Good Food Is Easy to Find
At one time Vashon Island, Washington was the fruit and berry basket of Puget Sound. In fact, our biggest summer party, the Strawberry Festival, was established in 1909 to celebrate the harvest and export of 120,000 crates of island strawberries. Today the island is more forest than field, which is even more of reason to support the efforts and bounty of local farmers. Here at Tall Clover Farm, I’m in the beginning stages of growing some viable crops and fruits for my own to-be farm stand. So in the meantime, let me share with you some of my favorite Vashon Island farm stands, stocked by local hard-working islanders, who not only grow great food, but sustain a community and way of life that honors the past, and looks to the future. Check each farm’s links below for locations, products, newsletters and updates.
Jasper and Will are passionate about growing healthy food and rely on cover crops, compost, mulches, and sustainable practices to bring their produce to market. Their stand is tucked up the drive on their farm and offers the season’s best. And Will is a talented artist and may have some printed cards for sale as well.
Hogsback Farm is a small family farm located on the North end of Vashon Island. Brian uses sustainable techniques to grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits and is committed to using organic growing methods to produce healthy food. In the summer, they have a sweet little cutting garden for flower fans.
Greg and Caitlin’s farm stand is open year round, and a great place to stop for what’s in season, from brassicas in March, to snap peas in May to some ridiculously sweet tomatoes in August. And if you are a great ‘kraut, Greg practically has a cult following for his raw, probiotic sauerkraut. And once you’ve had one of their farm-fresh eggs, you’ll never touch a store-bought egg again.
Karen is a force of nature, and her farm stand is a wonderfully eclectic mix of produce, homemade foods, and farm products. In summer months look for her mobile wood fired pizza oven set up just south of the The Roasterie on Vashon Highway. Karen is all about bringing food and friends together to enjoy a fine meal. Now if I could just get Karen to sell her gnocchi. 😉
Langley Fine Gardens
I joke with Leda and Matt that their farm is on the edge of the earth, way down on Maury Island. But really the joke is on me, as it takes all of 13 minutes from my house near town. We get spoiled on the island by close proximity. The scenic drive to their farm stand takes you along Quartermaster harbor and to historic Dockton. I love their homestead and greenhouses, and they usually have a pumpkin picking patch in the fall.
Pacific Crest is another seasonal gem, offering a variety of produce, food and flowers right on your way to Dockton. Jen runs the farm and makes it look easy, with produce prettier than a photo shoot. In the fall, Pacific Crest, usually has fresh chestnuts which I always look forward to roasting and pureeing as a spread.
Michelle grows some amazing salad greens and lip-smacking heirloom tomatoes. Early in the season, her farm produces thousands of vegetable starts hardened off for our climate. Michelle is really an expert at knowing what grows well and tastes good. One season I purchased six different varieties of kale after the deer mowed my crop down. She’s also known of her extensive list of tomato starts available beginning in May, surely worth a trip for the home gardener.
I could just stop at Rob and Joanne’s place to talk to them — one of the nicest families around. Their farm stand is open all year and features certified organic produce, and farm-fresh eggs. I’m especially fond of their carrots and little mirabelle plums in the summer and sour cherry jam (when available). Rob’s salad mix is an island favorite.
Joe and Celina have a stand at the Harbor Mercantile in Burton during the growing season. They also sell produce at the Farmers Market in our town center on Saturdays. I venture to say there’s nothing these two can’t grow well. From flawless white turnips, to crunchy cucumbers to sweet strawberries, Sun Island Farm is a trip to bountiful. Did I mention their daughters bake a mean pumpkin pie?
Vashon Island Farmers Market (April 5 – December 13)
Vashon Village Green is the place to be each Saturday as the Farmers Market comes to life with produce, crafts art, music and community. Most of the farms listed here also sell at the Farmers Market. Hours are usually 10 am – 2 pm. Here’s a List of Farmers and Crafters.
Ron Irvine is a grape growing pioneer and award-wining winemaker. Lucky for us he lives and works on Vashon Island. His wines are not to be missed, and tastings are offered. And should you be cider fan (as am I), Ron has you covered too! Palouse Winery is also another good stop on for fine island-made wines and friendly enophiles.