History of the 3 Sisters Farm
1904 - Edwin and Stella Muzzall came west from Nunica, Michigan with 5 of their 6 kids and rented a farm outside of Everett, WA.
1910 - Moved to Whidbey Island and began farming with their son and daughter-in-law Lyle and Edna. They began with laying hens and milk cows.
1920 - Another son and daughter-in-law, Cortland and Edna, came West and joined the farm.
1935 - They began raising turkeys.
1946 - Lyle and Edna's son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Evee, joined the farm and bought out Courtland.
1956 - Left the poultry business and built a Grade A milking parlor.
1986 - Bob and Evee's son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Shelly, returned to the farm.
2000 - 3 Sisters was formed to market local products.
2006 - The milk cows were sold and the focus of the farm became marketing the beef, pork, lamb and eggs to the local community.
2013 - 3 Sisters Market was opened to showcase local products year around.
The Full Story
It all began in 1904 with Edwin and Stella Muzzall. They started with a farm in Crockery Township, Michigan before deciding to head west. They rented a farm outside of Everett WA until furthering their adventures to Whidbey Island.
Edwin & Stella’s family, consisting of three sons & one daughter moved to Whidbey Island to begin clearing land and building homes and barns. Shortly after, remaining family including sons, siblings & spouses moved to the island. Within two years of settling on Whidbey, Edwin died leaving Stella to the entire operation. Stella was just 5 feet tall but worked like she was 10 feet tall. History is still a little spotty when it comes to knowing how many of her grandchildren she delivered in her home. Stella lived until 1948 & died at 90 years of age.
The early years included milking cows and laying hens. Courtland Muzzall & Lyle Muzzall were in partnership with Stella. They both worked off the farm at times also. The cream separator was in the basement of Stella’s house where she could oversee the operation.
Courtland and Edna had 3 children. Lyle and Edna had 6 children. Yes, both of their wives were named Edna. There was also another brother with a wife named Edna. Can only imagine the confusion.
In the late 1930’s the farm lost their team of horses over the bluff in an accident. Which resulted in the purchase of a D2 cat crawler. At that point Lyle and his sons Murray, Ben, and Bob began to raise turkeys and lease other farmland to help pay for the purchase of the equipment.
WWII pulled all three of Lyle’s sons away from the farm. But following the war Bob and his wife Evee returned to the farm. Courtland and Edna moved to South Whidbey to run a store. Bob and Lyle had then bought out Courtland. They continued to raise turkeys and milk guernsey cows.
The profit’s pushed them to leave the turkey business and so they began to raise chickens for fryers. But soon after chickens also became unprofitable and in 1956, they left poultry production all together. At that point they built a grade A dairy milking facility.
Bob and Evee had four children and in 1986 their youngest child Ron and his wife Shelly returned from college and they decided to join the dairy business. It was not to long after that the family began looking for a different way to market their production. Historically the production including poultry and dairy was marketed through a cooperative. Mixed with another producers’ production unfortunately it became a commodity. The only way to make money was to cut costs and produce more units in order to stay in business.
The family went from milking 45 cows in 1986 to milking 200 in 2006. They looked at processing their own milk but after hiring a consultant chose to exit the dairy business altogether. In February of 2006 all of the milking cows and young stock were sold to another dairy farmer in California.
In 2002 a new cooperative was formed locally to process animals under USDA inspection. Ron and Shelly were some of the original stock holders in that cooperative. The cooperative consists of a mobile slaughter unit that travels from farm to farm processing the animals and then takes then back to a facility where the meat is aged, cut & packages under USDA inspection. With this new cooperative it gave us the ability to produce locally, process locally and sell local products to local consumers.
Since then we have added laying hens, fryers, hogs and lamb to our original product line which includes the grass-fed beef. Two of the daughters have now returned back to the farm where Jennifer now has two daughters Cora and Molly. Cora and Molly now make the 6th generation on the farm.
Our retail store which is located in the old San de Fuca fire station was first opened in 2013. We feel very blessed to be able to farm here on beautiful Whidbey Island and offer our wonderful products year around.