Hello! My name is Quinne Woolley and I will be a senior Economics major in the fall. This summer, I am the Research and Development Intern for Hacienda Zaragoza, a small, family-owned chicken farm located here in Walla Walla. Hacienda Zaragoza houses over 2000 pasture-raised chickens, as well as some goats, guineafowls, sheep, cows, and dogs. Fortunately for me, I get to spend most of my workday outdoors. I provide fresh food and water to the animals, collect eggs, and wash and package the eggs for selling. Additionally, I have been working on building a website and helping Hacienda Zaragoza to apply for humane certification, so they can widen their consumer base. On Saturday mornings, you can find me at the Walla Walla farmer’s market selling eggs, lemonade, and kettle corn.
If I’ve taken away one important lesson from this, it’s that running a small business requires demanding work. The Lopez family never takes the day off. Everybody helps with collecting and washing eggs, feeding the hens, cleaning the coop, selling at the farmer’s market, delivering eggs, building new coops or infrastructure for the farm, and more. Luckily for them, they are extremely passionate about serving the community and giving their hens happy lives. Mateo and Melissa believe that everyone should know where their food comes from, and that local, small farms are the best places to purchase animal products. Food that comes from factory farms isn’t sustainable, humane, or sourced from healthy animals.
As I noted earlier, one of my goals for this summer is to either help Hacienda Zaragoza obtain humane certification or receive a USDA grant to help their farm grow. If they become humane certified, they can sell to the Whitman College dining hall, for example. Selling to restaurants or grocery stores is much easier for the farm, because it is a consistent source of revenue for them. Going to farmer’s markets can be fun, but it requires a lot more work, and usually we don’t sell as many eggs there. Furthermore, applying for a USDA grant would be helpful for Hacienda Zaragoza, because they are still a young business that needs to expand. With a federal grant, they can build more coops to house more chickens, update their technology to be more efficient, purchase better materials and machines, and ultimately, produce and sell more eggs.
In the end, I hope that my efforts can help Hacienda Zaragoza grow to serve more of Walla Walla. The company has worked tirelessly for the past four years to become the thriving and popular small business it is today. And with a website, potential new business certifications, and plans to apply for federal grants, Hacienda Zaragoza will continue to be an ethical, sustainable, family-oriented business that greatly benefits our community.
Experiences like Quinne’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez