Known for its wineries and apple orchards, this haven east of the Cascade Mountains is a big little city with a population of 96,000 residents and a semi-arid desert climate. Recreation abounds from an ample park system and golf to a summertime float just outside city limits down the Yakima River. A wide variety of crops are grown in the Yakima Valley and is a top producer of many of the fruits, vegetables, grains, grown in Washington. Long-known as one of the world’s leading producers of apples, other tree fruits, like cherries, peaches, pears, nectarines, and apricots are also grown here. Mint, asparagus, hay, berries, and eggplant are also among the more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables that come from the Yakima Valley. Not to mention, nearly 75 percent of all hops grown in the United States come from Yakima, (you’re welcome, beer connoisseurs!) It’s home to an abundance of successful craft beverage makers (breweries, distilleries, and wineries,) too! The city’s economy is likewise driven by a strong manufacturing sector, with over 250 manufacturing firms producing everything from wood or plastic products to aircraft parts, recreation vehicles, and communications technology. But in recent years, tourism has been the fastest-growing segment of the economy. Its enviable outdoor recreation opportunities are certainly a draw, too–including skiing (by snow or water), fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, and white water rafting.
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