On Saturday morning, I arrived a few hours earlier than I was scheduled to. I wanted to take my time and enjoy the scenery in the beautiful Cascade Mountains. The morning fog was still covering part of the mountain when I arrived at the farm and the air was cool and crisp. I roamed around the pumpkin patch, flower gardens and visited the roadside stand. I quietly watched children pick the perfect pumpkin from the patch and listened to them giggle with delight as they stuffed their own scarecrow – all part of the Skagit Valley Festival of Farms day at Cascadian Farm.
Once everyone arrived, our official tour with Farmer Jim and Don began. We jumped onto Farmer Jim’s tractor and toured the entire property. While we took in our beautiful surroundings, Farmer Jim shared his methods of crop rotation, composting, natural pest control, gravity fed watering and my favorite – his ingenious method for keeping birds from eating the best blueberries on the tops of the bushes. He has several kites fashioned to the bottom of helium balloons that glide above the blueberry fields – mimicking predator birds. This frightens the smaller blueberry eating birds, to stay on the ground under the bushes, eating only the berries that have fallen to the ground – leaving the best blueberries on the top in perfect condition for the harvest. Brilliant!
After our official tour, Don treated us with lunch from Cascadian Farm’s roadside stand, followed by our choice of dessert. A couple of us choose the fabulous Strawberry Shortcake – made with strawberries from the farm. And the rest of us choose the homemade Pumpkin Pie ice cream that was absolutely divine.
Later, Don took us for a tour of the local fish ladder, which unfortunately didn’t have any fish in it. FYI: A fish ladder is a structure that allows fish the opportunity to migrate upstream over or through a barrier. Why? If there is an obstruction in the river, such as a dam, the fish are unable to swim upstream to reproduce. Therefore, without fish ladders, we would see a decline or extinction of the fish in that particular area.
My visit to the Skagit Valley made me homesick for the West. I enjoyed my time living in the mountains of Utah and in the foothills of Colorado. In fact, I called Mr. Sweet Greens and jokingly asked, “So, when are we moving to Washington?” The Skagit Valley just has a way of making you want to stay there forever. I look forward to my next visit.
+ Cascadian Home Farm
55749 State Route 20
Rockport, WA 98283