The Science Behind Groundwater Levels and Soil Health

on Friday, 04 November 2022. Posted in Blog & News

There is something special about the Skagit Valley; the way the air smells clean, the land gives under your feet with a sense of purpose and hope for new growth.  Having family that farmed here for generations, I know the worth of this valley.  I know how the Skagit River curves its way gently through rolling hills and green pastures, providing the valley with nutrients and vital water to nurture the land.  With all of that, it is no surprise that some of the states most amazing produce comes from these lands, worked by multi-generational farmers like Riley Jungquist of Maplewood Farm and Kraig Knutzen of Knutzen Farms.  These farms, like so many of the land stewards of the Skagit Valley, are invested in finding the most sustainable way to farm, leveraging technology into farming practices that allow these farms to have increased yield and efficiency – which means more produce for all of us!

 

Raina Potato 1

 

Raina Potato 2

 

A large part of the success of the crops is due to pump systems which were installed in 2014 that bring water from the Skagit River, the 3rd largest river on the West Coast. The water is moved 24 hours a day through a series of pumps, hoses, and ditch systems, driving water to farm lands in the area. This system has allowed farms to move off well water, which can be variable and admittedly, not sustainable.

 

Raina Potato 3

During the months of May through August, when the river is at its highest levels, water is pumped at a 10,000 gallons per minute and is then carried out to tens of thousands of farmable acres. Culverts are closed or opened to direct flow to where the water is needed, reducing waste, and ensuring the water is best used, or even reduced and stopped if rain is plentiful enough.  Efforts are taken to watch water levels, through measure points along the river, to make sure that there are no impacts to fish like salmon or other wildlife that rely on the river.

Raina Potato 5

The benefits from these efforts are seen in the consistent groundwater levels and soil health which produce healthy crops like the Washington Potatoes grown at Knutzen Farms and Maplewood Farm.  The science and time spent on these tasks builds on the work and learnings of the previous generations, coupled with ever-changing technology means that these farmers are not short-term thinkers and planners – they have been and continue to be invested for the long term, planning years in advance for the best crop yield and quality. They are out in the fields for long hours, completing soil and crop nutrient tests, and out at the pumps making sure the amount of water brought in is adequate.

They are eating the same foods with their families, hoping you all do too and that you can taste the hard work, passion and time that went into each potato, whether it is the buttery yellows from Knutzen Farms or those beautiful purple potatoes from Maplewood Farm. Each farmer we spoke with said it consistently, that while not everyone knows exactly where their food comes from and not everyone knows a farmer, but they knew that everyone deserves to eat good food that is grown well.

Raina Potato 7

Raina Potato 8

Raina Potato 9

Raina Anderson BIO

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

If you missed it

Where Do the Best Potatoes Come From? Washington, Of Course!

Where Do the Best Potatoes Come From? Washington, Of Course!

French Fries, Mashed Potatoes, Baked Potatoes, Potato Salad...There are so many ways that we enjoy potatoes in our lives but have you ever thought about where the potatoes come from? Before spending time with the Washington State Potato...

Read more


Washington Grown program partners with QFC

Washington Grown program partners with QFC

MOSES LAKE, Washington – Recently, the popular TV show, Washington Grown, received a large grant from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to expand its education efforts. Part of that expansion includes a partnership with QFC...

Read more


All Your Potatoes Questions Answered

All Your Potatoes Questions Answered

When you think of potatoes, you usually think of the other guy (cough cough Idaho). Well, we are here to tell you that we think the best potatoes actually come from farms right here in Washington! Why? For starters, our soil is superior, and our...

Read more


Managing Food Shortages Using a Flex-Menu

Managing Food Shortages Using a Flex-Menu

Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN, Contracted Menu Planner for West Ada School District, and Consultant to the Washington State Potato Commission This is the time of year many of us are reflecting on our current year to forecast how much food and what...

Read more


Northwest RiverPartners ~ Hydropower for a better Northwest

Northwest RiverPartners ~ Hydropower for a better Northwest

Lead the charge for the Northwest to realize its clean energy potential using hydroelectricity as the cornerstone. Northwest RiverPartners is a member-driven organization that serves not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities in Oregon,...

Read more


Join Team Potato

Join Team Potato

JOIN TEAM POTATO AND BECOME PART OF THE WSPC POWERED BY POTATOES TEAM! The Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC) needs your help spreading the word on the health benefits of potatoes for athletes! For many years, potatoes have been...

Read more