About Tillen Farms
Tim and Helen Metzger have created Tillen Farms to continue a delicious tradition first begun by the Hogue family over forty years ago in the fertile, volcanic soil of the Yakima Valley of Washington State. From this rich soil, irrigated by pure river water running down the Cascade Mountains, come some of America's finest vegetables and fruits.
In 1987, Tim met and began working with Gary Hogue who along with his brother Mike, had a small canning operation near their Hogue Cellars winery that had been started years earlier. Tim had a background in specialty foods and was engaged as Hogue’s national sales agent to expand the veggie business while Gary and Mike grew their award-winning Hogue Cellars wine label. This relationship developed over 15 years. In late 2001, The Hogue Cellars announced plans to sell the business to Vincor, Canada’s largest wine distributor and owners of many impressive labels including: Inniskillin, RH Phillips and Toasted Head.) Realizing that the Hogue Farms brand didn't fit into their long term strategy, Vincor offered Tim the opportunity to purchase the business with the understanding he would eventually change the label. Tim agreed and founded Metzger Specialty Brands in late 2002. The new brand name, Tillen Farms, was introduced to the trade in early 2004 and continues the great tradition of the Hogue Farms pickled vegetable line. While new varieties have since been added, all the original recipes, packing facility and commitment to excellence remain the same as before.
Lots of folks have asked about the origin of the new Tillen Farms brand name. When faced with the unenviable task of changing a brand name that had been in the market for 20 years, Tim and Helen pondered over it for months. They conducted formal and informal focus groups and perused detailed maps of the Yakima Valley, searching for a name that would reflect the quality and simplicity of the product, the "family" nature of the business, and that tilling the soil is an honorable profession. Tim and Helen's talented packaging designer and friend, Betty Slater, said, "since you're doing this business with the support of your family, take your initials and put them together." Over lunch, she took the first 2 letters from (Ti)m, 2 letters from daughter Ji(ll)'s name, and 2 letters from Hel(en), to create "Tillen". Thanks, Betty!