Surrounded by lush pastures and barnyard animals, visitors to Widnor Farms might feel as though they’ve stepped into a storybook. All this bounty is thanks to the hard work of the Widen family, who gave up city life in order to restore a 1916 farmstead tucked away in Custer.
“I grew up around livestock, but I didn’t grow up on a farm,” Brianna Widen says. “I grew up on a dead-end street in La Conner, and I desperately craved this kind of lifestyle.”
Although Brianna’s husband Ryan had a similarly suburban upbringing, the pair were fascinated by the idea of homesteading and self-sufficiency. They also saw farming as a way to teach their three children about nutrition and the “hard work that goes into creating and to filling their bellies.”
“We started the farm in 2017, with just the idea of wanting to raise our own meats,” Brianna says. “And then we had so many people asking for half a cow or half a pig that we ended up deciding that we wanted to raise meats for other people. And then it grew into this.”
Business picked up more seriously in 2020, as COVID-19 shortages emptied shelves and drove customers to seek food directly from the source. Now, Widnor Farm provides ethical, high-quality, and delicious meat direct to consumers in Whatcom County and beyond.
Specialties include forest- and pasture-raised pork, grass-fed Icelandic lamb, pasture-raised chicken, and dry-aged beef finished with barley. In addition, the farm services the community with raw milk, eggs, and various farm goods ranging from soap to honey.
Can’t decide how to prepare your meat? No worries– the Widnor Farms blog has plenty of recipes. (Take it from us: You’ll want to cook with care, because this meat is among Whatcom County’s best.)
Customers can order online, pop into the farm store on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. til 2 p.m., or subscribe to the Widnor Farms “Farm Club.” The latter two models allow the Widens to connect directly with their customers, which Brianna says is a highlight of their business.
“Farm Club is a subscription-based option where customers get to choose how much meat they want each month, and we curate it based on their preferences,” she says. “It has been so much fun to encourage people to go outside of their comfort zone with their menu and meal planning.”
Through both direct interactions and social media, Brianna is happy to answer questions and share what farming looks like for her family on a day-to-day basis. She leads “Farm School” classes for both kids and adults in the warmer months, and her attentive, transparent approach to raising livestock is a deep source of pride.
“You know, a lot of people make a lot of assumptions about farmers and farm life,” Brianna says. “And we try to bridge that gap so they can understand why we do things the way we do … because not every farm is the same.”
For an even more intimate experience, Brianna encourages the community to join them for one of Widnor Farm’s dinner events (a.k.a. the “ultimate date night” for foodies). Attendees enjoy their meal beneath a century-old orchard, and since menus are determined by farm inventory and seasonality, each dinner is one-of-a-kind. Moreover, almost all ingredients are sourced from the farm– yes, even the butter.
“When we launched our dinners last year, it was really the culmination of all of those things that were important to us,” Brianna says. “The goal behind these isn’t just connection with our customers; it’s really a connection for them with their food.”
For a closer look at farming, family, and food, follow Brianna on Instagram @widnorfarms– or, as the season draws to a close, visit the Widnor Farms website to reserve a space at their dinner table. 1858 W Badger Rd., Custer, 360.941.0935, widnorfarmsblog.com