History in Bloom at Adeline’s Peonies

Jumbo Flowers a Tradition for Memorial Day, Centerpiece for Summer Weddings

By Molly Allen

Just two and a half miles off of Interstate 82, as you make your way into Toppenish sits a small farm bursting with color and beaming with history. Adeline’s Peonies, located at 502 Asotin Ave. in Toppenish, has been in operation since the early 1930s thanks to Adeline McCarthy, who planted her first perennial peony plants over 80 years ago.
“This is something grandma started, and we’ve always kept it going as a family,” said Pat McCarthy, Adeline’s grandson. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Adeline McCarthy left North Dakota and settled in Toppenish in 1915. She and her husband built the house that still stands on the property today and utilized the acreage in the backyard for planting a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with peonies. During the 1930s, Native Americans began to take notice of the bright, jumbo flowers planted in the backyard. As the flowers were at their peak near the Memorial Day holiday, the tribal members offered to trade salmon for the flowers – a welcome trade for Adeline who was raising nine sons and one daughter at the time. The Native Americans were drawn to the bright, seasonal flower, taking them to decorate the graves of their loved ones.
“As more people began to stop for flowers, grandma continued to plant more,” said McCarthy. “To this day, that is still our largest customer base and we love to be a part of that tradition. Our customers introduce their children to us, and then we’ll see the children all grown up coming back year after year.”
Adeline’s is open for the season April through the middle of June, but Memorial Day Weekend is by far their busiest time of year, with hundreds stopping by for peonies to memorialize their loved ones. The farm hosts special hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day Weekend to accommodate their time-honored tradition.
Today, Adeline’s grows 26 varieties of peonies, all in varying colors including white, pink, coral and yellow and produces thousands of flowers every year, and if you look closely, you’ll still see some of the original plants Adeline planted over 80 years ago, still producing bright, beautiful flowers on the farm.
But Adeline’s wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the McCarthy family and its hardworking crew.
Adeline and her husband had ten children who grew up on the farm and helped with the peony business. Pat McCarthy, who was born and raised in Toppenish, grew up working the field as a young boy, and is now passing the business on to his son, Jay McCarthy, next year as the fourth generation to run the farm. In addition, Ron Jones keeps the farm operational, serving as the grower for more than 10 years.
“We’ve all worked together to keep this going. And we have the most wonderful crew,” said McCarthy. “We certainly couldn’t do this without them.”  
In addition to serving as a popular stop during Memorial Day Weekend, Adeline’s also keeps flowers growing through June to fill custom orders for events and summer weddings. Especially in June, the peonies are incredibly popular, garnering attention from brides all across the state.
“It’s so wonderful to have our customers stop by year after year for flowers, and we get to know their family generation after generation,” said McCarthy. “It’s a tradition.”

Originally published in the Review Independent, serving the lower Yakima Valley.

Cornerstone Ranches Still Using Original Machinery From The 1950s Era


By Molly Allen
When hop harvest takes off in the Yakima Valley, it doesn’t stop for anything.
Every September, hop farmers and their employees work around the clock, harvesting the aromatic cones that make their way into the wide array of craft beers that have become increasingly popular over the past 10 years.
For Graham Gamache, owner of Cornerstone Ranches LLC in Toppenish, the hop harvest has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve done every job on the farm, and I know it like the back of my hand,” said Gamache, whose grandfather, Amos Gamache, originally established the farm at 2131 Fort Road in 1948.
Graham purchased the farm from his father, Terry Gamache, and uncle, Michael Gamache, in 2013. He has worked on making the business his own ever since.
“It really is a lot different here now than it was in 2012 and further back from there,” he said. “I purchased the farm right when the craft beer industry was booming. And it’s been great to invite so many brewers and other guests to tour the farm. We welcome brewers from all the world here every day during harvest.”
When hop harvest begins, brewers flock to the Yakima Valley for its unmatched hop selection and to get a behind-the-scenes look at where their hops originate.
Local hop farms see visitors from breweries all over the world every fall.
But only if those brewers pay a visit to Cornerstone Ranches will they get to see one of the oldest wooden hop picking machines still in operation in the valley.
“The farm really is a cool place to visit, and you can tell it has that vintage character to it,” said Dru Ernst, owner of Dru Bru Brewery on Snoqualmie Pass.
“Graham and I established a connection through Gonzaga, our alma mater, and it’s been great to get to know him and his staff. We went down and picked up Centennial and Cashmere hops this year straight from the farm.”
Graham Gamache took over the 1,100-plus-acre farm with its original equipment still in intact, and he continues to use a lot of the same machinery for hop harvest every year.
The 1950s-era picking machine — or Fontaine — features equipment such as large cast iron sprockets, which were all locally made.
“When others started to decommission their machines, my grandfather, my dad and my uncle would collect parts,” Gamache said. “We’ve made necessary updates along the way, updated equipment, new burners for the kiln, but the bare bones structure is still good and allows us to continue producing the highest quality of products.”
The farm also utilizes one of the original hop combines that Gamache’s grandfather, father and uncle helped to develop in the 1970s.
Some of the pilot technology was tested on the farm, and that prototype helped develop the technology that Yakima Hop Combine turned into an incredibly useful machine.
One of the original nine combines that were built at the time can still be found to this day in the fields during harvest.
“Every generation has made their own improvements as time goes on,” Gamache said. “I spent 20 years driving the combine myself.”

A Cut Above the Rest
Cornerstone Ranches was one of the first hop farms in the valley — and in the U.S. — to become GLOBALG.A.P certified, earning its certification at the same time as Roy Farms in Moxee.
Because hops are considered a food product, GLOBALG.A.P established specific standards for harvest facilities.
“We’ve always been innovative and always on the cutting edge,” Gamache said.
Cornerstone Ranches prides itself on being a truly independent hop farm. With 11 different varieties of hops, the farm doesn’t align itself with any specific variety, merchant or brewer.
“We are loyal to the customers who are loyal to us,” Gamache said. “And we love to develop great relationships with them.”
When his grandfather originally started the farm, the focus was on hops and Concord grapes. Apple orchards were planted later on.
Today, Cornerstone Ranches harvests 635 acres of hops, which make their way to breweries around the world. The farm’s 61 acres of Concord grapes go to Welch’s for its popular grape juice, while the more than 425 acres of apples harvested on the farm are distributed by companies such as Washington Fruit & Produce Co., Monson Fruit Co. and Olympic Fruit.
Gamache also recently launched a hospitality service, welcoming visitors to a turn-of-the-century farmhouse right in the middle of hop country.
The home, which has been in his family for decades, has been a great addition, offering accommodation for brewers during hop selection and harvest, as well as for wine tasting weekends and other events.
Gamache always knew he wanted to spend his life on the farm. He graduated from Gonzaga University in 1997 with a degree in English Literature, then made his way back to where it all began.
“I always knew I was going to farm. I love it,” he said. “I always intended to come back, so I decided to study something that had always interested me.”
The Gamache family’s hop history in the Yakima Valley dates back to Graham’s great-great-great-grandparents, Charles and Hermaline Gamache.
The French-Canadian immigrants arrived in the Yakima Valley in November 1897 with their eight children in tow. The family settled in Moxee and Charles helped dig the Selah-Moxee Canal, bringing irrigation water to the area (which farmers still rely on today).
Graham Gamache’s work has come full circle, providing great hops and produce on a global scale, positioning Cornerstone Ranches as a well-respected farm around the world. “There really was no single grand plan, but I’m glad to be where I am on the farm today.”
To learn more about the farm, visit http://www.cornerstoneranches.com.

Originally published in Yakima Business Times

Tanning Helps Many People Kick The Winter Doldrums

Misconceptions About The Industry Still Common Despite An Array Of Health Benefits

By Molly Allen
The stigma surrounding the indoor tanning industry has been hotly debated since it first spiked in popularity in the 1980s.
But even though the industry has come a long way over the past 30 years, some local business owners feel like they still have to defend themselves against outdated stereotypes.
“There are so many reasons that people come in to tan,” said Angie Beaudry, owner of Revive Tanning & Wellness. “It can be to relax or to get a base tan before vacation, but for a lot of people, especially in winter, it can be beneficial for skin conditions and seasonal depression. There’s much more to it that people don’t realize.”
Angie Beaudry purchased Planet Sun Tanning, at 901 W. Yakima Ave. #5B, in 2000 before changing the name to Revive Tanning & Wellness.
Since then, she has become an advocate for teaching users about the many potential benefits of tanning — done in moderation, of course.
“Indoor sun exposure is not like it was 20 years ago,” she said. “Modern equipment, lamps and exposure times are all regulated. Responsible salon owners and staff members are there to help guide you through the process properly.”
According to the FDA, the amount of time a guest can spend in a tanning bed is set through a computer system at the front desk of every salon.
A customer may end a session early but cannot add more time once their session has begun.
While tanning, each guest is required to wear FDA-approved UV eyewear. Most salons provide eye protection for their guests and also post signs noting the requirement.
State law also says no one may tan more than once in a 24-hour period, and nobody under the age of 18 can tan, even with parental consent.
There is a lot to understand before a business owner can get started.
Heidi Redfield took over Envy Spa & Tanning, at 304 S. First St. in Selah, in 2015 after retiring from the Navy. She had tanned all her life and was presented with the unique business opportunity to buy the salon when she moved back to the Valley.
“Going into it, there was a lot to learn about the regulations that I didn’t realize,” Redfield said. “The business owner and staff monitor everything, from the type of tan to the length allowed in the bed. In the old days, you could just turn the timer up to 30 minutes or more, but it’s nothing like that now.”
In addition to strict regulations, tanning business owners also must pay a separate tanning tax. When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it included a 10 percent excise tax for all tanning service locations.
“It’s all heavily regulated, and we as business owners have a lot to comply with, which we do,” Beaudry said.
But with so many regulations to work with, tanning business owners like Beaudry and Redfield are still committed to disproving the misconceptions of tanning and helping their clients enjoy its many potential benefits.

Health Benefits
For some, just being under the bulbs of a tanning bed for a few minutes has been said to benefit those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, as it can help with Vitamin D production during the dark and dreary winter months.
“I’ve had a number of clients who come in with a doctor’s note that suggests tanning for SAD,” Redfield said. “It’s really amazing the benefits someone may get from it.”
For others, tanning may help with dermatological conditions. Many people who suffer from psoriasis notice that their symptoms tend to get better in the summer when they are exposed to the sun, but those benefits are lost in the winter months.
“Some customers come here because they were told by a doctor that it can help,” Beaudry said. “We have many professionals including nurses and doctors who use our salon’s services.”
Marie Lichota, who has suffered from psoriasis for about two years, only found out about her skin condition because she took a break from tanning.
“I started tanning in high school because of the boost of self-confidence it gave me and because it was helping with acne,” she said. “I stopped for a while, and then noticed my skin changing, so I went to a dermatologist who suggested it was psoriasis.”
The tanning regimen Lichota had begun back in high school had been keeping her psoriasis at bay until she stopped doing it. Now that she realizes the health benefits, she has started tanning again, usually once a week. But it’s always on her mind to keep it in moderation.
“There is still a stigma behind it, and it is controversial,” she said. “But I’m very aware of how often I tan and am sure to do it in moderation, in combination with dermatologist visits.”
In addition to possible medical benefits, some clients may simply enjoy the feeling of tanning. They may just find it relaxing or notice that they receive a boost in confidence after their session, just as Lichota had experienced when she started tanning as a teenager.
“It really is an industry that offers different things for different people,” Redfield said. “I’m able to get to know my clients on a personal level because everyone comes in for something different.”
One of the primary misconceptions about tanning is that the industry is still unregulated like it was back in the ‘80s. But recent changes in state law have made it so all tanning businesses must operate in a safer, more regulated environment.
At the same time, most clients police themselves. Some people use the tanning beds progressively as a way to prep their skin for sun exposure.
“Just 15 minutes in the sun without any sunscreen will get you your daily recommended amount of Vitamin D, but that doesn’t mean it’s always that easy,” Beaudry said. “Outdoor exposure is not regulated and there may be more of a potential risk involved. Most people will spend more than 15 minutes outside when they lay on the beach or by the pool.”
In a controlled environment, it’s easier to prevent burning from extended exposure from the sun on the beach or a visit to a location with hotter days.
“Outdoor exposure is not regulated and there can be a potential risk involved,” Beaudry said. “Seeking the sun in small doses can boost your mood. Especially in winter, people really notice a difference.”


Originally published in the Yakima Business Times.

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Screen shot 2018-08-29 at 4.30.07 PM

Pumpkin Hand Pies

By Molly Allen 

As we all know, fall is the heart of pumpkin season! The leaves are falling, die-hard pumpkin fans are sipping Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and fall baking is always on the agenda. There’s nothing better than a warm home filled with the scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, and this is the perfect recipe to get you in the fall spirit!

Make these Homemade Pumpkin Hand Pies for any occasion, whether served for breakfast, similar to a Pop Tart, or for dessert with vanilla ice cream on top. You can swap out the filling for many other flavors throughout the year – raspberry jam is my favorite! 



1 ½ Cups Flour

3/4 Tsp Salt

1/4 Tsp Sugar

½ C Butter


 ½ Can Pumpkin Puree

½ Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

½ Tsp Cinnamon

½ Tbsp Sugar


 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a bowl with a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour. Add the salt and sugar. Mix until the butter and flour mixture is crumbly. Once combined, add water slowly to form a workable ball of dough.

 2. Mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, and spices.

3. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a thin sheet. Cut out matching rectangles for your pastries.

 4. Add a scoop of the filling to one of the dough rectangles, then put the other on top. Pinch the sides of the rectangles together to close the pockets. Make small indents around all edges with a fork.

5. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 450 degrees for 6-7 minutes until edges begin to golden.

6. Top with a vanilla or almond glaze and sprinkles if desired. To make the glaze, mix powdered sugar, milk, and extract in a bowl. Whisk until thick enough to spread on cooled pies, top with sprinkles, and let dry. 

*Originally published in Ellensburg Daily Record’s Hometown Holidays publication

Fair Baking Contests Feature Cupcakes, Bread and More

Originally published in the Ellensburg Daily Record 

By Molly Allen

The Kittitas County Fair offers event-goers something for everyone — a selection of fair food, the opportunity to stroll through the barns to pet animals and a countless number of entertainment acts. It also offers the Home Arts Building and 4-H Building, filled with youth crafts, sewing projects, home-grown flowers and vegetables and a slew of baked goods.

The Monday before fair opens is check-in day for the Adult Baking and Youth Baking Departments. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., more than 200 community members brought in their most-prized recipe to be judged this year.

One community member, Bill Roberts, came in with his wife, Judy, a former Kittitas County Fair Board member. Now retired from the Fair Board, Judy has entered a number of baked good entries over the years.

After serving the Ellensburg Police Department and Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department and living in the valley for over 30 years, Bill had never entered in the fair. With encouragement from his wife, he submitted an entry this year. He arrived with vanilla cupcakes in hand, one plate to be judged for taste and texture, the other for decoration.

He asked if the Kittitas County Fair would give out “pity ribbons.”

“I was going for simplicity and focusing on the mechanics. It’s my first time. Go easy on me,” he said.


The two Baking Departments have three judges who devote their time to tasting each entry the day of check-in. Judges are selected by the superintendent in charge of the department and can range from professionals in the field to seasoned home-bakers. Many exhibitors bring their entries in freshly baked that day, some still warm upon dropping them off.

The judges sample each of the 200 plus items, judging for taste, texture, appearance and other qualities of a perfectly baked treat. A judging sheet is filled out to critique each entry. Entries are then designated with a first, second or third place ribbon. Judges remain anonymous throughout the process.

Entries range from simple cookie recipes to a number of entries of banana, zucchini and pumpkin bread, to decorated cakes.

Following judging, the baked goods are marked with ribbons, categorized and displayed. All display set-up and decorating is worked on up until the night before fair opens.

The Adult Baking and Youth Baking Departments continuously look to improve the exhibitors guide for the next year, as trends in baking constantly change. Last year was the first time for gluten free and vegan categories, and each year participation continues to grow.

Superintendents Put in Long Hours at the Fair

Originally published in the Ellensburg Daily Record 

By Molly Allen

As Kittitas County Fair exhibitors dropped off their entries at a crowded check-in table earlier last week, one exhibitor told a superintendent: “You couldn’t pay me to be doing what you’re doing right now.”

As it turns out, superintendents aren’t paid. They volunteer their time to help organize the whirlwind that is the fair.

Next to the fair board, the superintendents are the heart and soul behind the fair. Some have been volunteering their time every Labor Day weekend for the past 30 years, while others are experiencing their first fair.

Superintendents oversee their department’s portion of the exhibitor guide, updated by the Kittitas County Fair each year. They are responsible for making changes to keep up with the changes in their industry. On check-in day, superintendents oversee entry judging, then set up their department’s exhibits.

A superintendent manages barn duty throughout fair hours, so each building is properly stocked, cared for and offers all fair-goers a resource within the building they’re touring.

“I love the opportunity to be of service, and it’s fun to meet so many different people,” said Jerry Brong, who has served as an assistant superintendent for photography for more than 10 years.

Previously a professional photographer, Brong said he loves to promote the fair to many people around the state. The photography department has one superintendent and three or four assistant superintendents, depending on the year. Brong’s wife, Marlene, also volunteers as an assistant superintendent.

“I love the chance to have discussions and to interact with other photographers. It’s nice to be able to share that knowledge with others,” Brong said.

On the 4-H and livestock side, the process for check-in and the responsibilities of a superintendent are similar to other departments. Bambi Miller, long-time county farmer and owner of Parke Creek Farm, has served as poultry superintendent for three years.

“It’s a carefully planned and timed-out process,” she said.

The Wednesday before fair is livestock day. Each department has its own drop-off time. When poultry comes in, they’re checked by two different vets for health. Prior to arrival, the superintendent already knows how many birds will be coming, and they have set up cages and tables to accommodate them. The superintendent follows the judge around as they rank poultry, marking down the rating in the official judging book and placing a ribbon on each cage.

“I just love watching the kids excel and succeed. Year after year you watch them learn responsibility, building so many skills,” Miller said.

The superintendents oversee the kids as they decorate the boards above their cages and take part in daily barn duty.

Once the fair closes, superintendents are responsible for coordinating entry pick up and clean up of their departments.

“It’s fun to be a part of something so special in our community,” Miller said.

Better Baked Goods – Healthy Breakfast Alternatives On-the-Go

Screen shot 2018-08-29 at 4.33.08 PM

Screen shot 2018-08-29 at 4.33.23 PM

With the start of a new year, brings resolutions. It brings a conscious decision to make a change, to do something more, or to eliminate something from a daily routine. As we have always been told, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Especially for those leading a busy lifestyle, starting off the day on the right foot with breakfast is essential. But for many, those grab and go breakfast alternatives, the quick coffee and pastry picked up on the way to the office, do not fit the mold of eating a healthier diet.

Healthy baked goods is not a term heard often. The typical baker focuses on moist cakes with plenty of sugar in the icing or a flaky pastry crust with butter folded in. Rarely does the idea of healthy, nutritious baked goods cross our mind, but it can be done.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a few new breakfast ideas, we have just the thing for you. The following recipes have been developed to offer a delicious grab-and-go breakfast option, packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients, but still incredibly satisfying. A Sunday afternoon prepping one of these options will serve you for the whole week.

Giant Granola Breakfast Cookies

These giant cookies are egg-free and made with whole wheat flour. Make a batch at the beginning of the week and wrap them individually for a hearty breakfast cookie that will stick with you all morning. 

Makes 6

10 G Protein, 9 G Fiber, 390 Calories


  • ¼ C Butter, softened
  • ¼ C Brown Sugar
  • ¼ C Honey
  • ¼ C Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ Tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Granola, any flavor
  • 4 Tbsp Flax Seeds
  • ¼ C Craisins, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat the butter, brown sugar, honey, and applesauce until combined. Mix together whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture until a soft dough begins to form. Mix in granola and flax seeds and Craisins, if desired. Form 6 large balls of dough. Flatten on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges begin to golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a soft cookie.

Honey Banana Flax Muffins 

These simple muffins are a great grab-and-go option for the morning riser who needs something a little bit sweeter. Grab two of these low calorie, high fiber treats as you jet out the door. 

Makes 18

3 G Protein, 3 G Fiber, 135 Calories


  • ½ C Brown Sugar
  • ¼ C Honey
  • ¼ C Canola Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 ½ C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp Flax Seeds
  • ½ C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut


Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat together brown sugar, honey, canola oil, and eggs. Mix in mashed bananas. In a separate bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gradually add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture. Mix until a batter begins to form. Mix in flax seeds and shredded coconut. Scoop 1/3 C of batter into lined muffin tins. Top with slivered almonds, if desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Quick-Bake Energy Bites 

These can serve you for breakfast or any snack in between. Pack up a few in a plastic bag and snack on them throughout the morning. 

Makes 24

3 G Protein, 2 G Fiber, 90 Calories


  • 2/3 C Slivered Almonds
  • 1 C Oats
  • 3 Tbsp Flax Seeds
  • 1/3 C Honey
  • ¼ C Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Milk


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8X8 square baking pan. Pour in almonds, oats, and flax seeds. In a small pot, melt the honey and peanut butter on low heat. Add in almond milk and stir. Once melted, pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture in the square baking pan and mix well until completely combined. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place in freezer for 10 minutes. Once cooled, form tablespoon sized balls with the mixture. Squeeze the mixture together to compact and roll into a ball. Once formed, energy bites are ready to eat, or place in the fridge over night for better hold.


*Originally published in Ellensburg Daily Record’s Kittitas Living Magazine