Farm tour in the Walla Walla Valley
This article was originally published in April 2012
Saturday, May 12, 1 to 5 p.m.
More at pccfarmlandtrust.org
Join us on Saturday, May 12 for an educational tour of two Walla Walla farms and meet three farmers who have decided to modify their business practices and make a commitment to farming their land sustainably.
After the success of PCC Farmland Trust’s Camelot Downs farm tour in March, we’ve decided to hit the road again, this time to tour two more of the trust’s nine conserved properties: Bennington Place Farm and the historic Williams Hudson Bay Farm.
For generations, farmers have settled in the Walla Walla Valley for its fertile soil, abundant sunlight, and available water resources. The area has become one of Washington state’s prime agricultural-producing regions. Farming is big business in the valley, made apparent by expansive fields of spring wheat rolling across the contours of the earth, stretching into the horizon as far as the eye can see.
Seasoned farmers Joel Huesby and brothers Ray and Tom Williams have invited us to tour their farms and discuss what it means to be organic, sustainable farmers amidst a sea of conventional agriculture. They’ll recount the paths they’ve forged to get to where they are and reflect upon the rewards and challenges they’ve faced along the way. Learn about their partnership with PCC Farmland Trust and the trust’s ongoing commitment to securing, preserving and stewarding threatened farmland in the Northwest.
Beginning at Bennington Place Farm, Joel Huesby will narrate the history of his 174-acre farm, farmed by four generations of the Huesby family, and the epiphany that led him to reevaluate the conventional farming practices he essentially had become addicted to using. After 10 years of working tirelessly to rehabilitate the soil, learning to work with nature instead of against it, and becoming a self-proclaimed “recovering farmer,” Joel approached PCC Farmland Trust to conserve and protect his farmland forever.
In 2004 Bennington Place Farm became the trust’s second conserved property in Washington state. Within a year, it had been certified organic and certified Salmon-Safe.
After the Bennington Place tour, we’ll take a short ride down a country road to arrive at the Williams Hudson Bay Farm for the second half of the spring tour, with Ray and Tom Williams. About six years ago, the Williams brothers and their wives Melinda and Penny began the lengthy process of transitioning their third-generation family farm to organic methods.
In 2011, through a combined partnership with PCC Farmland Trust and the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), they were able to protect 300 acres of the Williams Hudson Bay Farm under an agricultural conservation easement.
The 2012 Walla Walla Spring Tour takes place on Saturday, May 12 beginning at 1 p.m, meaning an early-morning trek across the Cascades for Western Washington attendees. The tour will conclude at around 5 p.m., but don’t let the fun end there!
We encourage all tour attendees to make the most of their trip to Walla Walla by staying for the remainder of the Mother’s Day weekend. Book one of PCC Farmland Trust’s reserved hotel rooms and spend the weekend visiting local wineries, cycling through the countryside, or taking in the sights of the 38th Annual Balloon Stampede at the Walla Walla Valley Fairgrounds.
Tickets to this event will go fast, so be sure to secure your spot and register early. Tour information and registration can be found by visiting our website at pccfarmlandtrust.org.