Cascadian Farm Home Farm Tour

As I’ve mentioned, I was in Washington state last week with Cascadian Farm. They brought a group of bloggers out to their original 20-acre farm in Concrete, WA, about 2 hours north of Seattle.

Here’s the whole group including the bloggers and the Cascadian Farm team (minus Cameron who snapped the photo).

Blogger Group Pic

Kristen, Ashley, Amy and Natalie from Super Healthy Kids, Amy from Mom Spark, Miryam from Eat Good 4 Life, me, Elle, Jim, Kelly from Nosh and Nourish, Shaina from Food for My Family, Sherrie from With Food and Love, Deborah from Taste and Tell, Lauren from Lauren’s Latest, Lauren from Lauren Kelly Nutrition and Katrina.

I arrived to Seattle on Monday afternoon and didn’t have anything scheduled until dinner so after checking in to my hotel I went exploring.

Pike Place Market

I had never been to Seattle before but I knew I had to check out Pike Place Market — it’s the oldest market of its kind (founded in 1907) and it’s open 363 days a year!

Fish tossing and lots of free samples… those were the highlights for me. 🙂

Pike Place Market

After snacking my way through the market, I spotted the original Starbucks store and made my way over to check it out.

Seattle Orginial Starbucks

I had been waiting all day to get coffee in Seattle, but the line was too long at Starbucks so I ended up finding a local place called Ghost Alley Espresso.

Ghost Alley Espresso

I grabbed a coconut milk americano (woo-hoo for non-dairy milk options!) and continued exploring. A couple local folks told me it was getting ready to storm so I headed back to my hotel to do a little work and get ready for dinner at Sitka and Spruce. I was too busy connecting with everyone at dinner to get any good photos, but know that the space was adorable and the food was absolutely delicious.

The next morning we woke up early and headed off to the Skagit Valley for a tour of the original farm where Cascadian Farm was founded. Gene Kahn started the farm in 1972, growing fruits and vegetables for local sale. As the business grew, Gene partnered with other farmers in the 80’s and 90’s. Cascadian Farm purchased Muir Glen in 1998 and formed Small Planet Foods, which was then acquired by General Mills in 2000.

In 1993, Jim and Harlyn Meyer joined Cascadian Farm to farm the original farm. Harlyn retired, but Jim is still on the farm today as the farm manager and organic educator.

Farmer Jim

That’s Jim!

With the demand for organic produce, Cascadian Farm quickly outgrew the 20-arce farm so much of the produce you see in stores today is sourced from their partner farms. Some of the blueberries grown on the original farm are shipped out to be packaged and sold on a larger scale, but most of the berries and produce grown on the original farm are sold locally at the farm stand.

Cascadian Farm

Farmer Jim took us on a tour of the lower fields first. We got to walk through the blueberries bushes and hear all about how they are grown.

Cascadian Farm Blueberries

I was most surprised to learn how cumbersome the organic growing practice is. I used to think, “oh, organic is just growing things in organic soil without synthetic pesticides…”

After hearing first-hand from Jim and Katrina (head of organic industry affairs), I realize there’s more to it than that. It takes a lot of hard work to be a truly organic farm — the farmer must make a commitment to agricultural practices that strive for balance with nature and nurture the soil to grow healthy plants.

Farm Tour

The first (and probably most important part) is managing the soil because organic farms rely on the soil rather than chemical fertilizers. There are a bunch of different ways this is done including crop rotation and composting.

Kelly compost

We got to check out their compost pile, which was really cool. The composted material was actually radiating heat so the matter was warm to touch. Don’t worry, this compost pile was all plant-based. Kelly didn’t get any poo on her hands. 🙂

mossy trees

While everyone else was touching the compost pile, I was mesmorized by all the moss growing on the trees. The air is so moist is causes moss to grow in odd places… on the tress, on the side of houses, etc. It was really cool looking.

One other fact that was brought up on the trip is that all organic products are non-gmo, but not all non-gmo products are organic. Sometimes reading labels can be confusing so it’s nice to know that when you’re buying organic items, they’re also gmo free.

Next up, we headed over to the hardy kiwi trees.

kiwi tree

If you’re like me and new to the hardy kiwi, I’ll explain. Hardy kiwi (or kiwi berries) are miniature kiwi without the fuzzy skin. You eat them whole — the flavor is like a regular kiwi but the texture is like a grape. They were tasty!

kiwi berries

No only are the hardy kiwi trees super cool to walk under (they make a tunnel of sorts), the kiwi berries are incredibly cute.

kiwi berries

Other highlights of the farm included the beautiful wildflowers (planted for the bees and other pollinators). <— More on that in a later post.

Wildflowers

And the pumpkin patch. They had so many different varieties of pumpkins… way more than just your average carving pumpkins. I was impressed.

Cascadian Farm Farm Tour

Kelly and Sherrie in the patch.

Apparently the one Jim is holding below is called a Lunch Lady Gourd. 🙂

Jim with pumpkin  1 of 1

I picked out my favorite, which was squatty and a deep orange color.

pumpkin patch

Oh… and the homemade ice cream. Can’t forget that! It’s made with local milk and berries (or squash) from the farm and sold at the produce stand.

ice cream

I tried all four flavors: chocolate, raspberry chocolate chip, blueberry and pumpkin. And then went back for seconds on the pumpkin. Yum!

If you ever find yourself in Washington state visiting the Cascadian Farm produce stand (which you totally should, it’s open to the public), you have to get the ice cream. It’s rich, creamy and absolutely delicious. The pumpkin is out of this world.

After a long day of touring the farm, we headed to Ovenells Inn, where we were staying for the evening.

ovenells-inn

We each got our own little cabin to stay in.

The cabins were kind of rustic and I definitely had a good laugh about my bedroom decor…

deer bed

but overall, the cabin was cozy, impeccably clean and had great wifi. I actually slept better here than I did in the hotel we stayed at the first night.

view from the inn

The staff members at the Inn were super friendly and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t get over it!

The next morning we all packed up and grabbed breakfast at the Skagit Valley Co-op before making our way back to Seattle to travel home.

Cascadian Farm Logo Shot

Last but not least, here’s the view from the farm’s green house. Looks just like the Cascadian Farm logo, huh?

Thank you again to the Cascadian Farm team for inviting me out to the farm. I loved touring the original farm, hearing how the brand got started, and learning all about organic farming in general. Plus, now I know how beautiful Washington state is. I already want to go back. 🙂

This trip was sponsored by Cascadian Farm, however I wasn’t required or compensated to write this post. 

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    12 comments
  1. Isn’t the Pacific Northwest the prettiest?! I live in Seattle and had no idea that Cascadian Farms were so close…I need to make a visit, because holy cow those photos are gorgeous! I hope you enjoyed Seattle, I’ve been here two years, now, and I still go down to Pike Place Market and sample from all the vendors 😉 Did you try the truffle or greek yogurt place? Amazing!

    • Oh man, you’ve got to check out the Cascadian Farm produce stand sometime. I recommend going in the fall so that you can get the pumpkin ice cream. Or the summer, because then you can pick your own blueberries.

      I totally missed the greek yogurt place and I’m so sad because so many people told me (after I went) that it’s amazing. I obviously need to go back. 🙂

  2. I have been going to Concrete for YEARS – our family has a trailer at a nearby resort and I had no idea anything like this existed there! I’ll have to check it out next time we go!

  3. Wow. Absolutely beautiful! I really hope I get the chance one day to travel to the farms produce stand. It would be so neat to get the experience you had to learn all about organic farming and the life.

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