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The Local Dirt: March 2018

Mar 3rd, 2018 | Category: News

the local dirt webSpring is on the way! Daylight Savings Time will be early morning, Sunday, March 11. Remember to turn those clocks an hour forward, and let’s spring into longer days. Pi Day is March 14, be sure to have yourself a delicious slice of pie at your favorite local spot. And of course, the first day of Spring officially arrives on the calendar March 20.

This means it’s also chicks season! Local farm and country stores and preparing for the arrival of chicks. Check for orders and arrival dates at your local stores. Country Store locations in Skagit and Island counties will be hosting sales and classes. See the website for dates:

Lautenbach Industries, of Mount Vernon, were recently honored with the Best Practices in Safety Silver Award at the 2018 C&D World Annual Meeting. Torrey and Troy Lautenbach accepted the award on behalf of Lautenbach Industries. The family-owned company has been in operation for over 25 years and specializes in demolition techniques that are environmentally friendly.

The Whatcom Conservation District presents Westside Pasture Calendar on Thursday, March 15 at noon to 2 p.m. at the Ten Mile Grange in Lynden. With years worth of research from WSU and OSU staff and other regional experts, WCD staff will introduce the newly released Westside Pasture Calendar. Workshop participants will run through pasture management challenges and learn how this new tool presents solutions and Best Management Practices. Local custom farmer Richie Verbree will discuss equipment for small and large acreage pasture management. With years of experience in Whatcom County forage production, Verbree will share his observations on how farmers can work with their soil types and field drainage to maximize forage production. Additionally, Whatcom County Noxious Weed Board will talk about plants of environmental concern and plants poisonous to livestock. See

Goat University 2018, a one-day clinic on all things goats, will be held Saturday, March 17 at the Island County Fair Grounds on Whidbey Island, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for ages 18 and over, $15 for ages 6-17, and free for kids ages 5 and under. Classes include: Goat Keeping 101, Learn to Milk Goats, Grooming and Hoof Care, The Home Dairy, Soap Making, and more. All ages are welcome. Goat University is presented by Four Seasons Farm 4-H Club. For more information, contact or Online tickets are available at

The Meet Your Farmer & CSA Fair,  sponsored by Sustainable Connections, will be held Saturday, March 17 at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Participants can learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) options and meet farmers. There will also be prize giveaways.

In addition, Sustainable Connections is hosting “Toward Zero Waste Workshop: Restaurant Strategies for Safely Donating Prepared Foods” on Thursday, March 22 at 1:30 p.m. in Bellingham. The first in a series of waste reduction workshops for businesses and the public, this free session will focus on strategies for businesses to safely donate and reduce food waste. Participants will also discuss health codes, meet representatives from recipient organizations (Miracle Food Network, NW Youth Services, Lighthouse Mission), and learn about resources available to have donations picked up and delivered to those in need for free. For more information, see and click on Events.

Dr. Susan Kerr, the WSU NW Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist in Mount Vernon, announced she will retire effective July 2, 2018. Dr. Kerr has degrees in Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, and  was the WSU Klickitat County Extension Director for 17 years before joining the Skagit Extension. Thank you for all you’ve done Dr. Kerr! You will be missed.

Abundant Earth Fiber Mill in Clinton, owned by Alan and Lydia Christiansen, are trying to recover after a theft left them with no inventory. Sadly, the team was on their way to the Stitches West conference, and someone stole their trailer hitched to their vehicle in a hotel parking lot. The trailer contained their entire inventory. If you would like to donate to them as they get back on their feet, please see their website at

Bellingham Food Bank’s Garden Project is recruiting for garden recipients and volunteers. This community building program installs free home gardens for Bellingham residents on a limited income and provides all that is needed  to successfully grow one’s own produce, including seed and vegetable starts, tools, educational resources and mentors. Every year 25 new households join the program, and participants receive two years of support. If you are interested in becoming a garden recipient or volunteering as a garden mentor, garden builder or Spanish interpreter, call Julia Raider at (360) 393-2838 or email

Bittersweet Family Farm, of Stanwood, is offering sausage making classes. Available dates and times include: Tuesday, March 20 at 10 a.m. and Saturday, April 7 at noon (their March 24 session is full). Participants will be making apple strudel breakfast sausage and Italian sausage from scratch. This includes grinding, seasoning, stuffing and linking the sausages. Class participants will take home two pounds of each variety. Classes will be held in Stanwood, near Lake Goodwin. Cost of the class will be $50. Anyone interested in signing up can contact the farm through their Facebook page.

Mount Vernon Farmers Market is seeking vendors for the 2018 season.  Interested farmers, growers, producers, artisans and food vendors can review policies and fill out a 2018 vendor application at Applications are due by March 30. The season opens Saturday, May 19.

Port Susan Farmers Market in Stanwood is hiring a PT market manager for the 2018 season. Applications are due by March 8. See position announcement at

The Skagit Valley Food Co-op is hosting their 11th annual Wellness Fair on Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair is a free day of fun and learning with hands-on classes, free samples, and opportunities to visit with local wellness experts. In addition, the Co-op is running a Drinkin’ for the Lincoln campaign with Ninkasi Brewing for the entire month of March. A portion of certain sales of Ninkasi at Third Street Cafe and the Co-op will be donated to the Lincoln Theatre.

Whatcom Food Network’s Spring Forum has been scheduled for Thursday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Squalicum Boathouse. Whatcom’s fishing and consumption sectors will be the focus of discussion. To register, see or the Facebook event page.

Future Fest, organized by Transition Fidalgo and Friends, is a free Earth Day weekend celebration and community brainstorming session set for April 21-22. The event includes workshops, food, art, and more. See more info at

Island County is hosting a Local Food Fair on Thursday, April 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room, in Coupeville. Any farmers and food producers interested in learning more should contact  Laura Luginbill at 360-678-7939 or

–compiled by Becca Schwarz Cole


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