Did You Visit Your Local Pierce County Farms?

On Saturday, October 1st, Pierce County celebrated the 13th annual HarvestFest, sponsored by the Washington State University Extension Service.  This is a family friendly event with lots of activities for kids, as well as adults: hay rides, corn mazes, animal tracks maze, feeding chickens, picking apples, pumpkin slingshot, jam tasting, and shopping, of course.

The highlight is visiting local farms.  The following excerpt from the brochure for the event explains the reasons behind this important, not to be missed event.

By visiting the farms, you can learn about sustainable farming methods and the environmental stewardship that farmers provide while enjoying the bounty rural our rural counties offer. Local farmers cultivate some of our most vulnerable lands and waterways, and responsible farming deserves recognition. Remember that sustainable farming depends on King and Pierce County residents buying locally—so come prepared to buy farm-fresh products! The Harvest Celebration and HarvestFest Farm Tours are among the many ways WSU King and Pierce County Extension works to promote and sustain farming. Programs like the Cultivating Success education series for new and existing farmers, programming to support the immigrant farmers, and topical workshops and free hands-on events all contribute to the thriving health of our local agriculture and the environment.

In 2008, over 100 farms, ranches, shellfish farms, farmers markets, and food and farm businesses in 12 Western Washington counties welcomed visitors for tours, food, music and fun. Approximately 29,000 visitors participated in the events. Attendance at this regional extravaganza has grown steadily since it started in 1999, when 9,000 visitors took part.

If you missed the event this year, you should check out all the events and the list of local farms and where they are located in this fascinating brochure for the event at this link 2011 Harvest Tour Guide and plan for next year.

You might be able to get your own farm tour.  At the very least you will know some local farms and you can sleuth which stores they sell to.

Additional Reading

To get some idea of the extent and type of farms in Pierce County as of 2007 visit USDA agricultural census at this link: 2007 USDA Pierce County Agricultural Profile.  These censuses are done every five years; the next one will be for 2012.