ASWWU logo
Walla Walla, WA
Friday, December 8, 2023

Issue 5 and Local Farming and Produce

October 26, 2023
Ashley Herber

Letter From the Editor

Ashley Herber

Agriculture is currently the fourth largest industry in the Walla Walla valley area [1] and makes up 5% of Washington state’s agriculture sales [2]. Why is local agriculture so strong in this tiny corner of the U.S?  

Farming boomed in Walla Walla after the gold rush because of the new influx of people that caused farmers to expand their markets. [3] Wheat proved to grow well in the Walla Walla and Palouse areas because the soil was finely textured, fertile, retained moisture well, and the seasonal snow cover protected the wheat from winter-kill. [4]  

In 1866 the Washington territorial government wrote, “Wheat cannot be purchased anywhere in the United States at what it is now being sold for daily at Walla Walla, 60 cents per bushel (60 pounds).” [5] Wheat has continued to be a dominant crop and as of 2017 Walla Walla County cultivates 180,000 acres of wheat crops a year. [6] 

Other crops were also successful in the Walla Walla area including the famous Walla Walla Sweet onions (which you can learn more about by reading Noah’s article in this issue), peas, and wine grapes. [7]  

Perhaps the current most famous crop grown in the Walla Walla area, wine grapes were first planted here in the 1850s. [8] In 1984 Walla Walla was made a unique American viticultural area and as of 2022 there are 181 wineries in Walla Walla. [9] 

Today, residents of the Walla Walla valley have access to locally grown foods through farmers markets, local farms, and Andy’s market. To read about one local fifth generation farmer, read Judy’s article, and to read more about Andy’s market and the importance of eating seasonally, read Megan’s article.  

As always, be sure to also read Cameron’s murder mystery series.  


  1. Employment Security Department of Washington State. (2022, June). Walla Walla County profile.,production%20and%20dry%20land%20crops.&text=Walla%20Walla%20County%20covered%20employment,to%20COVID%2D19%20pandemic%20closures 
  2. Census of Agriculture County Profile. (2017). Walla walla County Washington.  
  3. City of Walla Walla. (2022). Walla Walla’s History.  
  4. Kershner, J. (n.d.) Wheat Farming in Washington. Washington Wheat Foundation.  
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Port Walla Walla. (2017, December 23). Walla Walla County Agricultural Statistics.  
  7. Paulus, M. J. Jr. (2008, Feb. 26). Walla Walla—Thumbnail History.,fruit%2C%20onions%2C%20and%20grapes 
  8. Walla Walla Uncovered. (n.d.). Walla Walla Valley Wine Industry—History, Walla Walla AVA.  
  9. Employment Security Department of Washington State. (2022, June). Walla Walla County profile.,production%20and%20dry%20land%20crops.&text=Walla%20Walla%20County%20covered%20employment,to%20COVID%2D19%20pandemic%20closures. 


  1. ASWWU-226. Photo by Abigail Lombard with ASWWU Photo. 
menuchevron-upchevron-downmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram