The Pacific Northwest’s oldest family-run, organic farm supply business.
In 1938, Concentrates began as a buyer’s co-op for local farmers, farm supply stores and feed mills who wanted to take advantage of their combined buying power. The original Concentrates co-op members were primarily buying “Feed Concentrates”, which are the different feed ingredients needed for livestock to provide additional minerals, energy, and salts to their base diet of forage and grains. Pallets of 50 pound bags would arrive via train car, and Concentrates staff – in those days known as “the Ant Boys” – would unload them by hand. Fast forward a few decades, and Concentrates grew to be the largest wholesale distributor of Organic fertilizers on the West Coast. Many things have changed, but the most important things stayed the same: a staff that provides quality, friendly service, science and experience-based agricultural knowledge, and low prices.
In the early 1990’s, as Concentrates’ shareholders aged, they invited Bill Sparks (the Bookkeeper turned Manager) to purchase one of the last shares. Later he would buy the old building and the remainder of the shares. Bill & Kelly Sparks own Concentrates now, and employees are given the option to buy shares in the company, too.
In 1997 our General Manager, Heather Havens, joined Concentrates. She expanded and highlighted our organic soil amendments, feed products, and services in the interest of greater animal and soil health. She has a BS in Agriculture from OSU, is an Organic Agriculture educator and consultant, was involved in the creation of the OSU Organic Master Gardener Program, and currently sits on the board of the Portland Area CSA Coalition. Heather began helping farmers and gardeners interpret their soil test results to identify effective organic methods to use less external inputs, build soil health and prevent erosion. This lead to the launching of our formal soil test interpretation program in 2016.
We moved a block away from our small, old building into the old Darigold Warehouse around 2001. That building sold in September 2011, and we moved into our first modern facility October 2011. We are now operating out of a large industrial warehouse in Milwaukie, Oregon, located right down the street from Bob’s Red Mill – another locally owned and community-oriented business.