Explore rural Snohomish County this summer along the Red Rooster Route near Arlington. Visit farms open to the public, buy fresh-harvested produce and U-pick your own berries. Pause at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum to learn the heritage of this agricultural area. Perhaps attend some of the local summer festivals.
The Red Rooster Route began in 2010 with an enterprising collection of farms willing to open to the public on weekends – both to sell produce directly to customers and to develop agri-tourism in this pastoral area. The core farms continue and some new ones have joined, along with agricultural-related attractions and activities.
So head north on Interstate 5 to Arlington and then east on Highway 530 to discover these family-friendly farms. Each have their own harvest seasons and visiting hours, based on their crops. Check their websites for the most up-to-date information.
Biringer Farm, long-famous for its strawberries, predicts this year’s harvest to start in early June, thanks to the warmer-than-usual spring. Biringer offers both pre-picked and u-pick strawberries and – several weeks later – raspberries, tayberries, blackcap raspberries and blackberries. It also features a Farm Market selling fresh, local produce and a play area to keep kids engaged while parents u-pick or produce-shop.
You may want to visit during the annual Biringer Farm Harvest Festival, held this year June 18-19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free and includes a wide range of kids’ activities, agricultural workshops and rides on the “Jolly Trolley” to acres of berry fields where you can pick whatever is ripe. Come early on Sat., June 18 if you want learn to “Put Summer in a Jar.” From 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., “The Jam Lady” Kate Halstead will demonstrate how to make delicious jams, jellies and spreads.
Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm is a six-acre farm with more than 100 varieties of crops available for u-pick and pre-pick purchase, plus a 16,000-square-foot greenhouse for specialty crops. Its organic produce ranges from strawberries, tayberries, herbs and summer squash in June to raspberries, garlic and onions in July, heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers and cut flowers in August, and pickling cucumbers, tomatillos, Russian kale and poblano peppers in September.
Also visit Garden Treasures for its large selection of garden nursery plants and hedge trees, plus its bulk fruits and vegetables for canning, organic grains, heirloom beans, pasture-raised eggs, local cheese and other natural food products.
Fosters Produce & Corn Maze, another original farm on The Red Rooster Route, features 50 acres of fresh produce, including its famous sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, patty pans, pickling cukes, green beans and beets. It also offers strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and Eastern Washington peaches, nectarines, pears and apricots. There is a Farm Animal Barn, fun “Goat Walk,” Old West Town, Country Market with gourmet goodies and old-fashioned candies, and a Gift Barn of home and garden décor, plus plenty of picnic areas. In September and October, Fosters adds a popular corn maze and pumpkin patch for families to enjoy.
Bryant Blueberry Farm & Nursery opens to the public in July offering u-pick and pre-picked blueberries and tayberries. Luscious raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, blackberries, aronia berries and currants are sold fresh during their various harvest seasons through early September. This family-owned, child-friendly farm uses sound environmental and sustainable agricultural methods to grow its berries as well as a large nursery of blueberry, evergreen huckleberry and Stevens cranberry plants for sale. U-pick dahlias are also available in July and August.
Red Ranch Berry Farm features five varieties of blueberries, ranging from early-blooming Earlyblues, large-size Toros, reliable Bluerays and Bluecrop to the brand-new Drapers. Their blueberries start ripening in early July, and visitors can u-pick or buy pre-picked berries. The farm now has a new picnic area, so bring your lunch to enjoy in its bucolic setting with a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Chuck’s Nursery has been in the family for more than 100 years, and now the third generation offers a wonderful selection of trees, shrubs and perennials for your home garden. These range from bare-root fruit trees, hostas, lilacs, raspberries and blackberries in the spring to summer flowers.
Ninety Farms is a remarkable, 50-acre family farm that has been raising some of the first Katahdin Hair sheep on the West Coast since 1993. Its purebred, grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free lamb meat is sold in its “Red Door” farm store on weekends only, plus equally health-conscious beef and chicken from partner suppliers.
In addition to these seven farms, the Red Rooster Route has added several agricultural-related attractions and venues. Visit the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum in Arlington to learn the heritage of the area’s original homesteaders. Here you can see everything from vintage farm and household items to logging, dairy, military, railroad and transportation memorabilia. There are also thousands of fascinating black and white photos documenting those early years.
Rhodes River Ranch in Arlington features a unique restaurant overlooking an indoor horse arena. During special dinner shows and events, diners can enjoy views of horse riding and training. It is available to reserve for receptions, reunions, corporate retreats, rehearsal dinners and weddings.
Further east from Arlington on Highway 530 is the Oso General Store, recalling the area’s history since 1925. Resurrected in 2015, the general store invites you to step back in time with its ancient wooden floors, old-fashioned penny candy and garden serenity bordering Deer Creek. Plus enjoy great ice cream and espresso here.
Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm
Fosters Produce & Corn Maze
Bryant Blueberry Farm & Nursery
Phone: 360-474-8424 or 425-327-8703
Red Ranch Berry Farm
Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum
Rhodes River Ranch
Oso General Store
— By Julie Gangler