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Cascadian Farm now owned by Rodale Institute Pacific Northwest Organic Center

SKAGIT VALLEY — The Rodale Institute Pacific Northwest Organic Center at Cascadian Farm, the historic property formerly known as Cascadian Home Farm, has opened its fields to the public for u-pick strawberries. A beloved destination for tourists and local residents traveling along Highway 20, the idyllic 90 acre farm is nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Skagit River.

Founded in 1972, the site is the birthplace of the Cascadian Farm brand of grocery products. While the Cascadian Farm brand quickly outgrew the Home Farm, it remained a working organic farm and hosted visitors at its farm stand for over 50 years. General Mills was the steward of the Home Farm from 2000 until 2022 when it donated the property to Rodale Institute, a global agriculture research and education nonprofit.

“We are grateful to General Mills for the generous donation of the historic Cascadian Farm Home Farm,” said Jeff Tkach, CEO at Rodale Institute. “We are excited to bring Rodale Institute’s renown research, education and consulting capabilities to the Pacific Northwest via the Home Farm and create a beacon in the region for all farmers, producers and consumers. We look forward to welcoming people to the Rodale Institute Pacific Northwest Organic Center at Cascadian Farm for u-pick this season.”

U-pick strawberry, raspberry and blueberry fields are open Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. mid-June-August, dependent on crop availability.

Farm tours will be offered every Friday June-August, 10 am-11:30 am. Tours will focus on the history of the farm, Rodale Institute and regenerative organic farming practices.

Beyond u-pick, the Rodale Institute Pacific Northwest Organic Center will serve as a regional resource for farmers interested in utilizing regenerative organic farming practices.

Pacific Northwest farmers face many challenges related to unpredictable climate: extreme heat, wildfire, smoke, drought and flooding – impacting both the health and financial wellbeing of farmers, farm workers and farm economies. The region’s organic farmers are in need of guidance on research-based practices that allow them to adapt to extreme weather events while improving soil health and successfully managing pests and diseases. The Center will help farmers navigate these challenges by conducting regionally focused research, providing training and direct farmer consulting services and serving as a demonstration and education hub.

The Center’s website notes the state “has a large and growing organic industry with over 900 certified organic farms and over 145,000 acres of certified organic production, representing $795 million dollars in farmgate sales. The region has been identified as an organic hotspot—counties in the U.S. that have a high level of organic agricultural activity. Organic hotspots have been proven to increase economic viability.”

The Center’s goals include:

• Regionally focused research on organic practices for spotted wing drosophila, mummy berry, soil health and native pollinators in blueberry production.

• Conduct research trials focused on practices that help farmers adapt to a changing climate with increased heat, drought and flooding and weed and pest pressure.

• Support farmers through training and consulting aimed at improving yields, profitability and soil health using organic and regenerative organic practices.

• Serve as a demonstration and education hub for farmers, agricultural professionals and the public interested in organic and regenerative organic methods.

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Source: The Rodale Institute


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