Everybody needs to go and see where their food comes from. Here in Jefferson County we are very fortunate to have so many wonderful farms providing for us. I went on the tour, which is self-guided, last year too, but it was much more fun to go with Ryan.
Our first stop was at Midori Farm, which for me showed an amazing accomplishment as just last year, the farm was right in Port Townsend, but needing more space they moved 30+ miles south to a new farm in Quilcene. It looked like they had been there for ages; never skipped a beat (beet?) with the growing season. Vast fields of organic veges; greenhouses filled with drying beans and curing onions; a farm stand loaded with fresh stuff, while almost-shoulder high brussels sprout plants showed tiny, developing sprout buds. This farm is sustainability in action. Goats were busy clearing blackberry patches and top-bar beehives (with warnings to stay away from the approach zone) are close by the chicken coop which provides manure, while the compost pile is located just beyond the goats!
Piles of fresh garlic caught Ryan's eye and he happily took some back to SoCal.
Up the road from Midori, right on Hwy 101, Dharma Ridge is an all-organic certified farm on the old Boulton Farm. Along with all the veges and humanely-raised pigs, the farm is working with WSU (Washington State University) on a quinoa experiment and currently have numerous varieties being tested. It's the first time I have seen quinoa growing and if it hadn't been pointed out to me, would have thought it was a weed!
Next stop was the Bishop Farm. This is a dairy farm I drive by every time I head into Port Townsend. Located on Egg & I Road, it is the only organic dairy farm on the Northern Olympic Peninsula and is part of the Organic Valley group, so I can feel good buying "local" milk at the store. The cows were all out to pasture but were very curious, lining up to watch us! Then I looked at their udders and realized they probably thought we were going to take them into the milking shed to be milked! Sorry girls! Not my job!
With Ryan as the navigator, we headed over to Marrowstone Island, past beaches I used to take him and his brother Cody to when they were tiny boys. This visit was more grown up - a winery first where we tasted a flight of the local wines, produced from imported (from eastern Washington and Oregon) grapes. Last year, Betsy and I visited and everything was very young. This year, Marrowstone Vineyards will harvest their first crop. With the exceptionally warm weather this summer, they are hoping for a great harvest. I particularly enjoyed the Yellow Truck 2013 Apple Wine and Ryan bought a bottle of the Riesling which I am now enjoying as he couldn't take it home with him. Sorry, Ryan! I owe you one.
Another farm I have been meaning to go to is Mystery Bay Farm, where they raise goats and produce wonderful cheeses. It's tucked behind the historic Nordland store and we wandered the little farm, admiring all the goats who took pretty much no notice of us. Up in the vegetable garden, the ducks, which eat all the slugs and snails, were raucous and not happy to have all the visitors. And tucked far away from all the "girls," the two farm stud rams were sequestered! They appeared rather agitated but we found out that it was almost breeding season so the boys were very horny! On our way out, we had a quick taste of the cheeses which have garnered numerous write-ups and prizes.
Our final stop on the tour was at Westbrook Angus, which is mainly a breeding farm but they also sell grass fed beef at very reasonable prices. We didn't buy any, but next time Ryan visits, I will make sure I am well stocked! This stop was a highlight, I think as we went on a hayride! Julie, the owner, fired up the old tractor and off we went down into the valley to see all the cattle. She knows all the girls' names, their histories and personalities. Fascinating! The herd followed the tractor and trailer with us on it. When we stopped we were surrounded by the girls who immediately started pulling the hay bales off the trailer! Knowing basically nothing about cattle, to me they looked so healthy, with shiny coats and they all seemed so placid. As we drove back to the farmstead, the cows followed as far as the open gate, stopped and watched as their snacks left!
It was a wonderful adventure and such fun sharing it with my city boy son, who also loved seeing first-hand how animals and crops should be grown.
10 Old State Hwy Quilcene, WA 98376 360.385.5579
Dharma Ridge Farm
780 Boulton Farm Road Quilcene,Wa 98376 360.765.0178
Egg & I Road Chimacum, WA 360.732.4863
423 Meade Road, Nordland 360.385.5239
Mystery Bay Farm
P.O. Box 285 Nordland 360.385.3309
1311 West Valley Rd Chimacum 360.732.4335