Edible Skagit

Please don’t eat the tulips

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So, you’ve decided to visit Skagit County for our annual Tulip Festival. Cruise around sunny fields of gorgeous flowers, roll down the windows and feel the breeze, take pictures of each other in the tulips, then go out for a fun lunch or dinner with the family before zooming back down the freeway to home—sounds like a good plan.

Unfortunately, many thousands of other people will have the same idea, and it’s quite possible you may spend much of your day sitting in traffic and waiting in lines, with no time for a real sit-down meal.

Fortunately, there’s no need to starve: there are plenty of places to catch a bite throughout your day, especially if you’re willing to venture a little out of the main tulip traffic routes. Here’s a roundup of places where you can get a little something to nibble on as you wend your way through the flowery fields of Skagit—and maybe find a few treats to take home.

If you’re coming from the north, whether you come down scenic Chuckanut Drive or over from the freeway, you’ll certainly need to stop in Edison, where you have your choice of a sandwich, a quick bowl of soup or some killer pastries at Farm to Market Bakery. Don’t forget to stop in at the Breadfarm for a sourdough loaf to take home, and if you’re anything like me you’ll also make sure to get a bag of macaroons to eat in the car (or on the way back to the car). If you do buy bread, you’ll want to pick up some salami and a round of fresh Gothberg Farms chevre at Slough Food, or a container of Golden Glen Creamery farmstead butter. Then proceed down the road to the tulip fields.

Those coming from the south might like to make their first stop at Skagit River Produce in Conway, which just opened for the season with baked goods, local cheeses, fresh greens and soups. As you cross Fir Island, though, you’ll probably want to visit Snow Goose Produce as well to fuel up on the biggest ice cream cones you’re ever likely to see (they refer to them as “immodest” on their website, which is putting it mildly). Be prepared to wait for your ice cream, as this is a must-stop for many visitors. Alternatively, you could bypass Snow Goose and stop at the Rexville Grocery for a beer or a slice of pie to fortify you for flower viewing.

If you choose to believe your GPS when it tells you to take the Kincaid exit into downtown Mount Vernon, you may need to stop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for a bathroom break and a coffee after sitting in traffic for an hour longer than you’d planned. The deli case here has plenty of great food for on-the-go customers, including pizza breads, pre-made sandwiches, cookies and salads. The Co-op makes its own ice cream now, too, which is well worth checking out.

As long as you’re in Mount Vernon, keep in mind that one thing we have a lot of here (besides beer) is Mexican food, and that includes a number of taco trucks. My personal favorite is Tacos Tecalitlan, which parks behind the smoke shop off of Riverside. Their lengua tacos are the best I’ve had anywhere, and you can get a lot of food for not much cash.

Once you’re out on the flats there are fewer options, but you can get a good milkshake at the Schuh Farms espresso stand, and the Lenning Farms Berry Barn is open for the season with ice cream cones and berry pies ready to go. You’re also not far from Skagit’s Own Fish Market on Highway 20 just west of Burlington, where you can get oyster shooters, halibut tacos or a really excellent Dungeness crab sandwich to eat in or take out. They also have lobster rolls if you have a homesick East Coast native in the car.

Finally, you may like to escape the tulip mania altogether and head into Anacortes. Here you have the option of burgers, shakes and blazing-hot tater tots at the old-fashioned Fidalgo Drive-in, or a seriously well-topped hot dog at the Juicy Dog, which started out as a pop-up stand in front of the Brown Lantern but now has its own place next door. Take your food to Seafarer’s Memorial Park and eat in your car looking out over the water, or on the grass by the beach.

Before braving the freeway traffic again, don’t forget to stop and fill a growler at one of our local breweries, like Anacortes or La Conner Brewing, North Sound, or Skagit River Brewery. By the time you make it home you may find yourself in need of a good beer.

More Food...
Fungi Feasts
Mushrooms gone wild

I typically hear from fungi enthusiast Erin Moore when the days have shortened, the nights have cooled and seasonal rain has come to the Pacific Northwest. That’s when the longtime Northwest Mushroomers Association member reaches out to remind me about the club’s annual Wild Mushroom Show,…

more »
A rousing roundup

Although the original Oktoberfest was held to celebrate the 1810 marriage of a couple of German royals—Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his blushing bride, the Saxon-Hildburghausen Fraulein known as Princess Therese—it has since spread its partying proclivities far and wide. Following…

more »
Brunch Alert
No shortcuts at the Birch Door Cafe

Buttery, silky-soft pancakes that melt in your mouth. Sweet blintzes filled with creamy ricotta and topped with berries. Apple cinnamon pancakes that emerge from the kitchen three inches high and dripping with sweetness. Next time you’re up for an indulgent weekend brunch, make sure you…

more »
Book Group Mixers

5:30pm|Village Books

Bringing history into sharp focus


Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

U.S. Citizenship Class

6:00pm|Lynden Library

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Summer Bike Stories

7:00pm|Cafe Velo

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Grand Opening and Open House

11:00am|Social Fabric

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Clean Eating

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

Art Night

5:00pm|SpringHill Suites by Marriott

12 Minutes Max Auditions

5:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Amber Sky CD Release Party

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


7:00pm|Village Books

USA Dance


Thriller Dance Class

7:00pm|Moles Farewell Tributes

Halloween Movie Night

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Holding the Light

8:00pm|Honey Moon

Village Books Trove
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Lynden Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Terrell Creek

Scarecrow Stuffing Contest

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Landscape stewards work party

9:00am|Chuckanut Center

Pumpkins 4 Pajamas

9:00am|Lakeway Fred Meyer

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Pumpkin Patch on Rails

9:00am|Wickersham Station

Port race ponders a wasted waterfront


Everyday Superheroes 5K

10:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Bellingham Comicon

10:00am|Ferndale Event Center

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Blaine Oktoberfest


Community Cider Pressing

10:00am|Chuckanut Center

98221 Studio Tour

10:00am|Fidalgo Island

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Enlightened Caterpillar

10:30am|Village Books

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Crown Jewel Wilderness

11:00am|Western Washington University Bookstore

Mushrooms gone wild


Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Conquering Writer's BLock

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Winter Birds of Whatcom County

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Undersea Bubble Fantasia

2:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Brew on the Slough

5:00pm|Maple Hall

Community Library Celebration

5:00pm|North Fork Library

Bellingham Hoptoberfest

6:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Seeds of Change

6:30pm|Edison Granary

The Great Unconformity

7:00pm|Village Books

Skagit Symphony's Gala Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Whose Live Anyway?

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Tannahill Weavers

7:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Original Comedy Night

8:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books Trove CWWarrenMiller Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1