Washington Food Production

Washington State isn’t just about apples. Ruth and I drove through Quincy in Grant County to see about its cash crops, and apples are #1 there and accounting for 20% of food production. Apples are followed by some surprises. #2 in commodity importance is milk followed by potatoes and wheat. Both were surprises. I have noted potatoes growing everywhere in the mid-section of Washington, but I did not realize that Washington has become #2 in potato production among the states. Idaho is still #1, and #3 was also a surprise, North Dakota. However, potato growers in Washington have the highest yield per acre of this crop, beating even Idaho. I would have thought, furthermore, that Kansas is still #1 in wheat production. A lot of wheat is grown in the Palouse regions of Idaho and Washington. 230 agricultural products are now grown in Washington so this state is #2 in food production nationally. Only California produces more food.

Quincy has a population of only 7,300 and is a powerful food grower, Its biggest cash crops are alfalfa, apples, corn, potatoes, and wheat. Grant County, where Quincy is, has an overall population of more than 100,000 people, but Whitman County south of Spokane now produces more wheat than any other county in the United States, Kansas included. Washington is definitely coming on as an important food source. Ruth and I love to eat Washington asparagus every spring, but this has become a not so important crop over time because things change so rapidly.

I now understand why I saw a milk truck with a winking cow on it as we entered Quincy. We also saw field upon field in the Quincy region planted with potatoes with piles of apples boxes nearby. We noticed tasseling corn, but most of the wheat fields had been already stripped of wheat. Hay was under plastic wraps, however, and everywhere, Suddenly a hay truck passed us on the other side of Moses Lake. There were lots of new-looking motels on the outskirts of this central-Washington city that is bursting where I spotted an unharvested corn field next to what looked like a Mormon Temple. The city of Spokane, our destination, was only 104 miles away.

If we had been further south, we might be going through Umatilla, an Oregon town where we are used to buying melons. Further east we have often bought onions from roadsiders. These states are full of food vendors, and onions are Washington’s 10th most important crop. That can change, however, tomorrow.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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