Firestone Farms -- Since 1894
18400 N. Hwy. 99W
Dayton, OR 97114
The Firestone family origins trace back to Austria and then to the small village of Berg, Alsace. Alsace had gone back and forth between Germany and France for centuries depending on the outcome of the latest war between the two countries. The family has always claimed German ethnicity, and the family name was Feuerstein before their arrival in the American colonies in 1752. After a few years in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Firestones settled in Botetourt County,Virginia, and acquired a sizable tract of land for farming.
As was customary, the eldest son would have inherited the farm, but Nicholas Firestone was drawn to the newly opened territory of Ohio and he left Virginia. His descendants eventually became the Firestone Tire branch of the family.
l. to r. Merril, Doris, Altha, and Verne Firestone
Merril and his father Verne started the hazelnut
orchards for Firestone Farms in the 1940's.
Second son, John Firestone, stayed on the family farm in Virginia and passed it along to his eldest son, John, Jr. A younger son, Samuel Jefferson Firestone, left Virginia to head west to Missouri. From there the family joined the westward movement of so many pioneers lured to the reportedly fertile valleys of the Pacific Northwest. Clark Firestone's great-grandfather, Rufus Firestone, arrived in the area of Camas, Washington, where he met his future bride, Anna Martha Seward. They were married on November 14, 1892, in Vancouver, Washington. Family legend has it that they received a parcel of land in the Fruit Valley area of Vancouver as a wedding gift, and Firestone Farms began.
Through the years the family has grown prunes, walnuts, pears, peaches, raspberries, and hazelnuts and run farm markets for direct sales to the public. Today the fourth and fifth generations of the Firestone family on the farm are concentrating their efforts on the hazelnuts as growers and packers. The family began receiving and drying walnuts and hazelnuts in the 1940's and moved into large scale processing and shipping of hazelnuts in 1984. Clark and Joan joined Merril and Doris on the farm in 1976 and stepped into full ownership and management following Merril's retirement. After more than twenty years of operations in Vancouver, Washington, Firestone Farms moved to our new hazelnut packing facility in the Dayton, Oregon, area for the 2007 packing season.
This move provided us a more central location for present and future nut growers and moved our processing facility closer to our own orchards, as well. We have a 120-acre farm outside of Perrydale, Oregon, where we will plant a new Jefferson variety orchard in the near future. Our grower base covers almost the entire Willamette Valley, our tonnages have steadily increased through the years, and we have markets around the world. We also have capacity for 8 times the tonnage we are currently processing.
These days Michael, our fifth generation in the business, has taken over orchard and packing plant management. Clark is moving toward his retirement while still playing an active role in oversight and decision making. Joan is in charge of hazelnut sales, grower records, public relations, and accounting.