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.

April 28 – Stockhouse’s Farm, Cathlamet, Wahkiakum County
Managing for Success on a Small-Scale Diversified Farm
Rob and Diane Stockhouse operate a small, diversified farm on Puget Island, in the lower Columbia River.  They engage in a wide variety of activities to supply area consumers and support their farm. They operate a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), with flower, egg, and produce subscriptions and sell at the weekly Puget Island Farmer’s Market, which they host on their property. Learn about their unique Integrated Pest Management system, which features several ducks that eat slugs and other unwanted garden pests and geese to eat grass and guard the other birds. The walk will feature discussion about their use of hoop houses for season extension and how they incorporate raised beds into their garden space. Join us to learn from the Stockhouse’s fine example of what can be done successfully on a small-scale diversified farm. http://www.stockhousesfarm.com/

May 12 – Nash’s Organic Produce, Sequim, Clallam County
Grain and Seed Production
Nash Huber and his crew operate a truly diversified, mid-size, certified organic farm in the fertile Sequim-Dungeness Valley, where they grow vegetables, berries, vegetable seed crops, grains, legumes and pastured pigs. For ten to fifteen years the farm has produced seed from its own varieties of vegetables and also produces several types of grain which are processed into fresh flour at their WSDA certified restored mill.  Join us for an up close tour of this innovative grain and seed production operation, including growing techniques and variety trials, seed harvest, drying and cleaning infrastructure, and grain milling, bagging and packaging.  The tour will be led by Nash and Farm Managers Sam McCullough and Chris Tipton.  They will also be sharing info about how grains and seeds are integrated into the whole farm’s operations including livestock production, soil fertility management, and cash flow!  Participants are also invited to stay after the Farm Walk for a community potluck.  http://nashsorganicproduce.com/

June 2- Glendale Shepherd, Clinton, Island County
Farmstead Cheese and Animal Husbandry on a Grade A Sheep Dairy
Owned and operated by Lynn and Stan Swanson, Glendale Shepherd is a third generation, small-scale sheep dairy on Whidbey Island. With forest, pasture, ponds, and meadows, the farm provides a diversity of high quality habitat for livestock and wildlife. They use milk from the farm’s sheep to make their hand-made, farmstead cheeses, which includes their award winning Island Brebis, a whole raw sheep’s milk tomme that is aged 3–6 months. In addition, they raise Animal Welfare Approved pasture-raised lambs that thrive on the carefully managed pastures. The Swanson family’s goals are to produce the highest quality sheep milk cheeses possible and to nurture the land, their family, and their livestock through the use of creative, sustainable farming methods. Join us to learn more about these methods including what it means to be Animal Welfare Approved, farm planning and nutrient management as a Grade A dairy, and sustainable energy use on the farm. Truly a family farm, the walk will be led by Lynn and Stan along with their son Erik. Please join us for what is sure to be a beautiful farm walk full of opportunities to learn about sustainable sheep dairying! http://www.glendaleshepherd.com/

June 18 – Bow Hill Blueberries, Bow, Skagit County
Out of the Box Distribution: Puget Sound Food Hub
Bow Hill Blueberries is the oldest family owned blueberry farm in Skagit Valley.  When Harley and Susan Soltes became the second family to own the farm in 2011, they immediately began the transition of 65 year old plants to organic and will be fully certified for the 2014 harvest. In spring 2013 Bow Hill Blueberries became a Puget Sound Food Hub partner as an aggregation and customer pick-up site for the North Sound region. Regional food hubs have the potential to increase farm sales, reduce costs and waste, address regulatory requirements, and improve food safety standards while increasing access to locally produced foods. Bow Hill sells to businesses and institutions through the Puget Sound Food Hub and also helps manage hub operations and provide marketing assistance.
  
Join us for a tour of this 6-acre farm and hear about the Soltes’ experience selling direct to consumers through u-pick, at farmer’s markets, their farm store and online. Learn about processing of Bow Hill’s value-added products in their on-site WSDA licensed kitchen, tour the food hub and gain specifics about its operation.  http://bowhillblueberries.com/

July 14 - Seattle Tilth Farm Works, Auburn, King County
Growing New Farmers through Urban Agriculture
Seattle Tilth Farm Works (STFW) provides farm business training and support to immigrants, refugees and people with limited resources in South King County.  Through business trainings and hands-on experience growing and harvesting food using organic practices, this “farm incubator” model helps new farmers overcome barriers to starting new farms.  On this farm walk, we will meet some of the 22 farmers “incubating” small farm businesses at STFW during the 2014 season. 

Join us in a tour of their micro-farms occupying 9 acres of mixed vegetables, pork enterprise, laying hen flock, and small-scale apiary.  We will learn about STFW's 100-member multi-producer CSA and how the program helps to channel farmer products through other wholesale and retail outlets. http://seattletilth.org/about/seattletilthfarmworks

July 28 - Spokane Family Farm, Spokane, Spokane County
Cow Herd Management and Cheese Making, Hands-on (limit 20 participants)
At Spokane's Family Farm, owners Trish and Mike Vieira are passionate about family tradition and are committed to producing high quality, safe, and nutritious milk for consumers in the greater Spokane area. The farm – located just 13 miles west of Spokane – utilizes renewable agriculture practices to benefit the dairymen and the livestock, as well as save energy to create a smaller carbon footprint.  Their cows are part of a third-generation practice, which includes top genetics, clean and humane treatment, nutritious and natural feed, and low stress management. These practices along with their choice to "minimally" process the dairy products right on the farm, offers consumers the highest quality, local milk. Spokane’s Family Farm uses low temperature pasteurization to process milk, which they believe leaves much of the good bacteria that makes milk healthy. In addition, they do not homogenize the milk with idea that the body can digest the cream better and use the fat for energy and nutrients more easily.

Join us to tour their facilities and learn more about their dairy herd management, utilization of sustainable energy, and production of high quality milk. This is also a hands-on farm walk with the opportunity to learn how to make mozzarella cheese. http://www.spokanefamilyfarm.com/

August 11 - Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery, Yacolt, Clark County
Horse-Powered Organic Farming
Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery was founded by Caroline and Dan Swansey in 2011. This family farm's mission is to be a sustainable, certified organic horse-powered farm which provides fresh organic vegetables, pastured eggs, grass-fed lamb, pastured pork, nursery plants and so much more to the community. With that, they believe in farming in a way that respects the soil and their environment. The Swanseys operate a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and sell straight from the farm, at farmer's markets, and at local food stores.  The farm recently became Certified Organic earlier in 2014.

Join us at Yacolt Mountain Farm to learn more about the transitional process for organic, integration of livestock into their farm system, and the farms use of draft horses in their diverse operation.
 http://www.yacoltmountainfarmandnursery.com/

August 25th - Local Roots, Duvall, King County
Post-Harvest Handling: The Process of GAP Certification
Local Roots is a family-run vegetable farm in the Snoqualmie river valley, about 20 miles outside of Seattle. Wife and husband team Siri Erickson-Brown and Jason Salvo, along with a small crew of workers and apprentices, grow about ten acres of vegetables. Local Roots uses no synthetic inputs, building soil fertility with cover crops and compost, control weeds with tractor and human powered tools, minimize insect damage with spun-fabric row cover, and accept a certain amount of crop loss due to pests, disease, and bad weather. They sell their produce at Seattle-area farmers markets, through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription program, and to many fine restaurants. With such an operation, they are keen on utilizing the appropriate post-harvest handling practices to ensure safe and quality product.

Join us to learn more about their post-harvest handling protocols and their recent process of becoming Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) certified.  http://localrootsfarm.com/about/

September 8 - Alpenfire Cider, Port Townsend, Jefferson County
Organic Hard Apple Cider and Vinegar Production
Owned and operated by Steve and Nancy Bishop, Alpenfire Cider produces hard apple cider and vinegar using cider fruit from their certified organic orchard and from locally grown organic apples. Attached to small scale cider making traditions, Steve and Nancy wanted to make an organic cider that tasted like the ciders they loved from England and France. They planted their orchard in 2004 with over 800 trees and 10 varieties of English, French & Early American cider specific apples. These apples have been used for hundreds of years for the unique qualities they bring to cider production. Some aspects of growing cider fruit are contrary to accepted orchard practices – such as not using nitrogen fertilizer and restricting water. Plus, the beauty of cider apples is that they don’t need to be beauties, making organic growing that much easier.

Interest in cider and cider making is growing exponentially in the Northwest and around the country. Join us for a cider and vinegar making tour that covers the whole operation from the branch to the bottle. Also hear how the Bishops utilized a USDA Value-Added Producer grant to increase their production capabilities to the point of self-sufficiency.  http://alpenfirecider.com/

September 22 – Burnt Ridge Nursery, Onalaska, Lewis County
Unique Fruits, Nuts, & Marketing of a Highly Diversified Organic Nursery
Burnt Ridge Nursery and Orchards is a family-owned farm, in business since 1980. Owned and operated by Michael and Carolyn Dolan, their 20-acre farm is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains with a beautiful view of Mount St. Helens. They are a mail order nursery that specializes in unusual and disease resistant trees, vines, and shrubs that produce edible nuts or fruits. Burnt Ridge prides themselves on having a large selection of Northwest native plants, ornamentals, and useful landscape trees. They produce all their nursery stock using low-input, organic methods. Burnt Ridge also operates an orchard of their own selling their unique fruit at the Olympia Farmer’s Market and in local stores. They also produce a variety of certified organic jams and jellies.

Join us to learn more about the diverse number of fruit and nut species grown at Burnt Ridge and their potential for growth in the Northwest. For example, the walk will cover the many varieties of chestnut and hardy kiwi that the nursery produces using low-input methods. https://www.burntridgenursery.com/

October 6th, Enumclaw Sustainable Farmers Network, Enumclaw Plateau, King County
Collaborative Farm Marketing and Conservation
See how three farms on the Enumclaw Plateau work together to help each other succeed through resource sharing. Also learn how King Conservation District supports farmers to maintain their business and stewardship goals. We will visit Boise Creek Boer Goats (pasture-raised goat meat), Providence Farms (Organic Valley farmer-owned cow dairy), and Ode to Joy Farm (eggs and pastured poultry).
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EnumclawSustainableFarmersNetwork/

October 13 - China Bend Winery, Kettle Falls, Stevens County
Producing Organic Wine and Value-Added Products
Twenty miles northwest of Kettle Falls, tucked into a banana belt along the Columbia River Valley, is China Bend Winery, an organic estate-grown winery. Owners Bart and Victory Alexander view natural winemaking as at once simple and exacting; easy and labor intensive; ancient and state-of-the-art modern. Their winemaking style is defined by their commitment to preserve the wine’s maximum nutritive values and express the fullest flavor without manipulating, altering, or adding anything that would compromise its purity. Eliminating the need to add sulfites is the biggest challenge an organic winery faces. Extreme care and precautions are required to prevent contamination and oxidation at every step of the process, from harvest and crush though aging and bottling. In addition to wine, they also produce a wide variety of value-added products in their certified kitchen using fruit and vegetables from their organic gardens. Bart and Victory have a strong marketing plan that includes various farm events and enterprises including barrel tasting, salsa fest, grape stomp, and a bed & breakfast. 
 
Come learn how China Bend Winery makes “the best wine in the world” and creates high-quality value-added products. Further, see for yourself how Bart and Victory have been successful marketers in all of their farm enterprises. www.chinabend.com

 

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

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

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

2013

Blue Heron Farm, Rockport; Plum Forest Farm, Vashon Island; Klickitat Canyon Winery and Meadowlark Vineyard; Heron Pond Farm, Spokane; Cascadia Mushrooms, Bellingham ; Pine Stump Farms, Omak; Suyematsu Bentryn Farms, Bainbridge Island ; Lenwood Farms, Connell;  ; Wilson Banner Ranch, Clarkston; Friendly Haven Rise Farm, Venersburg; J4 Berry Ranch, Mount Vernon; Lincoln Creek Ranch, Galvin; Maple K Farms Colfax.

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