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Meet Your Producers

Yakama Nation Farms: Growing a Sustainable Future

The story of our local asparagus goes beyond the plate. Learn how one family's generosity returned ancestral land to the Yakama Nation to carry on a farming legacy in Washington's Yakima Valley.   

Inside a greenhouse at Yakama Nation Farms

It's time to dust off your favorite spring recipes for the return of a long-awaited local favorite: asparagus—the ever-tasty and versatile spring veggie. 

At New Seasons, our love for local asparagus knows no bounds, and we love telling the story of the amazing partners who grew it. A story as tender as our asparagus. 

Located on the Yakama Reservation in South Central Washington, Inaba Produce Farms was one of the first partners we brought on board when we opened New Seasons 24 years ago—supplying us with local asparagus, zucchini, pepper, corn, cabbage, and more.    

The Inaba family immigrated from Japan in 1907, and despite decades of anti-Asian policies in the United States, including internment during World War II, they persevered in creating a sprawling 1500-acre, multi-generational farm that supplied many with fresh fruits and veggies throughout the region. The Inabas contributed some of their success to the kindness and support of the Yakama tribal members who shared the land.  

So, in 2022, when Lon Inaba, a third-generation farmer, decided to retire and sell the family farm, instead of accepting some of the more highly lucrative offers, he sold the land to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.    

The central Columbia River basin has been a longstanding home for the Yakama People. With this monumental exchange from the Inaba family, Yakama Nation Farms has reclaimed the land, reestablishing the self-sufficiency the tribes once enjoyed in the era before westward expansion.  

The racial justice movement has brought the injustices around Native Americans and land ownership to the forefront of agricultural conversations. While many use land acknowledgments to recognize injustice, this land exchange and farm venture between Inaba and the Yakama tribes addresses the disparity, representing a deeper step towards justice and food sovereignty for the Yakama Nation.   

Asparagus spears growing out of the soil.

We're proud to continue sourcing local produce from this farmland, as it encourages food equity within our regional food economy. Partnering with Yakama Nation Farms also ensures we have the freshest, best-tasting asparagus—we get it just two days after harvest!   

Chris Harris, New Seasons Produce Category Manager, loves Yakama Nation Farms asparagus because not only have they maintained the same commitment to sustainability as the Inabas, but the asparagus they grow has the same rich texture and farm-fresh flavor we've been enjoying for 24 years. Plus, it's one of his favorite veggies to grill. 

Asparagus spears laid out on a surface with lemon slices arranged throughout.

Yakama Nation Farms uses many sustainable farming techniques, such as drip irrigation, crop cover, crop rotation, and beneficial insects. Still, they want to do more to help monitor the water and utilize energy-efficient water conservation best practices.   

With a focus on tribal food sovereignty and security, Yakama Nation Farms hopes to continue providing the region with high-quality organic produce while reconnecting intertribal trade routes and expanding local food distribution partnerships. 

Yakama Nation Farms also aims to help the Yakama People embrace modern agriculture while honoring traditional land-management practices and community-building ties.  

“Our history with this land goes back time immemorial. Continuing the valuable lessons taught by those who have come before us will be key to our success.”
- Jonalee 
Squeochs, Interim General Manager, Yakama Nation Farms.

Hands holding grain with an illustration of a heart overlayed on top of the hands.

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