“…the best thing we can do is to continue to make sure our products are still up to the highest standards.”
Surrounded by farming her entire life, Jenn Smith has found more than one way to be a part of the agricultural world. Growing up in Eastern Washington, her family grew wheat and raised beef cows; Jenn’s first job, of course was working for her dad. With a strong work ethic instilled from working on the family farm, Jenn’s passion for agriculture will forever be the centerpiece of her life.
Graduating from Washington State University in 2001 with a General Agricultural degree and a minor in Agricultural Technology and Business, Jenn was prepared to pursue a larger landscape in the agricultural world. That same year she moved to Skagit Valley and started her professional journey at the WSU Northwest Research & Extension Center. After spending four months nose-deep in research, Jenn switched to seed sales for Osborne Quality Seeds in Mount Vernon, where she worked for seven years.
In 2009 Jenn married Brad, the owner of S & B Farms potato growers. She took on the main office work in 2012 and handled the heavy load of the Human Resource department, while still occasionally assisting brad on the farm. Although she had a very full schedule, Jenn never let go of her interest in flower farming, a hobby that developed during her time at Osborne. In 2017 Jenn and her friend, Colleen O’Brian Miller, joined forces to start their own flower company that offered a Garden Club membership for customers to receive bouquet of farm-fresh heirloom blooms regularly throughout the growing season. FloralSmith is now owned solely by Jenn and is located on Fir Island. She expanded on the membership model to include a floral design studio offering hand-crafted arrangements, full service wedding florals, wedding and event planning, and decor rentals.
Last May Jenn and Brad bought Northwest Lime Company, a service that spreads lime to help adjust the pH in farmers’ soil, creating a natural neutralizer that can help crop fertilizers work better. On top of a plate full of tasks and demands, Jenn also serves on boards in the Skagit Valley area, including Skagit Farmers Supply and here at Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland. She is also the volunteer scribe for the Western Washington Agricultural Association board.
Jenn and Brad have had to make several adjustments at their various businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.They have increased sanitation for the potato farm, and added social distancing measures for the small crew who currently work there. As for FloralSmith, Jenn described that she is “accommodating to individuals’ comfort level” when it comes to providing customers their flowers in the safest way possible. “An adjustment that might be difficult, but worth it in the long run, I’d say,” Jenn explained.
When asked how she stays optimistic when trying to manage multiple agriculture-related businesses affected by the pandemic, Jenn said, “This whole thing will pass, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the best thing we can do is to continue to make sure our products are still up to the highest standards.” Reassuring words that the Skagit County community can hold on to.