Agriculture + Viticulture

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business’ full-color, glossy magazine Focus: Agriculture + Viticulture takes a closer look at how our region serves as the powerhouse that drives our state’s agriculture and viticulture industries. This magazine is published in the spring.

The demand for frozen potato products such as french fries and tater tots has increased so much that the Washington Potato Commission says that overseas exports have been rationed. The state’s potato farmers grew 10.5 billion pounds in 2018. (Courtesy Washington State Potato Commission)

Popular potatoes: Spuds stay big business for state

The sweetest words a potato farmer in Eastern Washington can hear aren’t about crop yields or perfect weather or the opening of new processing plants. Nah. What really rings golden is: Taco Bell is bringing back Nacho Fries. Or: McDonald’s now has all-day breakfast. And then there’s “loaded” fries, those deep-fried potato strips slathered in…

The Yakima Valley — the world’s largest producer of hops — had only a slight increase of 1 percent in hops acreage last year compared to explosive growth in previous years. (Courtesy Hop Growers of America)

Hop crops: Market slows after rapid growth

The most recent hops data paints a picture that could be interpreted as an end to the recent boom for Washington hop farmers. But that does not point toward a fall back to earth, said Ann George, a Moxee farmer and executive director of the Washington Hop Commission, which serves double duty as the Hop…

Washington is the nation’s largest producer of Concords — used primarily as a juice grape. More than half of the nation’s supply is grown in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Juicy fruit: State dominates U.S. for Concords

By Andy Perdue While the Washington wine grape market booms, even approaching the state apple industry in size and economic importance, there’s another grape industry that tops the nation in size: juice grapes. Last year, Concord grape growers brought in nearly 200,000 tons of fruit — 3 percent over the prior year, valued at $41.8…

Sarah Hedges Goedhart, head winemaker for Hedges Cellars on Red Mountain, walks through their organically farmed estate vineyard. (Photo by Andy Perdue)

Organic grapes: A natural tourist attraction

The growing number of organic grape-growing regions in the Northwest provide new opportunities for wine marketing around the popular buzzword “terroir,” according to a new study by a Washington State University Tri-Cities researcher. Derived from the French word “terre,” meaning “land,” “terroir” is used to denote the special characteristics of a place, said Byron Marlowe,…

Milk is the second-highest agricultural commodity in Washington, with a total production value of $1.1 billion in 2016. Ed Zurcher, owner of Zurcher Dairy in Basin City, one of about 400 dairy farms across the state, said his cows are milked twice a day, with the process beginning at 4 a.m. and cycling through all the cows before starting again at 4 p.m., seven days a week. (Photo: Robin Wojtanik)

Leading producers: Agriculture adds billions to state’s economy

Washington state is an agricultural powerhouse, leading the nation in the production of apples, grapes, cherries, pears, hops and blueberries. Supplying the world with millions of tons of apples each year, Washington fills nearly two-thirds of the entire apple market in the United States. It’s expected the current planted acreage of wine grapes could swell…