Annie Lee-Bartelamia remembers the first paid job she had growing up on her family’s farm near Tualatin. She wasn’t just handed a task, like weeding the pumpkin patch or picking apples. She was given a small plot of soil where she planted and tended cut flowers that she could sell and keep the money.
Lee-Bartelamia says it was the same for her four siblings.
“We were encouraged to start and create new roles on our own,” Lee-Bartelamia says.
Owner Craig Lee wanted to avoid the tension he experienced when he returned to the farm with a master’s degree in agricultural science and a minor in education from Oregon State, and proposed adding a pumpkin patch on his parent’s Century Farm.
Lee-Bartelamia credits her dad with encouraging his children to develop new ideas, creating avenues of revenue to sustain everyone who wants to participate in the family business.
That includes Lee-Bartelamia who has been working full-time at the farm since she was 19. She enjoys cooking and runs the farm store, selling baked goods, produce, jams and jellies, seasonal decorations and gifts. Her husband, Noah Bartelamia, helps his father-in-law hauling hay, running tractors and maintaining the grounds, in addition to helping in the farm store.
Teagan Lee-Milera quit her job as a pharmaceutical representative to become the farm’s operations manager. She’s in charge of bookkeeping, scheduling, budgeting and logistics.
Kara Lee-Huffman is the yard manager, in charge of all the seasonal employees. She also coordinates the school tours that visit the farm.
Like his sister, Tommy Lee, 19, worked on the family farm growing up. He plans to work there another year before enrolling for fall 2019 to study business at Oregon State.
Meanwhile, the fourth generation, Larry Lee, 87, is still active on the farm and raising cattle, while the seventh generation is growing up, learning the family work ethic and experiencing a lifestyle that is slowly disappearing from the Portland Metro area.