The one-day HarvestFest celebration in Pierce County is an opportunity to cultivate connections with the farmers and fresh, healthy, locally produced food. The free event, on Saturday, Oct. 1, features 15 farms, and "loops" are suggested to take in farms in particular areas of the county.
An Eatonville loop has alpaca ranches and a lavender farm and vineyard. At the Lacamas farm activity site, visitors can start the day with breakfast (9 a.m. to Noon) and proceeds benefit the local FISH Food Bank. New this year, an official Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Contest begins at 10 a.m. at the Scholz Farm in Orting.
Tabloid style guides with HarvestFest Farm Tour details are available at the Tacoma and Pierce County libraries, WSU Pierce County Extension, the Pacific Northwest Shop, Faith Dairy, and the farm sites. The guide also can be accessed at www.pierce.wsu.edu. Additional information can
be obtained at 253-474-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual celebration is sponsored by Washington State University Pierce County Extension, the Pierce County Farm Advisory Commission, and Pierce County Planning and Land Services. When the day is over, farmers and others involved in the local agriculture industry hope visitors will leave with a greater appreciation for Pierce County farming, which many in the agriculture community say is at risk.
Here are the participating sites, which can be visited in any order:
1. Terry’s Berries, 4520 River Road. This is an organic berry and produce farm on 20 acres. It offers a Community Supported Agriculture program for interested parties to purchase fresh, pesticide-free produce year-round. Terry’s will offer wagon rides for kids and opportunity to pick apples, pull carrots and buy pumpkins as well as make cider.
2. Sasaki Farm, 15308 188th St. E., Orting (near the Soldier’s Home). This 70-acre family farm has been in operation since 1917. It grows an assortment of leaf lettuces, Asian vegetables, sweet corn and pumpkins. There will be "hands-on" activities, and visitors can sample and buy local varieties of honey.
3. Moon Berry Farm, 2615 Tacoma Road, Puyallup. Jam factory tours are held on the hour and jams, purees, syrups, fresh eggs and gift packs for sale.
4. Spooner Farms, 9710 State Route 162 (Sumner-Orting Highway). Five-acre corn maze, U-pick pumpkin patch, kiddie hay maze, pumpkin slingshots, and fall decoration assortment.
5. Scholz Farm, 12920 State Route 162: Fresh farm-produce stand, Halloween gift shop, "Pumpkin Palace" and activities for all ages.
6. Engfer Farm, 510 Washington Ave. N., Orting. Fruits and vegetables for sale at roadside stand; mini farmers market in cooperation with Larry Dacca, Ron Sasaki and Sidhu Farms; antique tractor display and modern plowing demonstrations.
7. Cheryl the Pig Lady, 10121 50th Ave. E., Tacoma. This is a true "Old MacDonald’s Farm" with an oink-oink here and a moo-moo there; 1920 farm house, petting farm; fresh farm-grown meats and eggs available for purchase.
8. Lyceums Community Center, 32113 8th Ave. S., Roy. Farmers and crafters will come together for a mini farmers market for the day; petting farm, wool spinners, farm products and hand-crafted items;
breakfast and lunch items available for purchase with proceeds benefitting the Roy FISH Food Bank.
9. Faith Dairy, 3509 E. 72nd St., Tacoma. This is a family dairy business founded more than 40 years ago by Dutch immigrant Jelle Monsonides. The family continues to raise and milk cows at a Roy farm
site and sell its products at this east Tacoma drive-through store. Also available are bags of compost for fall plantings. Special activities include demonstrations on cow-to-consumer milk and tractors.
10. L’Arche Farm and Gardens, 11716 Vickery Ave. E., Tacoma. "Growing people …. growing plants" is the theme of this farm community which cultivates relationships between people with developmental disabilities and those who share life with them. The farm offers a wide variety of
items, including hand-made cards, hanging baskets, produce, picture frames and journals.
11. Maris Farms, 24713 Sumner-Buckley Highway. This is the pumpkin patch site of Maris Farms and offers a free hayride, an 8-acre pumpkin patch, corn maze, five acres of "haunted" woods, and a Kiddie Courtyard.
12. Mother Earth Farm, 15208 102nd St. E., Puyallup. Operated by the Emergency Food Network, the farm grows 32 different crops on eight acres. In 2004, this organic farm produced 107,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs for distribution at the food distribution sites.
13. Disappearing Creek Farm, 4315 424th St., Eatonville. This family-run 70 acre ranch includes alpacas, Angus cows, and custom hay work. Meet the family, learn about cows and alpacas and view the disappearing creek.
14. Majestic Farm, 38209 62nd Ave. Ct. E., Eatonville. This family alpaca farm is at the base of Mount Rainier. Alpaca fur doesn’t contain lanolin, so its fine fiber is an important clothing alternative for those who have allergic reactions to sheep’s wool. Special events include children’s activity stations for dying, carding, felting and spinning.
15. Stringtown Lavender Farm and Vineyard, Eatonville Cutoff Road, four miles north of Eatonville. Explore this new lavender farm and vineyard and spend time talking with farmer John Adams, who’ll teach you how to prune lavender and grapes. An array of lavender products will be available for purchase.
The Friends of Family Farmers website provides a farm map. Go to www.friendsoffamilyfarmers.org