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Agriculture Business

Barley. Photo United States National Arboretum
Fall 2017

100% Made in Washington

In the verdant woods outside Covington, Dane Scarimbolo brews local beer.

After graduating from Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program, Scarimbolo ’10 realized a wine startup would take a lot of money and time. He enjoyed making beer, so he opened Four Horsemen Brewery in 2015 with an eye toward an older, community-minded ethos that could please the beer equivalent of a locavore.

“I was adamant about sourcing everything from Washington,” he says. In that spirit, Scarimbolo sells his craft beer at farmers markets in the region, just like farmers offer lettuce, carrots, and berries grown locally. Scarimbolo knows the beekeepers who … » More …

Fall 2017

Till gone

“Life can multiply until all the phosphorus is gone, and then there is an inexorable halt which nothing can prevent. We may be able to substitute nuclear power for coal, plastics for wood, yeast for meat, and friendliness for isolation—but for phosphorus there is neither substitute nor replacement.”

—Isaac Asimov

The Greeks called phosphorus “the bearer of light,” a chalky white mineral that ignites spontaneously and gives pizazz to matchsticks and fireworks. Theories suggest it even arrived on Earth in a fiery meteorite crash billions of years ago.

The fifteenth element could also be called the bearer of life. Wound into DNA … » More …

Fresh peas thumb by Gunenko Oksana
Summer 2017

Fresh Peas

It’s Friday night in the middle of summer, and Darren Wright and Janine Klingele have harvested everything they’ll take to the farmers market early Saturday morning—except peas. These they save for last—but not many peas are actually going to make it to market. The pair of farmers are standing in the light of the full moon eating the irresistible fresh sugar snap peas as fast as they can pick them.

“Peas are best just eating them fresh!” says Klingele. “A quick stir fry is great but they are so sweet fresh.”

Longtime farmer Wright and former Master Gardener Klingele grow about 20 different row … » More …

Faster drop for a new crop
Spring 2017

Faster drop for a new crop

Water and time are money if you’re a farmer. Trees are especially slow, and to get a new apple variety growing at a commercial scale can take years. It not only takes a couple of years after planting for fruit production to start, but it’s a long time just getting trees to plant.

The number of trees needed to plant a commercial-scale orchard is daunting. Even a small orchard of 100 acres needs nearly a quarter million trees to get going. And while it might take only a couple years to “raise a few rootstocks, thousands can take many years,” Washington State University apple breeder … » More …

Hop King cover
Winter 2016

Hop King

Hop King cover

Ezra Meeker’s Boom Years

Dennis M. Larsen ’68 

WSU Press: 2016

The demands of craft brewing in the last few years, along with declining European hops production, has driven the price of hops up as much as 50 percent, creating a windfall for growers in Washington. It’s not the first time in state history that hops brought a grower financial success.

Puyallup Valley pioneer Ezra Meeker first started planting hops as a cash … » More …

Cuisine du campus
Spring 2016

Cuisine du campus

Sautéed swiss chard, tender braised short rib, and Cougar Gold polenta. Tuscan grilled chicken with seasonal heirloom tomatoes, artichoke hearts, lentils, capers, and fresh herbs. Bacon seared Caesar salad with tomato jam toast and avocado Caesar dressing. These are dishes one would expect to find at a fine-dining restaurant, not a dining center at Washington State University.

Your memories of eating campus food, wherever you went to college, might consist of standing in long cafeteria lines where servers plopped their latest mystery food creation on your plate. It’s a totally different and much better experience than many of us remember.

Not only do the dining … » More …

Wagyu cattle. Courtesy Jerry Reeves
Spring 2016

Fine beef

It was a beautiful sunny day in May when six WSU chefs, decked out in their white uniforms, stood on a hillside 1500 feet above the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, squinting to make out cows grazing on the steep terrain across the valley. Looking like little black dots on the massive hills, Jerry Reeves looked through his binoculars, suddenly pointing and exclaiming, “There they are! Can you see them?”

A retired WSU animal sciences professor, Reeves was giving the chefs, four from Dining Services and two from WSU’s School of Hospitality, a tour of his ranch and pastureland located less than an … » More …