Though discovered in Massachusetts by F. Ewell Marshall in 1880, the Marshall strawberry thrives in the Pacific Northwest. On Orcas Island, it became the bedrock of island’s agricultural industry in the 1930s. At its height, the island’s strawberry fields spanned 450-acres and produced thousands of barrels of strawberries that were shipped all over the country.
Remnants of the strawberry industry can be found at the historic Olga Strawberry Barreling Plant (now commonly known as the Artwork Building). Constructed in 1938, the building has been preserved by the Olga Strawberry Council and today houses a collection of art by local artists. But more exciting than the building are the beautiful fruit the council has helped cultivate throughout the island. In the spring of 2017, a concerted effort to bring the Marshall strawberry back to Orcas was begun. Today, the succulent fruit can be found on the sunny fields at Sunny Slope Farm in Olga, the Inn at Ship Bay, Doe Bay Garden, Warm Valley Farm, Tap Root Farm, and Girl Meets Dirt’s garden.
Photo Credit: Daiga Ellaby
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