Saturday, August 2, 2008, on the way to Bay View State Park to meet my great nephew Spencer Jack for the first time, we stopped at something new that had been added to the Skagit Valley since my last visit to the valley.
As far back as my memory goes, the Sakuma Brothers have been renowned farmers in the Skagit Valley. When I was a kid, as I remember it, it was mostly Strawberries that the Sakuma Brothers grew.
The new thing I was taken to was the Sakuma Market Stand. This is the very well done brainchild of Sakuma brother Richard. I remember him as a football star.
Nowadays I regularly get beaten, at Scrabble, by a Sakuma Sister living now in California.
The Sakuma Market Stand is a big operation. There's the Market, the Ice Cream House and the Bakery.
At the Sakuma Bakery you'll find shortcake suitable for Strawberries. You'll also find a variety of pies, including berry pocket pies.
Seattle Restaurant magazine picked the Ice Cream House's Sakuma Market Berry Milkshake as the best milkshake to be found in the Seattle region.
At the Sakuma Market Stand you'll find fields of Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries, where you can pick your own. Sakuma Brothers have added something called Haygrove Tunnels to protect the berry pickers from inclement weather.
Sakuma Brothers Mass Transit takes berry pickers out to the fields in wagons pulled by tractors.
You'll find Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Boysenberries, Tayberries, Wild Mountain Blackberries, Loganberries, Marionberries, Apples, Sweet Onions, Tomatoes, Carrots, Cucumbers, Sweet Corn, Pumpkins, Squash, Lettuce, Garlic, Cauliflower, Broccoli and Potatoes.
And, on top of all that produce, the Sakuma Brothers are one of only two commercial tea growers in the Continental United States, with more than 5 acres of the fertile Skagit Valley planted with tea leaves.
It is easy to find the Sakuma Market Stand. It is a short distance east of the intersection of Cook Road and Chuckanut Drive. Exit I-5 at Cook Road and head west on Cook Road toward Chuckanut Drive. The Sakuma Market Stand will be on your left in about 1/3 of a mile.
The next time I'm in the valley I will be on a mission to have one of those Sakuma Market Berry Milkshakes. The last time I was in the valley Blackberries were late in ripening. I badly wanted to have a fresh Blackberry milkshake. To no avail. I did have a fresh Strawberry milkshake though.
If you grow up with Skagit Valley Strawberries being your Strawberry, Strawberries grown elsewhere always disappoint, sadly lacking in real Strawberry flavor. Yes, I am talking about you, California.