We get asked a lot: “Why are your carrots so tasty? What kind are they, so I can plant them in my garden?” Our answer is always the same: “It’s the rich, alluvial soils of the Dungeness!” So if your garden is in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, it could be that you can grow some pretty tasty carrots, too, thanks to the Dungeness River.
The river and the Olympic Mountains are largely responsible for the fantastic soil that lends itself so well to carrot and other veggie production in the Valley. The Olympics were formed 35 million years ago from a sea floor that was uplifted to create the mountain range, making the river one of the steepest in North America. Its headwaters start at 7,000 feet and descend a dramatic 4,000 feet in the first four miles. As the river and its tributaries roar down their channels, they scour the mountainsides, eroding the rocky banks in their descent, carrying sea minerals down to the Sequim Valley. Once at sea level, the river slows, dropping much of its mineral load.
Since the last ice age, the river changed course numerous times, depositing mineral-rich alluvia in many places along its path. In other regions, conventional farmers would have to replenish minerals using fertilizers or other amendments like lime. Thanks to the mineral-rich Dungeness River, farmers in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley get many minerals and trace elements added back into their soils as they irrigate. It is what makes the grasses so green and the produce so tasty. If we don’t abuse the soil, it gives back to us every day.