Seeder: Rex Rolle, Simpson Street Farm
The Farm: 0.9 acres in the heart of the Cully neighborhood in NE Portland
What They Seed: A variety of vegetables for Farmers Markets and restaurants in NE Portland
Where You Can Find Them:
Farmers Markets: King (Sunday), Cully (Thursday)
Feeders They Supply:
Restaurants: Nepo 42, Grain & Gristle, Old Salt Marketplace, Pure Simple Juice, Alameda Cafe, AirBnB
When the large lot in front of Rex Rolle’s parent’s house in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland came up for sale, they feared it would be subdivided or developed into condos. Without a set plan for the property, they purchased it to prevent that from happening.
Rex, who after a short career of landscaping, had taken to farming. He spent one season as a poultry manager on a large biodynamic farm in Southern California called Apricot Lane Farm. In 2013, he left there to return to his home city of Portland and rented the property and large house from his parents, which needed plenty of fixing up. A few sessions with a rented sod cutter helped Rex turn the overrun lawn into garden beds and Simpson St Farm was born. 2015 is the second season for Rex at Simpson St Farm. He has the greater part of the lot planted in a variety of vegetables, including a small plot as a “home garden” for he and his roommates. Chickens (both laying hens and meat birds) are in a couple of runs on the lower part of the lot and handful of bee hives on the property are managed by a friend of Rex’s. A number of fruit trees were planted in the Spring of 2014.
Produce from the farm is sold at a couple of local farmers markets as well as to nearby restaurants.
As a new farmer, Rex is grateful for his neighbors, many of whom have years of farming experience and/or their own urban farms. The Cully neighborhood now has over 28 urban farms in the area.
Rex has a dream to turn Simpson St Farm into an urban learning center. In the fall of 2015 he will begin working with students from a nearby middle school. Teaching is something he’s always wanted to do and Simpson St Farm will be a wonderful way to share his knowledge and beautiful space so more people can come to appreciate urban agriculture.