PORT TOWNSEND — Dee Norlin gasped when she saw yet another bloom inside the orchid house. All around her, green ferns and purple and mauve flowers breathed the warm air.
Then Norlin, who lives in Port Townsend, walked back out into the Saturday morning sunshine at RainCoast Farm’s Food Bank Garden.
This is the Jefferson County Farm Tour, a self-guided circuit from Quilcene to Chimacum to the outskirts of Port Townsend. Admission is a suggested $10 per group — though no one will be turned away for lack of funds — for the 19th annual event, which wraps up today.
The food bank garden, located inside RainCoast Farm across the highway from the Jefferson County Airport, has many facets. Peppers, orchids and tomatoes each grow in their own greenhouses. Beside those, rows of green leafy vegetables spread across the open garden. Various apple varieties are laid out for farm tour visitors’ inspection.
Volunteers cultivate all of it, sometimes with unexpected tools.
“We use an electric toothbrush on the flowers,” to accelerate tomato-plant pollination, said Mary Hunt, who welcomed people into the tomato greenhouse full of 44 large pots.
Hunt also showed visitors the “Feed Jefferson County” display board, depicting the network of community and school gardens, gleaners and food banks that give and receive locally grown produce.
In addition to the farms open today for in-person visits, the Jefferson County Farm Tour offers an online presentation of yet another set of local farms that aren’t open to the public. Information about all aspects of the tour is found at GetonTheFarm.org and at Farm Tour Central, aka the Chimacum Corner Farmstand at 9122 Rhody Drive.
Here are the farms open today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
• Jacobs’ Fleece and Ananda Hill Farm & Fiber, 3940 Leland Valley Road West, Quilcene, with Shetland sheep, a fiber marketplace, and spinning and knitting demonstrations.
• Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 124 Center Road, Chimacum, open from noon to 9 p.m. with cider tastings, local food carts, live music and partners’ booths including the Organic Seed Alliance, North Olympic Salmon Coalition and Jefferson Land Trust.
• Sunfield Biodynamic Farm, 111 Sunfield Lane, Port Hadlock, with guided walking tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. today and self-guided tours all day.
• White Lotus Farm and Space Twin Provisions, 3723 Beaver Valley Road, Port Ludlow, with heritage chickens, Romney sheep, vegetables, flowers and sourdough bread.
• Wilderbee Farm, 223 Cook Ave., Port Townsend, with you-pick flowers, British Soay sheep, mead tastings and nature trails.
• Eaglemount Wine & Cider, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, Port Townsend,with an heirloom apple orchard on its 1883 homestead.
• Sailor Vineyard, 1673 Woodland Drive, Port Townsend, a 3-acre spread of grapevines and young olive trees.
• Food Bank Garden at RainCoast Farm, 12224 Airport Cutoff Road, Port Townsend, with fruits, vegetables, flowers and composting.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]