One of the highlights of late fall is undeniably a harvest meal. As days get shorter and leaves change color, local farms are also completing their harvests for the year. What better way to celebrate the abundance of our agriculture-rich region than sharing a decadent meal with your community? Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or another holiday that incorporates sharing food, consider sourcing your ingredients from one of the area’s many local farms.
Started by an Evergreen alumni in 1996, Kirsop Farm was founded in Tumwater and later moved to Rochester. Since its inception in 1996, Kirsop Farm has been involved with many local organizations, such as GRuB, South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust, and many more. Kirsop farm provides not only an abundance of fresh produce, but also pasture-raised chicken, pork, and lamb. The chickens are fed with a combination of foraging and organic chicken feed, and the poultry is available year-round at the Olympia Farmers Market, or use Kirsop Farm’s Chicken Order Form online to reserve a bird for your holiday meal.
Building Earth Farm
A family farm located on Steamboat Island, Building Earth Farm uses organic, sustainable farming practices to produce turkey and poultry, along with a fruit CSA. Use the contact form on their website to place an order for a turkey. When you pick up the bird, be sure to bring your own packaging materials, such as butcher paper, plastic bags, or a cooler.
Vegetables are a vital part of any fall meal, from holiday yam dishes to colorful salads. Calliope Farm offers a wide variety of certified organic produce sure to meet your taste. This family-owned, four-season farm is staffed and owned by community members who are passionate about sustainable, responsible farming practices. Its three farm locations across Olympia grow vegetables and berries that can be found at the Olympia Farmers Market and the Westside Food Co-op.
Evergreen Organic Farm
The five-acre Evergreen Organic Farm serves as a learning laboratory on the campus of The Evergreen State College while producing fruit, vegetables, eggs, chickens, herbs, cut flowers, and sheep. Students enrolled in the program Practice of Organic Farming work on the farm along with completing academic work with the support of faculty, staff, and student farm aides. To support the education of local agriculture students while enjoying organic produce, meats, seasonal pumpkins and gourds, or even floral wreaths for holiday decoration, visit the Organic Farm Market Stand on Red Square at Evergreen, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. An on-farm market stand is also in the works.
GRuB is a community nonprofit that intersects growing food with community building, education, health, and sustainability. Aside from their community programs that primarily work with marginalized low-income youth, GRuB owns and operates 3.18 acres of urban farmland. The bounty that is produced through their farm can be purchased through their CSA or at GRuB’s farm stand every Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Located in Mushroom Corner, Ostrom Mushrooms is a family farm that has been offering locally grown mushrooms to the community since 1928. Now, the Pacific Northwest consumes over 13 million pounds of Ostrom’s mushrooms a year. Ostrom Mushrooms is dedicated to practicing sustainable agricultural methods, such as creating compost, using recyclable packaging, and using dried poultry waste and wheat straw to grow their mushrooms. Consider incorporating mushrooms into your holiday meal with a meat-free mushroom gravy, stuffed mushrooms, adding mushrooms to a favorite stuffing recipe, or simply making a side of sautéed or roasted mushrooms. While they do not sell directly to the public, you can find Ostrom Mushrooms at the Olympia Farmers Market.
Nothing signifies a Thanksgiving meal like cranberries, whether in a pie, sauce, or even mixed in with stuffing. While most cranberry farms are located close to the coast, you can look for Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm at the Olympia Farmers Market to incorporate local cranberries into your holiday meal. Owned by Kathy and Felix Mahr, the farm has been providing fresh, tart cranberries to the area since 2000.
Johnson Berry Farm is a 40-acre, farmer-owned berry farm in Olympia that produces jams and spreads along with fresh berries that are perfect for holiday pies. It grows a wide variety of berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. In 2020, the farm plans to begin selling loganberries, tayberries, boysenberries, and marionberries as well. Find their berries at the Olympia Farmers Market Thursday through Sunday.
Whether for carving jack-o-lanterns or baking pies, Thurston County has a number of pumpkin patches where you and your family can pick out your own locally grown pumpkins. One is Hunter Family Farm, located on Yelm Highway in Olympia. Along with pumpkins, the farm also offers decorative corn, various gourds, and bales of straw, and on the weekends you can partake in activities such as a carousel, corn maze, super slide. Admission to the family (and dog) friendly farm is free with a fee for most activities. Find a list of pumpkin patch activities and hours on Hunter Family Farm’s website.
Schilter Family Farm also offers a pumpkin patch, complete with hayrides, farm animals, a corn maze, pony rides, and more for the full fall experience. Their farm grows almost 40 varieties of pumpkin, so you’re sure to find the perfect one.