What started as a way to pay for college while providing a local source of beef for Whidbey Island residents has slowly grown over the course of 13 years.
The North Whidbey company, 3 Sisters Beef, completed its latest expansion recently by opening a market in San De Fuca that will give people another place to purchase locally grown products.
The business, owned by the Muzzall family and called 3 Sisters Market, is selling beef, pork and eggs at the former San de Fuca fire station located on Highway 20 at the western edge of Penn Cove. The Muzzalls are leasing the former fire station that officials from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue closed years ago. It had been vacant since.
In addition to the beef, pork and eggs from the Muzzalls’ farm, the new outlet will also offer another retail space for local farmers and food producers to sell their products.
“Pretty much everything local you can think of, we’re going to put in here,” Jessica Muzzall said. She will run the day-to-day operations of the retail space.
Three Sisters Market has fresh produce from Bell’s Farm and Willowood Farm. Muzzalls hope to find more products on Whidbey.
“We’re working with all of the farmers to get their support,” Jessica said.
After scrubbing the floors and decorating the former fire station, the market opened Saturday before closing again Sunday for Easter and re-opening again Monday morning. Jessica said the Saturday opener went well and she sold out of the produce she had on hand.
The Muzzalls have been farming on Whidbey Island for four generations and they celebrated 100 years on Whidbey in 2010. A long-time dairy farmers, they have been selling grass-fed beef to Whidbey Island residents since 2000 under the name 3 Sisters Beef.
“We thought we’d take advantage of people wanting local products,” Shelly Muzzall said.
The beef sales also provided a way to help pay for college for the three Muzzall sisters, the last of whom will attend Bellevue College. They remain involved with the business either through tending to the animals or running the business, or a little bit of both.
Beef from 3 Sisters Beef is available at Saar’s Market Place in Oak Harbor, Prairie Center in Coupeville and all of the supermarkets on the south end of the island. Three Sisters Beef has participated in local farmer’s markets, but with the opening of the retail spot, it may not return, Shelly said.
Shelly said 3 Sisters Beef started a late-fall farmers market in 2011 at the corner of Highway 20 and Monroe Landing Road. Whidbey’s farmers market season had just concluded and local growers still had crops to sell.
Three Sisters Beef is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. For more information, go to www.3sistersbeef.com