Talk with farmers, gardeners on 2-day tour
Andrea Brown / The Herald
Farm dogs enjoy a leisurely stroll by a dilapidated garage with a colorful mural at Shambala Permaculture Farm & Edible Perennial Nursery on Camano Island. The 10-acre farm was originally a dairy farm and now has everything from sustainable gardening classes to weddings.
A "watch cat," who goes by the name Cat, keeps a paw in everything that goes on at Soggy Bottom Plants & Gifts in Stanwood.
Andrea Brown / The Herald
Horses graze in Shambala's pasture.
Nancy Chase can tend to whatever is on your plate.
Her 10-acre Camano Island farm has pastures for produce, events and an edible nursery.
"We tell people how to turn their lawns into food," said Chase, owner of Shambala Permaculture Farm & Edible Perennial Nursery.
There's also a garden for matrimony. "I do the flowers and the nuptials," added the horticulturist-turned-officiant.
Weddings aren't on the agenda for this weekend, though. Visitors can explore her multipurpose farm and several others on Port Susan Spring Jubilee Farm Tour on May 11 and 12.
The annual two-day self-guided event is a chance for the public to talk shop with farmers and gardeners in Stanwood and on Camano Island.
Empty the car and fill up the tank.
There are people to meet, plants to buy and udders to squeeze.
First, stop by the hospitality station in Stanwood to milk Squirty Gerty, the artificial dairy cow. You can also pick up a tour map there.
At Shambala, Chase will pluck leafy things from the ground for visitors to taste.
"We show people the weeds they can eat," she said. "There are a lot of things you have in your yard that you can chop and eat in your salad."
Other goodies come from the oven. Her muffins are "gluten-free, nut-free, non-GMO, ancient grain, high in fiber."
Chase and her husband share the acreage with a turkey, goats, horses, ducks, cattle, chickens and human students of permaculture.
"It's a place for immersions. We have interns and associates," she said.
There are landscape classes, art workshops, potlucks, music jams and weddings.
The forested compound is a long way from Chase's roots. "I got my hankering for farming and left Mountlake Terrace 15 years ago," Chase said.
Hankerings vary at the stops on this tour.
Across the bridge in the river bottoms in Stanwood, former Boeing worker Scott Brandis found a new calling seven years ago at Soggy Bottom Plants & Gifts.
"I make birdhouses and planters," Brandis said. "My wife makes basil jelly and pepper jelly."
Soggy Bottom also sells beer steins, jewelry, greeting cards, apple butter, trees and shrubs in addition to meat and vegetables. "We raise and sell grass-fed beef," he said.
Trust the "Beware of Cat" sign: Chances are a gray cat with big jowls will make an appearance to show who's boss.
The cat's a draw, for sure. But so are the goods.
"A lot of people tell me my prices are good," Brandis said. "And they like coming down here because they get one-on-one consultation."
From him, and the cat.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; email@example.com.
Take the tour
Port Susan Spring Jubilee Farm Tour is a two-day, self-guided event.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 11 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 12.
Free tour maps are available at Skagit Farmers Supply, 8815 272nd St. NW, Standwood. For more information, go to www.portsusan.org.
Farms on the tour
Shambala Permaculture Farm & Edible Perennial Nursery, 395 E. North Camano Drive, Camano Island; 360-387-4110
Out on a Limb Orchids, 353 E. North Camano Drive; Camano Island; 360-387-2341
Soggy Bottom Plants & Gifts, 23421 Marine Drive NW, Stanwood; 360-652-9157
Valhalla Farm, 2631 324th St. NW; Stanwood; 425-308-2379
Jordan Nursery, 30407 68th Ave. NW; Stanwood; 360-629-4827
Keeping It Green Nursery, 19401 96th Ave. NW; Stanwood; 360-652-1779
Mossyback Farms, 29203 Old Highway 99 N.; Stanwood; 360-629-2782
Orchard's Nursery, 10521 Highway 532; Stanwood; 360-629-3586
Schuh Farms, 9828 Highway 532; Stanwood; 360-629-6455
Del Fox Meats, 7229 300th St. NW; Stanwood; 360-629-3723
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