From the Eyes of founder and owner Roger Schmidt . . .
As a family, our history in the produce business extends back over 60 years. I was introduced to retail produce at a very young age. We lived at our parents fruit stand. Our front door actually opened into the open air market known as Quality Market on highway 99 north of Seattle. My father was in business with his parents in this small grocery store on Highway 99. He was a house painter and worked nights and weekends at the store. My first memories of a "fruit stand" begin with a small shed in front of the store on Highway 99 that looked like a small firecracker stand for the Fourth of July. The front had a door that lifted up and there was one shelf that fruit boxes were displayed on.
When the store was sold for a gas station to be built, my father rented an old building 5 miles north on 99 and in 1950 opened our fresh fruit market. He still painted houses during the daylight hours, and sold flowers and veggies at all other times. Mom was the operator in the daytime while tending to six of us growing, energetic ones. We all learned to work in the market and had daily chores before playtime. It was a great memorable time of fun and family. It was hard at times, but very bonding. From that fruit stand it grew into a large stand and a permanent location known as Quality Market. The market flourished and our family grew up. Mom and Dad always had a love of flowers and had ambitions to start a greenhouse operation.
I met my wife Ellie at the 1962 World's Fair and we were married in Illinois in the fall. It seemed only natural that I would eventually end up in the produce business. At this time there was one event that had a major impact on my life. While living in Illinois before getting married, I was introduced to farming in a much larger and traditional sense of the term "farming". I worked with Ellie's Uncle Bob. It was a great experience, and it left deep tracks in my being. After returning to Washington State, we started our family and I ended up in the produce business. We operated Yakima Fruit Market in Bothell for years. The lure of the land, green grass and land ownership attracted me to Sequim.
I was actually born in Port Angeles, my grandparents homesteaded on the Hoko River, and my great-grandparents homesteaded on Dickey Lake by Lake Ozette. Once in Sequim, it did not take long before I planted vegetables. Soon we were selling everything we grew out of our garage. When someone asked for tomatoes and peaches, the mold was cast.
The store as we know it today was opened June 5, 1979. Many times I am asked if I ever thought the store would come to develop to the extent that it is. I can honestly say that "in my mind we are not finished yet. There is more to come."
To Be Continued . . .
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