Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

WELCOME TO OUR ALMANAC! READ ABOUT ALL THINGS ECO FROM ORGANIC VEGGIE
GARDEN TIPS TO GREEN FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

Hi friends! Have any of you ever visited our home farm in Washington state? If so, we would love it if you would share some of your photos, stories, or any memories of the farm from your trip.

Our 28-acre farm is nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking North Cascades mountain range in western Washington's Upper Skagit Valley. This is where our array of delicious organic products was born, and where we are currently pruning and planning for this year's crops to be sold at the home farm store.

If you haven't visited our farm yet, we would love to have you visit us this summer! Our Roadside Stand opens in May, so you can stop in to pick up a pound of our fresh, seasonal berries or a pint of our homemade organic ice cream. We also have luscious shortcakes, preserves and delicious organic snacks for you to try. If you have a little more time, spend an hour or so in our U-Pick berry fields (Raspberries & Strawberries earlier in the year, our famous organic blueberries late July - August). Trust us, the scenery is beautiful, and the food can't be beat! You'll be glad you made the trip.

Do you have any photos or stories of your Cascadian Farm trip to share? Post them on our Facebook wall!

“I never want to leave this place!” my eight year old son Jackson announced in the middle of the strawberry field, his fingers stained from picking and popping ripe berries in his mouth. “It is so fun -- even though it doesn’t have any rides... And it has the most delicious food in the world!”

Watching my kids run around Cascadian Farm, having a blast out in nature, eating fruits and veggies right off the vine, was simply beautiful.

Like Jackson said, they didn’t miss artificial flavors or thrills.

They were outside, with life stripped down to its essence and they were delighted by it all.

It is amazing how good food tastes when you pick and eat it, fresh from the earth.  It tastes like freedom, when you can drop it into your mouth without having to worry about pesticides or chemicals.

My kids not only had the chance to learn about organic and sustainable farming, they got the chance to taste the rewards.

We are home now, back to the routine of laptops, homework, and picking our peppers from the grocery store. But the time at the farm was a valuable lesson, an investment in my kids’ worldview. Every time I can, I want to teach and inspire my children to live sustainable, healthy lifestyles.

Thanks Cascadian Farm for a wonderful day – and for even arranging the sun to shine!

Your Turn: How do you get your kids to experience nature and healthy living? We would love to hear your tips!

 

Photos by Janice Croze

While we hate to see the summer go, one of our favorite parts about fall is when families come visit the farm to pick pumpkins and tour the farm on a hayride. This is a part of the Skagit Valley's Festival of Family Farms, and we're thrilled to be participating again this year at our home farm.

This is the same farm that was started by Gene Kahn thirty-eight years ago. Gene, an idealistic 24-year-old grad-school dropout, wanted to make a difference, so he set out to farm organically on a little stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. Today Cascadian Farm is recognized as a pioneer in converting conventional farms to organic.

On Saturday & Sunday, Oct 2nd-3rd Cascadian Farm will be participating in the 12th annual Festival of Family Farms, and Farmer Jim will be giving farm tours via hayride both days. If you're in the area, you won't want to miss this chance to learn about organic farming, and how we use the natural ecosystems of the Cascade forests around our farm to feed healthy soil, and grow healthy crops. You can also grab your Halloween pumpkins from our pumpkin patch!

If you're in the area, we hope you'll stop by our farm, as well as some of our neighbors' farms here in the Skagit Valley. But no matter where you live, we hope you'll get out to a local farm this fall with your family. Check out the fall colors surrounding your local pumpkin patch, or apple orchard.

If you have ideas for family fun during the fall, please share them in the comments below, or on our Facebook wall!

On Friday August 20th, a group of Cascadian Farm employees, and their friends and families enjoyed a beautiful Skagit Valley day, and took part in a longstanding tradition: we hiked up to the top of Sauk Mountain for a mile-high picnic, and then came back down to the farm to pick a basket of our mouth-watering organic blueberries. This has been an annual event for Cascadian Farm and Small Planet Foods employees for the last 7 years!

Check out the Flickr set for this event!

Last week we snapped a few photos of the Blueberry Picker and showed them to you on Facebook. Here is a video of it being assembled. Farmer Jim is pretty excited to show it off. Enjoy!

Have you had a chance to pick fresh organic blueberries this year? In Washington state, we're at the tale end of our picking season. So if you haven't yet...you should soon!

I recently had the opportunity to take a trip out to the Cascadian Farm Home Farm in Concrete, Washington. I was traveling for work, and the stars aligned that made it possible for me to get there, and I am so glad I did.

Prior to going, all I'd been told about the home farm was that it was magical, and since my arrival to the Cascades was in the middle of the night, I had no idea what I was walking into the next morning.

It was cold and foggy that morning, but that didn't stop us from heading out to the farm early. We poked around, watching the water in the river and the fog lifting over the rows of blueberries. Not even the roadside stand was open yet.

But the pests and critters were out, making their way across the path, and I may have stepped on a few before I realized they were covering the road. I would later learn from Farmer Jim that one way of dealing with slugs is running them over or cutting them in half.

Our official tour started in the barn and quickly moved over to the strawberry fields that were being picked for sale at the stand and that would later end up in my strawberry coffee cake.

Farmer Jim was a fantastic host, explaining his method of crop rotation, detailing how he cares for each plant that's growing and pest control. I learned several practices I want to put in place for my own backyard garden about my small strawberry patch, the new raspberries I planted and the tomatoes that I struggle to keep under control. The home farm grows tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse to sell at the roadside stand in later months.

And as strawberry season was soon going to come to a close, he gave us the official tour of the new raspberry plants that were just starting to ripen. This was the first full season since planting this variety, and Farmer Jim was excited about the earlier harvest they would yield.

We spent quite a bit of time in the blueberry field, and I got an in-person speech from Farmer Jim on how to grow blueberries organically. I've been dreaming of trying my hand at blueberries, and now I know how to compost and cover my blueberries with sawdust to create the appropriate conditions for them to flourish in.

As my tour and stay at the farm came to close, I instantly called my husband to ask him if we could move there, and then, more seriously, I told him Farmer Jim should be the voice for organic farming across the U.S. I was absolutely smitten as he broke down the hows and whys of organic farming, and it made me think back to my childhood when those methods were still covered in school.

What will my children learn about food production? Will they be told we create seeds in a lab so they can tolerate being sprayed with as many chemicals as we can throw at them? I know that I'm glad I have Cascadian Farm and other organic brands fighting to bring back traditional methods of growing crops and farming for a sustainable future for my children.

If you're ever in the Seattle area, do take the time to make a visit up to the farm. The North Cascades Highway is a great drive, and the farm is well worth the journey up there. Plus, who doesn't want homemade ice cream at the roadside stand? If you happen to be there in the fall, I'm told the pumpkin patch and sunflowers are quite the photo opp.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Hello Friends! We are truly blessed to have a farm located in such a beautiful part of the country. Our farm is nestled in the foothills of the North Cascades mountain range and throughout the year we get to see some truly breathtaking sites as Mother Nature takes course.

Whenever possible we try to capture photos of the farm and its miraculous surroundings. Here are some of our favorites that we have taken over the years. Keep in mind that as remarkable as these photos are, there’s nothing like seeing it with your own eyes. So if you’re ever in Northwest Washington, (we’re right off State Hwy 20 in Rockport) stop by for a visit. And don’t forget to bring your camera. What’s your favorite photo?

Mist on the Cascade Montains

 

Golden Sunshine

 

Cascadian Farm in the Morning

 

Organic Blueberry Field in the Fall

 

Upper Field from Barn

 

Cascade Mountain Stream

Now that our Roadside Stand is open for the summer, we took out the camera and snapped a few photos of the Farm! We asked Jim to smile for the camera, and he did as he led a group around the farm, teaching them about organic farming, and soil conservation. By the way - thank you to those of you who asked Jim such great questions this week! He's pretty busy because it's planting season, but he'll be trying to answer a few questions every week starting on Monday!

Here are a few snapshots from this week - check out the full album on Facebook!

The Roadside Stand is getting a new roof this week. The jolly looking man on the ladder is named Ray (he goes by "Sun Ray"). Ray was the one that first built our Roadside Stand!

Jim took a group on a great farm tour - teaching about how he uses the Skagit Valley's diverse ecosystems to grow healthy crops without synthetic chemicals or pesticides.

Do you recognize this landscape?

 

“Sharing organic goodness” is a kind of unofficial motto at Cascadian Farm. We take pride in the fact that we offer great tasting organic foods that help people, like you, live healthy lives. Isn’t it amazing how many people still don’t realize that the foods they eat have a huge impact on the way they feel day to day?

At our farm, we educate people about why they should care about the foods they put into their body, and how organic farming protects our land. We teach people for their own knowledge, and also so they can share what they learn about eating healthy organic foods with their family and friends.

We recently got some great comments from our fans on facebook about how they have been sharing organic goodness. Here are a couple of their comments:

Allison from Lexington, KY:

“I just recently went shopping for a children's food program at my church. Many of the suggested items on the list were very processed foods (such as individual microwavable meals). However, I loved being able to pick out Cascadian farm granola bars and cereal to give to these children. I wouldn't have it any other way :)”

Joalyne from Cheyenne, WY:

“I work at a low-income, Title-1 school. I deal with hungry teenagers everyday. I am glad to give them Cascadian Farm granola bars when they are hungry and need a pick me up! They always come back for more so I try to provide them with coupons to purchase them themselves.”

Thanks for sharing, Allison and Joalyne! If you have a great organic story you’d like to share with us, write it in the comment box below or post it on our facebook page. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Many of you folks may not know this, but the “little shack” at the top of our blog page is actually a real functioning Roadside Stand at Cascadian Farm. It’s right off Highway 20 near Rockport, Washington. And now that spring has finally sprung, we’re in preparation of opening it up for the season this May for all our visitors.

Inside our Roadside Stand, you’ll find all sorts of fresh organic goodies that come right from our farm. You’ll find everything from fresh organic tomatoes to organic berries, and (not to toot our own horn), the tastiest homemade blueberry ice cream you’ve ever had!

Here are some photos of the stand that we’re taken last summer when Chefs A' Field came to visit the farm.

If your family is planning a trip to Washington this spring or summer, we’d love for you to stop in and say hi and allow us to show you around the farm.

Have a great week and Happy Spring!

If you've ever been to visit us at the farm, you probably heard some stories about Gene Kahn. Gene founded Cascadian Farm, turning his vision into reality in the early 1970s. Many of you have even shared your stories of picking berries at the farm, or helping to build our roadside stand where we sold organic produce, jams, and homemade ice cream.

We've grown since then, and started selling our food at local farmers markets and coops around the Pacific Northwest. Today, as you know, you can find our organic cereal, granola bars, and frozen fruits & vegetables at many grocery stores around the country. But our mission hasn't changed: to pioneer organic farming methods, and bring great tasting and wholesome organic food from the farm to your table.

But for you old-schoolers (and our new friends too), we wanted to share this picture of Gene Kahn on the tracker back in 1972:

Gene Kahn on the Tractor

It's really true what they say about a "farmer's tan" isn't it?

If any of you have pictures from your trip to the farm please share them with us! You can post them to our facebook wall, or put them on your blog or flickr page and share the link with us here in the comments!

Next time you're passing through Skagit Valley, we hope you'll come visit us at our Roadside Stand. We're right off Highway 20 near Rockport, Washington. While you're there, enjoying homemade Blueberry Ice Cream or buying some fresh produce from our farm you might notice a funny looking vehicle zipping around hauling veggies from the barn down to the stand. That's our farm truck!

Every farm needs a good farm truck, and Cascadian Farm is no execption. But ours is a little different than most farm trucks you may have seen. It's electric! It runs off of the stream-powered hydro-electric powerplant we have up above the fields.

We wanted you to meet this little beauty, and we wanted to ask you for help. What should we name this cute little truck?

 

Here are a few updates from Jim about what happens on the Farm after fall harvest.

 September: Cover crops go in to help build the soil during the winter. A mix of rye grain and vetch are planted. They will grow to little sprouts throughout the winter and then on the first warm days of spring, they start quickly growing.  They will eventually (late spring) be worked back into the soil and the organic matter and nitrogen they produce will be in the soil, available for the summer’s crops.

 October: The first weekend is marked by a Harvest Festival, which includes Farm tours on a wagon, scarecrow making, and lots of pumpkins. Harvesting is done and the pumpkin patch is in full swing for people to pick their own.

Starting in November, Jim buttons up last bits of weeding, and starts pruning the blueberry, raspberry and kiwi bushes. This will continue throughout most of the winter, as weather permits. Rains and snow come, and it’s a quiet(er) time on the Farm as the land rests and gears up for another planting season.

 

One of my favorite things about the Farm (aside from the blueberries) is all of the stories surrounding the early days. During my visit, I spoke with many wonderful people who took the time to share early Cascadian Farm stories with me—from the first crops that were grown, to interesting methods of weed control. This week, I want to bring you a story about that very topic—weed control. Organic farming is about working in harmony with nature, meaning that sometimes a little creativity and ingenuity is needed to control weeds in a natural way.

The following story was shared with me by Don Smith, a fellow blogger and a Graphic Designer for Cascadian Farm...

The blueberries grown on Cascadian Farm were one of the most magical elements of my visit there.  Part of the charm of the blueberries is their delicious taste and the number of varieties available on the Farm (Spartan, Toro, Bluecrop, Jersey and Patriot).  The other piece is how the blueberries, and most of the fruit at the Farm is pollinated.

Very basically, blueberries need bees need to pollinate them.  The bees move from blueberry flower to blueberry flower, and are essential to pollinating not only the blueberries, but also the strawberries and raspberries on the Farm. Pollination is not a new concept by any means, but Farmer Jim Meyer doesn’t just rely on his native pollinators, he brings in an extra supply.

We have four different organic farming programs here at Cascadian Farm.  But the goal of each is the same: produce great tasting organic crops that contribute to better health for consumers and the environment!

  • Cascadian Home Farm. Our original farm, founded in 1972 by Gene Kahn, is considered the "heart & soul" of the company. Operated as a small organic farm (28 farmable acres), the farm's focus is on producing organic fresh produce (berries & vegetables) for sale to local retailers and to visitors at our roadside Farm Stand. Our main crop is organic blueberries... yummy! And our organic ice cream is to die for!

One of the goals of Cascadian Farm is educating people about the basics of organic farming. As I mentioned in my last post, scattered among the lower farm fields is a self-guided tour, for folks that stop off at the Roadside Stand and are interested in learning a little bit more about what goes on at the Farm.

Since some of you might never make it to the amazing Skagit Valley, I thought I would take you though a part of the Farm Tour here on the blog. It's a little technical, but also pretty darn interesting!