Growing up on a farm granted Ryan and Shane Stonemetz a firsthand look at the injustices of the industrial-food market. The brothers watched their father and grandfather toil daily to make ends meet and subsequently swore off entering the family business. However, as the pair established their adult lives in Portland and Seattle, they realized that injustices live forever unless someone puts up a fight.
And so began ProFarm Produce, a small farm-to-customer enterprise that lowers prices for shoppers and increases wages for farmers by eliminating the middleman. The company started with nothing more than a 12-foot truck and a bed full of organic cherries, but it has since grown to a fleet of trucks thanks to an extra-potent fertilizer that's safe for automobiles' digestion. The expanding staff transports ProFarm's bounty to 20 area farmers' markets and various wholesale clients. ProFarm also participates in a CSA program that provides weekly boxes of fresh, local produce to participants in surrounding communities.
At the family-owned The Bead Shop , an affable staff equips jewelry-makers with all the tools they need to craft a beaded work of art. The shop’s collection of supplies surprises eyes with its chromatic array of Swarovksi crystals, pearls, and semiprecious beads that visitors can incorporate into necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories. Kazuri beads hand-painted by the tribeswomen of Kenya add an African flair to pieces, while 24-karat gold tila beads mesmerize strangers easily distracted by shiny objects. The staff leads dozens of beading classes each month, as well as more specialized instruction in crafting pieces including crochet necklaces.