Three generations and going strong

In 1993 my dad, Ted Lichtenfels had a vision for a family farm. He had seen small-scale growers fall by the wayside only to be replaced by large, corporate agribusinesses. He followed his sense of land stewardship to Tonasket, WA where he purchased a 100-acre orchard. He spent the next 25 years determined to show that with enough initiative, hard work, research, and planning, a small farm could be sustainable for generations to come.

His efforts paid off. Today our family continues to run Whitestone Mountain Orchard with the goal of strengthening our regional food system and supporting families in our community. My husband Hal and I are the second generation to run the orchard, with help from our son Simon, our daughter Hannah, and her husband Skylar.

We’re so glad you stopped by,
Claire and Hal


A just and sustainable food system

It’s one thing to say we believe in a just and sustainable food system, and it’s quite another to help it take shape. Everything we do at Whitestone Mountain Orchard is driven by our mission to cultivate the highest quality produce. We’re dedicated to regenerative agriculture practices and producing organic fruit not only because it tastes better, but because it’s better for the people and world around us.

We take these four principles to heart and use them to guide our business:

  • Viable, local farms feed local folks
  • Affordable, organic produce keeps us healthy
  • Biodiversity is the foundation of a flourishing ecosystem
  • Using all fruit from the orchard reduces waste

Learn more about our produce



picture of farm


Mountains of love for our crew

Whitestone Mountain Orchard is a family affair, but ours is bigger than you might think. We extend our sense of family to our entire crew, building solid relationships and creating an orchard-wide community. It’s not always easy to find work in a rural town like Tonasket, so we’re happy to provide jobs for such talented individuals. When we say we’re farming for families, yours and ours—we mean our whole family. We couldn’t do it without them.



Full WMO crew headshots in grid

From left to right, top to bottom: 
Alberto López Aguilón, Damaris Penaloza, David Vazquez Salazar, Ever Quiroz Carrasco, Jaime López, Javier Lopez, Jhonny Marin Vasquez, Jose Juan Gutierrez Valarde, Juan Carlos Gutierrez Valarde, Julian Dominguez, Luis Perez Cedillo, Luz Lara Garcia, Marcos Lopez Rivera, Margarito Marín, Reynaldo Diaz, Rigoberto Vasquez, Saúl Rivera Cruz, Tony Rodriguez, Tracey Weeks, Victoria Alvarez



My name is Jhonny Marin Vasquez, I am 27 years old and I work for Whitestone Mountain. I usually come to Washington to work every season for 9 months straight. We start early on the year from pruning during winter, all the way to harvest during summer and autumn. The rest of the time I spend in Mexico, I work at a grocery store in my hometown. During my free time, I like to watch and practice soccer and basketball. I do not play that often nowadays, because I prefer to spend the rest of my free time with my family and my little 8-year-old princess.

Mi nombre es Joan Alberto Marín Vázquez, tengo 27 años y trabajo para Whitestone Mountain. Normalmente vengo a trabajar 9 meses a Estados Unidos,desde la poda hasta la cosecha. El resto del tiempo que paso en México, trabajoen una abarrotera. En mi tiempo libre me gusta ver el futból y el basketball (el voy a los Lakers), ahora casi no juego porque el resto del tiempo libre me gusta pasarlo con mi familia, tengo una pequeña princesa de 8 años.



My name is Saul Rivera Cruz, I am 26 years old and I have been here as an H-2A temporary worker for 7 years. I really enjoy being here with my colleagues and with the people from Whitestone. I am originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. Back in my hometown, I work in construction, I’ve doing it for several year, it's what I like to do. At this moment I am starting a family, I have a 9-month-old son, I was with him for the first six months and when I return he will be almost a year old.

Me llamo Saúl Rivera Cruz, tengo 26 años y ya tengo 7 años viniendo como trabajador temporal H-2A. Disfruto mucho estar aquí con loscompañerosy con los patrones. Soy originario de Oaxaca, México. Cuando regreso a casa, me dedico a trabajar en la construccióneso me gusta hacer allá. Estoy iniciando una familia, y tengo un pequeño hijo de9 meses, estuve con el 6 meses y ya cuando regrese tendrá casi un año.



My name is Javier, I am 25 years old and I have been a temporary worker in the United States for 7 years. I am from a town called San Antonio El Mogote in Oaxaca. Back in my hometown, I have my own taxi and I work as a taxi driver, which allows me to come and go with no trouble. When I am at home I like to cook with my family and to go on walks. I have a 9-month-old baby, when I return, he may already be taking his first steps, fortunately, my wife sends me videos all the time or we have video calls so I do not get to miss too much about him. I like coming to Washington, I feel very comfortable with my colleagues and our managers.

Mi nombre es Javier, tengo 25 años y llevo 7 años trabajando en Estados Unidos en las huertas.Soy de un pueblo que se llama San Antonio El Mogote en Oaxaca, cuando estoy por allá, trabajo manejando un taxi. En mi tiempo libre me gusta pasear con mi familia y preparar comida. Tengo una bebé de 9 meses, cuando regrese tal vez ya esté dando sus primeros pasos, por fortuna no me pierdo mucho, mi esposa me manda videos de cómo va creciendo y también hacemos videollamadas. Por lo mientras disfruto estar aquí, me gusta trabajar en Washington, me siento muy a gusto con mis compañeros y con los patrones.



My name is Margarito Marín, I have been coming to Washington for 4 years, this season I will be spending 5 months in the United States. I am originally from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, there are many towns between the mountains, people dress therein colorful ways; there is a lot of tradition. Back in home, I dedicate myself to being a taxi driver. Every time I return to my hometown I like to spend good time with my family. My wife is pregnant right now I’ll be on time to meet my newborn baby after this season.

Mi nombre es Margarito Marín,tengo 4 años viniendo a Washington. Yo soy de la sierra mixteca de Oaxaca, es una región muy bonitallena de pueblos y fiestas, con vestidos de colores. Esta temporada paso 5 meses en Estado Unidos y el resto del tiempo me dedico también a ser taxista. Cada que regreso me gusta pasar buen tiempo con la familia, mi esposa está embarazada y cuando regrese mi bebé estará recién nacida.



My name is Alberto López Aguillón. I am from San Sebastián Tecomaxtlahuaca in the Sierra Mixteca of Oaxaca, which is the place of a very colorful church. I have been coming to this orchard for 7 years, so between colleagues and managers, we get along very well and we support each other whenever it’s possible. Since I was young, my life has been being in the fields and working in agriculture. My father Jaime grows corn, tomato and onion, and I help him every time I am back in my hometown. I have four children, the youngest is 13 years old, and the oldest is 18, he’s now coming with me for the first time.

Mi nombre es Alberto López Aguillón. I’m from San Sebastián Tecomaxtlahuaca en la Sierra Mixteca de Oaxaca (lugar de una de las Iglesias más coloridas). Llevo 7 años viniendo a esta misma huerta, entre los patrones y los compañeros, nos conocemos muy bien y siempre nos apoyamos cuando se pueda. Desde pequeño mi vida ha sido el campo y la agricultura, mi papá Jaime siembra maíz,jitomate y cebolla, cada vez que estoy en México le ayudo a levantar la cosecha. Tengo cuatro hijos, el más chico tiene 13 años y el mayor tiene 18 y es la primera vez que viene conmigo.



My name is Jaime Lopez and this is the first time that I’m in the United States temporarily as an H-2A worker. My father had been working here for 7 years and for me it is a joy to be able to come with him and spend all this time together. The work is sometimes difficult, especially when it is the first time, but it is normal. In Mexico I used to work in the fields after school, so I am used to it. In Washington there are different kind of crops that are very rare where I’m from so I have to learn new techniques during this time, right now it has become easier for me, at this moment what I like the most is picking cherries.

Me llamo Jaime López y esta es la primera vez que vengo a trabajar a Estados Unidos de forma temporal como trabajador H-2A. Mi papá llevaba trabajando ya 7 años por aquí y para mí es una alegría poder venir con el y pasar todo este tiempojuntos. El trabajo es a veces difícil sobretodo cuando es la primera vez, pero es lo normal, en México solía trabajar en el campo saliendo de la escuela, entonces estoy acostumbrado. En Washington son cultivos diferentes que en México no hay, poco a poco he ido aprendiendoy se me ha hecho más fácil, en este momento lo que más me gusta es la pizca de cerezas.



I am a 3rd generation apple farmer and I have been working in orchards since I was a kid growing up here in Tonasket. I have lots of good memories of working on my father’s orchard during the summers along with a large group of friends from school and I ran my grandmother’s orchard in Loomis for more than 10 years in the 80’s and 90’s. I have been doing tractor work at Whitestone since 2011. I love working outdoors and I love the different seasons. So much has changed in the apple growing business since I was a kid. The types and number of varieties, for example. There are so many different ones now, though I wonder where they are all sold because I don’t see them in the local grocery store. Lots of changes in equipment also. We used to bring in one bin of harvested apples at a time from the orchard often working until 10pm. Now I hook up a trailer to the tractor that can carry 4 bins at a time. That’s a lot faster!