The bounty of Whatcom County farms is hard to beat. Farms in Whatcom County offer everything from berries and dairy to veggies and flowers – and more. And what better way to savor summer than with fresh-from-the-harvest goods?
Every summer my kids and I head out into the county to explore the rich offerings of u-pick farms and farm stands. An afternoon traversing the countryside finds us returning home at the end of the day with cheeks rosy from the sun and arms laden with our spoils.
Visiting local farms is also an activity that can be done fairly easily with safe physical distancing in mind. In some cases, we’ve found ourselves the only ones visiting a farm quiet farm stand, no crowds to maneuver through. It’s really a treat to not have to stress about keeping a six-foot distance.
Pick just about any country road to the north or east of Bellingham and keep a sharp eye out for a sign (usually hand-painted) directing you down a side road to a farm or farm stand where delicious treasures await.
If you don’t want to completely leave it up to chance, local nonprofit Sustainable Connections puts together an annual Eat Local First Food and Farm Finder atlas that details the food grown, caught, raised and made here. This year, Sustainable Connections’ Eat Local Month takes place in August, with a specially curated Farm Stand Loop. This is a great place to start your exploration of Whatcom County farms, but don’t forget to follow those back roads to discover even more agricultural treasures.
Here are just a few of the many farms and farm stands my family has explored:
Fields of colorful dahlia blooms greeted us as we approached Triple Wren Farms. It was a quiet, and hot, Saturday afternoon, and I expect most people were at the water instead of thinking u-pick blueberries, but I am glad we chose the blueberries this day. The berries were practically jumping into our box, and we quickly picked a couple of pounds. (Which we ate almost as quickly. We should have picked more!) Buckets of fresh-picked dahlias and a fridge full of pre-picked berries awaited at the self-serve farm stand.
This hidden gem off Hannegan Road is my favorite discovery of the summer. It was one of those “let’s turn here” moments that lead us off down a tree-lined gravel road a short distance to a quaint but well-appointed farm stand. The cooler was full of fresh-picked salad green, eggs and cheese. Tomatoes, purple potatoes and green and yellow zucchini filled baskets on the table. Lift the lid on the wooden box marked “bread” to reveal three freshly baked loaves of bread. We brought home a loaf of the raisin walnut, and it may be habit forming. Payment is on-you-honor, leave your cash in a drop box or pay via PayPal or Venmo.
July is peak season for lavender, so you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly, but don’t miss this lovely slice of country life east of Ferndale. We were welcomed by turkeys as we parked the car, followed by a friendly dog. Pick your own big bundle (or two) from the many varieties of lavender grown here, or purchase pre-picked bundles, wreaths, lotions and more from the farm store. They will throw in the friendly banter for free.
Ashmore Acres is just down the Guide Meridian from apple orchard Bellewood Farms. Together, the two make for a farm-fresh afternoon. Look closely for the sign for “farm fresh eggs” on the side of the Guide, or you might miss the turn. You’ll find a small farm stand with fresh eggs and a fridge stocked with ginger beer, which you can enjoy while sitting at the small table next to the stand. Don’t forget to bring cash.
The folks here were so nice when my crew of five kids tumbled into their farm store one late summer day a couple of years ago. Each kiddo came away with their choice of a vanilla, strawberry or chocolate milk, and I can tell you they were thrilled with the treat. I am a fan of Grace Harbor’s yogurt, which can be purchased at many county grocery stores. Pair it with those blueberries from Triple Wren Farms, and breakfast doesn’t get much better.
We are lucky to have a thriving agricultural presence in Whatcom County. Working farms are a way of life here, and several are small family farms that rely on the community to buy what they produce. I am more than happy to contribute to their success while savoring the best of summer.
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