Port of Skagit Champions Local Ag Industry

“Skagit Valley is a special place. Surrounded by natural beauty and rooted in a deep agricultural heritage, Skagit is home to some of the best beer, locally-grown ingredients, and skilled brewers and makers around. We think that’s something worth celebrating, and that’s why we host the Skagit Farm to Pint Roadshow every year!” says Michael Frazier, Viva Farms Executive Director.

The Port of Skagit has long been a champion of the local agriculture industry, and has been home to Viva Farms’ original Farm Business Incubator since 2009. The Port nurtures partnerships like the one with Viva Farms to enhance the local agricultural industry, promoting innovative approaches that combine research and technology producing new jobs and a robust economy centered on the valley’s rich agricultural resources and heritage.

In 2013, the Washington State Department of Commerce designated the Skagit Valley as an Innovation Partnership Zone, focused on Value-Added Agriculture. The Port of Skagit quickly became a leader in the partnership initiative and has invested significant resources in infrastructure and business recruitment to support local agriculture.

Nearly 200 jobs and 20 businesses at the Port are directly related to value-added agriculture, including Skagit Farm to Pint ROADSHOW partners Chuckanut Brewery, Cardinal Craft Brewing Academy, Garden Path Fermentation, Skagit Valley Malting, Skagit Landing and Water Tank Bakery. The Port of Skagit also helped create the Genuine Skagit Valley™ brand, a federal certification mark designed to increase consumer awareness and consumption of Skagit Valley agricultural products and services.

With the Port’s focus on the agricultural vitality of our area, it is easy to understand why they are such a dedicated supporter of Viva Farms, and the Skagit Farm to Pint ROADSHOW.

Viva Farms started with just five beginning farmers farming on eight acres in the Port in 2009. Since then, they have educated over 1,000 beginning farmers (350+ Spanish speakers) in sustainable organic farming and business management. Today, they are one of the largest (in acreage and sales) and most comprehensive farm incubator programs in the country. They are currently incubating 35 farm businesses on 119 acres of organic farmland across four sites in Skagit and King counties of Washington. Together with their farmers, they grew, marketed and distributed over $2.1M of organic produce in 2021.

The Skagit Farm to Pint Roadshow is their biggest fundraising event of the year. The money raised will help fund their Farm Business Incubator for the 2022 season.

Water, Beer and Art

Did you know that beer is 95% water?  We have united water conservation, breweries, art, and the Viva Farms Farm to School program altogether to create the Skagit Farm to Pint Roadshow Rain Barrel Project!

skagit pud rain barrels

Skagit PUD Donates Rain Barrels

Skagit PUD has donated and delivered the rain barrels to participating breweries, artists are painting the rain barrels, and Viva Farms will be delivering to local school gardens after the Roadshow.  The painted rain barrels will be on display all together on a Facebook photo album for you to vote for your favorite.

Rain Barrels

Collecting rainwater is an easy way to conserve water — and save money on your water bill. During the drier season, when water consumption often doubles, using collected rainwater also reduces the strain on the water supply and keeps more water available for fish and wildlife.

Century-Old Solution

Rainwater is also naturally “soft” and free of minerals and chemicals, making it ideal for plants and lawns. Using a rain barrel to collect rainwater also helps reduce stormwater runoff that might otherwise run down storm drains and into our streams, rivers, lakes, and bays. Stormwater runoff can cause flooding, erosion and carry pollutants into our waterways.

Purchasing a Rain Barrel

Skagit PUD sells rain barrels for $60/each that come fully assembled and ready for installation. These are recycled 55-gallon, food-grade plastic barrels. Barrels are not in “perfect” condition and may have a scuff or blemish. Barrels vary in shape and color.

Each rain barrel includes a 3/4 inch spigot, overflow valve, 4-5 inch diameter drain grate, mesh insect/debris screen, and a downspout adapter. Please call (360) 424-7104 to ensure availability. Cash or checks only.

Rain Barrel Math

How much water runs off your roof? To do the calculation, use this formula: .623 gallons per sq ft per inch of rain x Roof sq ft x Inches rain per year.

So, if your roof is 1,000 sq ft and you live in Mount Vernon, which gets 32.7 inches per year, you could expect 20,372 gallons of water running off your roof per year! (.623 gals x 1,000 sq ft x 32.7 inches rain = 20,372 gallons)

During the dry months, May – September, when most people think about gardening outside, you still could potentially collect 5,365 gallons of rainwater off your roof.

Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens Work Together

A wonderful way to complement a rain barrel and increase your property’s ability to absorb runoff is through a rain garden.  Rain gardens can be a fun and easy way to learn about beautiful native plants, improve water quality, and reduce flooding.

Rain gardens typically absorb 30% more water than the same size area of lawn; they are drought resistant and are less prone to destructive insects and diseases. Rain gardens create a preferred habitat for birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. These specialty gardens are versatile — they can be any size or shape, but to maximize their benefit, they should be built in an existing low spot or near a rain barrel’s drainage area.

A great resource guide is the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington Homeowners. Print copies are available by contacting the Skagit Conservation District at (360) 428-4313.

Tulips, Artists, and Beer: The Best of Skagit

Gain a behind-the-scenes look at the best Skagit Valley has to offer while exploring one of the most scenic bicycle routes in the Pacific Northwest with Experience International. Visit tulip fields at peak bloom, meet inspiring local artisans, and follow grains of barley from the fields all the way to your pint glass! Between adventures, enjoy gourmet local food and award-winning ales along the Skagit Farm to Pint Ale Trail. With so much to offer, this is a once-a-year tour you will not want to miss!


Experience International is a non-profit that believes the best excursions include more than just recreation and beautiful vistas, but actually, change us for the better. The getaways that leave us changed are also the ones we never forget. We’ve been facilitating transformative experiences for over 30 years, and in response to the pandemic, we’re drawing from our shared passions for sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, and outdoor recreation to share what makes this bioregion such a special place to call home. Whether you were born and raised in the Pacific Northwest or this is your first time visiting the region, our immersive ecological adventures will leave you more deeply connected to the land and sea of this region and provide you with the experience of a lifetime!

Trip Highlights

  • This two-day, Best of Skagit bike tour will explore tulips in peak bloom, engage local artisans, and follow barley from the seed all the way to the glass!
  • Visit Tulip Town during what is predicted to be the peak bloom event for the Spring 2021 season
  • Behind the scenes view of brewing, fermenting & bottling craft beers with Chuckanut Brewery and Garden Path Fermentation
  • Take a private, guided tour of the Museum of Northwest Art to discover the powerful ways local artisans have influenced our way of life in the PNW
  • Visit local galleries and engage with inspired craftspeople
  • Tour a commercial barley farm and learn how it is transformed into the basis for beer at Skagit Valley Malting
  • Receive an introduction to distillation over a Locally Sourced Wood Fire Pizza lunch on Sunday at Terramar Brewstillery in Edison
  • Rest at ease Saturday night at the luxurious La Conner Channel Lodge, with a room overlooking the water
  • Enjoy a gourmet dinner with your party at one of several exquisite restaurants just a short walk from your hotel (price of dinner not included)
  • Experienced guides & fun-loving facilitators

Daily Trip Summary

This two-day Best of Skagit journey allows participants to explore what makes this such a spectacular place to call home. From visiting the tulip fields at peak bloom, being introduced to incredible local artisans and their works, to exploring nearly every aspect of the brewing, from growing and malting barley to brewing, fermenting, and bottling the final product. Remarkably, this can all be accomplished over just a 40 mile round trip journey on flat terrain. This special, once-a-year opportunity is arranged to maximize your fun and enjoyment while deepening your appreciation for the connections and collaborative partnerships that are working to preserve the future of the Skagit Valley.

Day One: Saturday

Day one begins at 9:00 am at Samish Bay Cheese in Edison, WA. Participants will meet here and leave vehicles on off-street parking. After taking a guided tour of the working farm and dairy, the ride starts with a gentle 45-minute ride through the quaint town of Edison heading south along the Farm to Market road to the Port of Skagit, a one of a kind industrial district home to the Washington State University Bread Lab, Skagit Valley Malting, Chuckanut Brewery, and Garden Path Fermentation!

Skagit Valley Malting (SVM) is the region’s only small-batch custom malting operation. The malts produced here provide the basis of award-winning ales for iconic PNW breweries such as Garden Path Fermentation, Fremont Brewery, and Pike Brewing in Seattle. After taking a behind-the-scenes tour at SVM and Chuckanut brewery, we will visit Garden Path Fermentation, a hyper-local brewery that specializes in regional ingredients, native yeast, and barrel-aged ales. Here we will enjoy a locally prepared picnic-style lunch and learn what makes brewing with native yeast and local ingredients so special.

After exploring this unique industrial park and filling our minds with a deeper appreciation for both the art of craft brewing and the many partnerships needed to make this iconic industry possible, we will hop back on our bikes for a relaxed thirty-minute ride to Tulip Town, one of the region’s premier commercial tulip farms. There we will have a two-hour pass to explore this spectacular farm during what is expected to be the peak bloom of the season.

We will finish the day with an easy half-hour ride to your hotel at La Conner Channel Lodge, right on the waterfront. The evening is free to enjoy on your own. For Dinner, there are several exquisite options just a few minutes walk in either direction from the hotel.

Day Two: Sunday

Begin the day by soaking in the view of the Swinomish Channel right from your balcony and enjoy a continental breakfast featuring fresh local ingredients at La Conner Channel Lodge. At 9:45 am, the group will meet outside the hotel for a short walk to the Museum of Northwest Art, where we can enjoy a private tour of one of the best collections of northwest art, learn about the NW School and explore how our NW environment has inspired artists, writers and craftspeople alike.

After this enriching and inspiring experience, we will hop on our bikes and begin a leisurely ride north. We will traverse along Padilla Bay and stop to visit select galleries along the way to meet a few of the many talented and inspired craftspeople who call this region home. Back in Edison, not far from where we began, we will enjoy a delicious wood-fired pizza lunch at Terramar Brewstillery. While we wait for our food, we will receive an introduction to distillation from local staff and complete our journey from seed to spirits!

After a relaxed outdoor lunch overlooking the water, we will ride just five minutes back to Samish Bay Cheese, where we will arrive by 3:00 pm. There we can say farewell to our new friends before parting ways.

For information on additional opportunities during your visit to the Skagit Valley, check out Visit Skagit Valley.


We are committed to supporting our local community – food for our programs is sourced from local providers and sustainable producers.

Light snacks and refreshments are always on hand, just ask your friendly guide if you are hungry or run out of water.

Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions on your registration and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Day One

A pre-packaged picnic lunch for the program is included and will be prepared fresh to order on the day of the program by local licensed food providers. After program registration and 30 days before the trip start date, participants will receive a menu from which to select food preferences for meals.

Saturday evening is free to enjoy on your own. You will be able to choose from one of several gourmet dining options within a few minute’s walk from your hotel.

Day Two

A delightful continental breakfast featuring fresh local ingredients is included at the La Conner Channel Lodge, where guests can start their day with serene views directly over the water.

A delicious wood-fired pizza lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients is provided by Terramar Brewstillery. Located on a historic property in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where land (Terra) meets sea (Mar), Terramar Brewstillery is a brewery & distillery that focuses on sourcing hyper-local ingredients to craft beer & spirits with a sense of place. We could think of no better place to learn about craft distillation and enjoy a delicious lunch than with our good friends at Terramar Brewstillery.


Channel Lodge, directly on the waterfront in downtown La Conner, WA. La Conner’s only waterfront hotel boasts Northwest styling, water views and has an ideal location for relaxation and fine dining. Here you can take in the beauty of the Swinomish Channel while relaxing in this truly memorable town and unforgettable accommodations.


New Garden Path Fermentation Beer Release

Garden Path Fermentation announces the release of their newest beer, The Subtle Blend Cherries, a native yeast ale refermented on multiple varietals of Skagit Valley cherries harvested from the Washington State University research orchards in Mount Vernon, and bottle conditioned with local fireweed honey.

A truly balanced product, this beer’s light fruit notes play delicately overtop a dry, carefully blended base, finishing with a touch of juicy tartness and a lingering hint of almonds and baking spice. The Subtle Blend Cherries will be available for sale at Garden Path’s taproom beginning Friday, March 5 as well as throughout the region and beyond.

Please visit their online store for local pickup, regional delivery, and in-state shipping or email us to inquire about availability in your area.

Garden Path Fermentation


Good Beer, it’s in the Water

Beer is 95% water, and here in the Skagit Valley, our breweries have been able to thrive thanks to reliable access to good-tasting, clean water.

“You may assume water is just water,” said Kevin Tate, community relations manager for Skagit Public Utility District, “but the quality of water used in brewing beer will make a big difference in the final product.”

judy reservoir

Distinct styles of beer require different types of water to create the desired taste and flavoring. The same recipe using another water source can produce a drastically different beer. Brewers need to know what’s exactly in their water because there are so many variables. Hard water, high in calcium and magnesium, can lead to an intensely hoppy flavor, while water with chloride in it is great for those malty porters and stouts.

In other parts of the country, breweries may choose to invest in filtration systems to strip everything out of their water before adding back in desired minerals. However, here in the Skagit Valley, brewers can pull their water straight out of the tap.

gilligan creek rapids

“Skagit PUD maintains a profile that is a good starting point for brewers,” Tate said. “Skagit PUD has relatively soft water, which makes it an excellent base to create certain beers.”

Tate says Skagit PUD regularly communicates to its customers about water quality. Because the source is surface water, seasonal changes can dramatically affect pH and alkalinity and require the PUD to adjust its water treatment process.

“Skagit PUD helps support the Valley’s beer industry by providing area brewers with a chemistry report to look at the water’s exact chemical composition,” Tate said. “It’s a way for brewers to know whether they’re getting a consistent profile. Consistency is one of the biggest things they need.”

To ensure long-term reliability, Skagit PUD is investing $160 million over the next 10 years in infrastructure to aid in efficiency, conservation, and maintaining water quality. The investment is good news for brewers since it takes 3 to 7 gallons of water to brew a single gallon of beer. That’s not including the gallons of water needed to keep equipment clean and sanitary during and after the brewing process.

“Sound infrastructure ensures that we deliver water safely and dependably while saving water by reducing leaks,” Tate explained. “Communities can grow when a public water system has the water resources and infrastructure to deliver a reliable supply of clean, safe water.”

Skagit PUD encourages local breweries also to keep conservation in mind. Keeping track of water usage to see where they can conserve and ensure no accidental water loss due to a rogue leaky valve. It’s all to keep Skagit’s water clean, reliable, and beer-friendly for years to come.

“Great water makes great beer,” Tate said. “We are excited that the brewing industry is growing here in the Valley and that Skagit PUD’s water can play an essential role in its success.”

Cardinal Craft Brewing Introduces the SVC Mobile Food Lab

How can Cardinal Craft Brewing make Thursday curbside pickup better? Introducing the Skagit Valley College (SVC) Mobile Food Lab! SVC’s culinary students will join us in our parking lot this Thursday selling delicious anytime breakfast! Menu includes:

  • Breakfast Tacos
  • Spanish Tortilla
  • Chicken Fried Steak Sandwiches
  • Smoked Salmon on Home-Made Bagels
  • Stone Fruit Salad

New on tap: “The Storm” Honey Smacks Blonde.  A crisp, dry Blonde ale brewed with Honey Smacks & Golden Crisp Cereal along with an ample addition of honey.  This is the third release of our 2019-2020 final project brews.  We suggest pairing any of these menu items with our Viva Farms Strawberry Blonde, “Drink Up Butter Cup” Peanut Butter Stout, “The Storm” Honey Smacks Blonde or Honey Kolsch!

Place your online beer order today and check out the Food Lab during pickup.  Take home “breakfast for dinner” and beer in one stop!

Two Pack pricing continues this week on our Redemption Irish Red, Intergalactic Saison, and Not Your Ordinary Bitter. While supplies last, Two Packs are $10! Our 32 oz. Crowler cans are filled to order -just place your order online anytime during the week before midnight Wednesday, and we’ll have it ready for you in our drive-up pickup area on Thursdays between 3-7p.m.

You don’t even have to leave your car!


Craft Beer AND Stout Cupcakes!

Cardinal Craft Brewing open on Thursdays for curbside pickup – Our first two weeks have been a success -thank you for coming out to support us!

New on tap this week is our Calm Before the Storm Cream Ale. In addition to 9 other brews, you are sure to find something you’d like to take home.

NEW THIS WEEK, we are featuring Irish Stout Mini Cupcakes and Pear Apple Almond Galette’s from SVC Bakery. Simply add the sweet treats to your online order.

Our 32 oz. Crowler cans are filled to order -just place your order online anytime during the week before midnight Wednesday, and we’ll have it ready for you in our driveup pickup area on Thursdays between 3-7p.m. You don’t even have to leave your car!

Order Here

Chuckanut Collaboration for SF2PFEST Now Available in Bottles

A new Chuckanut collaboration beer called 2 Amigos is now available in bottles around the Northwest. This great Mexican Style Dark Lager was brewed at South Nut with the help of the Skagit Valley College Brew  Program. Made with Skagit Valley Malt to showcase farmers and maltsters as well as the brew program at the county college, 2 Amigos follows a traditional Mexican-Style dark lager recipe. It’s an easy-drinking beer with smooth flavors and an effervescent light body despite its dark color. Great for a dark beer choice on a hot, beachy day!


The Skagit Valley College Brew Program is located in a nearby building to South Nut and is known as Cardinal Brewing. Our Operations Manager, Joe Heldt, was a graduate of their first graduating class and Chuckanut owners Mari and Will Kemper are on the steering committee for the program at the College. Skagit Valley Malt uses locally grown grains and malts them a block away from Chuckanut’s South Nut at the Port of Skagit. This friend centric beer celebrates all that’s local. Chuckanut’s 2 Amigos Mexican Style Dark lager celebrates all the friendships that have been developed over the years. Raise a pint to friends with Chuckanut’s 2 Amigos!

Stock Your Beer While Stocking Your Pantry – Support Your Local Breweries!

Skagitonians getting ready to hunker down at home should think about adding beer to their list of must-haves.  People have been clearing the grocery aisles of toilet paper, pasta, and chicken at Fred Meyer’s and Costco in Burlington.  Now, beer and wine are the next items on the list for many of us as we experience this global public health crisis – coronavirus pandemic.

“We have our bottle shop, where we sell a wide variety of beer, wine, and cider (and gift cards!). We’re also going to be rolling out an online curbside (or patio-side) pickup system next week so folks can buy bottles to go without coming inside,” says Amber Watts, co-owner of Garden Path Fermentation.


Garden Path Fermentation Bottle Shop

Many of our local breweries also are restaurants.  Pick up food while you are stocking up on beer!  “We offer online ordering for gift cards and our entire menu for pickup.  You can also get Crowlers (a Crowler is a giant, 32 oz. can) to-go of any of our house-made beer, cider, and sodas,” says Chris Barker, co-owner of Terramar Brewing and Distilling.

Chris adds, “The entire Terramar staff thanks you for your support during these challenging times. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon, even if it is through your car window. We will have dog biscuits at the ready in case your pup comes along for the ride!”

Chuckanut Brewery is asking for people to email them or call with gift card requests.  They will snail mail the card to whoever you wish.  Even though they do not normally offer curbside delivery, you can call them to order bottled/growlers of beer and pay with a credit card over the phone.  When you arrive, call and they will deliver to you in the parking area.

Anacortes Brewery if offering food to go with curbside delivery right in front of the Rockfish Grill.  “We also have beer to go in 16 oz cans and 32/64 oz growlers and gifts cards,” says Rick Star, co-owner of Anacortes Brewery and Rockfish Grill.

192 Brewing in Mount Vernon is offering curbside pickup for food to go along with growlers of beer and cider.  “Simply call in your order, and we can assist with car delivery when you arrive,” says Derek Wyck, owner of 192 Brewing.

Bastion Brewing Co. is offering to-go/take out orders fro both beer and food.  Gift cards are also available.  “We will be offering deals on 4 and 6 pack cans to go,” says Kelly Solomon, GM of Bastion Brewing Co.

Farmstrong Brewing will be open Tuesday-Friday from 3-7 and Saturday 12-5 for to go purchases including;  packaged cans, draft crowlers, growlers, and kegs.

SVC Cardinal Craft Brewing will be closed through at least April 24th.

Northsound Brewing is working on beer delivery and offers growlers, cans and kegs to go.  You can buy a gift card as well.

Support Your Local Breweries and Keep Well!



The New Face of Ragged and Right Cider Project

Whatever you do and whatever you make, according to Ragged and Right’s head cider maker Jacob Mitchell, it’s all about “finding the perfect balance”.

Starting in 2017 as an offshoot of Farmstrong Brewing, Ragged and Right Cider project (RRCP) started as a passion project. Eventually, the increased demands of beer expansion reduced the brand to limited flavors exclusively available inside the Mount Vernon taproom. Three months ago Farmstrong Brewing hired on Jacob Mitchell to not only assist in the brewery but to also take over, reimagine, and revitalize the Ragged and Right Cider Project.

Jacob Mitchell, Ragged and Right’s Head Cider Maker

Jacob’s passion for hard cider started at home, crafting small batches and sharing his varietals with family and friends. He later honed his skill at the Peter Mitchell Cider School at OSU and continued refining over his time at Eaglemount Cidery in Port Townsend. He then transitioned to Elemental in Woodinville as their head cider maker before finding his new home in the Skagit Valley to continue his nearly decade-long career in the industry.

“I love this area”, Jacob beams, “watching all the fertile farmland transition from nothing to a massive bounty every year is incredible.” When he and his girlfriend aren’t renovating their Airstream you can find them hiking their favorite ranges or fishing for Steelhead in the Skagit. His love of the valley went hand in hand with Farmstrong and Ragged and Right Cider Project’s dedication to sourcing locally whenever possible. Jacob was especially pleased to find that RRCP’s juice was not only from WA apples but was also fresh-pressed at Cedardale Orchards down the road.

“I love avoiding concentrate if I can. Fresh pressing retains so much more of the color, flavor, and tannins”. Jacob is also adamant about not adding sugar and back sweetening with only the highest quality flavors. His first creation for Ragged and Right was a mix of sweet tango apples and blackberry, cleverly named Blackberry Tango, that is already a smash hit at Farmstrong and select taprooms in the region.

Jacob’s First Creation: Blackberry Tango

Jacob is very excited to continue experimenting and already has plans for an apricot, bow hill blueberry, bourbon peach, and countless others. The thing he looks forward to the most is securing and experimenting with new and interesting apple varietal combinations, looking for the perfect blend that’s perfectly tangy, sweet, and acidic.

As Jacob continues his quest, we know that his addition to Ragged and Right was the perfect balance the project needed.