For those who still take time to gather at the table for dinner, there may not be much thought about where the food on your plate comes from.
That’s changing as people become better educated and aware of genetically-modified foods and the effect of common pesticides on large-scale farms.
The annual Whidbey Island Farm Tour offers a first-hand look at the growth and harvesting of locally-produced foods and other products. It’s an opportunity to learn more about why buying Whidbey Grown makes a lot of sense for you and your family.
Whidbey has a long, rich history rooted in farming. The tour will include successful operations from one end of the island to the other; among them, the oldest operating family farm, Case Farm near Oak Harbor.
Case Farm was established in 1898. Owner Sheila Case-Smith is a fourth-generation farmer on Whidbey Island.
Alonzo Case started the family enterprise when he purchased 320 acres on the northern edge of Oak Harbor. The farm has varied in size and functions through the years — at one point, during the 1930s and 1960s, it focused primarily on raising turkeys.
The farm tour, which is free of charge, will also lend insight into the island’s agricultural economy, which extends beyond Whidbey’s shores.
Operations such as Glendale Shepherd in Clinton, which produces cheese sold on and off the island, will be giving visitor tours.
Whidbey Island Distillery is not an agricultural producer, but is one that utilizes locally produced items. For that reason, it’s also on the farm tour. As a craft distillery, the operation is required to use 51 percent of its produce from within the state.
Whidbey Island Distillery goes beyond that, utilizing 87 percent.
Visiting farms on this tour will help provide a greater understanding of all that goes into the process of farming, including the long hours, extensive labor and planning involved.
The tour is also a family-friendly activity that’s educational and entertaining for children of all ages.
Many local farmers taking part in the tour eat, sleep and breathe their crafts and will be on hand to answer questions and share their insights.
The Whidbey Island Farm Tour is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22.
In all, there are 14 stops on this year’s tour.
The official Farm Tour Guide appeared in the Sept. 11 South Whidbey Record and its sister newspapers. At the center of the guide is a map showing all the Farm Tour stops and articles about a number of the participants.
The guide also includes articles and a dining guide featuring restaurants that rely on locally-grown food.
Plan now to take the Whidbey Island Farm Tour.