At this year’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, fans of the flower will find a vivid if belated bloom, a farming landscape suitable for framing and, on one quarter-mile stretch of country road, an awkward, litigious rivalry between one of the valley’s oldest tulip gardens and its former CEO.
On April 1, the first day of the tulip festival, Mount Vernon native Andrew Miller formally opened Tulip Valley Farms, the valley’s fourth tulip-viewing operation. Located in a hazelnut orchard just west of Mount Vernon, Miller’s project still has the crazy-quilt rawness of a startup, with massive metal cargo containers and tents standing in for permanent buildings and acre after striped acre of blooming color.
But barely 900 feet to south, on the other side of Bradshaw Road, sits a much larger and refined establishment: Tulip Town, the 40-year-old viewing farm that Miller and four high school classmates acquired in 2019 — but which also fired Miller last September before taking him to court.
According to the lawsuit, filed March 28 in Skagit County Superior Court against Miller and Tulip Valley Farms, Miller’s neighborly location is intended “to siphon off” Tulip Town’s tourist traffic during the festival, when Tulip Town makes 90% of its annual revenue.
Read more at seattletimes.com