Shopping Local Farms for the Holidays
Looking for a farm fresh turkey or local apple orchard for your holiday meal? From Green Bluff to Rockford, I found some of the BEST spots to buy local ingredients!
The Beauty of Rural Spokane
There is so much hidden value in not only supporting local but specifically supporting local FARMS. There is no denying that Spokane has exploded in terms of walkable urban neighborhoods. Kendall Yards in west central; the River District in Liberty Lake; the upcoming Mead Works neighborhood in north Spokane. These neighborhoods highlight the perks of walkability and big-city living with a medium-city cost of living. First time home buyers, transplants and retirees alike are all loving the conveniences and perks of these modern, urban centers. But what about the rural outlying areas? What is the value in these small farm communities that have held on for generations? How are urban Spokanites able to enjoy, and experience firsthand the sweat and love that these family farms pour into their craft?
How Can I Support Spokane Farms?
One logical place to start would be to intentionally seek out hyperlocal goods during this holiday season. For Thanksgiving, serve pies that were made with fruit grown on Green Bluff. Track down some potatoes, squash and microgreens that were harvested from the soil on the outskirts of town. Ask the local butcher at Egger’s Meats about where their turkeys came from. Research those farms and their practices and give them some love on social media. Serve locally roasted coffee to your dinner guests and allow it to be a great conversation starter. Stop by a local winery, spend an afternoon tasting their varieties, and bring home your favorite to share with in your in-laws. You’ll find that not only is it good for the economy to shop local farms, but it’s honestly just a lot more fun.
Another great option for this holiday season is to explore local Christmas tree farms! These outings are full day events- MUCH more entertaining than picking up a sad tree from the parking lot of a grocery store. Check out Theodore’s Thicket, Dietz Christmas Tree Farm, or Camden Ranch. You’ll find hot chocolate bars, pictures with Santa, sleigh rides behind horses, and so much more. These tree farms get so much joy from having families explore their grounds, and many of them give tours in the off season as well.
Need some more ideas on how to support local farms? Check out some of my favorites:
Best Spots to Buy Locally Grown Ingredients in Spokane:
One of the few local farms that has turkeys available for Thanksgiving!! This endearing family runs a small farm just south of Spokane, operating under the desire to be good stewards by raising animals and cultivating the land in harmony with each other. They are not a huge commercial business, which means they don’t have endless supplies, but they do still have turkeys available that you can reserve on their website! Quick, DO IT!
This adorable storefront is a quick drive down a backcountry dirt road on Green Bluff. Grab a take-and-bake frozen pie from their freezer (might I recommend the peach crumb), check out the locally made bath products, or peruse the cider collection. Their homegrown apple cider is a local family favorite, and their collection of hard ciders is tough to beat. If you make it in time for apple-picking season, there are few activities more satisfying than picking your own fruit from the trees.
The home of LaShaw Ranch Roasters! Soak up the view of the rolling wheat fields on your drive out to Rockford on a sunny day. Pro-tip: order “The Duke” from their coffee bar before you peruse the clothing rack and sip it while watching their fascinating roasting process. The salted caramel cold brew with brown sugar and cinnamon cold foam is NOT to be missed! They also have a small refrigerator that houses local beef to sell. Sirloin steaks, hamburger patties, as well as beef jerky and summer sausage. A true farm town favorite.
The Perry District on the south hill is one of my favorite little urban nooks, but a visit to the Grain Shed will be sure to transport you to a slower, agricultural era. They prioritize local heritage grains from Palouse farmers, which make the BEST breads in all of town. A deep dive into their socials tell some amazing stories of the thousands of wheat varieties and the artisanal flavors they offer. I highly recommend the Purple Egyptian sourdough loaf, along with the holiday ginger sweet rolls. Preorder both online for Thanksgiving and add in a pint of their homemade maple whipped cream while you’re at it.
My family spends entire afternoons at Big Barn. Not only do they grow their own hops and fruit for some of their beer varieties, but they have some awesome local singers come perform as well- free entertainment! Food trucks set up shop on the weekends, and patrons can come pick their own apples, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and pumpkins depending on the season. The brewers are a father/son duo who have deep roots in the community, and it shows in their love and passion for Big Barn.
Wander through my favorite downtown co-op and pick up any last-minute necessities! They promote and sell locally grown, minimally processed items. Here, you can find Big Barn Brewing beer, eggs from JP’s Chicken Farm, goods from Chase Honey in Newman Lake, and so much more. Pick up a bouquet of flowers from Gracey’s Flower Farm in Fairfield, salad mixes from Full Bushel Farm in Medical Lake, and so many other things that you didn’t know you needed but shouldn’t live without. This shop is the ultimate pinnacle of supporting local, and in turn needs the community support itself.
LINC Foods: “The Local Inland Northwest Cooperative”
If wandering around to visit storefronts while sipping locally roasted coffee isn’t your thing (I may be silently judging you… but no comment), then check out LINC Foods online. They partner with over 25 local farmers that are located within a 3-hour radius of Spokane. You can shop individual farms online, and LINC will deliver their homegrown goods to your neighborhood! Absolutely genius. Explore LINC Malt while you’re on their site and jump head-first into the rabbit hole of info regarding local grain varieties that are harvested for beer. You can thank me later.
The Benefits of Supporting Local
First of all, touring local farms and shops is a memorable event for kids and adults alike! Guests from out of town love exploring new environments, and this is the perfect excuse to get out and about. Secondly, you get to TRULY know where your food comes from. Curious about what kind of food the livestock was fed? Want to make sure the animals were happy and loved? Questions about how the produce was grown? You are up front and personal with the farms who have all the answers. Lastly, it puts money back into your own economy! Small farms need community support now more than ever. It’s getting harder to make money with the love and detail of small-town practices, so support them while you can!
Frequently Asked Questions:
This can be a bit tricky, as they don’t all have cutting edge websites AND because annual crops can change. My advice would be to attend local farmers markets and talk to local co-ops. For the north Spokane area, check out the Green Bluff Growers website. The USDA has some local directories online, but your best bet will still be to reach out to farms directly.
Honestly, they can be. With a smaller yield, these farms often have more variables at play and need to charge more to cover the costs. This isn’t always the case, but it certainly can be. Trust me though- once you see and taste the difference of homegrown, locally raised, free range chicken eggs you won’t think twice about spending the extra pocket change!
Yes! Visit their farm stands. Attend their events. Ask them about their roots. Follow them on social media. Tour their property. Take an interest in what they do and spread the word!
Yes, many of them do! They’re using reduced chemicals, tilling the ground less, and overall, just working towards restoring the land and soil health. Some of our little Pacific Northwest farms operate on the most cutting edge of modern research and practices!