The Yakima Valley is the heart of Washington’s agriculture industry, and produces the largest variety of fresh produce in the Pacific Northwest. We grow more than 40 different commercial crops, such as asparagus, cherries, apples, peaches, grapes, hops – the list goes on! We’d like you to experience the agricultural heritage of the Yakima Valley firsthand, so we’ve put together a couple of interesting and educational farm-fresh tours that will give you a rare insight into where your fresh fruits, vegetables and plants come from.
Bring the whole family to Bill’s Berry Farm and learn all about how berries are grown! Starting the second week of May and running through the second week of June, the Spring Educational Tour kicks off, which focuses on learning about the seasons, blooms, bees and pollination. Children also get to plant a seed to take home! Later in the year, the Fall Educational Tours start the last two weeks of September and run all of October. There are three fall tours:
Pumpkin Patch Tour - Includes a lesson on fall harvest and hayrides to pick out a pumpkin.
Corn Maze Tour - Encourages team building with a mystery game.
Farm History Tour - Includes a hayride with a stop to pick apples or pumpkins.
All tours are available Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings 9:30am, 11:00am and 12:30pm . There is a small fee associated with each tour.
Take a free interpretative walk through the cherry orchard to learn how cherries are grown in the Yakima Valley. The walk is open to public daily. There are also plenty of seasonal festivals and events closer to harvest season, so don’t forget to plan ahead!.
Want to see how farmers used to do their job back in the day? Take a self-guided of the largest agricultural museum in the Northwest! Home to 29 buildings and 15 acres full of displays, the Ag Museum lets you see how early settlers in the Yakima Valley had to shape the land for their crops. Sign in at the Museum Visitor’s Center and pick up a copy of their Walk-Thru Tour booklet, which features a description of the contents of each building on the tour. There is also an Educational Program for kids, geared toward 3rd and 4th graders.
This unique attraction is nationally recognized as one of the finest examples of a desert cactus garden. The Yakima Valley is the perfect climate for species of native cacti, with 300 days of sunshine and only 6-9 inches of rain. Gardener Ron McKitrick started this cacti garden as a backyard hobby 28 years ago. Now the half acre garden is open to the public for tours. The Cactus Bloom Tours run from mid-April through July. Make sure and stop by sometime in May or June, because that’s when the most profuse blooms appear. Each year Ron hosts tours of Master Gardeners, school children, senior citizen groups, photographers and cactus lovers. The free tour is one hour, available from 8 a.m. to dusk during peak blooming time. Many species of potted and winter hardy cacti are available for purchase. Appointments are necessary for both individuals and groups. Bus tour parking is available.
Tour the Hop Capitol of the Nation
Swing by the American Hop Museum in Toppenish for an overview of the history of hop growing, the implements used in harvesting, and a lesson on what led the Yakima Valley to become the most important hop growing region in the nation. Or if you want to get a little more hands-on, plan a visit to a 4th generation family-owned hop farm. If you get a chance, make sure and try to visit during harvest season, starting in mid-August and lasting about 42 days. Visitors are always welcome at the Puterbaugh Farms but please call or email at least 24 hours prior to your visit to make arrangements.
We hope you have fun visiting the Yakima Valley farm regions! If you’d like more info on when and where fresh produce is available in the Valley, check out www.FarmFreshFun.com!