Washington State University

Small Farms Team

Farm Walk Education Series

Tilth Producers of Washington & WSU Small Farms Program co-sponsor the Farm Walks each year.

Our popular Farm Walk series is held on the State’s premier organic and sustainable farms. The program began in 2003 and now typically reaches over 450 participants each year. We bring farmers and agricultural professionals together on farms around the state to review techniques used by successful farmers, and discuss topics with WSU researchers and specialists.  Held throughout the growing season in geographically disperse areas of the state, the unique expertise developed by established growers and researchers is shared experientially through guided question-and-answer sessions. WSU specialists are present for technical and regulatory questions.

Tuesday, March 12 - Blue Heron Farm, Rockport - Hands-on Blueberry Pruning.
Blue Heron Farm is located on river bottom land surrounded by the foot hills of the North Cascades, growing ten acres of mixed vegetable and berries. All produce is sold locally through their CSA, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, Klesick Family Farm Home Delivery Service, and Skagit Valley Food Coop. Join us for a hands-on, in-depth, blueberry pruning Farm Walk. We will discuss principles of pruning blueberries which balance encouraging new growth while gaining the best yield. Farmer Anne Schwartz will share what she has done to encourage vigor and health in her blueberry production. Jim Meyer of Cascadian Farm and his farm manager will join us in the training. We will discuss disease, insects, and general production issues. We will also tour Blue Heron's new high tunnel funded by the NRCS EQIP program. This farm walk will be limited to 25 people for its hands-on component. Bring your own hand-pruners and loppers. Spanish and Mizteca language interpretation will be provided

Monday, April 1 - Plum Forest Farm Producing Quality, On-Farm Compost. Plum Forest Farm is a small, integrated livestock and diversified fruit and vegetable organic farm on Vashon Island.  Organic wastes from layer hens, Scottish Highland cattle, and vegetable production are managed by farmers Rob Peterson and Joanne Jewell in hot compost piles.  Temperatures are monitored to meet organic certification requirements and good agricultural practices.  Join Rob, Joanne, and WSU-Puyallup compost specialist Andy Bary for a hands-on workshop on producing quality organic compost on a small-scale farm.  Participants will evaluate chemical properties of compost feed stocks and learn how to measure physical properties in the field and mix feed stocks in appropriate ratios for quality, hot, compost. This farm walk will be limited to 25 people for its hands-on component.

Monday, April 22 - Klickitat Canyon Winery and Meadowlark Vineyard
Robin Dobson and Kathleen Perillo practice eco-dynamic farming in their 5-acre vineyard. They employ no-tilling and introduce abundant native flora into the farm and among crop plants so that biodiversity is naturally restored and out-competes harmful pests. Connecting both the natural and agricultural ecosystems promotes vitality, biodiversity, and greater ecological integrity. Join the Robin, Kathleen, and Eric Mader from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation  to explore cultivation and stewardship of the vineyard, which encourages healthy habitat and reduces pests. Learn how they manage the habitat, the harvest, and make wine by hand. Includes a tour of their winery where they use no external inputs and let nature do its work. Wine tasting included.   

Monday, May 6 - Heron Pond Farm, Spokane - Goat Dairy: from pasture to palate. Located at the base of Tower Mountain in Spokane, WA, is a small, sustainable, family-owned farm providing quality artisan cheeses and heritage pork to local, discerning individuals, markets and restaurants which care where their food comes from and how it tastes.  Heron Pond Farms is dedicated to humanely-raising healthy, happy, hormone free, Dairy Goats and Large Black Hogs in a pasture-based setting that encourages the animals to behave naturally.  Farmer Lorie Arnold will teach the essentials of what goes into creating a Grade A Dairy. See the operation starting from the milking room and ending at the cheese cave. You will also get to meet the goats and pigs that make Heron Pond Farms their home. And of course, taste the cheeses produced here.

Monday, May 13 - Cascadia Mushrooms, Bellingham - Organic Mushroom Production: From Spores to Delicious Fruiting Bodies. Farm Owner/operator Alex Winstead welcomes you to Cascadia Mushrooms (Farm) to demonstrate the operation he designed and built from scratch in 2009, located just north of Bellingham. It operates entirely on Green Power, and 90% of its byproducts are recycled. Come learn how Alex grows a wide variety of culinary and medicinal fungi: from substrate prep, spore inoculation, growing, then harvesting the fruiting bodies. Alex markets fresh mushrooms, plugs and growing kits. Come to the farm to experience, first-hand, the fascinating world of mushroom production. http://www.cascadiamushrooms.com

Monday, June 3 - Pine Stump Farms, Omak, Okanogan County - Farm Mechanics. Pine Stump is a diversified operation in Ponderosa Pine forest that produces hay, cattle, silvopasture, chickens, and goats, as well as value-added products like goat cheese.  To keep any farm going, it is essential to have some ability in repair and maintenance of equipment.  Learn from Albert Roberts how to get a chain saw and other equipment tuned-up, troubleshot and ready to go and then a test run to assess functioning.  Also, we will tour this diversified farm. This farm walk will be limited to 25 people for its hands-on component. http://www.pinestumpfarms.com

Monday, June 17 - Suyematsu Bentryn Farms, Bainbridge Island - Preserving Agricultural Heritage Through Creative Collaborative Farming. From Wendell Berry: “A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives.”  Bainbridge Island’s Suyematsu-Bentryn Farms, originally farmed by Akio Suyematsu for nearly eighty years, is now a shining example of a community of farmers working collaboratively on public farmland.  The 40-acre property is currently city-owned and managed by the non-profit Friends of the Farms.  It is farmed, collectively and collaboratively, by a group of farmers that not only respect the culture of the place, but cultivate the farmers of the future.  On this farm walk we will tour the farms and learn from farmers, educators, and volunteers about each of the many pieces of this healthy agricultural community.  We will hear about a variety of community efforts taking place on the farms including youth education, Farmers’ Guild, worker-owned winery, farm apprenticeship program, and collaborative farm stand. Lunch will be provided by Friends of the Farms.  http://friendsofthefarms.org/

Monday, June 24 - Lenwood Farms, Connell, Franklin County - Integrated Approaches to Pest Management: Farmscaping for Beneficials in the Columbia Basin. Discover integrated approaches to pest management with fifth generation farmer Brad Bailie to learn how he uses beetle banks, cover crops, and insectary habitats to manage pests and weeds on his 600-acre farm. Explore key biodiversity enhancement measures, soil building techniques, and their benefits for agricultural health and production.

Monday, July 8 - Wilson Banner Ranch, Clarkston, Asotin County - Opening the Farm to the Public; A Family Heritage Farm Diversifies and Adapts to Change

Monday, July 15- Friendly Haven Rise Farm, Venersburg, Clark County - Beekeeping on a Biodynamic Farm

Monday, August 5 - J4 Berry Ranch, Mount Vernon - Integrated Green Approach to growing and processing Organic Berries in the heart of Skagit River Valley

Monday, August 26 -Lincoln Creek Ranch,  Galvin - Raising Livestock: Management Intensive Grazing, flood plain preparedness, composting wastes, biodynamic certification.

Monday, Sept 16 -Maple K Farms Colfax WA, Whitman County - Silvopasture

REGISTRATION & LOGISTICS

Cost:  $15 for Tilth Producers members, students and interns. $25 for non-members

Paid pre-registration is recommended for all farm walks.

Pre-register online at www.tilthproducers.org or mail a check with your farm walk choices to:
Tilth Producers
4649 Sunnyside Avenue N #305
Seattle, WA  98103

Beverages are provided. 

View driving directions at www.tilthproducers.org or http://smallfarms.wsu.edu

For more information: organic@tilthproducers.org or call 206-632-7506.

Descriptions, pictures, and booklets of previous year's Farm Walks are available:

2012

Gibbs Organic Produce, Leavenworth; Hama Hama Oyster Company, Lilliwaup; Pride and Joy Dairy, Granger; Sunfield Farm, Port Hadlock; Doubletree Farm, Twisp; Cloud Mountain Farm & Nursery, Everson; Double Diamond Fruit Company, Quincy; Kirsop Farm, Tumwater.

2011

Inaba Produce Farms, Wapato; Red Dog Farm, Chimacum; Welcome Table Farm, Walla Walla; WSU Research and Extension Farm, Mt Vernon; Grouse Creek/ Templeton Farm, Chewelah; Cloudview EcoFarms, Royal City; Middleton Organic Orchards, Eltopia; Storytree Farm, Vancouver; Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden; Oxbow Farm Center, Carnation; Cedarville Farm, Bellingham.

2010

Black Sheep Creamery, Chehalis; Heldlin Family Farm, La Conner; Lazy R Ranch, Cheney; Tonnemaker Hill Farm, Royal City; WSU Organic Grain Farm, Pullman; WSU Organic Farm, Puyallup; Manuel Mendoza Orchard, Quincy; Filaree Farm, Omak, Boistfort Valley Farm, Curtis; Finn River Farm, Pt. Townsend.

2009

Terry's Berries, Tacoma; Lopez Island Farm, Lopez Island; Monteillet Fromagerie, Dayton; Crown S Ranch, Winthrop; Estrella Family Creamery, Montesano; Let Us Farm, Oakville; WSU Organic Farm, Pullman; WSU Organic Farm, Puyallup; Alvarez Farms, Mabton; Blue Dog Farm, Carnation

2008

Nicholson Orchard, Peshasthin; Sweet Grass Beef Farm, Lopez Island; Stokesberry Sustainable Farms, Tenino/Olympia; Willie Green's Organic Farm, Monroe; Zakarison Partnership, Pullman; Alm Hill Gardens, Everson; 21 Acres, Woodinville; Methow Creamery, Twisp; Nash's Organic Produce, Sequim; Styger Family Dairy Farm, Chehalis.

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Small Farms Team, 2606 W. Pioneer, Washington State University, Puyallup, WA 98371-4998, Contact Us