Skagit Valley Food Retreat - Visit Skagit Valley - North Cascades National Park to Farmlands to Salish Sea

Skagit Valley Food Retreat

by Adria Saracino of The Emerald Palate

The Skagit Valley is a popular destination in April and March thanks to its acres upon acres of colorful tulip and daffodil fields. But even most Washington locals don’t know it’s also a developing culinary destination. Tulips are only in season for a minute, but the area’s farmers are growing so much more throughout the year.

For example, there’s a serious grain scene in the region. Washington State University has an entire program dedicated to the agriculture and science of Skagit grain. Restaurants in Seattle, Portland, and beyond source flours and heirloom grains from the farmers who are bringing back strains once thought to be lost forever. Their efforts are just starting to get national attention, but visiting them firsthand will enable us to help spread their story. And it’s an important story, given that the majority of US farms are using unsustainable practices that are slowly eroding away soil and disrupting our food system. It’s farms like the ones in Skagit Valley that are our only hope for ensuring we still have groceries on our shelves in the coming decades.

Then there are the Skagit Valley makers doing wondrous things with the farmers’ grains. There are breweries concocting experimental beers using local grains. Natural wineries are playing with local yeasts to produce unique wines and meads that pick up the region’s unique terroir. There are small family-run bakeries using sustainable flour milled from local grains. Even cheesemakers are feeding their livestock using local hay, seeds, and grains in order to craft distinct flavors.

The Skagit Valley is full of growers, artisans, and makers committed to leveraging everything their diverse landscape has to offer. On our group food retreat in Washington state, we’ll explore this unique food system, both land and sea, and learn how it’s all used to create goods that taste of a region we can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Skagit is almost equidistant between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, making it easy to get to within about 1.5 hours from multiple international airports. It’s also only a 4-hour drive from Portland, Oregon. This makes it the perfect destination for a retreat in Washington state.

I look forward to connecting food lovers while geeking out together as we learn more about an important Washington state ecosystem.  Join me and up to 11 other food lovers on a small group tour to the Skagit Valley to discover what’s beyond the area’s famous tulip fields.

Skagit Valley has almost 100,000 acres of farmland and hundreds of miles of coastline. This intersection of sea-meets-land makes the Skagit Valley a gastronomical gold mine full of fresh produce, seafood, and artisanal goods.  We will be visiting during Skagit Beer Week which celebrates the Craft Beer & Bounty of the Skagit Valley.

On this small group retreat we’ll:

  • Discover Skagit’s under-the-radar grain scene
  • Tour & taste at a brewery using local grains
  • Forage for oysters & learn how to shuck
  • Sip mead & beer from a producer using local yeast
  • Eat at family-owned restaurants loved by locals
  • Enjoy plenty of free time to explore at your leisure

When: Fri March 27 – Sun March 29, 2020

Group size: 11 people max + me


I’m SO EXCITED for what we have planned. We’re going to eat and drink until we bust and meet the best farmers and makers the Skagit Valley has to offer. Here’s a sample itinerary. Note, the final itinerary will be emailed to you a few weeks before our food retreat in Washington state!

Friday March 27

  • 4:00 PM Check-in
  • 7:00 PM Dinner at a spot using local ingredients
  • 9:00 PM Rest up for our fun weekend ahead!

Saturday March 28

  • 9:00 AM Breakfast at our B&B
  • 10:30 AM Free time to visit the shops in Edison
  • 11:30 AM Lunch at the area’s best Mexican joint
  • 1:00 PM Tour of an oyster farm & shucking lessons
  • 4:00 PM Visit a meadery using local yeasts
  • 7:00 PM Dinner at a place making killer pierogies

Sunday March 29

  • 9:00 AM Breakfast at our B&B
  • 10:00 AM Free time to explore La Connor
  • 12:30 PM Lunch at a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop
  • 2:00 PM Tour a facility that makes malt
  • 4:00 PM Beer tasting at a brewery using local malts
  • 6:00 PM Depart rejuvenated and full!

Register at The Emerald Plate