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Back in 1974,

when Valiant was looking for someone to build their breakthrough, Perry design performance cruiser, the VALIANT 40, the realities of politics and the oil embargo of the Arab Israeli war provided production capabilities that Uniflite in Bellingham, Washington, one of the major and well respected Power Boat builders of that era, was able to fulfill.

Uniflite, at that time, had the expertise in Sailboat construction, having built the famous Annapolis 44' Yawls for the Annapolis Naval Academy for training their future officers, as well as having the necessary supplies of resin to build boats, a valuable and scare product during this time of embargoes. Even more importantly, they had within the structure of the Uniflite company, a "Contracts Division". The scarcity and high cost of fuel had put a damper on their powerboat production and thus they were eager to diversify their manufacturing output and to become involved with this new sailboat, the VALIANT 40, a new and innovative design with a traditional look from the waterline up and with a very modern underbody.

Within the "Contracts Division" there were a bunch of young, enthusiastic boat builders who enjoyed the challenges of building unusual boats such as Target Boats and Landing Craft for the U.S. Navy. The challenge of building a sailboat within the "Contracts Division" was no small feat. They had to beef up their production line with a greater number of employees and with new employees who could fulfill the production specialties of building a world class sailboat. Everything was in high gear, during a time that the oil embargoes and fiberglass shortages had hurt so many of the boat builders and manufacturers. In the 70's, at a time when many other companies were going out of business and laying off personnel, Uniflite was casting out for the cream of the crop, for employees who had the skills, knowledge and love of boating, to handle the 40 or more Valiants that were eventually produced there each year. Within their own ranks, they found a few motivated, energetic young people, who were anxious to take on such a project.

It was a sunny Bellingham day,

in 1958 when Karol, a bright and curious 7 year old, who had her face pressed against the car window, was focusing on anything new and luscious to behold. She loved her family and their weekend "adventures" in the car, but she just had to focus somewhere, anywhere outside of the clamber of her 6 siblings, the 9 members of this family, all of whom were stuffed like sardines into their family Nash Rambler.

Rows and rows of beans, carrots and lettuce shined in the afternoon sun on a beautiful little farm just next to the road. Karol had picked veggies from their small kitchen garden which fed her family of nine, but this beautiful stretch of vegetables was more than she had ever seen. This was Joe's Garden, a small local truck garden, which provided fresh produce for the local Bellingham stores. Happy Valley Bellingham, was a small town, a good place to farm and to raise a family, but this beautiful garden and setting never left Karol's memory and eventually, it would change her life FOREVER!

The ocean passage

on the big steamer wasnt anything like Joe had imagined. Quarters were small, seas were huge, the ship smelled of people in jammed living quarters, cooking, cargo and all of the smells of a cargo/passenger ship of 1900's. The decks were crowded with sea sick passengers, but Joe was happy, he was with his parents and the family was going home, to a "home" he'd never seen, he was going back to the birthplace of his parents, in Northern Italy. It was 1913 and Joe, who had been born in San Francisco, was 7 years old.

Another Italian family rejoiced at the birth of their only child, Ann Del-Tedesca in 1910, in a small village in Northern Italy. The father of the Del-Tedesca family, immigrated to the U.S. where he found work in the coal mines of Washington State in a small mountain town of Cle Elum, Washington. Ann and her mother came to be with him in 1924, she was 14 years old and they were moving from Italy to Bellingham, Washington, where her father had found work in the coal mines there. Bellingham was a better place than Cle Elum for young Ann; it was on Puget Sound and the smell of Salt Water, the temperate climate and the hilly lush green forests were a joy for this beautiful young girl.

When Joe turned 18, he faced a dilemma. If he stayed in Italy, because of the threat of a world wide war, he would most assuredly lose his U.S. citizenship, a birthright he cherished, or he could leave his family, come to America and begin to build a new life as a young adult. And so it was, that Joe again crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a big cargo/passenger ship, but this time, he came to the Pacific Northwest, to the small village of Ferndale, Washington, a dairy community to this day, where he took work milking cows. His spare time was spent practicing his English; it would need to improve if he was going to fit in here, if he was going to fulfill his dreams of having his own business, a piece of land and of making a new life here in America.

Milking cows all day long was a hard and unpleasant way to make a living, so the following fall, Joe came to work on his uncles farm, "Adolph's Truck Farm", where he delivered fresh vegetables to the market. Working alongside Joe was Louie, a man who was to become Joe's friend and then a relative, Louie was Ann's father.

Louie invited Joe home for Sunday dinner, and his instinct had been right, these 2 young people, Ann and Joe were obviously smitten by each other and a few short weeks later, Joe and Ann went on their first date, a movie date. Beautiful Lake Whatcom which is right outside of Bellingham was the most romantic spot that Joe could imagine, when he proposed to Ann. They were married January 10th, 1931, in a spectacular garden setting on West Street in Bellingham. Joe was 25 and Ann was 21.

In 1933, just 2 years after being wed, Joe and Ann moved to their home on Taylor Avenue where they started their own vegetable garden and where they still live today. Vegetables from Joe's Garden were labeled "From Joe's" by the local greengrocers, grocery stores and neighborhood markets. The vegetables that Joe and Ann grew were superior to any of their competition and 70 years later, the "label" remains as a standard by which all others are judged.

Joe and Ann still delight the customers who have shopped for some of Washington's prize vegetables for generations with their families. The garlic that Joe imported from Italy is still considered to be one of the best strains of garlic available, and the awards, State Fair ribbons, media coverage, newspaper articles and Magazine photo stories could well fill a small trunk.

The garlic came to Joe from his Uncle in Italy, some 80 years ago. The Italian Silver Skin Soft Neck, grew the best with the most pungent flavor. Every year, Joe who is now 94, picks out the very best garlic for next years seed and the rest of the crop is braided by him daily for the customers of Joe's Garden. Joe still helps in planting seeds and continues to share his unmeasurable wealth of knowledge with the present owners of Joe's Garden. Ann can be found on most "good weather" days, greeting old familiar customers, working on her seedlings and flower garden and sharing her many heart warming stories. Garlic is part of the Italian life style as much as a good Carlo Rossi Wine is to Joe. It is the only wine he drinks.

In January of 2001, Joe and Ann celebrated, with much media coverage, their 70th wedding anniversary!

It was 7:00 am,

June 9th, 1959 and Carl Weston, a 3rd generation South Sider from Bellingham, was celebrating his 15th birthday with a new job! Joe's Garden was ready for the summer work crew and though Joe thought Carl was a little young, he recognized that Carl had the big tough body that strenuous farm work would require and that he had the interest in the land, drive and motivation and he loved the garden, from the smell of the soil to the feel of the renown veggies grown here. Joe gave Carl a "trial job". This trial job lasted for 10 years, including military years.

Carl approached Joe and Ann about buying the farm, even at 19 he had wanted that farm, he knew it was his destiny, but at that time, Joe was only 57 years old and not ready to sell, but Carl knew he wanted to someday own the farm, he knew it would be he, who would next hold the soil, the secrets and the love of Joe's Garden. Carl went into the army.

After his tour of duty in the Army, Carl returned in the spring of 1968 and worked through the gardening season, well into October. Joe's Garden would again be closed for the season. Uniflite was a large company who was hiring full time workers and with essentially no boat building experience, Carl applied for and began working a new job at Uniflite. When spring came in 1969, the lure of the soil, the garden and Joe, pulled Carl back for yet another season and as fall once again came, with the outlook of any late seasonal work being pretty slim, Carl again presented himself at the personnel office of Uniflite. As before, they were happy to see this enthusiastic young man back on their payroll. This season at Uniflite, Carl would be learning to install vinyl carpet in the boats.

In the spring of 1970,

everything was new and fresh at the garden once again. This season, Carl was to return to work with Joe, but this year, there were changes in Carl's life as well; he and Karol had been married. Joe gave Carl the job of delegating the crew for harvesting, delivering to stores and negotiating daily wholesale. From the age of 17, Carl could delegate jobs to fellow employees and take grocery store orders. The hours at Joe's garden were long, sometimes in season one could easily put in 70, 80 or even 90 hours a week, a difficult decision had to be made. Would Carl continue on with the seasonal hours, dividing between Uniflite in the fall and winter, and Joe's Garden in the spring and summer, or would he follow through on his desire to spend more time together with Karol?

With one look at Karol's sweet face and embracing arms, the die was cast and so it was, he began a full time job with Uniflite. This time he was the Metal Railing and Metal Trim Installer.

That fall, Carl who had previously worked at Uniflite, went back to Uniflite and was hired as a woodworker on the 42' Uniflite and the following year, Carl was made the Lead Man on the night shift. Uniflite, in a time of darkness for so many businesses, was flourishing and so was the value of Carl Weston to that company. Carl was then put in charge of the start up project on the 34' Uniflite and with his management style and his quick ability to rise to the top of every project that was given him, it was only a few more months later that Uniflite approached the Westons about moving to Swansboro, North Carolina to help start up the Uniflite Boat Manufacturing Line there.

Stanley Dabney

(the Vice President & one of the original founders of Valiant Yachts) and his wife Sylvia, were in Bellingham at the Uniflite factory in 1974, going over final production ideas with Nathan Rothman, Valiant Yachts President, and also with Carl Weston who was now a leadman in the "Contracts Division". Carl, Karol, Sylvia and Stanley formed a fast friendship there, that has continued for nearly 30 years.

Carl was presented the new Valiant Sailboat Project by Uniflite, and because of his motivation and intense pride in doing everything better than it had ever been done before, Carl embraced his work on the Valiant line, making each boat that came off the line, better and better.

It was 1970,

Karol was 18 and newly engaged, when she and her sister drove into Joe's Garden to pick up a few fresh veggies, and of course, fresh garlic for the family dinner. It was eleven years since Karol had first been struck by this beautiful garden, by this very special small piece of land.

A handsome, blonde, well built young man with a crate of lettuce on his strapping shoulders, came up to them to help with their selection. It was one of those moments that was meant to be, they took one look at each other, Karol slipped her engagement ring off of her hand and six months later, they were married. Karol was 19 and Carl was just 25.

In 1976,

Valiant Yachts was considering building yet another Bob Perry design, to broaden their market appeal. This boat would be a slightly smaller version of the Valiant 40, sleeker in overall outside appearance, with little or no teak and with a lighter and brighter interior. This boat would be called an Esprit 37.

OFFSHORE ATLANTIC YACHTS image (The author and her husband sailing their Esprit 37 in 1979)

About this same time,

Steve Nordvelt, who is the son of the Uniflite's founder, began thinking of spreading his wings and starting his own company, a factory which would build all sorts of strong yachts, from tugboats to sailboats. Steve approached Carl about joining him in this new boat company; the name would be NORDIC YACHTS. Right on the spot, Carl told Steve, "YES"! Steve was a little surprised at first, that Carl had not "talked it over" with Karol first, but like everyone else, who knew Carl and Karol's relationship, he knew that they thought as one and Karol would be right at Carl's side as Carl would be at Karol's.

Carl always stopped by Joe's Garden to buy veggies and fresh garlic for his family, but mostly, he wanted to let Joe know that he was still interested in buying the garden, if the place ever was for sale. Carl and Karol knew that what they really wanted to do was to farm.

Carl was one of the Owners of Nordic Yachts and also Production Manager. Nordic began with the intention of building sailboats, but then came an offer to build the Bristol Bay 32' fishing boats, and since they had all worked together in the Contracts Division at Uniflite and Valiant Yachts wanted to diversify, as far as builders, the new Esprit 37 project was exactly what Nordic Yachts was looking for and so it was decided, that they would be the builders of this sleek new boat.

Karol was working as the Garden Shop Manager at a local shop in Ferndale, Washington at this time. Carl and Karol, through these years, always operated or owned Garden Shops or Nursery Greenhouses, as second jobs along with their major line of work, but as much as they loved working with the earth, they still had the "sailing lust", so they decided to build their own Esprit 37, while they could take advantage of Carl's position at Nordic Yachts.

When hull #11 came on the production line, they decided this would be the perfect choice for them and for six months, keeping their boat right in line on the production line, they worked every weekend and nights after their regular jobs. Karol's sister Marcy who had worked with Carl at Uniflite during the Valiant years, and her husband, John showed up every night after work, to help with this "family" project. Combined, there were five kids who had the full run of the factory; it was a wonderful and fun time for these kids, an adventure of making small wood toys and exploring and crawling through all of the boats on the production line.

It was time,

Joe and Ann were tired, more tired every night then they had been the day before. It was time to pass the reins, they knew this day would come and they knew there was only one phone call to make, only one person to entrust with the garden, the soil, the garlic, only one person who was really interested and had wanted to take over.

The day that Carl and Karol got the call from Joe and Ann, that the farm was available, was a day that would change their whole world around, from that day on. Arrangements were made with Joe and Ann, which included a clause that would make all parties more secure and happy than they had thought would be possible, in such a business transaction, a clause included, that would help escalate the business with Carl and Karol's careful stewardship and astute business sense. Carl's "other" fascination and knowledge had always been in economics and finance. Because of respect for Joe and Ann, it was decided that included in the transaction between Joe and Ann and Carl and Karol, were the terms that Joe and Ann would continue to live out their lives in their home on their own piece of property; their home which is just on the corner of the garden property, 100' from the Spring House, where all the customers come in to buy their garlic, their bounty of vegetables and their baskets of fragrant herbs and flowers.

With Joe as a teacher, a guardian and patriarch of the garden and the "historic guru" of all of Joe's Garden, Carl and Karol were able to learn even more than they thought was possible, more than they could have ever learned as employees of Joe's, about farming. The presence of Joe and Ann has been an influence of friendship and family and warmth that has entwined these two families for so many years. Customers so look forward to seeing both Joe and Ann and to visit their lovely flower garden and to have coffee in their garden patio among the roses.

On March 3, 1983, Carl and Karol left boat manufacturing behind them and became farmers, full time farmers, full time owners of their very much loved...JOE'S GARDEN.

Carl and Karol have been married

for 31 years. It has been one of those very special relationships, that is truly a happy joining of 2 people. They are best friends and working partners. In those years, not much has changed at Joe's Garden. The garden still provides produce for the community. Customers have become good friends, former workers return to show their children where they happily worked on those warm summer days, people visit from all over the world and precious memories and friendships fill them daily.

Rows and rows of fresh flowers have been added to the garden, a beautiful sight to behold and as it turned out, a profitable market item for Joe's Garden as well. Karol spends all day just keeping up with the fresh flowers her customers purchase. She puts together really big beautiful and fragrant bouquets which are a highlight of Joe's Garden.

Hours are long and fast paced during the season. Carl and Karol work side by side on the now 7 = acres at the farm, but like ships at sea, they really dont see each other much during the day. Karol makes deliveries with her big vegetable decorated white delivery truck, makes T.V. appearances and is often interviewed by newspaper writers, recipe collectors and history buffs. Each days work is different and new challenges meet them daily. Karol says it never gets old, only the farmers do! After working all day in the garden, Karol says that she and Carl sit on their patio overlooking the farm and discuss how the day went. They both agree that their work is very rewarding to them.

By the middle of October, the vegetables are plowed under forming rich furrows for the winter, the "Closed for Season" sign hangs on the barn door, vacation time has come and in a few months, after a much needed hiatus, a new season will begin.

Carl and Karol travel the world in their "off season". Reminiscent of French family vineyards, today Carl and Karol live in a fabulous Chateau style house just above the farm, which they designed and built. It is filled with family warmth, joy and love. Every room looks out over the beauty of the garden, a garden filled with garlic, basil, vegetables of all sorts and colorful and fragrant fresh flowers; it is a special place within a special place.

OFFSHORE ATLANTIC YACHTS image (Rows & Rows of the "best" garlic, hand picked by Joe, from last years crop, hanging to dry and then used for seed for the coming years crop - Carl Weston)

The garlic from Joe's Garden

The garlic from Joe's Garden continues to win accolades from Gourmet Chefs from the Virgin Islands to Alaska as well as from the old time regular clients who come by car and truck to buy fresh and braided garlic from Joe's hand. When these folks pull out of the garden, their cars and trucks are loaded up with fresh and fragrant flowers, herbs, vegetables and one of the worlds greatest and best kept secrets- "GARLIC FROM JOE'S GARDEN".it is still said with pride, "From Joe's"!

There is no other garden that can boast the knowledge and success that Carl and Karol have, of contained space gardening. Carl tests experimental seed varieties for various companies, guards the soil and the seeds with the future in mind, a knowledge that he and Karol are passing to their son Jason and his wife Wendy.

OFFSHORE ATLANTIC YACHTS image (One of the many climate controlled greenhouses with thousands of fresh basil starts)

All of the weeding

and harvesting is done by hand, there have been no sprays used for over 16 years, soil tests are regularly done and passed and by practicing sustainable agriculture - literally TAKING CARE OF THE EARTH RESPONSIBLY, the garden thrives with the concept that taste is more important than durability and the garden will continue on for future generations of Joe's Garden aficionados.

From Karol:

"We were so proud

of the boat we built. We will always have the best memories of building her with our family and with our two sons, vacationing throughout the San Juan Islands and all of us being together on a strong and sturdy vessel we made with our own hands.

Gardening has always been in our blood. Throughout our marriage and the raising of our kids and no matter what else we did to make a living, the rich soil of the earth always beckoned us. Our sons were with us in the gardens most of their lives. I can remember one time when Jason was five years old, he would play with his little dirt trucks under the greenhouse plant benches and often, because our hours were so long and many times we were working double jobs, it would be late at night and we were still working. This one night, poor little Jason just fell asleep playing under the plant benches. We didnt know where he was and frantically, we looked everywhere, but we couldnt find him. We called the police , there is no word for this feeling of panic when your child is missing, and we needed help and we needed it immediately! The search began again and it was some time until someone called out that they had found Jason.they had found our little boy sound asleep under the greenhouse plant tables, hugging his little dirt tractors.

After high school, our son Jason went on to work in heavy construction and found that it just wasnt the life for him and that he wanted to return to gardening with his dad at Joe's Gardens and so he is back, ever since, with his new bride Wendy. His job is to sell produce to the grocery stores, lettuce cutting and delivering. When that is done, he is in charge of tractor and equipment maintenance and crew and plant production. Wendy helps at the Garden and enjoys the daily tasks and together, they look forward to their future and their "story" at Joe's Garden.

Our son Nathan and his wife Peggy live in Seattle. They chose not to remain on the farm, but wanted different jobs where they could have the weekends off and go sailing!!! He is in the high tech business of Fiber Optic Line installation, focusing on those large, downtown Seattle office buildings where he helps everyone get online, bringing more and more people to the world of the future.

We have been here now starting our 19th season and we look back at all of the young students who have worked for us over the years and it makes us feel so good when they stop in and remind us of how much fun they had working on Joes Garden. They all say it was hard but rewarding work. They point out the changes in new green houses and the retail store is larger inside and that we have a larger check-out stand and we remind them that Bellingham has really grown over the years and it is our customer count that has really grown.

There have been some changes, but then, we have customers who come in and say that this is the one place in Bellingham that hasn't changed in all the years and that they are so pleased to see us here. We always reassure them that the farm is in great hands and that our son Jason will be taking it over soon and he and Wendy plan to retain the same wonderful products and service that Joe and Ann provided the community, for years to come.

I must tell you that working the farm and trying to raise two kids and work with them daily, really took a lot out of me. The boys were 13 and 11 years old when we bought Joe's Garden. They would get tired working on the farm and they would want to play or go to the beach or take a day and go fishing. I will always remember and thank my mother who would stop by the garden and surprise the boys with fishing poles in the car and a day of fine fishing. Carl would look around for them and I'd simply say, "they've gone fishing with their grandma". That will be a great memory for them too.

There really is work to be done her even in spring and winter. The weather in the Pacific NorthWest can change so quickly and here on our "pioneer" style farm (which we compare to the high-tech factory greenhouse growers) someone needs to be around to close the glass cold frames on the seedling planters if the temperature drops, or to open them if it gets too hot. In the winter, the snow loads can bring a hoop green house down, in minutes. That's why we decided to build our home overlooking the garden and to become permanent caretakers. In the winter, we shovel snow off the green house gutters, in the spring we open and close green house panels and adjust green house temperatures at any necessary hour. Trust me - shoveling snow off the green house gutters is right up there in the 'fun league' with cleaning the bottom of a boat.

(Looking down over Joe's Garden from the hill where our house now stands)

Carl and I have always

enjoyed gardening and found it very enriching to work the soil and to care for the soil. The rewards are many and great, from the simple feeling of peace, when we walk around our yard with a great big cup of coffee, and look at our own garden flowers and shrubs blooming, to the knowledge of what can be done with our own two hands, andhow greatly that expands when you count the helping hands of so many others. When we bought the farm, we knew that with our knowledge of gardening, this is what we would enjoy doing the rest of our time together. It's quite a 'job' we bought, but with a nice long winter off, we're ready every season to get at the farming again and we will enjoy another good year with the earth and what it brings us. With Joe and Anna at our sides; another good year is another blessing.

At night, we walk home, looking back at the sight of peas in long rows and all the colors that vegetables and flowers can grow and we bask in the knowledge that tomorrow we will start another growing day, harvesting and selling our harvest and we will never have to fight traffic commuting to work!"




1 = cups shelled walnuts, chopped
2 pounds Swiss Chard, washed
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound linguine, cooked according to package directions
1/2 pound Jack cheese, grated

Place walnuts in a large skillet and toast over medium heat for about ten minutes. Set aside. Trim the chard, discarding tough stems and coarsely chopping the leaves. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about ten minutes until soft. Add the chard and season with salt and pepper. Cook until leaves have wilted.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain and reserve < cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and liquid to the chard mixture. Stir in cheese and walnuts and serve - SERVES 6

(CHARD - Both the lush dark green leaves and the thick white ribs of the chard plant can be eaten, each cooked in different ways. The leaves are steamed, sauteed or stuffed. The stems are delicious stewed or grantineed. It is best to separate the leaves from the ribs before cooking. Loosely fold the leaf in half along the stem, grasp the folded leaf in one hand and separate the stem by pulling the stem away with the other hand.)

(This is pink in color and wonderful to eat!!!)

4 medium cooked beets
1 teaspoon orange zest
< cup orange juice
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 = teaspoons rice vinegar
= teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon stone ground mustard
< cup olive oil
= pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
< cup hazelnuts, chopped
Chopped chives for garnish

Cook the pasta and drain. Chop beets into bits-sized pieces and toss with the pasta and orange zest. In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice, shallots, vinegar, sugar and garlic to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes until the liquid is syrupy. Stir in mustard. Drizzle in oil, while whisking. Pour the warm vinaigrette over the pasta and stir. Garnish with hazelnuts and chives.-Serves 4

The GARLIC from Joe's Garden can be ordered directly from Carl & Karol Weston at Joe's Garden. Phone (360)671-7639 or by Fax ( 360)671-0171 or you can write them C/O JOE'S GARDEN, 3100 Taylor Avenue, Bellingham, Washington

The first edition of their Joe's Garden cook book sold out in just 6 weeks. The reprint is currently available and a new edition will be published soon.


After Valiant Yachts

was sold, the production of the Esprit 37' went to Uniflite and the name was changed to the Valiant 37'. Today, Valiant yachts are still being produced and the original Esprit 37 has been "morphed" into the Valiant 39 as has the original Valiant 40, into the Valiant 42.

Some of older boats are still in their original ownership, many others have gone on to several different owners and tens of thousands of ocean miles have passed beneath the keels of these wonderful yachts all over the world.

(Sylvia Williams Dabney has been a member of Boating Writers International for years and along with many other "nautical" stories, and since 1975 has written numerous stories about Valiant Yachts and her adventures along with her husband Stanley, sailing 60,000 offshore miles in their Valiant, Hull #9, "NATIVE SUN")


8771 SE Bridge Rd.
Hobe Sound, FL 33455, United States

Tel 772-577-2516
Fax 801-858-5454
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