Finnriver Farm & Cidery: Fermenting a vision of good land, renewed rural community and a vibrant food culture

Why did Finnriver decide to become Salmon-Safe certified?

Photo credit: James Curtis

We were approached by the Salmon-Safe folks about certification and it resonated with our core values of care for the land and community. We had come from a background in environmental education and already felt a strong commitment to ensure that we were striving to reduce negative impacts and possibly repair the ecosystem we were dwelling and farming within. We were inspired early in our journey by the Aldo Leopold land ethic about preserving the beauty and integrity of “the biotic community” and by Wendell Berry’s teachings about how agriculture connects us to landscape and community. So, we kept asking ourselves what steps we could take to preserve and grow the beauty and integrity here.

It felt very significant to us that a salmon-bearing stream runs through our farm— Chimacum Creek. We got involved in upkeep of the restoration [started by the previous property owners and various partners], and we watched over the years as the re-meandering and reforestation of that section of the stream went from a weedy ditch to a lush (albeit narrow) habitat for wildlife and forested, shady haven for salmon.

We knew that there were historic tensions around the interaction of ag land and salmon habitat, and we wanted to try to role model a project that allowed both to recover and thrive.

How does the program align with the priorities and goals of Finnriver?

Our goal in farming is to increase the health of our soils, add biodiversity to the farm and protect the watershed. These goals align with Salmon-Safe and allow us to celebrate the aspiration for the co-existence of healthy streams and salmon with vibrant farms. We know this will always be a quest and not an achievement— that ecosystems are very complex and interconnected, and that human impacts are problematic, no matter how benevolent the intention. We want to keep learning and striving for a better model.

What does the Salmon-Safe label mean to your consumers?

The label provides a form of activism when purchasing cider and organic produce from our farm. It tells them that we are taking into account the larger watershed issues and impacts that go along with farming in proximity to salmon-bearing waterways. We hope that our customers continue to make the connections between their purchases and their impact on the ecosystems that sustain us!

Photo credit: Jen Lee Light

What’s the most valuable aspect you see in the Salmon-Safe program?

It illuminates and holds us accountable to the intricacies and complexities of the relationship between farming and the ecological health of our surroundings.

Look for Finnriver products in your local stores and learn more about their work by visiting them for a tour and cider talk:
www.finnriver.com

Celebrating Orca Recovery with a Splash

2019 has been a big year already for salmon and orcas, with all four orca recovery bills passing the state house and senate! These bills, focused on habitat protection, vessel and noise disturbance, toxic pollution, and oil spill prevention, are a huge step forward to address the threats faced by our Southern Resident Orca population.

To celebrate these wins, Stewardship Partners participated in the Salish Splash!, a Puget Sound wide event on June 13th encouraging everyone to challenge their friends and family to take a plunge, raising awareness about these successes but also the work still needed to be done.

Sal the Salmon, who was challenged by Executive Director David Burger, was so happy to be a part of the day at Golden Gardens surrounded by so many great partners and community members doing their part for salmon and orca recovery!

Learn about the many different ways you can take action and support the recovery of salmon and orca populations!

Water Under the Bridge: And Other Salmon-Safe Urban Updates

On September 19th, eighty Puget Sound region environmental leaders and design specialists joined us for the unveiling of the Aurora Bridge Bioswale Design in Fremont. Hosted by Salmon-Safe and Milstead Coffee and sponsored by the Boeing Company, the event was a celebration of the future Aurora Bridge Bioswale and its benefits to salmon and Puget Sound.

For more than 80 years, polluted runoff from Seattle’s Aurora Bridge has been discharged untreated to Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal, impacting migrating salmon and other aquatic life. This inspired environmentally innovative developer Mark Grey to join forces with Salmon-Safe to convene a multiple organizations in a partnership to treat runoff through rain gardens, including a three phase project at his Salmon-Safe certified Data 1 development project (Phase 1) adjacent to the bridge and his upcoming projects, The Watershed Building (Phase 2) and The Aurora Bridge Bioswale (Phase 3) an 850 ft2 bioswale under the bridge, along the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Fremont.

In addition to the reception at Milstead, our team also presented a Green Infrastructure workshop and tour for 40 students, teachers, and parents from the B.F. Day School. The school offers a strong curriculum for sustainability and urban ecology and was one of the first in Seattle to build a rain garden at its facility.

The Aurora Bridge Project Team is led by Salmon-Safe and includes KPFF for civil engineering and Weber Thompson for landscape design. Outreach partners include The Nature Conservancy, Stewardship Partners, Groundswell Northwest, and The 2030 District.

 

Skanska Seattle and Portland Practices Make a Zero Sediment Runoff Commitment to Salmon-Safe

Salmon-Safe welcomes Skanska to our Contractor Accreditation program. Skanska is the first construction practice in the U.S. to make a regional commitment to achieving Salmon-Safe accreditation across its Northwest operations. The Seattle and Portland offices are leading the way in a practice-based approach, applying best construction site management practices with the goal of achieving zero sediment runoff.  First piloted a decade ago in the Sammamish River watershed, Salmon-Safe’s construction management accreditation is the nation’s first independent accreditation program to recognize construction firms’ excellence in water quality protection practices.

 

 

Salmon-Safe Launches new Designer Accreditation Standards for Practice-Wide Watershed Commitment

Salmon-Safe’s new designer accreditation represents a commitment by professionals in a design practice to key principles related to urban watershed stewardship. Through thoughtful site planning, implementation of low impact design solutions and use of eco-friendly materials, site designers have the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of our urban watersheds. In this newest accreditation program from Salmon-Safe, we seek to partner with design consulting practices working on buildings, streets, parking areas, and related infrastructure with the intention of protecting downstream water quality and habitat while helping to restore urban ecological function. To learn more visit: https://salmonsafe.org/certification/designers/    OR contact Puget Sound Director, Ellen Southard, (206) 579-8645; ellen@salmonsafe.org

New Salmon-Safe Farms Map!

We are very excited to launch our new, interactive Salmon-Safe farms map! After updating the Stewardship Partners website, we realized that our old farm map was also in need of a face lift.

In an effort to better champion the dedicated farmers who have achieved Salmon-Safe certification, this new map aims to get our supporters and consumers throughout the region to connect directly with the farms. Each farm’s pin provides a brief bio/statement from the farm along with a few photos and a link to the farms website when applicable.

We hope you find this new map both insightful and useful. We invite you to learn more about these farms and find ways you can connect with them! And continue to check back as we add more farms to the map and update it with more information about farm crops.

Come Hang with Sal at the Bellevue Duke’s April 10th!

Come say hi to Sal the Salmon, take a “salfie” and have a delicious, sustainable dinner at Duke’s Seafood and Chowder! Sal will be hanging out at the Bellevue Duke’s April 10th from 5-7 pm!

Sal the Salmon

Sal will be letting everyone know that throughout the month of April, a portion of special menu items at all seven Duke’s locations will be donated to Stewardship Partners! Nothing better than a delicious meal that helps support  our programs that engage Puget Sound communities as caretakers of the land and water that sustain us.

Time for Salmon-Safe Christmas Trees!

If you’re in the market for a Christmas tree and are passionate about supporting sustainable, local businesses and farmers, look no further than Carnation Tree Farm!  In 2007, Carnation Tree Farm became the first holiday tree farm in the Northwest to be certified as Salmon-Safe.  Nestled within the gorgeous landscape of the Snoqualmie Valley, Carnation Tree Farm has gone above and beyond to not only bring happiness and joy to its community members during the holiday season, but also to create positive impacts on their local environment.  “The Snoqualmie Valley is changing and I have a responsibility to take care of the land and give back to this community,” said Carnation Tree Farm owner Roger Thorson. “Salmon-Safe is a great way to let people know about our environmental commitment.”

Keep an eye out for the Salmon-Safe logo while looking for your perfect tree.

“Roger is one of the most environmentally conscious holiday tree growers that you will find,” says David Burger, “He is finding creative ways to deal with pests and maintain productivity of the tree farm, while also enhancing habitat around the property.” Carnation Tree Farm offers a variety of U-cut and pre-cut trees and provides everything customers need to cut the trees and get them on their cars.

Come and join the fun on December 2nd when Stewardship Partners visits the farm with Sal the Salmon!

December 2nd, from 11 AM – 2 PM, Sal the Salmon and our staff will be out at Carnation Tree Farm to participate in the holiday fun while supporting the farmers of the Valley. Look for our booth or catch Sal hiding among the trees to snap a picture with him and the whole family! The farm also sells stands, wreaths, garlands, mistletoe and handmade items from local artisans. Weekend activities during tree-cutting season include visits from Santa; complimentary hot cider, kettle korn, espresso; and fresh bake-sale treats.

Here at Stewardship Partners, we love working with the dedicated farmers of the Snoqualmie Valley like Roger who are making  difference that stretch beyond their local community and impact the city of Seattle as well. We hope you will join us in saying thank you by coming out and supporting their hard work while taking in the gorgeous landscape and holiday cheer! 

Learn more about our Salmon-Safe program and how you can get involved!

Saving Salmon at the Center of the Universe

The long wait has ended and the new Data 1 Building is open for business and already actively saving salmon! Our Salmon-Safe Puget Sound team is delighted to be working with COU LLC, Owners JoAnna Callahan, Mark Grey and Mark Hess at this beautiful new building located at the corner of 34th Ave North and Troll Avenue in the heart of Fremont, also known as the Center of the Universe. In this case, we might think of the building at the center of salmon migration.

Cascading bioswales at the Data 1 site serve as an inviting green landscape amenity & are mitigating toxic runoff from the Aurora Bridge.

A new home to Tableau, designed by Weber Thompson and engineered by KPFF, this Salmon-Safe certified project has garnered lots of attention for its work and data outside the building. Inspired by a story about polluted runoff from the 520 Bridge, the owners set about to create a project that provides public benefit in the right-of-way with cascading bioswales and rains gardens treating polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge. Stormwater not retained by these features will be captured in an underground vault prior to being discharged via a dedicated storm sewer to Lake Union.

During design phases of the project, the owners discovered that polluted runoff from the Aurora Bridge flowed directly into Lake Union and the ship canal which is an important migration route for salmon. The outfall of polluted water directly impacts the Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Steelhead that pass through this narrow corridor on their way to the North Lake Washington and Sammamish watersheds.

The project has received Salmon-Safe certification because its overall practices are beneficial to salmon, including reaching beyond its own site boundaries to mitigate a major neighborhood water pollution source. Additional green stromwater infrastructure facilities are being planned on other properties in the vicinity to treat more of the bridge surface runoff. To form a baseline of the highway runoff water quality prior to the installation of treatment, samples of the flow from the bridge were collected on five occasions during February-April 2017. The intention is to monitor discharges from the eventual treatment facilities for comparison with this baseline. It serves as an excellent model project for private landowners to go beyond what’s required and standard operating practices to ensure untreated stormwater mitigation on private lands. Look for this beautiful building and Salmon-Safe interpretive signage celebrating their water story on your next trip to Fremont.

Stay tuned also for more good news for Fremont coming from Salmon-Safe, Stewardship Partners, the COU LLC team and other community partners. This project is a perfect example of the collaborative partnership model that is the hallmark of Stewardship Partners’ programs and projects. By working together, we can create structures and systems that are so much more than a traditional office building.

Stewarding the Land, Honoring Our Veterans

Growing Veterans is an organization that works to empower military veterans to grow food and better their communities. Through a holistic approach, they tackle the many issues veterans face during reintegration by utilizing sustainable agriculture; ultimately creating a solution to end the isolation that can lead to suicide and depression, while making environmentally conscious agriculture the norm. By committing to Salmon‐Safe certification this past June, Growing Veterans has agreed to meet rigorous and site-specific criteria regarding water use, erosion control, chemical practices and animal management.

Salmon-Safe certification is awarded through an independent third‐party assessment. Additional assessments will occur every three years to ensure practices maintain and promote a healthy ecosystem.

“Our team prides itself on our commitment to organic and sustainable practices. This certification really makes a statement about that commitment and the additional work it takes to ensure that we do not hurt the environment but protect it,” said Scotty Irwin, Market Manager, Growing Veterans.

Stewardship Partners is excited to start and promote this new partnership that supports stewarding our land and water while giving back to those who have served our country.

The produce grown at Growing Veterans can be found at the Wednesday Mount Vernon Farmers Market, the Saturday Marysville Farmer’s Market and The Puget Sound Food Hub.

Growing Veterans is one of over 100 farms already certified under the Salmon-Safe eco‐label, with additional farms being added regularly. To see the full list of Northwest farms, wineries, breweries and cideries go to www.stewardshippartners.org/salmon-safe-puget-sound.

To learn more about Growing Veterans visit their website at www.growingveterans.org.

Salmon-Safe Gelato Time!

Summer means hot days, getting outside and for the second year in a row it means Salmon-Safe Gelatiamo gelato! There are cherry varieties – cherry compote, cherries and cream and a cherry sorbet swirled with sweet cream. Peach sorbet is here and there will be more, once those recipes are perfected.

Gelatiamo owner, Maria Coassin has been crafting her recipes with Salmon-Safe certified Fresh Breeze Dairy of Lynden, WA for many years. Last year the commitment to high-quality products that improve water-quality was expanded by making these varieties with fruit from Salmon-Safe Tonnemaker Farms of Royal City, WA. Look for Gelatimo’s Salmon-Safe featured flavors in its downtown Seattle store and at select retail locations. So good!