Tour de Farms is a chance to take a peek at what life on the trail really looks like. Consisting of four heritage farms in the Chehalis River Valley, Tour de Farms is where the trail meets the field – giving visitors the chance to pet baby sheep and cows, taste farm fresh cheeses, sample organically grown vegetables next to the field they are grown in, and much more. You can ride your bike to the Tour de Farms, as part of the Ride the Willapa. You can drive your car, too! Regardless of your transportation method of choice, be forewarned: there will be many things you will be tempted to buy and take home with you! It’s best to come prepared with a little bit of cash on hand.
Tour de Farms Lineup
In operation since 2005, Blacksheep Creamery is home to about 120 East Freisian and Lacuane ewes who spend most of their days in pastures along the Chehalis River. Brad and Meg Gregory make an absolutely delicious lineup of fresh and aged cheeses. Their artisan creations are available alongside an impressive selection of dyed and natural wool and other fiber-crafting materials at Ewe and I, their cheese-making facility and retail shop in downtown Chehalis, WA. They’ll be setting up just off the trail, with a wool spinning demonstration and have a lamb pen open for viewing.
With deep family roots in farming and living off the land, Gary & Sharon McCool are the farmers of Rosecrest Farm in Chehalis, WA. Since 2007, they have been a part of Organic Valley, the nation’s largest farmer-owned organic cooperative. This helps the McCools to keep farming in a way that is responsible to land and animal, keeping their impressive herd of Milking Shorthorn cows and the milk they produce healthy. Sharon is also an artisanal cheese maker! Using raw milk from her cows and time-honored cheese-making skills, she produces a delicious lineup of swiss cheeses. They are available at their on-farm store, select Seattle area restaurants, and the Community Farmers Market in Chehalis as well as a few other area farmers markets. They can’t wait to introduce you to their baby calves during your visit to their farm!
In operation since 2003, Newaukum Valley Farm has 20 acres of Certified Organic vegetables along the banks of the Chehalis River. Josh and Melissa Hyatt, the farmers, provide top quality produce to more than 20 restaurants and grocery stores in the Greater Seattle Area, and host the Chefs in our Field series of farm-to-table dinners throughout the summer months.They also welcome bike riders and car travelers alike to their property for their Wednesday farm stand (hours 1-7pm), open from June to October. For the 2017 Tour de Farms, riders are welcome to stop by and sample some artisan fermented goods from Oly Kraut (they use Josh and Melissa’s produce for their tasty creations), and experience their farm stand, opened up specially for the ride on Saturday. As riders are passing back through on Sunday, they can stop by again to have lunch with Chef Jay Ryan of Hub City Grub, from 11-3.
Purchased in 1918, the Wedin Farm has been in their family for 98 years. It has been a dairy, then raising beef cattle, and now growing and selling hay. Kathleen Wedin also hosts 2 antique shows from their century-old, Dutch Gable barn, in May and October. With scenes of farm life around every corner, the Wedins will be inviting Tour de Farms visitors to their heritage farm to enjoy a bite to eat from Dawn’s Delectables of Centralia, WA, who will be serving smoothies and boxed lunches (which we encourage you to order in advance!) in the shade of the many trees on their property, peruse and possibly purchase their next great antique find. With all that’s going on, there’s always something new to discover at Wedin Farm. Check out the other local farms that will be set up on her property:
- Cowlitz Falls Lavender Company
- Heal and Toes
- 3 Feathers Emu Ranch
- Autumn Hills Woollens
- Bunker Creek Berry Patch