Stretching across Skagit Valley since 1875, Lenning Farms has seen countless oats, grains, vegetables, and fruit grown and harvested on its land throughout five generations of hard work. The farm’s current operators, Todd and Bev Lenning, erected The Berry Barn more than 10 years ago to house their berry-related goods, then a new endeavor for the farm. The pair stocks the big red barn with dozens of varieties of fresh-picked berries—from strawberries to gooseberries to blueberries—14 types of fresh-baked pies, hand-dipped ice cream, and handmade gifts. To challenge and entertain their visitors, Todd and Bev constructed their mind-exercising hedge maze, which has grown to be one of the largest in North America, where customers search for different stations featuring facts about berries and Lenning Farms. Lenning Farms also has a rope maze available for younger guests.
Shambala Gluten Free Bakery & Vegetarian Bistro stuffs their menu with a variety of tasty items that are also compatible with vegetarian or vegan diets and a variety of dietary restrictions. With that in mind, they stuff their menu with everything from delicious gluten-free breads prepared with ancient grains to a slew of vegan and vegetarian entrees made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. They even bake up pizza crusts, dinner rolls, and an assortment of allergen- and GMO-free loaves for those who do most of their eating at home.
Mad Batter Cupcakes and Confections' seasoned bakers whip up tasty, hand-held desserts every bit as colorful as they are delicious. Guests celebrate birthdays, weddings, or just the end of dinner with creamy, sweet cupcakes in flavors such as pumpkin spice, chocolate raspberry, and salted caramel, with plenty of gluten-free options available.
Founder Jeff Ericson insists his staff only pours fairly traded Specialty Grade Arabica coffee beans. By roasting only USDA Certified organic beans, all grown in the shade to farmers' personal standards, the coffee guru and his company can promise a consistently less acidic cup of coffee. Roasts range between light to dark and espresso, and include varietals from Sumatra, Honduras, Peru, and Brazil. For anyone uninterested in lattes, mochas, or any drink crafted at the full espresso bar, the shop serves retro sodas, Frozen X-Plosion smoothies, soft-serve ice cream, and deli sandwiches prepared with Del Fox Custom Meats. Fresh bread and produce from Breadfarm and Klesick Family Farm, as well as gourmet chocolate truffles from Pirate's Chocolate, are also available. Guests can sip their drink of choice as their eyes peer out from the coffee shop windows, which showcase the landscape between Puget Sound and Livingston Bay's mountain views, beaches, and small dogs, probably.
Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.