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Food Manufacturing industry in Skagit County


Skagit County is well known for its agriculture sector. In 2018, nevertheless, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced that manufacturing was the biggest contributor to county real gross domestic product (GDP).

Manufacturing constituted for 30.1% of total GDP for the county. Skagit County ranked 1st among Washington’s 39 counties, in terms of sales, for nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod production, 4th for vegetables, melons, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and aquaculture, and fifth for milk.

Gielow Pickles Incorporation

In 2014 Skagit food processing made a comeback. Gielow Pickles Inc., a five-generation, family-owned, Michigan company, has established a vegetable processing plant at the Port of Skagit Bayview Business Park in Burlington, WA. The new plant started processing cucumbers on September 9, 2014, halting a 30-year decline in the number of agricultural processing facilities in the Skagit Valley.

Craig Gielow, vice president of the company, said the plant will operate year-around by processing vegetables from a wide area of the West Coast, including the Skagit Valley. At last count, Gielow had 39 employees in the Bayview plant.

Vegetable processing plant in Skagit Valley
Vegetable processing plant in Skagit Valley

In June 2014, Gielow signed a 10-year lease for a portion of the 70,000-square-foot

production facility at 11768 Westar Lane, Burlington. The port and Gielow agreed that the port would provide the building and all equipment /supplies needed to establish a food processing facility, and Gielow would provide the labor to install all equipment, fixtures and improvements on the project. This project helps to prevent the loss of production of value-added crops in the Skagit Valley economy.

These crops are an essential component of agricultural rotation system, which allows farmers to replenish nutrients in their rich soil and control disease while maintaining revenues.

Record-Largest Potato Dish

On September 24, 2011 potato farmers, business owners, mechanics, welders, engineers, trucker, as well as school, college and Job Corps students, civic groups members and even some members of the U.S. military joined forces to cook up a huge batch of potatoes au gratin.

Measuring in at 15,000 pounds, the huge au gratin dish easily broke an 8,400-pound au gratin Guinness World Record set in Europe in 2010.

That how this process looked like.

Record-Largest Potato Dish in Skagit County
Record-Largest Potato Dish in Skagit County