About 25 businesses have signed up for Genuine Skagit Valley branding since recruitment began in June.
The new agriculture branding strategy is designed to promote Skagit food and products.
Those that qualify include Skagit-based growers and ranchers, food processors that use at least 75% Skagit Valley ingredients, retailers and related businesses, marketing coordinator Blake Vanfield said.
With the program now well underway, shoppers may soon see products from berries to cheese to beer with “Genuine Skagit Valley” stickers.
For an annual fee of $250, businesses will receive product labels, signs, digital files, in-store displays, advertising and media campaigns, promotion at wholesale and industry trade shows, and a listing and member profile on genuineskagitvalley.com, according to membership materials.
The strategy was unveiled at the annual Skagit Ag Summit in February. It came about through Skagit’s Innovation Partnership Zone, created in 2013 to enhance the agricultural industry.
Vanfield said a 2017 survey of 1,000 Puget Sound residents found that only half could name at least one product from Skagit County.
“(People are) relatively unaware of the Skagit Valley, and it is surprising given how much is grown and produced here, and how much it lends to the culture and heritage of valley,” she said.
The goal of the mark is to increase awareness of local products.
“If (consumers) see a label, it can resonate and increase sales,” she said.
Vanfield said the goal is to recruit the first 50 founding members by the end of the year.
She estimates that shoppers may see the “Genuine Skagit Valley” sticker starting next spring.
Bow Hill Blueberries is a founding member.
“It’s really creating a brand awareness about the valley that so much great food comes from here,” said co-owner Susan Soltes. “You’re creating a value and appreciation of the Skagit Valley.”