“ The expedition swept on toward the junction of the Snake and Columbia, passing through the canyon-lined Snake on into present Washington State, where the Great Columbian Plain offered a barren landscape in stark contrast to the wooded mountains the party was leaving behind. ”
(from “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose)
In October of 1805, the Corps of Discovery Expedition, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, welcomed by the Great Columbian Plain, better known today as the Columbia Basin. That “barren landscape,” with the help of such projects as the Grand Coulee Dam and the resulting Columbia Basin Project, produced hundreds of thousands of once barren, but now highly prized agricultural real estate. A new breed of pioneers with names like Lamb, Clore, Mercer and Wyckoff embraced and nurtured that real estate into fertile farms and home to one of the most productive food and beverage processing regions in the world!
Food and Beverage Processing
While the Columbia Basin is considered a world-class grower of grapes, chickpeas, apples, pears, potatoes, sweet cherries, fresh peas, sweet corn, asparagus, carrots and mint, there are few crops that won’t find a happy home in the rich Columbia Basin soil. It is often said, “if it ain’t tropical, it can be grown in the Columbia Basin.” Such a wide variety of agriculture naturally encourages a wide variety of food and beverage processing, accounting for approximately USD 1 billion in gross sales and over 4,500 jobs.
The Columbia Basin produces the most wine in Washington State at approximately 11 million gallons per year, contributing another USD 1 billion dollars and about 5,200 jobs to the local economy. It is home to four of Washington State’s eleven American Viticulture Areas with over 150 wineries within an hour’s drive. Two world-class facilities have been built to support the industry: the Wine Science Center at Washington State University and the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center. Please visit the Food and Beverage Processors’ Tabs for a listing of companies located in the Columbia Basin.
Strategic Gateway between America and Asia
Because of its location, perched on the northwest corner of the United States, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the booming economies of Asia, the Columbia Basin is the Strategic Gateway between America and Asia, blessed with an abundance of assets to grow your domestic and international food and beverage processing business, including, but not limited to: