Unger Farms: Over a Century of Family and Farming
We are excited to have new owners in 2023, coming from a long line of Unger farmers. We will be continuing to grow our farm by combining Unger Farms with Unger Century Farms–bringing together a long history of farming and family in Washington County.
Pictured new owners: Katie and Chris Bolton with children Henry and Pete, Will Unger with children Rebecca and Weston, Melissa Unger and Matt Fildes with children Huck and Zeke, Ben Unger and Laura Simmons
In 1906, Frank Unger bought a farm at 34180 SW Unger Rd. There he began Unger farming in Washington County, a tradition that has lasted for over 100 years. When Frank started farming he grew a little bit of everything but perhaps most of all - family. By the end of his time on the farm, six children had been born.
One of his 6 children, William (Bill) Unger took over the farm next. Throughout his time as the farmer of the family land he grew potatoes, goats, grain, alfalfa, and strawberries. Bill married Margie Vandehey and they had 8 children who they raised on the original farm land for over 30 years. In the 1970s two of their sons, Steve and Matt Unger started Unger Bros, a farming partnership to keep farming on the family land.
After many years together, Steve and Matt decided to separate out the partnership. Steve Unger focused on grains and cucumbers and stayed on the original farmland. Matt Unger focused more on berries and bought a farm about 1 mile away on Iowa Hill. While they were no longer business partners, they remained best friends.
Over the next 30 years, both Steve and Matt built their own farms and families. Steve, with his wife Sue Unger, and their four children focused more on wheat, oats, clover. Matt, with his wife Kathy Unger, and their four children focused on strawberries including Hoods and other Oregon berries building a well-known fresh market farm business, Unger Farms. Unger Farms sells high quality berries throughout NW Oregon at farmers markets and New Seasons.
In the last couple of years, the fourth generation of Ungers have started to lead the farms. After Margie died in 2014, Melissa, Ben and Katie along with their spouses, bought the original farmstead from Margie and Bill’s eight children and created Unger Century Farm with Steve and Sue–focusing on vegetables, flowers and CSAs. Two years ago, Greg and his wife Kara bought Unger Farms from Matt and Kathy and continued Unger Farms, producing some of the best Oregon berries in the region.
Just recently, Greg and Kara have decided to step back from farming. And 40 years later the fourth-generation has teamed up to bring back the Unger Bros partnership. Three of Steve and Sue's children along with their spouses are partnering with one of Matt and Kathy's children to continue Unger Farms– once again uniting the family farms that Steve and Sue, and Matt and Kathy, built.
Ben and Laura, Katie and Chris, Melissa and Matt and Will are bringing together Unger Century Farms and Unger Farms--expanding what Frank started in 1906. And making sure their children, fifth generation Ungers, get to participate in the family tradition.
The timing seems bittersweet with Steve Unger passing away in December 2022. He would be excited to see his family bring together the farms he and his brother, along with their wives, built since taking over for their dad over 45 years ago.
Their families have grown over the years, side by side like the brothers, as children married, and grandchildren arrived.
Matt and Kathy Unger, children, spouses and granchildren. Will Unger and his children with Beth Unger, Rebecca and Weston Unger. Brian and Kegan Unger and their children Zoie and Owen Unger. Laura and Juston Bell and their child Ally Bell. Greg and Kara Unger
Steve and Sue Unger, children, spouses and grandchildren. Luke Unger and Christina Schulz and their children Noah and Zeno Unger-Schulz. Ben Unger and Laura Simmons. Melissa Unger and Matt Fildes and their children Huck and Zeke Fildes. Katie and Chris Bolton and their children Henry and Pete Bolton