Take a moment and imagine that you’re driving down one of the back roads of Washington. The Cascades crown the horizon. Perhaps the Salish Sea is glittering in the west. The air is full of that beautiful summer aroma: ripe berries, heat rising off the land, an infinite variety of flowers in full bloom. You’ve got your favorite song on the radio. Yeah, it’s pretty dreamy.
Until… you notice your stomach start to grumble. Luckily for you, you spot a farm stand a little further ahead, fully stocked with plump and juicy strawberries.
A farm stand is unique. It’s usually a one-farm or -farmer endeavor, located on the land where the food is grown. Farm stands bring a whole new meaning to the words “Eat Local First.” After all, what’s more local than biting into a fresh cucumber just a few feet from where it was first planted?
Not only that, because farm stands involve less packing, transportation, and labor than a farmers’ market, they’re a chance for a diverse array of farms and farmers to sell to consumers. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, they became a safe and easy way for folks to access local, fresh produce.
An added bonus? Shopping at a farm stand gives you the chance to explore nooks and crannies of the state – or your own backyard – that you’ve never noticed before. Maybe your neighborhood has a community garden that has the coolest pink radicchio you’ve ever seen. Maybe on the way to your next hiking adventure, you pass by a family-run business overflowing with blueberries – trail snacks, anyone? Maybe you could take a weekend bike ride scoping out farm fresh eggs to add to your brunch. However you connect with local food – especially this local – you’re helping to create a more vibrant and sustainable food system for yourself and your community.
Check out some of these farm stands for the very best that Washington’s side streets, small farms, and families have to share.