History of the valley

The Sumner~Puyallup valley in Washington State is the second largest provider of rhubarb nationally.

Rhubarb had it's start in the Pierce County valley over 100 years ago and the industry is still healthy. Like the plant it has strong roots.

The valley has gone through a number of agricultural cycles in it’s 150 plus years.

The first settlers turned forest to fields to establish growing areas for a variety of crops. Lumber could be considered the earliest crop.

Another early crop was hops until a bug took it away in the early 1890's. Then came berries and vegetables. By 1912 the Puyallup and Sumner Fruit Growers' Association had 1300 valley members. Sumner alone had two large canneries that were kept busy processing and shipping.

As late as 1947, the Sumner city directory listed 48 fruit and vegetable growers. Most growers and the canneries are now part of the past.

The daffodil industry at one time made Sumner the “Bulb Capital of the World”. Now, sadly, most of the daffodil fields are gone.

What remains is the “pie plant”. Farmers started growing field rhubarb in the 1890’s. By the early 1900's they were building hothouses to supply fresh rhubarb through the winter season.

The rich valley soil had been the agricultural economic engine for the area for decades. A sad note is that residental, commercial and warehouse development has covered much of what was once farmland.