Rainier farm offers fresh produce, horse training

Local couple prioritizing affordability, quality


When Alex Shipp and Kyrany Sagen-Cook traveled through the Pacific Northwest chasing their perfect home and farm in 2021, they used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing all of their necessary criteria.

Some items on the list were practical: decent cell service, drainage, nearby wetlands and distance to neighbors and town commerce. They also wanted a space that was suitable for growing organic vegetables for themselves and the community.

The last item on the list was what the couple called the “magic factor.” When they arrived in Rainier to inspect a 15-acre farm off of Hubbard Road, it checked all the boxes and it exceeded the magic wanted.

“It has that unexplainable feeling you get of just being at peace and a sense of belonging,” Shipp said.

“We came here and there were all these wildflowers out in the back pastures, and the sun and the grass. Down the road, there was the most insane view of Mount Rainier,” Sagen-Cook added.

After selling goat dairy and microgreens at local farmers markets in central Texas, the couple put an offer on the Rainier property and it became theirs, an upgrade from their 5-acre farm in Texas. Once they settled in, they expanded their business, Cheers Farms & Equestrian, which offers fresh, organically grown produce including spinach, turnips, garlic, carrots, corn, radishes, herbs and flowers, and many more types of fruits and vegetables.

Shipp said the primary mission of Cheers Farm is to give fresh produce to the community at an affordable price. The business currently has a farm stand outside its driveway, offers produce at local farmers markets and is a community supported agriculture (CSA) system, which allows customers to get a box of fresh, organic produce weekly through the growing season by prepaying for produce before the season begins. This began Monday, June 17.

“Nothing ever goes to waste here. If it’s good fresh produce, we are either selling it to people in our community or donating it to the food bank or it will turn into amazing compost to go back into our garden,” Shipp said. “The prices have increased so much for the things that we need to buy. I’ve talked to many people around us, and everyone is constantly complaining about the prices of everything. It’s kind of out of necessity that we’re doing a lot of this, and it’s really important that we help people that are having problems affording stuff.”

While the two work together on the farming side of the business, Sagen-Cook puts her passion for horses to use with horse training, leasing and riding lessons for all ages and experience levels. She said she currently has 11 students, ages 8 to 63, and focuses on building confidence and a relationship between the horse and student.

“My goal with it is to get kids and people around horses who want to be around horses and to have a base in horsemanship. It’s not focused on showing and competitions, but it’s about the overall wellbeing of the horse and the relationship of the person and the horse,” Sagen-Cook said.

She added that the barn was a safe haven for her growing up and provided her comfort. Sagen-Cook, who first rode a horse at the age of 4, hopes to give that same feeling to her students.

“The trainer I had was the kind of person who wanted to build you up and create community. Learning about natural horsemanship and learning from her changed the way that I related to people as well,” she said. “It made me so much more patient and understanding. What I really wanted to create was a place that felt like her barn, where kids and adults could come and be listened to and have a safe space.”

Cheers Farm is one of many vendors selling produce 10 a.m. to 3 p.m every Saturday at the Yelm Farmers Market, 206 McKenzie Ave., near City Park. To learn more about their CSA services and equestrian program, visit https://www.cheers-farm.com/home.