PASCO, Wash. – At 91 years old, Paul Hatch, still navigates his acreage, lush with fruit trees and vegetables throughout the seasons.
“Full throttle, yeah,” the farmer said.
Paul shares his bounty with those willing to pick it up themselves, or at the very least make the drive out to his Pasco farm.
“Just a joy.”
But the land you see today, wasn’t always ripe for picking.
It was the 1960’s when Paul, an engineering grad from Utah State University and his brother-in-law moved to the Mid-Columbia in search of land to farm.
“This was all sagebrush, and we broke it out of sagebrush we pioneered this ground — so we started out with sagebrush and no water system, so I had to put in a water system and prepare the ground and plant the ground,” Farmer Paul said they started from scratch.
Their first crops were alfalfa and hay; a quick way to make a profit, Paul said.
Eventually, Paul went on to work at the Hanford Site, while his brother-in-law watched over the farm, both hoping it would become profitable.
“Split my check with him so we could both live; that’s how we started,” Paul said.
Over the years, Paul has farmed thousands of acres in the Tri-Cities and nearby region.
But, as he got older, along came he and his wife’s seven children, 26 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
“They helped develop the farms and worked on the farms, until they went away and got married or went to college,” Paul said two of his children still live next door to his farm.
Now, Paul focuses on his 16 acres known as The Hatch Patch, where the public can come pick and pay for whatever’s in season.
“Grow corn, we grow apples and pumpkins, potatoes a lot of potatoes,” the farmer laughed.
Visitors can also buy pre-picked produce at the farm stand and pay via an honor system.
Paul said he’s grateful to share how food it grown and where it really comes from: the hard-working farmers who support our nation.
“I love people coming out to visit and be here and enjoy the farm, you know, not everybody doesn’t get to enjoy farm life. I love life and so I love being on the farm it’s a wonderful place to be and to raise children. I’d just like to thank the community for their support, I appreciate everybody that’s been a part of my life,” he said.
As the growing season winds down, the Hatch Patch is open weekdays and on Saturdays, you can always check their Facebook to see what’s available.
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