Everwilde Farms began as Jubilee Nursery in 1996 when Steve Sykora began growing a few species of native plants for seed. Things grew from there. Here is how Steve tells the story:
"I found a nursery in MN that was looking for growers to grow native wildflowers for seed. The idea of having fields of flowers intrigued me, and so I began growing 4 or 5 different native species on 1/10th of an acre. In 1999 I experimented with about 20 species on about 1/4 acre.
"In the spring of 2000, I was ready to leave my day job at an agricultural engineering office, and launch out into the wildflower field. I began by building a greenhouse to start the seedlings in. That year I started about 25,000 seedlings of about 15 species and planted them out on 2 acres. The next year I had 30 species on 4 acres. That year I faced some challenges as my greenhouse blew down in a windstorm. It was fall before I was able to rebuild it.
"I married my dear wife Janelle in the summer of 2002. Together we were able to keep up with the weeds and harvesting. The spring of 2003 saw 50,000 more seedlings go out of the greenhouse and into the fields, bringing us up to
70 species on 6 acres. We nearly doubled in size in 2005, putting out another 100,000 seedlings. Doing that many seedlings required us to purchase some more machinery like a rotary transplanter and to hire some help. It seems like we are continually growing into new fields..."
After 10 years of wholesale growing, we began to retail our wildflower seeds to those that were interested in our local area. We also started selling our wildflower seeds on the web. We found that people had a tremendous interest in our seeds, and our lifestyle. We started a Wildflower Journal where people could keep up to date on the happenings around our wildflower farm. We had such an interest that we began to carry seeds that were native to other parts of the US, as we had requests from all over the country for wildflower seeds that were native to their own locations. We increased the number of species that we had to offer, and began to get requests for vegetable seeds as well.
We began to sell vegetable seeds and herb seeds alongside the flower and grass seeds, and this was well-received by our customers. We focused on open pollinated and heirloom vegetable varieties, as it mirrored the seed saving work that we were doing with the natives. Things grew, and we broadened our selections by getting seeds in from growers in the Western US. We also bought a small farm in Central WA.
In the spring of 2015 we were forced to sell the WI farm, and the WA farm due to some health issues. The seeds are still being sold out of our retail location in Sand Creek WI, but we have had to rely more on other growers that we had worked with for our seeds. We have a new location in California now, and are amazed at the climate, and how many things can be grown in this area. We are hoping to resume some seed growing operations at this location in the near future!