HarvestFEST Farm Tour returns for second year

Colleen Slater, KP News The HarvestFEST Farm Tour scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4, is “bigger and better” this year, according to organizers, with more farms available to visit, and some new additions to the schedule. The sheep of Kaukiki Farm in Longbranch are looking forward to greeting visitors on the 2008 HarvestFEST Farm Tour. Photo by Danna Webster “We’re pretty excited,” says Claude Gahard, “and our estimation is at least twice as big as last year.” Gahard, chairman of both the Key Peninsula Farm Tour Board and the Pierce County Farm Board, Carrie Sikorski from Pierce County WSU Extension farmbudsman office, and coordinator Holly Hendrick are spearheading this extensive undertaking. Danna Webster, KP Farm Board member, is a planning facilitator for the event. “HarvestFEST on the Key Peninsula would not be possible without Claude, Danna, and the rest of the board,” Hendrick says. Their tireless efforts to getting things organized on the KP puts them far ahead of the rest of the county, she says. Hendrick, KP Farmers Market manager, is the coordinator for this year’s Pierce County HarvestFEST. The tour begins at 10 a.m., and the sites are open until 4 p.m., when the action moves to the Key Peninsula Civic Center in Vaughn. Farms on the tour include Boll Heritage Farm, Fairview Farm, Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch, Kaukiki Farm, Ludwig Family Farm, Trillium Creek Winery, and Creviston Valley Farm. At this farm, many activities are scheduled, such as live music, many KP farmers’ market vendors, the Sherman Family petting zoo, and various demonstrations. Squashes, pumpkins, and corn will be available, plus a snack stand. Businesses participating include the following restaurants serving local foods for hungry tour-goers: Homeport offers a country breakfast; O’Callahan’s Pub and Grill serves three choices of oysters or a combo plate; The Beach Hut’s burgers include oyster, cod, and salmon; On The Way Deli dishes up pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin spice bars. Realtors Liz Gefre and Cinda Baldwin are making up gift baskets and raffle tickets will be available at any of the tour stops. New events this year include an Open Studio at Beverly Petersen’s Art Barn, various artisans showcased, plus tours of the food bank at the Key Peninsula Community Services, a farm life exhibit at the Key Peninsula Historical Society museum (open until 6 p.m.), and a Fiber Arts Show at the Longbranch Improvement Club. To top off the day, doors open to the Key Peninsula Civic Center at 5 p.m., with Dr. Roes’ Down Home Band serenading on the front porch. The Cornucopia Dinner and Dance begins at 6 p.m., with tickets available at the door, $35 per person (must be 21). Dinner is served from 6 to 8 p.m. The dinner menu, featuring fresh farm foods from the Key Peninsula and created by chefs Oliver Coldeen and Ty Shaver, includes a kabob entrée, pasta with pesto, a fall salad, a complimentary glass of wine, and a dessert auction. Coffee, tea and water will be served, with a cash bar for wine, beer, spirits, and soda. Little Bill and the Blue Notes take the stage for world class blues and dance tunes, playing from 7:30 to 8 for dinner, and 8 to 10:30 for dancing. “A raffle of wondrous prizes will be part of the festivities,” says Edie Morgan, director of the Mustard Seed Project who is helping organize the event. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any of the participating organizations, at Sunnycrest Nursery, or by calling 884-1205. The KP Civic Center, the farm tour board and the Mustard Seed Project will have displays on exhibit in the Whitmore room. Proceeds from the dinner/dance will benefit all three organizations. “This is a casual dress dance,” says Morgan. “We want the community to come and ‘Have a Ball!’ after the KP Farm Tour.”  
Tour details Boll Heritage Farm: Lori and Rob Boll raise chickens, flowers and vegetables. Fairview Farm: Ron and Coni Chaney grow lavender, and have a gift shop full of lavender products, such as lotions, jellies, and colorful homespun yarns. They also raise some livestock. Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch: Gregory and Maureen Sikora raise Black Angus, sheep, goats, and turkeys, and will take orders for beef and lamb. They sell fresh eggs, and may have winter apples and the last of their pears available. A bagpiper and a bluegrass band will provide music, a ferrier will do demos, and local artists creating masterpieces. Kaukiki Farm: Warwick and Janice Bryant raise purebred Oxford  Down sheep. Ludwig Family Farm: Chanetta, “The Bee Lady,” and Peter Ludwig have honey and assorted products made with beeswax and honey. They will demonstrate the irrigation system used in their greenhouse. Trillium Creek Winery: Claude and Claudia Gahard, offer wine and cheese tasting, and tours of their vineyard and wine cellar. Creviston Valley Farm: LaLaine and Greg Wong host the Farm Event Center, where many activities take place. More information is available online at www.HarvestFEST2008.org  or by email: hhendrick@wsu.edu.