by Annika Sampson
Now that it’s summer, all I want to eat is fruit! And, I also want to support local farmers. My question for you is — where can I find local fruit? What makes it unique? And, who grows it? Thanks for your help!
Pining for Peaches
You’ve certainly come to the right Sasquatch! I spend most of this time of year foraging for berries in the Mount Baker Wilderness — thimbleberries, salmonberries, blackberries, the list goes on! But, when it comes to cultivated fruit, there are many farms in the area that can meet all your fruit-loving needs. Berries are plentiful across our county — not just the acres on acres of raspberries and blueberries from small to international export scale, but unique orchards and vineyards, too.
The first farm that comes to mind is Cloud Mountain Farm Center in Everson, Washington. Cloud Mountain grows over 75 varieties of fruit in their orchards and vineyards — but they’re not just a production farm! They’re also a nonprofit education center and nursery, located on 20 acres at the foot of Sumas Mountain.
Their mission is to share knowledge and resources that support a resilient, accessible, and equitable regional food system, and their programs include the Cloud Mountain nursery, their incubator farm at Lawrence Road, their agricultural education pilot program, their infrastructure and aggregation facilities and partnerships, and exceptional fruit-growing and farm-skills workshops.
There are many ways to get involved at Cloud Mountain, but the most delicious one is through their fruit! You can find them at the Bellingham Farmers Market through the summer, where you’ll find a wide variety of fruit, including plums, peaches, grapes, currants, pears, and apples. These aren’t your grocery store apples, though! Cloud Mountain selects their varieties intentionally, focusing on what’s flavorful, interesting, and unique, as well as what is reliable and productive under organic management. Don’t miss the late fall Karmijn de Sonnaville apples or the tart-sweet crimson golds!
While you can certainly get local fruit from Cloud Mountain at the market and on-farm when quantities allow, there are a few other options you might want to learn more about. Cloud Mountain will host two tasting events on August 24 and October 12, giving you a chance to visit the farm, learn about where fruit comes from, and share delicious food with new and old friends. And, if you’re looking to add fruit trees to your own property, Cloud Mountain’s nursery will be having a fall sale — be sure to stock up on all your favorite varieties.
Of course, growing fruit takes community. After all, just as pollinators flit from tree to tree across farm boundaries, so, too, do ideas, resources, and knowledge. And, the fruit-growing community of Western Washington is bountiful indeed! Just down the road from Cloud Mountain is Mariposa Farm, where Lis and Joaquin Lopez grow the most delicious organic berries — you can find them at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Berry growers abound at the Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market, from Cabrera Farms, Amelia’s Farm, Regino’s Farm and many more; see the full vendor list at https://www.bellinghamfarmers.org/vendorschedule. Terra Verde Farm, Skagit’s Sauk Farm (organic Honeycrisp cider and dried apples!), and Sumas River Farm bring unique tree fruits, specialty berries like black currants, and sweet, stunning table grapes to the downtown market in season.
Other local fruit growers include a full season of fruit from cherries and peaches to apples from Winding Road Farm in Everson (available through Twin Sisters Markets in Deming, Kendall, and Birchwood), and, of course, pick your own Shumway’s Berries (multiple Whatcom locations with u-pick berries).
In short, there’s an abundance of local fruit in Whatcom County! While Eastern Washington may be famous for its orchards — and rightly so — the maritime Northwest has a special climate that supports a wide variety of delicious and unique fruits.
May you enjoy many cobblers, smoothies, and peaches fresh and juicy from the tree, dear Pining! I know I certainly will.
Annika Sampson is a Sustainable Connections staff member.