Bruce Eckholm, owner of Eckholm Farms, inspects his honey bees Monday afternoon. Eckholm will be providing tours of his farm and giving honey samples as part of Whidbey Island Grown Week, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 8. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Week-long event to feature Whidbey Island farms

Friday, Sept. 29 will kick off the first-ever Whidbey Island Grown Week, a 10-day event meant to feature local farms and products. Businesses around the island will host a variety of activities or provide discounts to showcase their goods.

One of the first events includes chocolate tasting at Sweet Mona’s. Handouts will be provided along with an overview of the proper way to test chocolates and what to look for.

All across the island, cooking classes, taste-testings and more will occur. The event is put on by Whidbey Island Grown, a group established by local farmers, buyers and residents to “increase awareness and consumption of agricultural products grown on the island,” according to the website.

The group was formed in 2009, but is working this year to relaunch its brand. Whidbey Island Grown Week is part of this effort.

“It’s just the idea of collaborating and unifying our messaging to bring people to the island,” said Sherrye Wyatt, coordinator of the relaunch.

Many of the activities will feature member businesses working together. On Oct. 2, the Oystercatcher in Coupeville will host a four-course dinner using fresh produce grown at Kettle’s Edge Farm.

Farm owner John Burks said the member organizations have been working to help promote each other’s businesses for the event.

“It’s something to really highlight what we’re doing here on Whidbey Island.”

Burks is acting chairman of the steering committee for Whidbey Island Grown. He said the group hopes to bring the event back in the spring. Ideally, the group aims to have the week-long event as an annual or semiannual occurrence.

“We just feel like we’ve got a lot to offer people here,” he said. “We’d like to bring them here and see that they get a great experience.”

A calendar of events and promotions can be found at whidbeyislandgrown.com/events

Seth Campbell and Kylie Neal sort through drying onions Monday at Kettle’s Edge Farm. Fresh produce from the farm will be served at a four-course dinner at Oystercatcher as part of Whidbey Island Grown Week. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Kylie Neal inspects drying onions at Kettle’s Edge Farm Monday. The farm is one of many local organizations participating in Whidbey Island Grown Week, running from Sept. 29 to Oct. 8. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

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