Wheat has been the agricultural king in the Blue Mountain country as long as the land has been farmed. Other crops have played important roles including sweet onions, asparagus, wine grapes, fruit orchards and many more. Not long ago, green peas were a huge part of our agricultural economy. And now, they’re almost a memory.
Learn about the fascinating history of the green pea industry in Umatilla, Walla Walla and Columbia counties with a tour of the H.T. Rea Farming Company. The Rea family operates one of the largest farms in this area and is among the few that still grow green peas. On this tour, you’ll see the marvelous combines now used to harvest peas and learn how each one does the work once performed by many dozens of laborers.
We’ll also learn about Mainstem Malt, a network of malting grain producers and malters in the Pacific Northwest that adopt strict standards of land and water conservation. H.T. Rea Farms has partnered with Mainstem Malt to produce responsibly-raised wheat and barley for bakeries, breweries, and distilleries.
After our visit to Rea Ranch, we’ll drive to Smith Frozen Foods in Weston, Oregon. Smith Frozen Foods produces over 130 million pounds of product specializing in peas, corn, carrots, and lima beans. Smith is the sole remaining vegetable processor in a region that once had almost a dozen canned and frozen food processing plants.
Meet at the Walla Walla High School Abbott Road parking lot and convoy from there.
This event is made possible by the generous support of CHS Primeland and Umatilla Electric Cooperative.