‘Daytrippers’ Delight: Skagit Valley Farm Stands Cultivate Community During Tough Times

Schuh Farms Farm Stand at Island Hospital_Anacortes

From the first commercial crop of cultivated potatoes in 1853 until today, the Skagit Valley has been supplying the nation—and the world—with farm-fresh produce.

“More than 90 different crops are grown right here in Skagit County. From strawberries to apples to spinach seed and dozens and dozens of more agricultural offerings in between,” said Blake Vanfield, marketing manager of Genuine Skagit Valley. “And, yet, a recent survey shows that 50% of Puget Sound residents could not name one agriculture product grown in Skagit Valley.”

Enter Farmstand Fresh.

Designed to attract visitors from Seattle and across the region, the month-long celebration showcases the farm stands and working farms of Skagit Valley and the bounty of their land.

Guests can sign up for a free 15-minute Zoom session with a local chef and qualify to win a $25 gift certificate to an area restaurant.

 

The farming community just an hour north of Seattle, WA, produces roughly $300 million worth of crops, livestock, and dairy products on approximately 90,000 acres of land, according to Washington State University Skagit County Extension in 2018.

Skagit Valley soil is noted to be among the top two percent of soils in the world, said Vanfield.

This fall, the ‘Genuine Skagit Valley’ certification mark can be found at stores and stands on products hosting Skagit Valley grown ingredients.

“We’re very proud of the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor here in Skagit Valley,” said Vanfield. “We’re safely growing, safely open, and we’ve got beautiful wide-open spaces.”

About the Genuine Skagit Valley Certification Mark

The Genuine Skagit Valley mark was developed under the Skagit Valley Innovation Partnership Zone which nurtures partnerships to enhance the local agricultural industry, promoting innovative approaches that combine research and technology producing new jobs and a robust economy centered on the valley’s rich agricultural resources and heritage. This designation enhances regional marketing, enlarges future funding potential and encourages collaborative partnerships.

Farmstand Fresh Participants

Blanchard Mountain Farm

Blanchard Mountain Farm grows WSDA certified organic vegetables, unique herbs, cut flowers and specialty crops; including many Italian varieties! Owners Linda Versage and Walter Brodie are committed to enhancing their farm’s ecosystem and sharing it with visitors and wildlife.
Daily, 10-6
Map

Bow Hill Blueberries
Established in 1947, Bow Hill Blueberries is the oldest family-run blueberry farm in the Skagit Valley. Owners Harley and Susan Soltes sell heirloom, Certified Organic blueberries and award-winning jams, pickles, juice, powders and more.
M-TH 10-5, Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6
Map

Harmony Fields
Harmony Fields produces artisan, farmstead sheeps’ cheese at their farm and creamery in Bow, WA. In addition to their fresh cheeses, they sell grass-fed lamb, organically-grown herbs and yarn.
Wed & Sat 9-5
Map

Island Hospital/Schuh Farms
Island Hospital has partnered with Schuh Farms to provide produce, fresh cut flowers, baked goods, and honey. Located in the 24th Street courtyard at the hospital, the farm stand is open to hospital employees and the public.
Tuesdays, 11- 4
Map

Love Well Farms
Lovewell Farms is family-owned and operated, growing a wide variety of fresh produce without the use of pesticides or conventional fertilizers. Owners Wayne and Maria Ellis’s goal is to share their mission to love well by giving back to the community they are grateful for.
M-F 11-7, Sat & Sun 7-7
Map

Mossy Gate Flower Farm
Mossy Gate Flower Farm is a woman-owned, seasonal cut flower farm. With sustainably grown blooms April through October, owner Jesalyn Pettigrew specializes in tulips, daffodils, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias and much more! Offering wholesale cuts, arrangements, roadside stand and DIY buckets.
Open daily, honor system
Map

Samish Bay Cheese
Samish Bay Cheese features organic farmstead cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products. At their farm in Bow, WA owners Suzanne and Roger Wechsler raise organic beef, pastured pork, veal, and lamb. Also find artisan foods, beer, wine and other beverages at their Farm Store.
M-TH 11-4, Fri-Sun 11-5
Map

Schuh Farms
Since 1996, Schuh Farms has been providing exceptional produce and quality family experiences on the farm. Their Farm Store features from-scratch baked goods, fresh flowers, berries, produce and more. This family farm is a Skagit Valley landmark enjoyed by all generations.
Daily 9-6

Map

Skiyou Ranch
Skiyou Ranch is a 4th generation family farm raising Certified Organic, grass-fed beef. Nestled along the Skagit River in Sedro Woolley, WA, owners Tarie and Lon Benson are dedicated to raising healthy animals in a sustainable environment for their family and yours.
Online orders. Pick-up by appt.
Map

SUOT Farm
SUOT Farm and Flowers is a sustainable no-till urban farm growing & selling cut flowers and foliage in Skagit Valley WA. Owner Sarah Wagstaff also hosts a hugelkultur demonstration garden, education workspace, and floral studio. Weekdays by appt.
Sat & Sun 10-6
Map

Waxwing Farm
Waxwing Farm is a Certified Organic, small scale, diverse vegetable farm. Owners Arielle Luckmann and Taylor Barker focus on providing exceptional produce directly to their Skagit Valley community.
Wed 9-5, Sat 10-2
Map

 

Chefs & Culinarians

Albie Bjornberg – Nell Thorn Waterfront Bistro & Bar
After 23 years in the food industry, Managing Partner of Nell Thorn, Albie Bjornberg has experience in nearly every facet of restaurant operations. Before directing restaurants in Canada and the U.S., he worked for 8 years in kitchens and graduated magna cum laude from Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, OR. Albie is also a certified sommelier, curating the extensive wine list at Nell Thorn – a bonus with both cooking and pairing tips!

Christy Fox – Evolve BBQ & Patio
At Evolve BBQ + Patio, co-owner and Chef Christy Fox weaves 30 years of professional experience into her fresh and popular meals. Highly committed to utilizing local ingredients, Chef Christy supports numerous Skagit producers in both her sweet and savory menu creations. Though Evolve is known for their signature chocolates, Chef Christy’s St. Louis style pork ribs at their new outdoor BBQ + Patio are getting all the attention this summer.

David Peterson – Max Dale’s Steak & Chop House
For over 7 years, Executive Chef David Peterson of Max Dale’s Steak & Chop House has been preparing much more than award-wining steaks. He brings over 30 years of professional experience into the kitchen, 15 of those in the Pacific Northwest. Chef David’s flavorful and fresh dishes continue to draw new fans and long-term patrons alike to Max Dale’s.

Hiroki Inoue – The UpCountry

After running his successful Seattle bakery for a number of years, Chef Hiroki Inoue brought his talents to Mount Vernon and opened The UpCountry in 2016. With intimate seating for 11, dinner service nimbly showcases the freshest of seasonal ingredients with nutritious menus that change weekly. His dedication to procuring produce, meats, cheeses and handcrafted foods from Skagit Valley growers and producers is celebrated.

Michael Miller – The Fairhaven
Michael Miller graduated from the culinary arts program at Seattle Central Community College in 1995 and has worked in restaurants and hotel kitchens for the past 25 years. Michael, and his partner, Jennifer, have recently opened their first restaurant together, the Fairhaven, in Burlington. Balancing innovative flavors with familiar dishes, the Fairhaven already has a loyal following.

Mikael O’Donnell – Terramar Brewstillery
Mikael recently joined Terramar as bar manager of its future distillery tasting room. After years working as a chef and pastry chef from Maine to California, he decided to hone his skills on the bartending side of the house, working at Slough Food and Jack’s in Bellingham. Leaning on his culinary background, Mikael creates unique cocktails and small plates that highlight the farmed and foraged terrain of the Skagit Valley.

Amber Phillips, MS RD – Island Hospital
As a clinical dietitian at Island Hospital in Anacortes, Amber Phillips brings her passion for making fresh food approachable and nourishing to the healthcare market. She received her MS in Nutrition from Bastyr University, all the while, working as a farm assistant for a world-renowned farm-to-table restaurant. Amber taught nutrition and cooking to people of all ages, from toddlers to elders. Today, she continues educate and develop Skagit-grown, fresh food initiatives at Island Hospital.

Jennie Goforth – Washington State University Skagit County Extension
From the ground up to the canning jar, Jennie Goforth educates Skagitonians on how to grow, cook and preserve food. She is the Program Coordinator for Ideas for Healthy Living at Washington State University Skagit County Extension, leading valuable programs to increase the health and resilience of the Skagit community. Her popular courses include Thriving on a Plant Based Diet and Food Preservation.

Leah Brooks – Hands on Homemade
Leah Brooks is a cooking enthusiast, cookbook author and former director of a children’s cooking school in San Francisco. By making cooking fun, approachable and healthy, Leah is changing the way kids (and adults!) see food. Her food blog, Hands on Homemade, weaves seasonal ingrients on hand into flavorful, memorable meals. Leah looks forward to helping the community create delicious meals from the bounty of Skagit Valley farmstands.

Rachael Sobczak – Rachael & Bread
Rachel Sobczak has been integral to the Skagit food and school garden community since the early 2000’s. As a baker and food educator, she offers hearth-style breads and pastries, online baking workshops and a Bread CSA through her bakery, Rachael & Bread. For four years she has been the driving force behind the La Conner School District’s school garden and food education program – teaching all to know your food from seed to stomach!

Suzanne Butler – Skagit Valley College
As a long time cook, eater and food educator, Suzanne Butler loves the anticipation of seasonal foods (strawberries! asparagus! green beans!). Her skill in instilling joy and confidence in the kitchen was honed after 10 years as a culinary instructor at Skagit Valley College. Prior to that, she ran Graham Kerr’s test kitchen, did food production for TV shows, wrote recipes and edited cookbooks.

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