We are overwhelmed by the bounty that is our new weekly CSA. Just look what came in our box this week from Fair Ridge Farms. (The eggs and potatoes were excellent extras.) We have so many green things! Strawberries! Green beans! Peas! Suddenly the dark days of winter are a thing of the past.
Fair Ridge Farms drops off at our friends’ shop in Newport, KY, on Tuesdays. If you are in the area and have never made it into Seventh Street Gifts, put it on your immediate summer to-do list! They stock handmade soaps, local products, art, and a little bit of magic.
What will we do with all this veg? Well, we plan to feed salad to everyone we know. R. has been mixing up some wonderful dressing concoctions – perhaps a forthcoming article. And this one, of course, is always a favorite of mine. When I can find the time, the toddler and I will be turning out some dumplings for the freezer with that beautiful Chinese cabbage. Otherwise, we’re just gobbling down fresh snacks and feeling luxuriously wealthy!
Happy summer to you!
Do you have a few hours this weekend to help out? Bainbridge Island Vineyards are looking for volunteers to help with annual vine maintenance. What better way to spend time this weekend than getting some hands on experience with local grape vines? Betsey will provide the knowledge, so no experience necessary – for complete details see Save the Vines.
(Sorry for the late notice on this one! If you know others who might be able to make it, forward them the flier.)
What’s better than good food and happy people? Music and DANCING! Come on out to the barn dance next Saturday, sponsored by Friends of the Farm. I happen to know that you won’t want to miss the first act, the one and only Heels of Thunder. After a demo of different styles of clogging, you’ll be able to try out your own moves with a fun and easy lesson. So, invite your friends and grab your dancing shoes!
Although chocolate itself can hardly by considered local, who can resist a bit now and then? Seattle is lucky to be home to Theo Chocolate, specializing in fair trade, organic chocolate. A dark chocolate fan myself, I became a customer after visiting their factory in Fremont and tasting their excellent 84% Dark Chocolate Bar.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, I was given a box of Theo’s “Chef Sessions” chocolates by a friend who works at Theo. The box is a small collection of confections created through a collaboration between Theo and seven well-known West Coast chefs. So in the spirit of exploration, my Thanksgiving guests and I concocted a simple taste testing. Not everyone was a fan of the savory flavors introduced into some of the chocolates and some of the confections were clearly more successful than others – but overall it was a wonderful way to explore new marriages of flavor. Although we originally had some trouble determining which confections were which (they didn’t seem to line up with the cover of the box), we managed to sort it out. The favorites, were the tamarind lime chili caramel (“thumbs up for the bitter lime flavor”, “pleasant”) and the candied beet pate de fruit & almond praline (“that’s really good”, “nutty, not as earthy as I had hoped”). The agro dolce brittle was the least liked, and one taster was particularly unhappy with the flavor. Although the pine resin evoked the most interest, tasters found the taste “forgettable”. The huckleberry & cinnamon basil ganache was controversial – with several tasters wondering why the basil was present and even gaining one “awful” vote. I personally found it an interesting attempt, but ultimately agreed that the combo didn’t really work – reminding me more of pizza than chocolate.
If you are interested in pushing the culinary envelope or just like new flavor combinations, I can recommend picking up a box. (Additionally, Theo is donating $15 from every box to Food Lifeline, a local food bank.)
Farmhouse Organics is hosting a fundraising dinner this Sunday on behalf of Suquamish Elementary’s new farm kids program, They’ve put together an impressive cast of local chefs and promise “a special night filled with community spirit, amazing food and an abundance of wine.” Ann and Peter declare that the menu will not only be “inspired,” but insanely amazing.” Tour the farm, dine under a heated canopy, and enjoy live music. Mingle with others who care about local food and connecting children to their land. The $100 ticket includes includes wine and beer. The menu implies a “dessert explosion,” with coffee provided by Grounds for Change.
Here are just a few of the proposed menu items. Look for a complete menu at Saturday’s market. Check out the poster for more details.
Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash
Kale with Golden Raisins, Kalamata Olives, and Goat Cheese
Chocolate Truffle Roulades
Ginger Brown Butter Tarts w/ huckleberries, pears & peaches
Be sure to check out Sound Food’s Quick Start Guide to Local Eating. It’s an organized, accumulated list that can make it easier for you to source your dinner (and lunch and breakfast and snacks…) locally.
The distribution system hasn’t quite caught up with all of this local abundance, so buying it isn’t as easy as walking into your neighborhood supermarket. You need to know where to look. “Think local first” is the mantra. Start by looking for what you need close to home. If you can’t find it there, expand your radius a bit and find what you can as close to home as possible. -Sound Food website
Also in this month’s newsletter, I provide some nifty ways to turn that random summer produce that is accumulating in your refrigerator drawers (and on your countertops, and on your porch…) into delicious dinners.
Dropstone Farms is happy to be offering delicious local chicken again this year. Carefully and intentionally raised, these chickens will make you eschew grocery store chicken forever. They’re incredibly tasty! Envision cold sliced chicken for your next picnic.
They have only about 30 chickens left in this batch. No deposit is needed at this time. You can pay when you pick up your order.
Place your order here. Or read more details here.