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The Local Dirt: May 2017

May 3rd, 2017 | Category: News

Burk Ridge Farms, of Custer, has announced they decided to downsize to their original homesteading beginning and will no longer be offering USDA processing and commercial operations. The farm grew over the last four years, offering USDA processing and more. The family farm is collecting one last order (1/4, 1/2 or a whole) discounted to wholesale pricing. For more information, contact local dirt web

Pizza’zza, local makers of delicious pizza, announced they are now sourcing 100 percent of their cheese from Ferndale Farmstead Cheese Artisans, a local family farm in Ferndale making traditional Italian cheeses. For more information about each business and their products, see their Facebook pages.

A bus tour of Laurel area farms and gardens has been organized for Saturday, June 3. Participants can enjoy  four private gardens and four unique local businesses, including Appel Farms, Laurel Farm, Boxx Berry Farm, or Bellewood Acres. All profits will be donated to local non-profits. For more information, pick up a registration form at any participating farm, or see their Facebook pages for details.

Boxx Berry Farm announced they are exploring an online home delivery system of their products, both fresh and frozen, in Whatcom County. The farm is also bringing back the Strawberry Festival! Details are still being finalized, but stay tuned to their Facebook page and website for more dates and information.

The WSU Skagit Extension is offering a one-day farm Machinery Safety Workshop on Friday, May 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 11768 Westar Lane, Suite A in Burlington. (The workshop was originally going to run as a 5-week course, however it did not have enough registrants and needed to be changed.) Individuals in all counties are eligible to attend the training. Last year’s class contained a mix of middle school, high school and Spanish- and English-speaking adults. Certification can be obtained for students 13 years of age and above. A deposit of $25 is required to hold your spot; an additional $50 is due by the end of the course if you wish to receive a certificate (if you do not want a certificate your total cost is $25). Instructors are Don McMoran, Dorothy Elsner and Kate Smith, of the WSU Skagit Extension office. To learn more, contact WSU Skagit County Extension at (360) 428-4270 ext 225 or email Online registration is available at

In other farm safety news, the WSU Island County Extension is hosting a Farm Safety Awareness Workshop on Wednesday, May 10 from 6-9 p.m.  at the Pacific Rim Institute, 180 Parker Road, Coupeville. The workshop is free and open to all, and will provide an overview of farm health and safety and tractor safety demonstration. For more information, contact Loren Imes at (360) 678-2343 or The event is co-sponsored by WSU Extension, Whidbey Island Conservation District, Washington Tractor, and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue.

Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland presents its 3rd annual “Our Future, Our Valley” Breakfast on Wednesday, June 7 from 7:15-9:15 a.m. WSDA Director Derek Sandison is this year’s speaker and will share his perspective on the trade and economic outlooks for Washington State. The breakfast is free; donations are requested. The event will be held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1515 College Way, Mount Vernon. RSVP is required; contact or (360) 336-3974. For more information, visit

In other SPF news, the group’s Spring Farm Tour is Friday, May 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The theme is “Innovators in Skagit Agriculture” and includes stops at Bow Hill Blueberries, Samish Bay Cheese, Lunch Presentation at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center, Skagit Flats Farm and The Bread Lab. Participants can learn about the infrastructure that’s necessary to keep Skagit agriculture viable. Chartered bus tickets are $20/member and $30 general. Call (360) 336-3974.

Arlington Community Garden has beds available. The garden is across the street from the Arlington Library on Washington Street and Second. To reserve a bed, call (360) 403-1011.

Scratch and Peck Feeds, recently moved into their new facility in the Skagit Valley, have announced they are now a certified B Corp. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab, recognizing standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. In addition, the company was named a bronze winner in the 2017 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest . Scratch and Peck receives $7,500 plus a $1,000 credit toward FedEx print and business services. The company will be honored and join other grant winners for two days of sharing and learning at the Small Business Grant Winner Forum in Memphis in September. For more about the business, see

Dandelion Organic Delivery celebrated its 10th anniversary and has expanded its delivery area. In addition to Bellingham, Sudden Valley and Ferndale, the company now includes Lynden. For more information, see

The WSU Whatcom County Extension Master Gardener Plant Clinic is open for business! Every year, the free plant clinic serves hundreds of home gardeners. The diagnostic plant clinic is staffed by certified Master Gardener volunteers who provide free research based advice.  The clinic is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon or 1-4 p.m. at 1000 N. Forest Street, Suite 201, Bellingham. Residents can bring samples of that pesky bug, mystery weed, diseased branch or flower. “Our goal is help gardeners find least toxic and sustainable solutions to problems. We can assist with soil, compost, plant id, veggie disease, insects, native plants, perennials, drought and deer resistant plants and more.” For more information, see

Bloom Apothecary’s 2nd anniversary and grand opening will be marked with a ribbon cutting on May 3 at 1019 Q Ave Ste 2, Anacortes, at 4 p.m. The company’s anniversary is the first Saturday in May, which is also National Herb Day. Bloom Apothecary will also be vending at the first Anacortes Farmer’s Market of the season. For more information, see

Northwest Natural Resource Group is offering a Biochar 101 workshop in Friday Harbor on Saturday, May 6. Speakers will cover all things biochar, from its benefits for farms and forests to manufacturing processes and sale strategies. the workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Doran Farm, 1106 False Bay Drive, Friday Harbor. To register, see

Berry Dairy Days, coming up June 16-18, marks the 80th year! For more information, see

The Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network (WSSFN) has relaunched under the new name of Food Action. The group formerly held offices in Mount Vernon and Bellingham, and is now based in Seattle.

And lastly, nearly everyone wants more sunshine and less rain.

–compiled by Becca Schwarz Cole


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