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Chet & Kamal

Farming From Punjab to Puyallup


When you think of Puyallup, you think about farming. Kamal Sidhu grew up picking berries with his brothers on the family farm. When he graduated high school he went to UW for a Computer Science Degree, but halfway through he realized what he truly wanted was to return to Puyallup and farm with his family.

Kamal’s father Chet says that farming in their family is in their blood. “My father my grandfather my great grandfather…” says Chet. “Go like ten generations back.”

Chet moved to Puyallup 40 years ago, he started off owning a gas station and then bought the farm that his children grew up working on. The kids picked berries and sold them at the farmers markets. The whole family still works at the markets selling produce. “I get to meet people that I went to school with,” says Kamal of working at the Farmers Markets. “And I get to meet new people… it’s almost a deeper connection to the customer.”

Chet describes his pride that the people in the community know his children from buying food from them at the markets and have watched them grow up, even remembering their birthdays and bringing them gifts. He encourages people to offer help to their neighbors and ask for help in return. “ If my neighbors come to me, can you help me this? Yeah, sure, I will,” says Chet. “That's the friendship.”

What happens when you meet your neighbors? How can we increase the feeling of connection between members of our community and their neighbors? Over the past few months we here at Windermere Professional Partners have set out to answer those questions. Based on recommendations from our REALTORS® we set out with a camera crew to speak to our neighbors from the heart about what it means to be a neighbor, to live life fully, and to connect with our community.

Want to see more of the Sidhus? Check out our behind the scenes video.

Produced by Gabriel Ng

- I'm Chet Sidhu from India, Northern of India. I live here in Puyallup.

- My name is Khmo Sing Sidhu, also from Punjab. Lived here all my life. My dad's been here for about 40 years.

- My father, my grandfather, great grandfather, go like 10, 20 generation back berry farming.

- Took me some time to really get into it, but, you know, once you see how things grow and start to understand all of the nuances in growing them, you know I went to school for computer science but went into this field afterwards because I loved it and it was part of our, almost, you know, genetics because we, you know, it goes so far back in the family's history.

- We know like every day what we are eating. That's the big thing. You are totally happy from your heart. I grow myself, I'm eating myself, I'm feeding somebody else, so this is the perfectly, you know, your heart feel happy if you feel something to the people that you know you grow perfectly healthy. So all the farmers, you know, when they talk to each other, they feel like they are so happy, they know what they are eating, they know what they are growing, you know that's the big thing for your life.

- I remember when we used to have to go and pick the blueberries and it wasn't very fun. I remember that, and, you know, since we were pretty young we also went and sold the berries at the farmer's market so those are nice memories too. And slowly learning how what you sell is being produced actually, you know, then it all kind of came together. When I was young I didn't think that this was what I was gonna do. Ever since I was, I would say nine or ten I always wanted to go into the computer profession. That's why I went to school for computer science. A year or two before I graduated I realized that that's not exactly what I wanted to do but you know, that's what I had begun so I finished that and you know, continued on with this. I love seeing things grow. Like the blackberries we have planted here. You know, they start from little plugs and just to realize that something like that or even a seed can grow into something this size and you know, can produce something that's so wonderful is amazing, and learning how that's done is interesting every day.

- Some days perfect you know? Some days, oh my God, why don't we get something else? Things kept changing from now to September, the berry season so we have to stay day and night. We sometimes sleep at midnight, get up at four o'clock again there is no choice, you know we keep going you know, since I move here I always with the American peoples, I love our community. Well the Sikh community is all over the world and you know that you will see the Sikh community, you will see them hard work and very friendly with the people, and any way of legal establish, establish theirself, they establish their community. I know my all neighbors. I'm a very good known in Puyallups, my neighbors. Myself like always get together with my neighbors and we will ask each other if there any help needed. I need it so I tell them, oh can you help me this? So they feel happy to help it. If my neighbors come to me, can you help me this? Yeah, sure, I will. That's the friendship. You know fruit we are selling we are in the market already selling every day over there. But doesn't matter, we can leave the market but we want our neighbor comes to our home, feel happy so they know who we are.

- You know we always hear stories, you know, how they got started and the struggles that they went through, we never had to go through those. It definitely taught us, you know, what hard work is.

- Okay, can you help me pick some berries? They said, oh we're tired, we want to do this, we want to do, I said OK I give you 10 dollars if you do this and my younger son said if you pick one day, second day he said Dad you know, I don't want to waste your money, just keep your money but I can't pick the berries. And I said no no that's not right thing. You have to do this. He was so funny and he liked to talk to me I don't need waste your money. And said your not wasting money. If not you get it somebody else gonna get it but I still want you to pick the berry. So my wife's cousin is my brother's wife. Their main role will be selling. My main role will be controlling the labor and my wife's main role will be just making everything go perfectly to market.

- I went to school here and I guess, you know, that's my main connection to the area and then the farm kind of expanded on that. You know I got to meet people that I went to school with on occasion and then meet a lot of new people.

- I have a lot of things for whole my life you know so I am 64 years old and I'm working since I was small like, with my father you know, probably 10, 12, 11 years old when I started working. You know I was feeding animal, helping my dad, you know, my mom, so it's been a long time. You know I don't know what I miss, and what I, you know, always try to work hard.

- It's nice, you know, when you work so hard to do something and people appreciate it so every time you have a returning customer you know them by name and, you know, they come back and they know what you grow or they ask when will this specific thing be in season? 'cause they know that you grow it and it's, you know, it's almost a deeper connection to the customer.

- You know like in the Puyallup Market, my younger son, he was so small since he went over there all the old ladies, they know him. They know him by name, they know his birthday, they come his birthday and bring the present to him every year. This feels very happy, you know, those ladies, he always come, Dad, they gonna get this present, they give me this present. So I feel proud of him. Always take the help, give the help, you know, so sometimes you have to work hard to just meeting other person's requirement but you do that, provides for everybody the same. If people take their advice, they doesn't have like enemy, you know always friend so you are always happy anyway so that's very good things, don't make any enemy, be friend, friendly everybody.