In Photos: Seattle Farm celebrates 100 years

By Carolyn Bick

Gloria Sferra remembers when her late husband “went completely insane,” because a young woman decided to board her horse in the couple’s farmstead basement, right after Sferra’s husband had finished remodeling the space.

Then, there was the time a fox decided to bring his entire family to live on the farm. The canine family soon became used to the presence of people –– so much so that they eventually became almost tame.

“One night, I stayed in my barn, and I almost had a stroke, because here comes my kitty … and here are the foxes, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my God, my cat is going to get eaten in front of me, before my very eyes,’” Sferra recalled. “And the fox just totally ignored him –– he wandered into the barn and cuddled up with me.”

Those memories stories are just two of the many Sferra and her family have of their century-old farm. The farm, officially called Seattle Farm LLC, recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary, followed by its annual pumpkin harvest on Oct. 5, during which attendees helped to pick the naturally grown, oddly shaped gourds that sprawled down a steep hill towards the back of the farm.

The farm has been in the family for five generations, and began as a simple, modest plot of land at the end of Bond Street in Rainier Beach –– or, as Sferra put it, “two-and-a-half acres, with kind of a crummy house on it.”

“So, they tore that house down, and they built the Taj Mahal of chicken coops, because [my grandmother] wanted to have chickens. So, my grandfather built this palace of chicken coops that was really, really nice,” Sferra said. “She moved into this chicken coop for the summer, until they got the house built.”

But it was Sferra’s own husband Pat Sferra who helped to create the Seattle Farm the family runs today. Following his purchase of the farmhouse in 1967 and the couple’s marriage, Pat Sferra began buying up parcels of land that surrounded the farmhouse, whenever they would come up for sale. All those little parcels added up, Sferra said, and the farm became a large expanse of rolling green, on which the family could offer horse riding lessons, which they still do today. They could also begin to house and board animals, whom the family sees as pets, rather than livestock.

Recently, the family took in a pregnant African goat. Sferra said that the family was looking forward to having a goat and a single baby kid on the farm. Instead, the goat gave birth to four little ones. In addition to two sheep the Sferras accepted from friends in Medina, the farm is now burgeoning with ruminants.

“So, we have, like, an absolute zillion baby bottles in the basement,” Sferra said with a laugh. “We have all girls, and I just told everybody, ‘The mommy goat is going to be an old maid now, because we are never breeding her again. She is never to look at another billy goat, because that is just enough goats.”

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The Reisner family pets 21-year-old Homer the horse, as Riley Neiders, right, holds the rope, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Annika Meyers, left, feeds a goat, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Army Sferra stops a large pumpkin from toppling over, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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A large pumpkin sits on the steep hill of the pumpkin patch area, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Colorful gourds sit on a table, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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A small pony waits for riders, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Children pile into the back of Lisa Sferra’s horse-drawn pumpkin wagon, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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A large horse stands in a shed, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Farm volunteers take a short break, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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People wait for pony rides, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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Sloane Walker, center, takes her first ride on Homer the horse, guided by Riley Neiders, left, as Sloane’s mother, Kari Walker, right, takes a video, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

Featured image: Steve Hirt takes a large pumpkin out from the back of the pumpkin carriage, during The Farm’s annual pumpkin harvest in Seattle, Washington, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Photo: Carolyn Bick)

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