Farm to Table | WOBBLY CART FARM

Farm to Table | WOBBLY CART FARM

Joseph Gabiou, co-owner of Wobbly Cart Farm, spends his days growing organic vegetables on 10 acres beside the Chehalis River. As a small farm, Wobbly Cart remains very active at the Olympia Farmer’s Market – appearing 5 days per week.

Their direct-to-consumer sales make up about 50% of their overall business. CSA shares, and their work with a few local food co-cops, account for another 25% of their income. The last 25% of their sales comes from wholesale.

So far, Wobbly Cart Farm’s hasn’t found much success selling produce to local Olympian restaurants. Joseph claims that the use of seasonal menus (which are based around using produce that’s in its natural harvest season) is rare in Olympia. Although admittedly challenging, Joseph feels that seasonal menus are embraced more often by restaurants in Portland — like Ned Ludd, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Screen Door, and 3 Doors Down Café & Lounge – which all take pride in menus which change every week. Despite the distance, Wobbly Cart Farm’s business in Portland is steady enough to merit the 100-mile delivery in person.

Beyond issues of simple business, Joseph wasn’t too interested in entertaining a discussion about farm-to-table ideology. After laboring to get a sense of Wobbly Cart’s relationship to the farm-to-table movement, Joseph eventually addressed my nagging questions with a bracingly nonchalant overview of what he and his crew do: “We just hang out and grow food. We put it in a truck and bring it to people who want it. It’s how it works”. My probing inquisition aimed at rattling loose deep revelations from the thunder headed dynamo of Platonic truths finally culminated in this painfully plain statement. And yet despite my unresolved farm-to-table wringer, Joseph’s barefaced feedback somehow satisfies.

It’s not that Joseph isn’t concerned about the farm-to-table movement, its values, or the people that it affects; it’s just that Joseph already does what he enjoys: growing healthy food. Regardless of the theoretical underpinnings of the farm-to-table movement, of the trending popularity of some of its values (freshness, organic, etc.), or of the challenges that small farms face, Wobbly Cart Farm will continue to produce quality product. Joseph’s livelihood may depend upon the consumer, but his happiness most certainly does not. For him, the rewards are in the process. Just farm.


By Todd B. Gruel