SKAGIT FOOD TRAIL - Visit Skagit Valley - North Cascades National Park to Farmlands to Salish Sea

SKAGIT FOOD TRAIL

SKAGIT FOOD TRAIL

A self-guided journey through local gardens, family-owned farms, markets, bakeries, eateries, artisanal producers, farmstays, and experiences of the magical Skagit River Valley & Salish Sea. Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Salish Sea, cared for by the Swinomish people for generations, Skagit Valley is a meeting place of abundance. Unlike anywhere else on earth, all five salmon species swim up the Skagit River and feed the farms with rich nutrients. These fields produce grains, flowers, vegetables, and fruit, while shellfish is harvested at low tide. We curated these trails with so many experiences in one place to help you explore what Skagit Valley has to offer. We hope you learn, indulge, and explore every depth of your curiosities along the way. Whether dancing through flower fields, tasting oysters by the sea, or attending snow geese ballets, the adventure is up to you!

GRAINS FOR CHANGE
Beer, Bread & Whiskey

Skagit Valley’s food revolution is built on sustainable, regenerative farming methods and local agriculture systems. The artisans on this itinerary use locally grown grains to elevate their craft and your tasting experience.

Hop off the freeway at Farmstrong Brewing. Farmstrong brews 100% with Skagit Valley Malt and, as they say, “grown here, malted here, and brewed here,” making this a wonderful introduction to the Valley.  If you plan on visiting more breweries, be sure to pick up the Skagit Farm to Pint Passport to gather stamps and win prizes.

To check in at your stay, take a relaxing ride through the Samish flats to Blanchard Mountain Farmstay in Edison. The beautiful 1-bedroom guest house allows you to stay at their certified organic farm.  For dinner, take a five-minute drive to Terramar Brewstillery.  Terramar brews craft beer and spirits (including Whiskey!) with Skagit Valley malt and creates mouthwatering entrees, including pizza featuring local Cairnspring Mills flour.

The next morning, follow the local grain fairy tale to Breadfarm and Tweets for decadent breakfast treats in the adorable town of Edison. If you are visiting on the weekend, pick up artisanal local flour directly at Cairnspring Mills to heighten your home recipes.  Local pickup is every Saturday from 10-1 (preorder on their website).  Right next door, see and smell Cairnspring Mills flour in action at Watertank Bakery.  While you are in the neighborhood, we recommend visiting Gardenpath Fermentation. Gardenpath is hyper-locally focused exclusively using Skagit-grown grain, fruit and honey and ferment in oak with 100% native Skagit yeast.

If you’re in the mood for lunch, walk to Skagit Landing to taste the “bounty of the county” with a creative menu that reflects the seasons. If you are in the mood to learn, the Bread Lab offers King Arthur Baking School classes on weekends (be sure to register ahead of time).  Welcoming all bakers, no matter your skill level, classes range from introductory demonstrations for beginners to intensive week-long professional courses, with a wide variety of hands-on classes for adults and children.

Make time for a Sunday brunch (9-2) at The Fairhaven featuring local grains from Cairnspring Mills, Skagit Valley Malting, and Fairhaven Mill.  Would you like to take a growler of local grains home with you?  Skagit River Brewery, Temperate Habits Brewery, and District Brewery are all located in downtown Mount Vernon.  Before you hop back on I-5, don’t miss the Apple Cider Caramels made with Farmstrong Brewery’s Ragged & Right hard cider artisanally made by Forte Chocolates.

TIDAL TASTINGS
A Sustainable Seafood Tour

The Swinomish Tribe and surrounding Coast Salish peoples have been nurturing the Skagit River and Puget Sound for over 10,000 years. Their presence as a community and caretaking of our waters is why salmon still run the river today.

The Swinomish Shellfish Company is open for retail sales Fridays from 3-6. Their live Pacific Oysters are also available daily by the dozen at the Swinomish Market in front of the Swinomish Casino and Lodge. We recommend bringing a cooler!

If you’d like to try the Swinomish Shellfish Co. seafood in a culinary masterpiece, head to Nell Thorn: a five-star restaurant with waterfront views. A nice meal here is best followed by a waterfront stroll along the La Conner boardwalk, where you can view the Swinomish fishers unloading their catches. If you’re ready to land for the night, The La Conner Inn is pet-friendly and rents out e-bikes to tour the town and surrounding farmlands.

The next morning head over to Calico Cupboard for a local smoked salmon scramble, massive apple cinnamon rolls, and coffee. If you’re more of a morning hike person and want to see where all this seafood comes from, Kicket Island is on the way to Anacortes (as is Black Rock Seafood). Don’t miss the Anacortes Farmers Market for a hubbub of local goods and a taste of the Valley’s biodiversity. Next, you can wander like a grizzly over to SeaBear for smoked salmon samples.

Check in to the historic Majestic Inn and enjoy views of the Salish Sea and happy hour from the rooftop lounge. Enjoy made-to-order clam chowder with Taylor Shellfish manila clams or Moules Frites with Taylor Shellfish Mussels over at A-Town Bistro. If you are feeling adventurous, stay at the Guemes Island Resort. It’s just a five-minute ferry ride from downtown Anacortes and offers a sauna, wood-fired hot tub, and free use of rowboats, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Sunday morning, wander over to cob+cork for their brunch from 10-4 and order the local Dungeness, three cheese blend crab mac+cheese. And the grand finale of this trail is Taylor Shellfish Farm – Samish Oyster Bar and Shellfish Market. Tables inside or on the beach! If you visit in October or November, you can join Skagit Fisheries at Oyster Creek to view spawning chum salmon. Lastly, we hope there is still room in your cooler for a stop at Skagit’s Own Fish Market.

FLOWERS & FARMS
Field to Vase & Farm to Table

Skagit’s fields are bursting with flowers, starting with the Daffodil Festival in March and the Tulip Festival in April.  Farmstands are overflowing with curated collections of colorful produce and floral arrangements from spring through fall. This trail follows flower farms, plant nurseries with petting zoo elements, and educational experiences about what’s grown here. Keep in mind there are many small local farmstands along the way, not on this trail – so keep your eyes peeled for some side adventures!  If you are exploring the Skagit Food Trail in July or August, check out Genuine Skagit Valley’s Farmstand Fresh program, which highlights farmstands, and gain access to local chefs offering personal Zoom calls filled with tips and tricks on cooking and preserving!

Now let’s get started! Hop off the freeway and head to Snow Goose Produce, a popular Skagit Valley farmstand. Their seasonal produce, pickled goods, hand-woven baskets, and flowers are lovely, but their ginormous ice cream cones keep the locals coming back.

Next, head on over to Christianson’s Nursery. It feels like you’re stepping back into a royal family’s greenhouse in Skagit Valley – the Christiansons are royalty based on their community-minded character. They have the oldest cacti in Washington state and a sweet alpaca petting zoo. Christianson’s also hosts the Skagit Valley Sunday market.

Then head to Harmony Fields to buy award-winning farmstead sheep cheese from their grade-A dairy. They also produce wool, herbs, and flowers and have sheep, (miniature) donkeys, and ducks.

Looking to get into the fields yourself? Start with u-pick berries at Schuh Farms, which grows seven varieties of berries and makes fresh fruit shakes, while Bowhill Blueberries also offers a u-pick berry experience and makes a blueberry ice cream sandwich that is unforgettable. Be Merry Farm is a small-scale flower farm specializing in dahlias with weekly sunset u-picks open on Saturdays (4-8) from bloom time to mid-October. For vibrance and color, head to Mossy Gate Flower Farm, a romantic floral garden bursting with sustainable locally grown blooms, Mossy Gate offers DIY buckets and a roadside farmstand. Blackburn Gardens Flower Cart offers farm bouquets and farmer’s choice bulk buckets. Visit the Discovery Garden at the WSU Mount Vernon Research and Extension Center for inspiration and education. Much like ‘The Secret Garden,’ our Discovery Garden contains gardens within gardens and hosts a creative place for learning and life.

Check-in at the Willowbrook Manor Farmstay for a peaceful sleep along the Skagit River and take in the flower, vegetable, and evergreen gardens along with the beautiful field of Chamomile. Willowbrook even offers bicycle tours right from the farm!

Skagit Valley Food Co-op covers a lot of bases whether you’re looking for locally sourced deli meals, ice cream, or car weekend snacks. The Mount Vernon Farmers Market features our local produce and flowers.  Waxwing Farm and Boldly Grown Farm offer local produce for something fresh to take home!  And speaking of home, if you arrived back home inspired to grow flowers, be sure to explore the online resources at Floret Flowers.

TRAIL CATEGORIES

To mitigate climate change, support local communities, and create decadent dishes, the Skagit Food Trail promotes regenerative farming, traditional fishing techniques, and salmon-safe agricultural systems. Working with the land and water to produce high-quality ingredients, these hand-selected destinations showcase some of the best of what the Skagit River Valley and the Salish Sea offer. Find yourself in this storybook of a Valley, and we think you’ll come back time and time again.

Artisanal
Bakeries & Cafes
Craft Beverages
Eateries Category
Experiences Category
Farms and Upick
Markets Category
Lodging

SKAGIT FOOD TRAIL MAP

TRAVEL TIPS

The Skagit Food Trail is a year-long experience and designed as a self-guided journey – start and finish in whatever way works best for your travels. Be sure to check hours and seasonality of the stops along the way.

Seasons of the Trail

Daffodils: March
Tulips: April
Berries, Blooms, and Produce: June – August
Grain Harvest: August – September
Salmon Run: August – November
Apples, Pumpkins: September – November
Birds of Winter Experience: October – March