Sixth season of ‘Washington Grown’ begins airing

A new season of “Washington Grown,” the television show spotlighting the state’s agriculture, premiered Jan. 3.

Aimed at educating the public about Washington-grown food and agriculture, the TV show airs in the Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Yakima, Tri-Cities and Pullman markets.

Now in its sixth season, the show is funded by eight agricultural groups and organizations, and a USDA specialty crop block grant.

The first episode focuses on potato exports, including international chefs holding a cooking contest in the state, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, one of the primary supporters of the show.

Last season, the show added interviews with food truck owners using a particular crop in their recipes, in addition to interviews with restaurants.

The show has added 30-second to one-minute videos of recipes submitted by viewers. Several guest chefs taste-test the recipes, said David Tanner, co-executive producer of the show.

Another new segment focuses on purchasing produce at grocery stores, and how to buy and store it.

Tanner cites several upcoming episodes about cherries, edible flowers and Seattle restaurant owner Eduardo Jordan, recipient of the James Beard Foundation Best Chef of the Northwest. Jordan’s restaurant JuneBaby, also in Seattle, received the foundation’s Best New Restaurant.

Last year, the show went national on RFD-TV, which focuses on rural audiences and agriculture news. Voigt said 80 million households have access to the channel. Executive producer Kara Rowe said the show had 130,000 views when it premiered in July 2018.

The show is now beginning fundraising efforts for the seventh season.

It costs roughly $350,000 to produce a 13-episode season.

The show will remain a Washington-based program for the sixth and seventh seasons, Voigt said. But after that, it might make sense to go broader and bring in other funding partners in the Pacific Northwest, he said.

Industry members from Oregon and Idaho expressed interest in participating during a National Potato Council meeting July 2018 in Leavenworth, Wash., he said.

Because the show is produced using USDA specialty crop grants, the emphasis must be on specialty crops and produce.

For the seventh season, Voigt would welcome partners from the livestock sector.

“This whole show is about trying to educate the public,” he said. “So to give an idea of what exactly a rancher has to do in the way of grazing or protecting their herd, I’d love to tell that story.”

Rowe said the show is open to suggestions as it prepares to film the seventh season.

“We will never run out of stories,” she said. “All those cool little nuggets that are out there, so any time people have ideas, we’d love to hear about them. We’d love to hear about the guy down the street doing something cool or the little farm that nobody knows about.”