Nisqually Springs Farm logo

Our History

Grandpa Schorno is the Blonde in the middle.Walter "Grandpa" Schorno emigrated in 1927 from Steinen, Switzerland to Pleasanton, California and found employment milking cows by hand. In 1932 he took a job milking at the Oakwood Dairy in Fife, Washington where he learned about milk routes and how to process fluid milk while milking 20 cows by hand twice a day. In 1937 Grandpa bought a dairy farm near the current Nisqually Springs Farm location creating Schorno Dairy. He began by purchasing the 1935 World Champion Jersey Bull "Gold Blonde Count" and the bull "Sumaris Rush" as the genetic basis for his own dairy herd. In Grandpa's day, organic farming was the standard. Farms produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, GMO's or growth hormones.

Throughout the 1940's and 50's Schorno Dairy became the largest dairy herd in Washington State with 520 registered Jersey cows. The Dairy supplied milk to Fort Lewis as well as many of the surrounding communities. To make things better he hired Alice Williams from North Dakota to cook for the crew and pasteurize milk, and later they married. They had three boys who helped run the farm. Grandpa Schorno sold his Jersey herd in 1949 at the highest average price per head in the United States, of which 49 cows were classified excellent. He replaced them with Holstein cows to boost milk production. In 1952 Grandpa Schorno then sold the dairy routes to Ft. Lewis Dairy for health reasons and retired from the dairy business.

Retirement did not last long. In 1964 Grandpa Schorno decided to leave retirement and buy the current location of Nisqually Springs Farm on the Nisqually River. He saw great potential in the sandy loam soil and abundant artesian spring water flowing on this 253 acre farm. In 1961 Grandpa's son Larry married Gail Edwards and started a family having four children. Larry and Gail purchased the farm in 1981 and raised Holstein heifers. The family developed Nisqually Springs Farm into what it is today. In 2007 the farm received Organic Certification.

Gail passed away in 2008, but her love of gardening and her passion for organic farming was passed on to her children. Son Glenn focused on making the Yelm farm site more productive while using many of the same methods as Grandpa Schorno. Glenn received blessings from his Dad to plow into new territory with a focus on organic production and agritourism, while boosting efficiency of the farm's natural resources. In 2014 the next generation purchased 210 acres of the farm land from their father Larry.