Garden On, Vashon

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VAA Garden Tour Previews: Humble Bumble Farm

June 10th, 2013 at Mon, 10th, 2013 at 3:44 pm by Karen Dale


I love a good kitchen garden. And when it comes with cows, goats, calves, kids, and samples of fresh goat cheese on a sunny slope overlooking a lavender field, well, there’s a scene that’s hard to beat. 

Cindy Ward’s Humble Bumble Farm soaks up the sun in the Cherry Hill Creek drainage on 188th. She’s been here 13 years, a former Air Force Brat who grew up wanting to be a farmer and put down roots. And has she… the beautiful home now hosts weddings, she and daughter Carly run a catering business called Sweet Bee, and she’s about to upgrade her artisan cheese-making into a fully certified Washington state dairy operation.

When you come to tour, the denizens of the dairy will be curious to meet you: Penny the Jersey milk-cow, her 2-month-old calf Temple, and the half-dozen young Nubian/Sanem goats that will eventually contribute milk to the chevre-making operation. During tour, Cindy will serve up samples of her goat cheese flavored with a Lavendula mixture made from the Intermedia ‘Grosso’ lavenders that grow in her front yard. If you like what you taste, sign up to hear more about her KickStarter campaign (launched by tour) to raise money for a pasteurizer and dedicated dairy building.

Cindy Ward in her milking parlour

Head under the entrance arbor and take in the Secret Garden, setting for many a romantic wedding photo.  ”This garden grew as a progression,” she told me, “First a deer-fence, then the flowers, then my son Jeremy built the raised beds for vegetables. The greenhouse came as a pre-fab kit from Portland, Oregon; the brochure says we grow orchids here, but really in this climate, they have to go in the house for the winter!” 


There’s a beautiful stand of ‘Violetta’ artichokes she’s already eating, plus leeks throwing scapes that she clips about 4″ below the top-bud and cooks “like asparagus.” Much of this produce is showing up at Nirvana where her daughter Carly is now chef; she’s turning the restaurant’s focus toward the local and locavore. But you can come right to the source during Garden Tour, try some of their lavendula goat cheese, sign the guestbook to learn more about Cindy’s artisan dairy project—and meet the kids!

To see more, visit Click here to get tickets for the VAA Garden Tour.

a book reading this Friday

I’ll be reading from the history I compiled of the VAA Garden Tour from its beginnings in 1990. That event will be this Friday, June 14th, at 12:30 at Vashon Bookshop. It’s part of my campaign to raise funds toward printing my book, “Garden On, Vashon.” To see more about this book focused on gardening on our Island, visit





gardens on the south end of Vashon Island, on a sandy hilltop overlooking Quartermaster Harbor. "Garden On, Vashon" shares what the Island has to teach us about gardening HERE—from making soils to sowing seeds to raising plants to harvest, cooking, preserving, and designing new ways to cultivate your little chunk of Vashon Island. To contact me, email, or leave a comment.

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