Study shows variety in Kitsap farming

Kitsap County is home to a diverse farming community, according to a recent countywide agricultural plan and inventory, slated for approval by the county's commissioners by late July.

Local farmers produce a variety of products and sell them in a variety of ways, according to the study.

About 73 percent of all of Kitsap’s farmers raise animals, some in conjunction with plants. About 58 percent of farmers grow fresh produce and 22 percent process their own produce into products like pickles and salsa. And about 42 percent grow plants that people don’t eat, such as Christmas trees and hay.

South Kitsap’s agricultural endeavors center on forrest product production, while North Kitsap has a higher concentration of berry and dairy producers.

Farmers have also worked with a variety of land, from city lots to properties with more than 500 acres.

The majority of farms have cropped up in rural areas of the county.

But 20 percent are in an urban or suburban area, 14 percent are inside a city, and 7 percent are on a city lot or in a neighborhood back yard, according to the study.

And they sell their products in “nearly 20” different ways, according to a survey conducted as part of the study.

About 43 percent sell directly from the farm, 24 percent to other farmers, 23 percent at farmer’s markets, 17 percent at festivals and events, 13 percent restaurants, 13 percent through the Internet, 12 percent through community supported agriculture, 12 percent U-Pick from the fields and 10 percent at auction.

Connecting the diverse, local farming efforts may strengthen them, said Charlotte Garrido, the county commissioner representing the South Kitsap region.

“Food is about production,” she said. “It’s also about processing, distributing marketing and composing to renew the soil again. We’re looking at creating and strengthening an economy, by looking at the connections between the pieces of the system.”

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