There are few activities available outside of the home for a 93-year-old matriarch who has been self-quarantining since the beginning of January. My grandmother’s pandemic routine includes waking, dressing, breakfasting, and then alternating between books and television throughout the day and occasionally arranging a new bouquet of flowers my mother brings her once a week along with the groceries. Even with the reopening guidelines and social distancing employed by responsible businesses, she still does not feel comfortable with the idea of being in an outdoor restaurant or other public venues.
My grandmother and I share an enthusiasm for leisurely car rides and fresh, local produce. With that love, we recently found ourselves in the car on a Sunday afternoon driving along the Snoqualmie Valley Road in search of roadside farm stands.
Local Roots Farm Stand
Our first stop was the Local Roots Farm stand located on NE 124th Street dissecting the valley between Redmond and Duvall. The farm stand has run on the honor system and through the cooperation of the local community, which is why I was greatly saddened to see a note from the owners about the removal of the cash box due to theft. Still, the owners continue to operate the stand and their faithful customers continue to support them, and I filled my reusable grocery bag with fresh lettuce, blueberries, spicy salad mix, herbs, peaches and zucchini before writing the total amount on the legal pad provided and transferring the funds from my phone. I reflected on the integration of modern technology with the antiquated experience of shopping at a farm stand and decided that the experience would have been dimmed by the use of a self-serve kiosk.
Leaving Local Roots we followed 124th to the 203 East and continued our discussion while on the road. We compared the berries from this stand to the berries from a grocery store (these were better) and I remarked that they were comparable to the remarkable flavors from the berries of the Willamette Valley. I made the unfortunate mistake of pronouncing “WIL-uh-mut” prompting my grandmother to instruct me: It’s Willamette, damnit. Her father (a man she describes as “philosophical”) instructed her the same way. Speaking of her father, my great grandfather, he used to work at a farm nearby in 1925, something Carnation…
“Yes, that’s the one. I wonder if it is still around here.”
“No time like the present to find out.” And so we were making our way back across the valley to the next farm stand.
The Carnation Farmstand is a much grander affair than the Local Roots Farm. Local Roots is where you want to stop on a Saturday or Sunday morning to retrieve local seasonal produce from a small independent farm run by husband and wife and a few devoted employees. Carnation Farms dates back to 1908 when founder E.A. Stuart purchased 360 acres and began breeding prize-winning dairy cows.
Today the farm sits on 818 acres and is run by a non-profit called (fittingly) Carnation Farms. Here you can find seasonal produce, dairy, meat, snacks, beer and wine all sourced within 30 miles. It truly is the locavore’s haven. All of this information was happily shared by the friendly woman behind the counter who chatted amiably with me about the grounds and was happy to point out several pictures/historical documents on the wall. I limited my purchases to frozen chicken tamales for dinner later that evening and dried apple chips to snack on in the car. I took my small purchase, mentally noting the hours of operation (seven days a week 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), and walked back across the parking road composing a mental shopping list for my next visit.
Continuing our drive into Carnation-proper we were happily surprised to see the number of vehicles on the road and even a small number of restaurants with the responsibly socially-distanced outdoor seating. The sun had made a surprise appearance in the afternoon, and for a small moment we were under the spell of the longing for those days long past when the two of us would stop at a restaurant and she would order a club sandwich and iced tea and I would order a beet salad and a beer. Then she would decide to hell with the tea, a beer sounds nice, and so we would dine merrily in each other’s company. Today, however, conversing in the car would have to suffice. Stopping at the corner of Tolt Ave and Entwistle Street, we chose a fresh bouquet from the Carnation flower stand. Here is another stand operated by a couple who seem to be in constant motion making bouquets for the steady stream of customers who appear to relieve them of their creations. For $20 you will get a lovely and vibrant bouquet of the local flowers but if you are looking for a more variety, you would only need to travel a short way North to Duvall where Flowers by Schatzi will provide anything you like.
Other Farm Stands
Driving out of Carnation, back across the valley, and following Snoqualmie Valley Road was how we spent the rest of our trip that day. We had decided that for us (one of whom is 93 after all) three stops was enough. If you were to be a little more adventurous I might suggest that you travel North on the Snoqualmie Valley Road past 124th and stop in at the Rivers Ranch farm stand, and if you were in need of some dry-aged, grass-fed beef you might carry on further North to DeVries. It might also pique your interest to take a detour onto Crescent Lake Road and follow your nose to any one of the small, off-the-grid stands that populate the Snoqualmie Valley.
Farm/Flower Stands to Visit
Local Roots Farmstand
12400 262nd Ave NE, Duvall, WA 98019
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
28901 NE Carnation Farm Rd, Carnation, WA 98014
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat/Sun 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Duvall Flowers & Gifts
15702 Main St NE, Duvall, WA 98019
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.;
Sat 12-3 p.m.
Carnation Flower Stand
Corner of Entwistle & Tolt Ave
Hours of Operation: Unknown
DeVries Grassfed Beef
19309 W Snoqualmie Valley Rd NE, Duvall, WA 98019
Call for Hours of Operation: (206) 817-2980