Farm Trip – My Cascadian Farm Weekend

I am very excited to share my photos and experiences from my weekend trip to Cascadian Home Farm in Skagit Valley, Washington. I had a terrific time and it was a joy to get to know Don Smith (Art Director, Senior Designer for Small Planet Foods), Farmer Jim (Head Organic Farmer for the Cascadian Home Farm), fellow blogger Janice Croze from 5 Minutes for Green and Nicole Newville from Space 150.

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.

After lunch, Don took us on a walking tour of the farm where we were able to get up close and personal with the blueberry and raspberry bushes, miniature kiwi plants, pumpkins, strawberries and to the hoop house where we saw the largest tomatoes and peppers. Don was a great tour guide and was happy to answer all of our questions and encouraged us to try all of the different fruits and vegetables. Don was the perfect tour guide because he has been a part of Cascadian Farm since the 70’s. He met the founder of Cascadian Farm, Gene Kahn in the summer of 1974 and in 1978 Gene asked him to make a painting for the first full color jam label. He shared wonderful stories about the farm’s history and pointed out Mt. Chavel – the mountain that he painted for Cascadian Farm’s logo.

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.

If you are ever in the Seattle area, I highly recommend spending a day at Cascadian Farm. You can see all of the pictures that I took on my weekend getaway to Cascadian Farm here or here.

+ Cascadian Home Farm
   55749 State Route 20
   Rockport, WA 98283

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