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Tour time: Whatcom, Whidbey farms welcome visitors

Sep 3rd, 2015 | Category: Features

Each September, select farms in Whatcom County and Whidbey Island open their grounds to residents and visitors, giving them the chance to experience what is grown and produced on the farm, ask questions, and see how things work.

Baby chicks are always a draw for visitors, especially young ones, pictured here at Willowood Farm last year. COURTESY PHOTO

Baby chicks are always a draw for visitors, especially young ones, pictured here at Willowood Farm last year. COURTESY PHOTO

The Whatcom Farm Tour, sponsored by Sustainable Connections, takes place Saturday, Sept. 12 and features 10 farms, one winery, and the Bellingham Farmers Market.  This free, family-friendly, and self-guided tour is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The following locations are included:

Appel Farms + The Cheese Shop: Appel Farms has been creating artisan cheese at their family-owned 900-cow dairy in Ferndale for over 30 years, offering a varied selection. Run by brothers John and Rich Appel, the farm’s cheese offerings include cheddar, feta, fresh cheddar curd (squeaky cheese), gouda, paneer, and quark. Their cozy and inviting shop, located at 6605 NW Road in Ferndale, sells cheese, sandwiches and other items. For more information, see

BelleWood Acres: This orchard operated by Dori and John Belisle grows numerous varieties of apples, and offers u-pick and we-pick. There are family friendly activities on site, as well as a pumpkin patch and live music and other events. Visitors can also check out the bistro, bakery and distillery, all located at 6140 Guide Meridian in Lynden. See

Visitors can pick zinnias, vegetables, late berries and more at the Bellingham Country Gardens. COURTESY PHOTO

Visitors can pick zinnias, vegetables, late berries and more at the Bellingham Country Gardens. COURTESY PHOTO

Bellingham Country Gardens: Sam and Mary Grubbs own and operate this small farm at 2838 E. Kelly Road in eastern Bellingham. They grow flowers, veggies and berries, and are open to the public for u-pick on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Cascadia Mushrooms: Farm owner/operator Alex Winstead grows a variety of culinary and medicinal fungi on site, all certified organic. Growing since 2005, the farm is located just north of Bellingham. See

Cloud Mountain Farm Center: Started as a family-owned nursery/farm by Cheryl and Tom Thornton, Cloud Mountain is now a community non-profit. The retail nursery continues to specialize in plants suited to the Pacific Northwest, offering fruits, vegetables and ornamentals. Visitors can view the growing trials and learn about upcoming community gardening workshops and events, including their annual Fall Fruit Festival held the first weekend in October. CMFC is located at 6906 Goodwin Road in Everson. See

Inspiration Farm: Located at 619 E. Laurel Road in Bellingham and operated by Brian Kerkvliet and Alexandra King, the farm practices both biodynamic methods and permaculture. They also host events in the community, including the upcoming Evening with Toby Hemenway on Monday, Sept. 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF). Hemenway, a permaculture author, introduces his new book, The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience. See

Triple Wren Farm: Growing fresh flowers and vegetables, the farm is OMRI-certified and Salmon Safe, and right in the middle of Sm’apples orchard in Ferndale. Triple Wren is operated by Steve and Sarah Pabody. See

Twin Brook Creamery: Located at 9728 Double Ditch Road in Lynden, this dairy farm property dates back to 1910. In 2007, the Stap family began bottling milk on site in glass bottles, and continue to do so in their renovated facility. Visitors can take a wagon ride around the farm, tour the historic barn built in 1911, see the processing facility and milking cows and calves, and sample the milk. See

Edelweiss Dairy: The first certified organic dairy in Whatcom County, Edelweiss is a memberowner of Organic Valley Cooperative. Visitors can see the cows and calves, try samples, and take guided tours offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The farm is located at 1519 Timon Road in Everson.

• Ten Fold Farm: Located at 4634 Guide Meridian, this fledging 9.5-acre family farm grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers. Visitors can tour the growing areas and take a tutorial on hoop house construction for the back-yard gardener. Produce will be available at the info booth.

Vartanyan Estates Winery: Margarita Vartanyan operates this winery at 1628 Huntley Road in Bellingham. Visitors can tour the production facility, have wine and barrel tastings, and learn about their seasonal events. See


The 10th annual Whidbey Farm Tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12-13. Also self-guided, this tour runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes 11 farms.

Hummingbird Farm: This lovely nursery and garden is open year-round at 2319 Zylstra Road in Oak Harbor, and offers classes and workshops throughout the year. See

Strawfield House & Farm: This 5-acre farm on 2604 North Bluff Road in Greenbank has poultry, vegetables, flowers, and an honor farm stand.

Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie: Vegetables and more at this historic farm located at 399 S Ebey Road in Coupeville.

Greenbank Farm & Organic Farm School: Greenbank Farm is home to the Agriculture Training Center, and hosts activities around agriculture, recreation and more at 765 Wonn Road in Greenbank.

South Whidbey Tilth: This nonprofit group of gardeners and farmers raises crops in South Whidbey. See

Whidbey Island Distillery: Located at 3466 Craw Road in Langley, this distillery produces loganberry, raspberry liqueurs and more.

Whidbey Island Vineyard & Winery: This vineyard, operated by Gregory and Elizabeth Osenbach at 5237 Langley Road in Langley, has been growing wine grapes and producing wines since 1986.

Glendale Shepherd Dairy: In the Swanson family for three generations, this Grade A sheep dairy farm produces high quality, handcrafted sheep milk cheeses and farm-raised lamb.

Shipki Farm Organics: This mini-farm uses bio-intensive methods to grow organic produce and offers a seasonal CSA. See

Abundant Earth Fiber: This cottage fiber mill at 6438 Central Ave. in Clinton offers a variety of fiber and services. See

Wildwood Farm: This is a premiere breeding and training facility focusing on the complete care and education of horses and students, located at 2326 Happy Valley Road in Oak Harbor. See

For more information about the farm tour, see

Next month: The Skagit Valley Festival of Family Farms will be held Oct. 3-4. 


Published in the September 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine

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