BUCKLEY, Wash. — Working the land has been a way of life in Buckley for more than a century but the crops at Simple Goodness Farm are one-of-a-kind – because they’re grown exclusively for cocktails.
"As far as we know, we're the only farm that is farming specifically and only for the bar scene," said Venise Cuinningham, who runs Simple Goodness Sisters with her real-life sibling Belinda Kelly.
They use ingredients from an acre of sustainably-farmed herbs and plants to make simple syrups under the Simple Goodness Sisters label.
"It's my dream garden,” Kelly said.
It's a twist on farm-to-table dining – the sisters call it "garden to glass."
“When we say the herbs go into it, the herbs that we picked the day before we bottled are actually going into it,” Cuinningham said.
The seeds for their partnership were planted early. Their childhood in rural Pierce County included small farms, cooking and canning with grandmothers, and a shared appreciation for good food.
"We also ended up marrying best friends. It's really dorky,” Kelly said, laughing. “It's embarrassing to say out loud! We had our kids two weeks apart and we married best friends... but it's true!"
They do manage to split their duties at work. Cuinningham runs the farm and Kelly handles the mixology. She also operates the Happy Camper Cocktail Co., a mobile cocktail trailer, using edible flowers from the farm as garnishes.
"Cocktail is a moment to celebrate and enjoy a really delicious taste and it should be as good as possible, and good food starts with how it's grown,” she said.
At Simple Goodness Farm, it's grown with love and tended by family – a new generation of farmers who hope what they put in the ground will give others a reason to raise a glass.
"It's not about how fancy your drink looks, it's about how it tastes and who you're drinking it with and how it makes you feel,” Kelly said. “We really want that Garden to Glass movement to spread everywhere."