Tulip Valley Farms, nestled in Skagit County, Washington, is not your average tulip farm. It’s a place where people come together to celebrate the beauty of spring and create memories that last a lifetime. The newly opened farm is also the newest addition to the county’s multi-million dollar tulip industry, providing a new location for tourists to see the famous tulips.
Tulip Valley Farms is owned by Andrew Miller, a local boy who went to Mt. Vernon High School and returned to his roots after accomplishing multiple career opportunities. Miller joined the military before becoming a lawyer, then went on to get a degree in business. He also speaks three languages. Miller lightheartedly describes himself as a “trilingual JDA, MBA, colorblind tulip farmer.”
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Wanting to Make a Difference
Miller’s journey to Tulip Valley Farms began with a desire to make a difference in the world and show his six children that anything is possible. After working at Expedia and Amazon, he and his wife decided to move back to Skagit Valley.
Miller took a job at the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County, where he focused on improving the quality of life in the region by leveraging its natural beauty and resources.
“Skagit Valley is 80 miles from 6.5 million people who want what we can grow or do here in the county,” says Miller. “That number is projected to be 14 million in the next 20 years. There are a lot of people who have means, aka money, who want us to maintain the natural beauty, healthy rivers, clean air, and agriculture that are a huge part of the huge draw Skagit County has.”
Miller saw the potential to create a unique experience for visitors by combining the natural beauty of tulips with arts, culture, events, entertainment, and outdoor tourism.
An Idea Takes Root
That’s when the idea of becoming a tulip farmer began to bloom. In 2019, Miller and four high school buddies purchased Tulip Town, a well-established tulip farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and an integral part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
After a couple of years, he opted to branch out independently and provide the Valley with a new approach to how visitors experience tulip touring.
Miller says he sat down and thought about the things people dislike about visiting tulip fields, such as the muddy fields they have to walk through and the lack of access to the rows of tulips in the fields. Other fields limit visitors to the end of the rows, not allowing them to walk between them.
His innovative approach revolved around designing Tulip Valley Farms as a park-like setting. He gives visitors access to walk the entire property, including the grass paths between the tulips, making it much easier to access the blooms.
Tulips Provide a Connection People Are Looking For
Miller calls himself a “feeling farmer” who focuses on creating an emotional connection between his visitors and the land. “If you come on my farm and you don’t feel something, then I haven’t done it right. Everything we do here is modeled on connection and feeling.”
“Tulips are the pumpkin spice of Spring,” says Miller, explaining the draw tulips have over tourists. “Tulips connect people to other things. At Tulip Valley, it may be cuddling baby cows or having a tea party. You meet in the tulip field, but you end up doing other things and connecting with people through those experiences.”
Speaking of Cow Cuddling
Tulip Valley Farms is more than “just” tulips. When visitors come to the farm, they have the opportunity to have tea, do yoga, and experience Night Bloom (an innovative, one-of-a-kind laser show experience), among other things.
One of Miller’s favorite stories is how cow cuddling came about on the farm. He got the idea when he was attending an out-of-state convention and heard how successful snuggling baby calves has become in the Netherlands. Through a twist of fate, he happened to meet the owners of Whidbey Farm and Market at that same convention, and they decided to partner up and provide cow cuddling at Tulip Valley Farms.
Now, visitors have the opportunity to cuddle and even feed baby cows Bo, Nellie, and Earl. When the tulip festival is over, the threesome will return to Whidbey Farm and Market, where their newfound bovine fans can watch them grow up.
A Photographer’s Dream
Miller said he knows photographers come from all over the country – even internationally – to photograph the famous Skagit Valley tulips. That’s why he made the decision to provide early morning access to photographers wanting to come early and catch the perfect light for their tulip photos. “I’m up and on the farm anyway, so why not let them come early and get the perfect shot? An all-day photography pass allows visitors to capture the beauty of the flowers from sunrise to sunset.”
Hopes and Dreams
When asked about his hopes for visitors, Miller shares, “I want them to have the ultimate spring experience, where they get out and remember and rekindle connections. Spring is about new beginnings.”
He has four goals for the farm: to delight, inspire, create, and connect. “If someone comes to my farm and doesn’t do one of those things, I will have failed. If we do all four of those things, we’ve definitely succeeded, and we designed our farm that way.”
Miller envisions Tulip Valley Farms becoming the “Coachella of Spring” in the next five years, attracting artists, musicians, and photographers to celebrate the season. He also hopes to extend the tulip season from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day. He aims to offer more opportunities for people to enjoy the farm and return to Skagit Valley for various seasonal events throughout the year.
A New Era for Tulip Farming
With an unwavering commitment to innovation, Miller is redefining what it means to be a tulip farmer. By focusing on creating unique experiences that resonate with visitors, he’s ensuring that Tulip Valley Farms continues to delight, inspire, and connect people from all walks of life.
In doing so, he’s also contributing to Skagit Valley’s economic development and sustainability, showcasing the region’s natural beauty and agricultural potential, which is exactly what he set out to do.
In addition to the farm located at 15245 Bradshaw Rd. Mt. Vernon, WA 98273, tulip fans can also visit Tulip Valley Gardens, their U-Pick tulip farm, at 12637 Pulver Rd. Burlington, WA 98233
This article was produced and syndicated by Our Woven Journey. Featured Photo Credit: Tulip Valley Farms.