Farm tour entertained beyond expectations

Karen Lovett Debbie Bailey visiting from off of the Key Peninsula found plenty to purchase at Bea's Flowers produce stand during the farm tour. Visit for more event photos.Photo by Ed Johnson, KP News

This year’s Key Peninsula Farm Tour had something for everyone, young and old.

The Gateway Park offered a Master Gardener clinic, among other things.

“Many new people were interested in vegetable gardens, using native plants, or were new to the KP and wanted to know how to work with our glacier-tilled soil,” Dale Skrivanich said.

Those lucky enough to make it to Minterbrook Oyster Farm during low tide walked along the beach to view oysters. Children were presented with candy leis by Hawaiian hula dancers. An oyster shucker made opening shells look easy. Millions of miniscule oysters were on display and a microscope was available to view tiny ciliated larva.

“With a survival rate of only 2 percent, a large number of young must be started to ensure adequate numbers for market. We only do single oysters here,” co-owner Kent Kingman said, adding that 10 percent of sales from the day would be donated to the Key Peninsula Farm Tour.

Gabrielle LaRoche brought her champion briard, Nash, from Port Angeles to Packleader Farm, where trainer Barbara Davenport demonstrated herding.

“There aren’t many places you can take a dog to herd,” LaRoche said. “I love coming here more than any other place. Barb is uniquely skilled working a variety of breeds.”

While LaRoche and Nash waited, a border collie obeyed every command Davenport gave as she directed the dog to herd the sheep. Davenport explained various tending and herding skills and the dog breeds used to accomplish them to a crowd of curious onlookers.

Blue Willow Lavender Farm offered education and information on lavender. Children painted rocks and were thrilled by a wall of pumpkins.

“I sold so much lavender, there wasn’t enough left to dig your fingers into a bucket of buds,” owner Tracy Ketts said. “We had about 500 people this year.”

The Key Center fire station received $907 in donations. More than 250 people came for breakfast and about 75 viewed a firefighting demonstration.

“This was our second year partnered with the farm tour,” fire commissioner Frank Grubaugh said. “The best open houses we’ve ever had have been during the farm tour.”

After paying for the cost of breakfast, donations were enough to purchase three high-lift jacks used to extract people from wrecked cars.

A trio of very friendly goats greeted visitors at Cape E Heritage Farm. A variety of freshly picked produce, lotions and honey were available for purchase. Grazing sheep overlooking Von Geldern Cove provided a peaceful setting for a picnic.

In Home, Trillium Creek Winery offered wine for sale and vineyard tours while Key Peninsula Services served soup.

Mooing cattle occasionally joined in chorus with bands playing throughout the day at Creviston Valley Farm. Dana Pedersen answered questions and gave “pony rides” on her Arabian horse, Peyton. Booths selling plants, handmade crafts, honey, salmon and fresh produce lured shoppers who ate barbecue while enjoying the music.

Key Peninsula Farm Council Vice President Chuck Kraft had a horse on hand to demonstrate techniques.

“There’s a lot of positive energy,” Kraft said. “People contacted us to be part of the farm tour this year. Enthusiasm is growing.”

Garden sprites enchanted new arrivals at the Longbranch Improvement Club. Inside, an enticing aroma tantalized taste buds as the kitchen hummed with activity. A busy crew baked tray after tray of Peg Bigham’s famous apple crisp, which sold out as soon as it came hot from the oven. Fine handmade hats, alpaca scarves and jewelry were just some of the creations for sale at the Fiber Arts Show at LIC.

 “This is my first time at the farm tour,” Linda Ireland said. “I’m impressed by the number of things covered … and the creativity on display at the Fiber Arts show. The food is good and there are some very interesting people.”

A rolling home built by carpenter Jeremy Thompson and furnished by his wife, Mira, was on display at Lakebay Marina. The Thompsons (see their story on page 24) purchased the 1989 school bus from the Snohomish School District and licensed it as an RV.

The two-year building project features cedar siding with a shake roof. The Thompsons constructed every part of the beautifully furnished mobile home. A steady stream of viewers marveled at the quality workmanship and unique, comfortable interior of the dream travel home.

Diners at the marina enjoyed good food and for those still around later in the evening, the 302 Band provided music.

According to a survey taken at the LIC, people from 40 different zip codes attended the event.