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See local agriculture in action during annual Whatcom County Farm Tour

Seven new stops have been added to this year’s Whatcom County Farm Tour, offering a chance to examine how food and other agricultural goods are produced locally.

It’s a free self-guided tour of a dozen local farms with sites open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. Sustainable Connections, a Northwest Washington business organization, is sponsoring the tour as part of its annual Eat Local Month.

“My favorite part is that you get the behind-the-scenes look that you don’t always get to see. Not all these farms are open,” said Becca Taber, a programming assistant in the Food and Farm Program at Sustainable Connections. “You’ll also get to meet the farmer. It’s fun to see how the food you eat is produced and meet the people who make it.”

Visitors will see a variety of plants, animals and agricultural products – including rare breed animals at Heritage Lane Farm in Lynden; specialty cut flowers at Triple Wren Farm in Ferndale; apples, pumpkins and a distillery at BelleWood Acres north of Bellingham; and hard-to-find fruits and vegetables at Cloud Mountain Farm Center in Everson.

Many of the locations will offer items for sale and feature demonstrations, free samples and tours of their facilities.

Maps that describe the participating farms with addresses and contact numbers are available at local libraries, the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism office, Village Books and the Community Food Co-op.

Among Taber’s favorites are Appel Farms for their cows and cheese; Cascadia Mushrooms for its fascinating fungi tours; and Inspiration Farm for its multitude of lost pioneer arts and demonstrations of composting, cider pressing and wool spinning.

“Ruth (Appel) will be doing a cheese demo and have signage of how they make the cheese,” Taber said. “It’s an intricate process, especially on a large scale like that.”

Visitors will get to meet the cows that produce milk for the farm’s specialty cheeses, including Gouda, Cheddar and paneer.

At Cascadia Farms, tours will be given on the hour all day, and there will be fresh mushrooms and DIY growing kits at reduced prices. “It’s not every day that you get to see mushrooms grown on such a large scale,” Taber said.

Inspiration Farm north of Bellingham will feature demonstrations of such skills as textiles, blown glass and tool making.

“They started out as just wanting to be a homestead,” Taber said. “They’re really known for their heritage garlic.”