Dec 04, 2014 • By

How Cascadian Farm got its start

The story of Cascadian Farm begins with the story of its founder, Gene Kahn.

40 years ago, Gene was an idealistic 24-year old grad-school dropout from Chicago, who just wanted to make a difference in the world.

Intrigued by the fragile balance between nature and humans and inspired by reading “Silent Spring” and “Diet For A Small Planet”, he wanted to grow crops in a way that would not harm the land. So he began farming organically near the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, in 1972.

Gene Kahn

Gene’s method was to work in harmony with nature, preserving the soil and protecting the rivers and streams around the farm. Cascadian Farm soon became a thriving organic food company, preserving and selling jams, frozen fruits and vegetables.

Little did he know, but he would be one of the pioneers of an agricultural strategy that is enjoying great success and growth.

He was “organic” before organic was vogue.


Gene’s original farm is still in use. You can take a virtual tour, here.

And, from May to October, the farm’s Roadside Stand is open daily. Visitors stop by for fresh, seasonal berries, learn about organic farming, enjoy a picnic in the farm’s flower garden or try some delicious homemade organic berry ice cream.


Cascadian Farm joined General Mills in 2000 and is one of the nation’s leading producers of wholesome, organic food offering more than 75 high-quality organic products including cereals, granola bars, frozen fruits and vegetables, fruit spreads and more.

Editor’s note: Look for more posts in our “Origin Stories” series in our History category. 

Discover more about our past on GeneralMills.com and on our history Tumblr. If you have a question about General Mills’ history, send our Archives team an email.  

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