Richard G. "Dick" Farman co-founded the Farman Brothers Pickle Company in Enumclaw with his brother Fred. They started with a small 10-acre cucumber farm and pickling operation in 1944 and grew it into a popular brand as “The King Pickle” in 13 Western states. Farman was also a star on the Washington State University Cougars football team in the late 1930s and played several seasons with the Redskins in the National Football League.
The Pick in Pickles
Dick Farman was born in Belmond, Nebraska, in 1916 and relocated as a child with his family to Kent, Washington. He worked in pickle factories during his high school and college years, and decided to get into the business after hanging up his Redskins helmet in 1944. He and his brother Fred established a cucumber farm in the family’s backyard in Enumclaw, and hired mechanic Don Grover in 1948 to develop new processing equipment.
In its early years, Farman Brothers annually packed and shipped 65 tons of pickles. The firm became renowned for its consistent quality and was purchased in the 1970s by Nalley Foods, which incited a consumer revolt when it considered dropping the Farman’s brand.
Nalley itself was purchased by AgriLink Foods, a marketing cooperative, in 1975, and the Farman’s name and its trademark “King Pickle” survived to grace seven million tons of pickles and relishes consumed by happy customers in 13 Western states in 2001.
On May 5, 2002, Dick Farman died at the age of 85.
Note: This article is part of Cultivating Washington, The History of Our State’s Food, Land, and People, which includes more agriculture-related content, vidoes, and curriculum.