Fresh fare from the farm
In the Yakima and Kittitas valleys, the selection of locally grown produce cannot be beat.
Within a 15- to 45-minute drive from Yakima, nearly two dozen farms are open for business. There, you can pick cherries straight from the tree and line your baskets with heirloom tomatoes, succulent peaches and fingerling potatoes — all at rock-bottom prices.
Some vendors accept checks and debit/credit cards, but to be safe, carry cash. At the U-pick farms, you should also bring your own containers and wear close-toed shoes. By picking in the morning, you’ll most likely beat the crowds and the heat.
If manual labor and a country drive aren’t to your liking, don’t fret. The farms will come to you. Each week, farmers meet at the same time and place from Ellensburg to Goldendale to sell you their goods.
Besides the produce, these markets often feature live music, displays of handmade crafts and food vendors cooking everything from barbecued meats to Greek delicacies.
No matter the venue you choose, rest assured, the produce will be waiting.
PRODUCE STANDS/U-PICK DESTINATIONS
• Bella Terra Gardens, 660 Bella Terra Road, Zillah; 509-865-4554. Farm fresh eggs and herb garden. Organic and naturally grown vegetables and berries sold from historic barn, or U-pick. See the farm animals. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday late May through October.
• Bouchey Potatoes, 2310 Evans Road, Wapato; 509-848-2061. Step into the cold storage room to pick your potatoes at this self-service spud shop. Many varieties. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, July through November. Honor system on Sundays.
• Dagdagan Farm & Produce, 4640 Lateral A, Wapato; 509-877-2727. Farm stand features a variety of local and imported produce, open May through October. U-pick tomatoes and peppers, late August until the first freeze.
• Harmony Hill U-Pick, 141 Harmony Lane, Yakima; 509-965-3262; www.harmonyhillupickraz.com. U-pick raspberries and lavender. Open daily late July through September. Call to check hours.
• Imperial’s Garden, 4817 Lateral A, Wapato; 509-877-2766. Produce stand and U-pick featuring green beans, beets, tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe.
• Johnson Orchards, 4906 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-966-7479; www.johnsonorchardsfruit.com. Cherries, apricots, peaches and other tree fruit sold from 1916 warehouse. Open daily, beginning in early June. U-pick cherries, pears, apples and peaches throughout the summer.
• Selah Ridge Lavender Farm, 330 Rankin Road, Selah; 509-930-2910; www.selahridgelavenderfarm.com. Lavender Harvest Days event with vendors and music, July 8-10. U-pick lavender/products by appointment.
• Thompson’s Farm Market, 9550 Highway 12, Naches; 509-949-3450; www.thompsonsfarm.com. Select local produce, gourmet foods, gifts, local microbrews and Upper Valley wines. Open daily, June through October. U-pick cherries, peaches, apples and pumpkins available weekends in season and by appointment at Thompson’s Farm, 9535 Old Naches Highway, Naches.
• Washington Fruit Place at Barrett Orchards, 1209 Pecks Canyon Road, Yakima; 509-966-1275; www.treeripened.com. Year-round gift shop features in-season tree fruits. Cherry Days festival on July 2. U-pick cherries, late June through mid-July.
• Yakima U-Pick Farm, 11901 Zier Road, Yakima; 509-945-5406; www.yakimaberries.com. Fruit stand and U-pick raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, pears, pluots, peaches, tomatoes, basil and pumpkins. Open daily, June 1 through October.
Kittitas County Farmers Market — 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, May through October. On Fourth Avenue, between Pearl and Ruby streets, in downtown Ellensburg. 509-899-3870, www.kcfarmersmarket.com.
Prosser Farmers Market — 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May 7 through Oct. 30. In the Prosser City Park, Seventh Street and Sommers Avenue. 509-786-9174, www.prosserfarmersmarket.com.
Goldendale Farmers Market — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, June 4 through Oct. 1. Ekone Park on Wilbur Avenue, off State Route 142. 509-261-0782.
Yakima Farmers Market — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, May 8 through October. In front of the Capitol Theatre, 19 S. Third St. 509-457-5765, www.yakimafarmersmarket.org.
Sunnyside Farmers Market — 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, June 22 through mid-October. 4th St. and Edison Ave., near the city park. 509-830-5209.
Selah’s Wednesday Market — 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, June 15 through Sept. 28. Behind King’s Row Drive-In at 210 S. First St. 509-480-2844 or 509-961-8672, www.selahsmarket.com.
— Erin Snelgrove
If you enjoy straight from the farm produce and fruit, then knowing when it’s fresh is key. Here are the approximate harvest times for much of what is grown in the Yakima Valley.
June • Broccoli • Cauliflower • Peas • Strawberries
June through July • Zucchini
June through August • Cherries
July • Apricots • Green beans
July through September • Sweet corn • Cucumbers • Melons • Peaches • Tomatoes
July through November • Potatoes
August • Nectarines
August through September • Blackberries • Blueberries • Eggplant • Pears • Plums
August through November • Apples
September • Onions
September through October • Pumpkins