Support local farmers by taking advantage of locally-produced food
The Tri-Cities is surrounded by farms, orchards and vineyards.
Our state is a national leader in the production of apples, blueberries, hops, pears, sweet cherries and spearmint oil. It is second in the U.S. for potatoes, grapes and asparagus.
Even crop sectors that don’t land spots in the top rankings are exported all over the country and world. This goes for commodities, grains, seafood and meat.
Food processing also is big business, converting local produce into ready-to-eat products stocked on store shelves, locally and abroad.
Tucked in among these larger producers are smaller scale growers and makers who put a hand to the land and seasonally bring the fruits of their labor to market.
Traditionally, this has been pop-up roadside stands and farmers markets, but in recent years, new options have emerged for connecting local food producers to consumers.
It can be challenging to track down local versions of what can be picked up easily from grocery store shelves, but making the choice to support the small business owners and entrepreneurs who make up Tri-Cities’ and the greater Columbia Basin’s local foodshed offers its own intrinsic value – it provides food security for the region, makes food more personal, and, at the very least, it’s as fresh as you can get it without growing it yourself.
Spring begins this month and late March is when asparagus harvest season in our state typically gets underway. We think this makes it the perfect time to offer this roundup of the plentiful fresh food options available locally so you can make good on your plans to eat healthier.
Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is a way of directly supporting a farmer before the harvesting season begins.
Limited to the number of customers a given farm can supply, customers buy a half share (geared toward individuals or couples), or full share (couples or small families) in the off-season and pick up a box of fresh produce at a drop site throughout the summer.
Big Sage Organics (bigsageorganics.net/csa) of Othello serves the Tri-Cities for 18 weeks from June through September.
It provides “basic cooking staples like garlic, onions, herbs, squash, starches and common salad fixings. We will also include weekly seasonal sweet and savory items like heirloom tomatoes, melons, sweet corn, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, (and) cucumbers,” according to its website.
For 2023, a half share is $300 and delivered every other week, while a full share is $600 and delivered weekly.
Tri-Citians can select to pick up their box at either the Kennewick or Richland Highlands Organic Market.
Delivery is Tuesday afternoon for both locations.
Local Pumpkin of Pasco offers a hybrid CSA format featuring fully customizable delivery, from weekly, every other week or monthly doorstop.
Local Pumpkin networks with numerous local fresh food producers to offer a one-stop shop for most staples, such as fruits, vegetables, raw milk, free-range eggs, grass-fed meats, ferments, baked goods, honey, cheese, pasta, beans and more from around the Northwest region.
They even grow some of their own vegetables.
During the off-season, many local products are still available, though they source from California and other distributors to continue offering fresh produce.
Some farms are open to the public where produce can be purchased directly or ordered online ahead of time.
Schreiber Farms is one example – for pickup there, at a local farmers market or other centralized location.
For more ambitious foodies, U-pick operations are another option, such as Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview, Applegate Blueberry U-Pick in Burbank, Ray French Orchard in Richland and the Hatch Patch in north Pasco.
Other local food resources
Tracking down local food products can be a treasure hunt, especially in the off-season.
Visiting independent retailers can yield locally sourced goods, some of which are available year-round.
The Public Market @ Columbia River Warehouse in Kennewick is one such resource, as will be the Osprey Pointe Marketplace once it opens.
Highlands Organic Market, with locations in both Kennewick and Richland, stocks local ferments, raw milk, cheese, microgreens, mushrooms, produce, chicken and quail eggs, honey, bee pollen, baked goods and more.
Others specialize in a particular local food product.
For example, Ethos Bakery of Richland grinds its own flour and sells it by the bag. The flour is sourced from Southeastern Washington farms that grow heirloom varieties.
When the Tri-Cities Food Co-Op, a hub for organically grown food, personal care products and more, gets off the ground, it will house many community food resources under one roof.
Pasco Farmers Market
Located at the corner of South 14th Avenue and West Columbia Street in downtown Pasco, this market has been in operation since 1988.
It reopened in March 2022 after a year of renovations and improvements.
Among last year’s vendors were Albertin Orchards fruit of Kennewick, Schreiber Farms organic produce of Eltopia, Lovejoy Farms produce of Eltopia, Pat N Tams Beef of Stanfield, Oregon, Paradise Pastures meats of Kennewick, Rudy’s Pepper Blends of Kennewick, Ranch at the End of the Road vintner of Benton City, Old Timers Pork Rinds of Prosser, Dixie Del’s Cut Flower Farm of Kennewick.
Hours: 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays from mid-May to the end of October.
Contact: downtownpasco.org/pasco-farmers-market.html, Facebook.
Richland Farmers Market
Held at the Parkway shopping plaza between George Washington Way and Jadwin Avenue.
Among last year’s vendors were Hermiston Melon Company, Beyond Pickles of Richland, JDS Farms’ corn of Pasco, Walchli Farms produce of Hermiston, Tri-Fry American Frites, Neiffer Triangle 4 Ranch grass-fed beef and eggs of Lexington, Oregon, Blakelby Farms corn and melons of Pasco, The Herd 5C beef of Ritzville, Wheel Line Cider of Ellensburg, Flatau Farm fruit of Basin City, Water Buffalo Brewery of Walla Walla, Colockum Hillside Farms meats, Schreiber Farms, Old Timers Pork Rinds, Bauman’s Blossoms.
Hours: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays. Season begins the first Friday in June and runs through the last Friday of October.
This year the market will be held in a new downtown location, to be determined.
Watch the Kennewick Farmers Market Facebook page for updates.
Among last year’s vendors were Mooers Family Farm meats of Kennewick, Chesed Farms gourmet mushrooms and microgreens of Walla Walla, Hermiston Melon Company, Albertin Orchards, L Bar Ranch Beef of Granger, Stangel Bison Ranch of Enterprise, Oregon, Schreiber Farms, Walchli Farms, Wheel Line Cider, Fernandez Farms of Sunnyside, Dixie Del’s Cut Flowers, Rise & Shine Bake Shop of Kennewick, Eating Gluten Free Bakery of Richland, Skymaiden Soaps of Kennewick.
Hours: 4-7 p.m. Thursdays. Season begins on the first Thursday in June and runs through the first Thursday in October.
PNNL Employees-Only Farmers Market
Launched in 2012, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory hosts a farmers market in Richland for employees, featuring familiar local growers such as Schreiber Farms and Dixie Del’s Cut Flowers.
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesdays. Season begins in June through mid-September.
3 Eyed Fish Farmers Market, Richland
Held at 1970 Keene Road in Richland near 3 Eyed Fish Kitchen + Bar.
Among last year’s vendors were JDHolbrook Farms eggs of Boardman, Oregon, Aichele Farms berries of Stanfield, Oregon, Bautista Farms of Sunnyside, Rill-Butamante Farms pulses, soup and spice mixes of Granger, Beyond Pickles, Micro Grow Farms microgreens of Prosser, Key Family Farms, Hermiston Melon Company, Columbia Basin Shroomery of Pasco, Mooers Family Farm, Two Sisters Honey of Kennewick, Northwest Cured Meat Products of Pasco, Voodoo Signature Spices & Sauces of Kennewick, Ranch at the End of the Road, Old Timers Pork Rinds, SunKissed Lavender of West Richland, Albertin Orchards, Rise & Shine Bake Shop, Marla’s Cookie Co. of Richland, Rocken K’s Goat Milk Soap Co. of Kennewick, Double K Blooms of Kennewick, Es Lit Candle Co. of Richland.
Hours: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays. Season begins the middle of June and runs through the middle of October
Many market vendors accept EBT, SNAP, WIC or KERNEL program currencies.