Right on schedule, food follows wine at Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens
The Port of Kennewick used wineries to woo tourists and hungry crowds to an industrial stretch of Columbia Drive.
Now food is following, all part of the port’s plan to use its wine-themed tourism to spark development and reconnect Kennewick to its downtown waterfront.
“The tourism focus was the driving factor for transitioning the neighborhood,” said Tana Bader-Inglima, the port’s deputy director.
Five food trucks and a farm stand have joined four wineries at Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village, east of the cable bridge.
Beus Brothers Farm Market is the latest and most unexpected addition.
Brothers Curt, Kevin and Kyle Beus leased a gravel area opposite the food trucks in late June. The brothers set up a tent and trailer as well as cooling shed to support the farm stand, which is a sister to their similar stand in the parking lot of Griggs Ace Hardware in Richland.
They expected to stay open until late fall, when the last of the harvest wraps up.
Curt said the family sells local produce as well as lamb, chicken, Thanksgiving turkeys and other meat they raise in the area. The farm stand season will run through Christmas tree sales in the fall, he said.
Curt said the stand is chiefly an outlet — and showcase — for Northwest produce, meats and gourmet items.
“We’re not buying stuff from California,” he told the port commission during a routine business meeting in June. “We’re trying to promote local agriculture, local artisan foods.”
The Beus Brothers Farm Market helps cement the port’s dream of bringing visitors to the area along Duffy’s Pond.
The port designed Columbia Gardens as a catalyst to bring wine tourists to an area that been cut off from the river on the theory food and other tourism-friendly activities would follow.
Bartholomew Winery and Monarcha Winery moved in during the first phase. Both produce wine on site, taking advantage of a custom wastewater system installed by the city of Kennewick to support the project.
The second phase brought two tasting rooms, Gordon Estates and Cave B Estate Winery, and room for six food trucks.
Swampy’s BBQ, led by Ron Swanby, moved in last year and takes up two spots, one for the truck and other for the permanent smoker.
2020 saw the additions of Don Taco, Ninja Bistro and Ann’s Best Creole & Soul Food. Rollin’ Fresh Ice Cream is a regular as well, though it has relocated to nearby Clover Island.
Ninja and Ann’s both hail from Richland. Ninja Bistro debuted at John Dam Plaza while Ann’s has a brick-and-mortar restaurant at the Richland Airport.
The individual trucks set their own days and hours. Links to their sites are available through portofkennewick.org on the Columbia Gardens and Clover Island pages.
There is more to Columbia Gardens than food, wine and farm produce. Visitors can pick up food and stroll along the walkway by the cleaned-up pond, which is alive with herons, ducks, geese and other waterfowl, all in the long shadow of the cable bridge. The trail links to the Sacagawea Heritage Trail and Clover Island.
A mix of public and private development is expected to follow at Columbia Gardens. The port owns other parcels in the area, including the 6.7-acre former manufactured home park called “The Willows” and the 3.2-acre Cable Greens.