Yes there is a “Vern”
Vern’s Organic Topsoil & Bark was founded by Vernon R. Martinson on the 40 acre farm homestead by his grandfather Mikal Martinson. Mikal emigrated from Norway in 1883 and proceeded to work his way west via the logging camps. At one of the Midwest logging camps he met and fell in love with a pretty Norwegian girl named Martha Andersen. She moved on to Tacoma and he soon followed and married her.
There weren’t many parcels of land by then, but they heard of some homesteads available on the Kitsap Peninsula and in about 1887 they filed a homestead claim for forty acres located 2 miles north of Poulsbo, where Vern’s Organic Topsoil now exists. worked hard to build a log home and clear a few acres to farm. The log home that was built about 1895 still stands on the farm. Eventually, the farm was passed down to his son Birger Martinson who managed to clear the rest of the stumpage, build a new house in 1928 and later a new barn and establish a small dairy herd. When Birger retired in 1961 the farm was purchased by his son Vernon.
After high school, Vern worked several years at the Port Gamble sawmill and then drove a commercial dairy delivery truck for Darigold for 13 years, but he was always a farmer at heart. He and his family worked hard to improve the dairy herd and make the farm as productive as possible. As milking herds disappeared in Kitsap County, Vern decided to sell Grade A milk directly to the public. He and his wife, Pat operated Vern’s Milkhouse producing and bottling that wonderful Grade A raw milk with the thick layer of cream on top. Many local families were raised on Vern’s milk. He especially loved showing the children around the farm and milking parlor.
While operating the dairy, Vern built a pond on the property and had a huge mound of rich black soil. And, of course, he had an ample supply of cow manure. Mixing the two together and selling the resulting topsoil was the beginning of a new business. At first, Vern mixed his topsoil with a rotovator and pitched the rocks out with a pitchfork. It was hard work, especially while milking cows 365 days a year and all that entailed. The demand for topsoil grew at the same time regulations in the dairy business were becoming too intrusive – so, the dairy cows were sold, beef cattle purchased and Vern’s Milkhouse became Vern’s Organic Topsoil & Bark.
Over the years, the business has continued to grow and develop. New screening plants and loaders; bigger trucks and an ever increasing line of products have replaced Vern’s pitchfork and rotovator, but the most important ingredient in Vern’s Organic Topsoil & Bark remains the same: our commitment to the customers to supply a quality product at a fair price and to provide the best service possible.
Vern and Pat Martinson retired and the business name was acquired by their daughter Cathleen and her husband Sam Allen. All of their children have worked at the family business at one point or another. The business continues to improve and grow. The integrity and commitment to value and service that Vern valued so highly are just as important today as when he started out. The customers of Vern’s Organic Topsoil will always be considered friends.