for Preserve Farm Kitchens was born. Merrilee rediscovered a way to reduce food waste with basic food preservation techniques while helping farmers thrive.

Turns out 20% of the fruits and vegetables grown in the United States never make it off of the farm. Irregularly shaped or slightly the wrong size, the produce isn't ‘perfect’ enough for grocery store standards. So billions of pounds of produce go to waste every year. 

A few years into being a co-packer, we heard a lot of farmers tell us that, yes, they needed a way to sell their overage and imperfect produce, but they didn't have the capacity to sell a finished product themselves.

So we launched our own line of products sourced from small, responsible farms.  

Preserve Farm Kitchens focuses on the manufacturing of artisan food in jars (preserves, sauces, condiments, etc.) for small farms, farmers, beginning stage food entrepreneurs throughout Northern California. From day one, our priority has always been farmers, these important stewards of the land who utilize practices to get carbon back into the soil; a critical step to fight the climate crisis.  

 

 

OUR PEOPLE

Board of Directors:

  • Theo Ferguson CEO and Founder Healing Living Systems, Inc.
  • Robert N. Johnson Former VP Sales Kraft Foods
  • Krystal Grossmith MBA
  • Evan Wiig Director of Communications CAFF

 

Leadership Team:

  • Merrilee Olson Founder & CEO
  • Dulce Noonan General Manager
  • Ellen Rawley Compliance 
  • Robert N. Johnson New Business Development