Garden clubs Myrtle Ruckert Award presented to Connie and Brian Foster

Connie Foster accepts the Arlington Garden Clubs annual Myrtle Ruckert Award at the clubs dessert luncheon at Pioneer Hall Saturday, May 19. -
Connie Foster accepts the Arlington Garden Clubs annual Myrtle Ruckert Award at the clubs dessert luncheon at Pioneer Hall Saturday, May 19.
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ARLINGTON Showing its appreciation for helping keep Arlington green, the Arlington Garden Club presented the Myrtle Ruckert Award to Connie and Brian Foster Saturday, May 19.
The Foster farm, at the west edge of historical downtown Arlington, was originally bought by Brians grandfather in the 1950s and operated as a dairy farm until the mid-1990s.
It was 10 years ago that Brian and Connie Foster started thinking outside the agriculture box, searching for creative ways to face the push of urbanization and still continue farming. In an effort to tap the new agri-tourism market and stay in farming, they transformed the family dairy farm into a produce market with farm antiques, gifts, plants and produce for sale and farm animals on display.
At a time when fewer and fewer children grow up in a farming environment, Foster Produce provides an opportunity for parents to bring their children to have hands-on farm experiences, Garden Club president Linda Follett read from a proclamation to a crowd of about 75 members and friends at Pioneer Hall.
Now 10 years into the venture, the Fosters have shown an adaptive resilience much needed to preserve farming in this rapidly growing suburbia.
They have contributed much to preserving the agriculture that is so precious to all of this community, Follett said.
Thanks to their efforts, locally grown produce, flowers and plants are available to all of us, Follett continued. Thanks to the Fosters, our children go into the field and pick their own pumpkins, and families search their way through their annual corn maze. Children sit among the hay bales and listen to stories. Moms and dads select locally grown produce to serve to their families, and take home plants to enhance their yards.
The Foster family has contributed in another way as well. By thinking outside of the box and working with the city of Arlington to ensure the preservation of their farm, the Foster family has signed an agreement with the city to sell the development rights for their floodway property to protect it from ever being turned into a commercial or housing area. The citys innovative Transfer of Development Rights program guarantees the Foster farm remains farmland or open space.
At least that one spot in the valley will remain green, Follett said.
Connie Foster accepted the award on behalf of the whole family, leaving Brian home scooping ice cream on one their busiest days of the week Saturday.
I am sorry I cant stay, but I have to get back to relieve Brian, Connie laughed as she dashed out the door.
It is with great pleasure and immense appreciation that we present the Myrtle Ruckert Award to Brian and Connie Foster.
Formerly a luncheon held at Arlingtons Catholic Church since it started 10 years ago, this is the first year they served desserts only in Pioneer Hall. Participants also learned about pruning vines from well-known author and founder of Plant Amnesty, Cass Turnbull.
The award is named after the longest-living member of the club. Myrtle Ruckert joined the Arlington Garden Club in 1938 and has been treasurer most of the years since then.
The criteria for annual award, Follett said, is to recognize individuals, groups or businesses who go above and beyond in keeping Arlington green and/or protecting and enhancing our environment to make Arlington an even better place to live.
Along with the presentation of the award, participants enjoyed a huge spread of desserts with cheesecake covered with frozen berries grown in members gardens last summer, a fruit and chocolate fondue, lemon bars and other delicious treats.
New officers were also announced. Linda Follett returns as president and Tina Wilson is vice president. Meg Jacobsen is treasurer and Bea Randall is secretary.
A large portion of admission ticket holders won raffle prizes that ranged from cut flower bouquets and rhubarb straight out of the garden and other garden-related treasure. Another round of raffle giveaways included baskets, flower arrangements and an extensive spread of other donated items that were distributed to support the many projects the garden club does to benefit the Arlington community. After first count during the event they already raised more than $800. Their beneficiaries range from the Arlington and Stillaguamish Senior Center Food Banks, Kids Kloset, Arlington Boys and Girls Club and a Katrina relief fund. They offer scholarships for local horticultural students, and they manage the Arlington Community Garden across from the Arlington Library as well as planting and maintaining Mayor Margarets Flower Garden in front of City Hall.
The Arlington Garden Club has also purchased benches for the Centennial Trail. For more information about the garden club call Linda Follett at 360-403-7769.

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