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Nooksack River Valley

One of the richest agricultural regions in the State. Logged-off lands, cleared of stumps by a laborious and expensive process of blasting, pulling, and burning, now produce excellent crops of vegetables, berries, fruits, daffodils, and tulips in commercial quantities. Years of intensive cultivation are required to make farming such land profitable. The climate and soil of this part of the State are well suited to the growing of sugar beets, most of the beets coming from five- to ten-acre tracts or from diversified farms. The large fields, comparatively few in number, are planted, cultivated, and harvested by machinery.

Today, raspberry fields, apple orchards, and smaller, organic subscription farms are replacing the old agricultural areas.

Dairying was another important source of income. The dairy industry profited from the long season of green pasturage and the mild winters. Today the industry is smaller but still active and ships fresh milk, butter, cheese, and other milk products, in addition to supplying local needs.

Poultry raising was also important, especially on logged-off lands not yet sufficiently cultivated to insure good crops. White leghorns were favored because of their high egg yield. Products were processed, packed, and marketed by the Washington Co-operative Egg and Poultry Association. Eggs were shipped by the carload to the East, although by the 1940s this outlet has been partially lost to poultry ranches nearer the market. Another branch of the industry was the hatching of chicks for sale, hundreds of thousands being sold annually.

In 1970 the Ski to Sea race and festival replaced the Blossomtime Festival, which declined during the Vietnam War, signifying the area’s change from primarily an agricultural region to a recreation destination. The event attracts tens of thousands of ski enthusiasts each Memorial Day weekend.


Ca. 1910 image of a logged off area, taken by a photographer from Deming. Two steam donkeys on hilltop.

Photo by R. L. Boren. Source: Washington State Historical Society

Ca. 1890 image of loggers and a railroad car with logs near Wickersham, Whatcom County.

Source: Washington State Historical Society