La Conner Gardens
La Conner Gardens is an organic family farm that specializes in homegrown vegetables, flowers and five varieties of garlic.
FeaturedMember Highlight

La Conner Gardens

#GSVMemberMonday Feature

Margy & Chris Dariotis’s beautiful roadside stand, La Conner Gardens, greets visitors and locals alike with organically grown fresh produce and flowers. Their 18 acre farm specializes in gourmet varieties of tomatoes, beans and peppers, plus various other fruits, vegetables, and flowers that vary throughout the season.  The farm uses two unheated hoop houses; 32×50 and 32×96 that extend their growing season.

LaConner Gardens started in 1999 when Chris was fortunate to purchase 18 acres of #MagicSkagit farmland that retained a building right.  When they bought the land it was just a flat farm field. It had previously been farmed by local farmer Louie Hill, who, unfortunately, had just passed away. Drawing on his previous education from The University of British Columbia including a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree, Chris got right to work. In 2012 Chris & Margy earned their Sustainable Farming Certification from WSU, and Organic Food Producer certificate in 2014. Chris said that this training allowed him to successfully operate a commercial landscaping business for over 40 years, but he had always wanted to focus on agriculture. Previous travels through the Middle East and Africa had awakened him to the need for quality crops; organic methods were prefered. The shift toward farming began as time allowed.

Today, La Conner Gardens has been gradually increasing their cultivated area, but still only grow on less than 2 acres of their farm. 12 acres has been leased to neighbor Mesman Farm who is growing feed for their dairy.

La Conner Gardens is most known for the unique varieties of garlic offered at their farm stand. Planted in fall and harvested in summer, La Conner Gardens produces five specialty garlic varieties. Chris and Margy gave us some information on their garlic below:

Chesnok Red – Spicy raw, sweet cooked. This (and the Romanian both) pack a punch of garlic raw, but the Chesnok is unique because it turns sweet when roasted.  We love using this one in the oven roasted vegetables or potatoes. Toss slices of garlic in toward the end of cooking and they quickly start to caramelize to give your dish sweet garlicky nugget bites. 

Elephant – Large bulbs and cloves.  Botanically it’s in the leek family so has a very mild leek/onion like flavor and turns creamy when roasted.   Doesn’t taste too garlicky.  

Inchelium Red – Our only soft neck variety (doesn’t produce a flower scape). Origin is eastern Washington from a small town on the Colville reservation. It grows very well here producing large bulbs with large cloves.  Flavor is strong but not overpowering so we like to use this one in recipes calling for raw garlic.   Favorite uses: Kale Quinoa salad, pesto, minced & frozen (mixed with a little olive oil in tiny ice cube trays) to use anytime you want to add a garlic kick to a dish. 

Music (Musik) – Easy to peel and large cloves.  Versatile flavor profile.  Favorite garlic of Ontario Canada. We just started growing this one a couple of years ago and are hoping for a good crop this year. 

Romania Red – Spicy raw, pungent cooked. We love using this one in our tomato or alfredo sauces, pickled jalapenos, dilled green beans, etc. 

All except the Inchelium Red produce garlic scapes.  They are a tasty treat and available for a limited time in late spring. Their texture is like asparagus with a slight garlic flavor and is wonderful tossed in olive oil and grilled, or used for garlic scape pesto or pickling. 

La Conner Gardens
La Conner Gardens owner Chris Dariotis says that his years of education allowed him to operate a commercial landscaping business for over 40 years, but he had always wanted to focus on agriculture.

La Conner Gardens has been featured on our summer Farmstand Fresh program for the past two summers. La Conner Gardens also offers their gourmet garlic for seed at the Anacortes Farmers Market in the summer and fall.

We recently caught up with Margy and Chris at the farm and asked them what their favorite Skagit grown crop was. “My favorite crop is daffodils as they bring hope of a new season when they start to bloom in the spring.” Margy says they make her feel happy inside. When it comes to a Skagit grown fruit or vegetable, Margy says spinach is her favorite. “There’s nothing better than the flavor of field grown fresh picked spinach.”  Margy says that Chris’s favorite is garlic as it grows so well here. “It is something we can plant in the fall for overwintering, and it is so versatile and tastes amazing… not like your grocery store mass produced garlic varieties.”

Chris and Margy want to let others know of the health benefits of garlic. Margy says to release the benefits of Allium, the garlic must be cut, minced or smashed and let it rest for 10 minutes before using it. One of Chris and Margy’s favorite recipes is Garlic Soup (shared below)

Chris and Margy are anticipating a busy spring and summer at the farmstand. Besides the 5 varieties of garlic grown, other crops for the 2024 season include: 4 varieties of shallots; 6 varieties of onions; Shuksan strawberries (a signature Skagit Grown berry!); 9 varieties of tomatoes; 13 varieties of peppers; 2 varieties of cucumbers; Napa cabbage; 2 varieties of radish; 3 varieties of carrots; Spinach and arugula; 4 varieties of basil; 2 varieties of kale; eggplants; 5 varieties of winter squash; 2 varieties of melons; zucchini; Collards; 3 varieties of lettuce; beets and beet greens. Wow!

La Conner Gardens is located a mile east of downtown La Conner on the corner of Chilberg & Hulbert Rd. They are open most of the year from 9 am – 7 pm through their farmstand. Produce and flowers vary from week to week. If Chris and Margy aren’t at the stand when you stop by, customers may pay via self-service using Venmo or PayPal, or there is a cash box (emptied regularly) near the stand.

We’re thrilled to feature La Conner Gardens as this week’s #GSVMemberMonday feature and hope you will stop by their stand and say hello!

Related Posts

Skagit Tourism Bureau

#GSVMemberMonday From the sparkling Salish Sea to the craggy North Cascade mountains, the diversity ofthe Skagit County is awe-inspiring. Over the years, the Skagit Valley

Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC)

#GSVMemberMonday Feature The Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, or EDASC (e-dask) for short, has been serving Skagit County for more than 50 years, working to

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

#GSVMemberMonday Feature The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has been one of the premier destination events for the Pacific Northwest for decades. The Festival is held