Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Blog has Moved!

Please check out our new blog and NEW FEATURES at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jam It, Pickle It or Cure It - Can-volution is Here

Hard to miss all the buzz about Can-volution - classes and events are springing up and taking root like a prize crop of zucchinis across the country and of course, right here in Seattle.

Inspired by Yes, We Can, a community home canning project in the Bay Area, Seattle food writer Kim O'Donnel asked on Twitter: What if Seattle got in on the canning act? Better still, what if we led the charge and set a date for a city-wide can-a-thon and encourage other cities around the country to follow suit for simultaneous coast-to-coast canning 'stravaganzas?

And so a Can-volution was born, with people organizing nationwide to preserve the season's bounty in a "Can-a-rama" kick-off event on August 29 and 30 with how to classes, demos and home canning parties from sea to shining sea - or in this case from Massachusetts to California and of course, the great state of Washington.

There's a complete list of canning events for August, September and October at Canning Across America - the brains behind Canvolution; below is a quick list for August. The site is also a terrific resource and guide to the joys of self-preservation, at least when it comes to food, which is much easier than you think. If I can make my own pickles, so can you.

Wednesday, August 26, 4 PM
Canning Demonstration @ Columbia City Farmers Market with Amy Pennington

Thursday, August 27, 5:45 PM - 6:45 PM
Queen Anne Farmers Market Canning Demonstration

Saturday, August 29, 10 AM
Canning Demonstration @ University District Farmers Market with Chef Renee Erickson of Boat Street Cafe

Preserving Peaches 3 Ways, 10 AM - 12:30 PM
Wiley Community Center, $30.00 (work/trades are available)

Canning in the Valley, 5 PM - 8:30 PM
Rainier Community Center, $25.00

Sunday, August 30, 2 PM - 3:30 PM
Canning Basics with Marisa McClellan: Fruit Jam
Starry Nights Catering & Events, $25.0

Introduction to Canning, 11 AM, 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM
Goods for the Planet, $10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

FreshLocal Coming to Bremerton This October

Fresh local vegetables, plus eggs, cheese, milk, frozen meats and locally made value-added food products will soon be available in scenic Bremerton.

A group of local farmers, including StartNow, Pheasant Fields and Harlow Gardens, are behind the new venture, with efforts underway to recruit more participants.

All local farmers and producers of local food products who follow non-toxic, sustainable principles are invited to contact Jean Schanen, for more information.

Although it's late to plant most winter crops, says Schanen, they'd like to hear from anyone who is interested, in order to start planning for the spring.

Local food lovers are also welcome to get involved and stay current with progress updates, what's fresh in store and add input on what they would like to see on the shelves. Even though space is limited says Schanen, they're giving thought to adding organic bulk products like beans and grains and organic spices to round out their offerings.

Good news for farmers and friends of locally grown fresh food - this makes for a big contribution to Bremerton and Kitsap County.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sign up for fresh fruits and veggies delivered via wind and water

It's Saturday morning and Ballard resident Laura McLeod is at Kick It Boots & Stompwear on Northwest Market Street. But it's not the latest Italian boots she's after. McLeod has purchased several 3-pound jars of Buck Hollow Farms raw honey from Poulsbo that, literally, just came off the boat.

The boat, also known as Whisper and home to Sail Transport Company, is moored down the road at Shilshole Bay Marina, while a lively group of shoppers gathers round to pick up pre-ordered tote bags brimming with organic produce.

Grown by Kitsap County farmers, the fresh veggies and fruit and molasses-colored jars of honey have been sailed from shore to shore without using one drop of petroleum, courtesy of STC's sail- and bike-powered community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Since the company's inception in 2008, the guiding premise for founder Dave Reid has been to harness the power of water and wind -- along with a little brain and brawn -- as a fuel source. But the mission isn't just fossil-fuel independence.

"It's important that we build a petroleum-independent infrastructure with promise for the well-being of our future," Reid says. But, "It's also important to me that we build systems of local trade, employing local people."

Deliveries take place every second Saturday, June through October. A peek into one of those brimming totes revealed strawberries; purple and red radishes; red, rainbow and golden chard; fava beans; mustard greens; dill; parsley; spring baby garlic; baby white turnips; and wheat berries.

"The selection changes with the season," says Reid. "We try whenever possible to make the half and full totes the same selection. If we have to leave something out of the half totes, for example, we try to limit it to a variation rather than pure omission. The full may have three types of chard where the half has two."

The goods can be picked up in Ballard from 10 a.m. to noon, or delivered within a 4-mile radius from the marina via specially outfitted transport tricycles. Service is limited only by geography and what Reid calls "natural topography."

If you're outside the delivery area, but use a petroleum-free means to pick up your order, you'll qualify for a discount. A half tote, sized for a single person for one week, is $25; a full tote, sized to last a family of two to three for one week, is $40. The honey will cost you $18, but according to McLeod, it's money well-spent.

"This is probably the best honey I've ever tasted," she says. "It's dark, rich and complex, not just one flavor like blackberry or wildflower. I eat it by the spoonful; it's kind of like dark chocolate."

Reprinted with permission. Article originally appeared NWsource on July 27, 2009. Author: Sheryl Wiser

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Clean Greens Market Debuts this Saturday!

Our taste tip of the week goes to the grand opening of the Clean Greens Market at New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday, July 25 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

You'll find lovely, luscious and affordable bunches of pesticide-free mustard greens, collards, green & yellow summer squash, turnips and spinach. Clean Greens Market is located at 116 21st Avenue in Seattle, just north of Yesler.

Their motto? Good food, great prices and healthy community. So take yourself and your favorite shopping tote out to market this Saturday.

Based on 22 acres of leased land in Duvall, WA, Clean Greens was begun by the Black Dollar Days Task Force, an organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity and equity in Seattle's low income communities.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Save the Date - Calendar Picks for July

Ready to hit the road in search of adventures in local agriculture?

Here's a handy little guide to what's happening around the Sound this month.

King County Fair
July 16-18

13th Annual Sequim Lavendar Festival
July 17, 18 & 19

Mason County Fair
July 24-26

Poulsbo Farmers Market Children's Day
July 25

Enumclaw Fair/Farmers Market
July 25-26

Thurston County Fair
July 29-August 2

U District Farmers Market Makes Huffington Post Top 10 List!

Way to go U District Farmers Market!

The Huffington Post has included Seattle's oldest and largest "farmers-only" neighborhood market as one of the top ten farmers markets in the US.

According to "HuffPost Green," the University District FM, along with their celebrated cohorts are cited for their dedication to fresh produce, locavore ideologies and innovative settings."

Of course, all those superlatives apply, but we're also fans (obviously) of all our farmers market partners here in Puget Sound.

In case you're missing details - the Saturday market, located at the corner of University Way and NE 50th, in the heart of Seattle's University District is open year-round from 9 AM - 2 PM. On-street parking can be found, and the market provides tokens to shoppers for one free hour of parking in nearby pay lots.

Living nearby, our Saturday morning ritual includes walking over with shopping bags in tow. First stop - a calorie-busting round of buttery pastries, then down to the business of tasting, visiting and stocking up.

Looking for markets in your neck of the woods? Be sure and visit Puget Sound Fresh and check out the PSF Farm Guide.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Food Lust Recap

The party may be over, but memories live forever, not to mention photos.

What happens at Food Lust stays at Food Lust, right?

Food Lust 2009 was a whirlwind affair and although the weather wasn’t’ quite as bright and shiny as we would have liked, nothing dampened the spirits of over 125 attendees who wined, dined, brawled (for bottles) and dashed for dessert and bid like pros for favorite auction items.

As far as the live auction, the evening’s biggest nail biter had to be the Farmer Chef Bacchanalia, with each new bid bringing an inspired round of table drumming, hearty cheers and sharp-eyed bidding. Some lucky Food Luster is now the recipient of a blowout feast for 12, featuring the talented Chef Tamara Murphy, Brasa, Chef Seth Caswell, emmer & rye and Autumn Martin, Theo Chocolates, along with VineOne Wines amidst the pastoral setting of Ninety Farms in Arlington.

Once again, we tip our hats, forks, knives and plates and everything else to all of our generous sponsors, donors and patrons, plus an incredible crew of hardworking volunteers, staff and our ultimate dynamic planning duo - our Board Chair Alison Leber and Board Member Seth Caswell.

Save the date for Food Lust 2010!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tempting Food Lust

Paddles Up!

How can we tempt you? Let us count the ways at this year’s Food Lust on Saturday, June with a mind-boggling booty of temptations that comprise this year’s auction. We’ve been hard at work, combing the land (or at least Puget Sound) and procured a smorgasbord of enticing items that will make your pens soar at the silent auction and paddles sing when we go live.

We love 'em all, and we think you will too.

Speaking of love, Clayton Burrows of Growing Washington showed us some with a spectacular Gobble, Gobble Thanksgiving CSA Share.

The winner of this item is going to be the envy of the entire neighborhood. First, you take ownership of your own turkey, raised by Growing Washington’s farmers at Alm Hill Gardens. Your turkey is fed only the finest organic feed and, along with its chicken and pig friends, roams around 2 acres of rotating forage.

Your turkey will have only one bad day, and that is the day before Thanksgiving. On this fateful and glorious day, your turkey becomes the centerpiece of a fabulous locally produced Thanksgiving. If you are a lover of stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable trays, pumpkin pie, cranberries, roasted vegetables, apple pie, berry desserts, winter squash, salads, and other traditional Thanksgiving fare, you’ll love eating an all-local Thanksgiving.

And, to show off your fabulous feast, you might need an equally impressive dining room. That’s where our new BFOF (Best Friend of Farmers), green interior designer Piper Lauri Salogga of Natural Balance Home and Office, comes in with an amazing one-room makeover.

Here’s your chance to create the beautiful sustainable room of your dreams. Piper’s gathered up some of her favorite colleagues and created a full meal deal worth bidding on. You’ll get design consultation with Piper, professional organization consulting from Simplify,, and primo color consultation, courtesy of Nest,

Once you choose that perfect color, along comes a full paint job from Hanoch Painting and of course the paint (non-toxic, of course) and four lovely accent pillows courtesy of Six Walls Interior Design, Of course, no room is complete without great lighting – you’ll get to choose a custom lampshade from Capitol Hill’s LiT,

However, without a ticket you'll miss all the fun, not to mention your chance to bid on over 90 auction items.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Public Comment Sessions on FARMS Study Findings

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who participated in King County’s FARMS study by completing the consumer opinion survey and/or participating in one of the town hall meetings. You’re input on the future of farming in King County and the region was extremely valuable. A big shout out to the 450 of you who completed the telephone survey!

Preliminary results indicate that 89% of you purchased local food at a neighborhood farmers market in the last year and 74% said that is was very important for you to be able to purchase fruits and vegetables grown in King County. Importantly, 85% of you agreed with the statement that “King County should continue to provide services to farmers, such as assistance with permits, drainage improvements, promotion of local farm products, and grants to improve environmental practices.”

Now you have the opportunity to help translate those desires into actions.

The King Conservation District is holding a series of public comment sessions and taking written input on priorities and programs funded by the District’s special assessment. The total assessment is shared between the KCD for operations, originating jurisdictions (cities and unincorporated King County) and watershed stewardship activities. The announcement below provides more detail and the specific dates/times/locations for the public meetings.

We strongly encourage you to participate in person or in writing to support funding allocations for critical farm and food system needs in King County and all its cities. This must be a collaborative effort. Priorities include programs that address farm viability and marketing, farm transition – getting and keeping the next generation of farmers on the land, and increasing farm productivity.




King Conservation District sets dates and locations for district-wide public comment sessions

District seeks input in advance of 2010 special assessment

RENTON— The King Conservation District (King CD) will hold a series of six public comment sessions in May and June to provide input on conservation priorities and programs that would be funded by the reauthorization of the district special assessment.

The King CD ( provides conservation information and technical assistance programs to all landowners within the district’s boundaries (most of King County) on a voluntary, non-regulatory basis. It provides grants for conservation projects and programs, and initiates community outreach activities including workshops, education programs, site visits, farm plans, and consultation on land, water and wildlife management.

The King CD is funded by a $10 per parcel/per year assessment within the district’s boundaries and expires on December 31st, 2009. It provides approximately $6 million annually to the District. This funding has been allocated to support good stewardship practices by private landowners through King CD education workshops and site-specific consulting, and for natural resource conservation projects in partnership with King County and its cities. For the past decade, King CD has supported salmon recovery work within the District.

“We are inviting landowners, residents, member jurisdictions, and organizations that operate within the boundary of the district to share their ideas about their natural resource conservation needs and work accomplishments of the District” said King CD Executive Director Jeffrey Possinger.

Individuals interested in providing comments can attend any number of the public comment sessions or may submit comments in writing by June 5, 2009 by email to or standard mail at:

King CD Board of Supervisors
Attn.: Public Comment
1107 SW Grady Way, Suite 130
Renton, WA 98057

For more information on the King CD and the public comment process visit or call 425-282-1987.

As one of 47 conservation districts in the state, the King CD is a natural resources assistance agency authorized by the State of Washington and guided by the Washington State Conservation Commission.

King Conservation District Public Comment Locations and Dates:

· SHORELINE: Thursday, May 14, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Shoreline/ King County Library, 345 NE 175th, Shoreline WA 98155

· MERCER ISLAND: Tuesday, May 19, 4:00 – 6:00 PM

Mercer Island/King County Library, 4400 88th Ave. S.E., Mercer Island, WA 98040

· KENT: Thursday, May 21, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Kent/King County Library, 212 2nd Avenue N., Kent, WA 98032

· SEATTLE: Wednesday, May 27, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Seattle Public Library (High Point branch), 3411 SW Raymond St., Seattle WA 98126

· CARNATION: Thursday, May 28, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Carnation/King County Library, 4804 Tolt Avenue, Carnation WA 98014

· ISSAQUAH: Tuesday, June 2, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Issaquah/King County Library, 10 W. Sunset Way, Issaquah WA 98027

# # #


Jeffrey Possinger, Executive Director or

Jason Chambers, Public Information Officer

King Conservation District


Barry Bartlett, The Bartlett Group


Save Money by Shopping @ Farmers Markets?! King 5 says so

Jump to video.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Maria Hines wins James Beard award for Best Chef Northwest

Maria Hines, of Tilth Restaurant, took home the award for Best Chef in the Northwest beating out fellow NW culinary marvels Jason Wilson (Crush), Joseba Jimenez de Jimenez (The Harvest Vine), Ethan Stowell (Union), and Cathy Whims (Nostrana). Congrats to Chef Hines! Chef Hines has been a huge proponent of using local ingredients, including her "producer spotlight" dinners, which highlight a specific local producer throughout a multi-course meal. We wish her the best and will continue to follow her phenomonal culinary accomplishments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture...reinvented?

Every Wednesday, across the nation, most newspapers print their food section, providing plenty of great reading. I was trawling through the web this morning, looking for interesting articles about local food, when I came across this headline: Ashland farmer reinvents model for community supported agriculture. Hmmmm. Very intriguing, especially for a guy like me who loves CSAs, as a business model, as an eating philosophy and as a semi-cryptic initialism. Each CSA program is unique. There have been a few creative twists tried out over the years, some more effective than others.

Crown S Ranch in the Methow Valley runs a meat and poultry CSA, radically different than the traditional vegetable and fruit shares (a phenomenal way to secure a locally grown Thanksgiving turkey!)

Full Circle Farm, near Carnation, WA, has taken the CSA model and tweaked it to fit a more modern lifestyle, with web-based accounts, multiple share sizes, year-round service, and some exotic foods.

Helsing Junction Farm, outside of Rochester, WA, offers a Foodbank Farm Donation, where "every season we accept donations from our members and we then match those funds, allowing us to deliver CSA boxes directly to families who rely on the food bank for some of their dietary needs." (From their website)

There are CSAs delivered by bicycle (for those who are "hyperlocal"), cut-flower CSAs, winter-only CSAs, harvest-your-own CSAs (the lovechild of CSAs and U-picks), and many other iterations

What did this farmer to to "reinvent" the CSA model? He offered smaller share sizes. Not, in my mind, a "reinvention" of the CSA model, but the farmer's CSA model tweak represents a shift in the reach of and target audience for CSA programs. In the past, CSAs were primarily targeted for the "core" of the local food scene, but in the last five years or so, they have really taken off, spreading outward and adapting to the desires of the so-called "second tier" consumers. It's an interesting trend that both supports the sustainability of local farms and meets increasing market demand.

RIGHT NOW is the best time to sign up for a CSA. Check out the 2009 Puget Sound Fresh CSA Directory to find a program near you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kudos for Puget Sound Fresh Farm Guide!

Fresh off the press, our 2009 Puget Sound Fresh Farm guide got a thumbs up from Mark Lovejoy, owner of Garden Treasures nursery and organic farm in Arlington. While we always appreciate getting good feedback on what we do, it makes us do a little jig when our local farmers feel supported.

FYI, a PDF version of the Farm Guide is available on our companion website Here's what Mark emailed last week:

"Just took a PDF look at the 2009 Puget Sound Fresh Farm Guide. Looks amazing, great logos, beautiful artwork, and very easy to read and understand with the symbols and the maps.

The guide definitely is the only local print resource many small farms and roadside farms have to get the word out affordably [sic], and to customers who like to do the farm tour thing and eating local.

Great job and well done!"

Thanks Mark. You make us blush!

If you're interested in distributing the guide, contact Mark McIntyre at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Post-taxes rant: ummmm, where's the moneytrain?

Hey gang,

Today, I bring you a little rant, so strap in, hold on, and steel yourself for a tale of greed and corruption! Well, not quite, but still....

Some brief background:

Cascade Harvest Coalition wants to build a better food system in Washington state. Boom. Pretty easy goal to understand, right? But it's also a really broad goal, a large umbrella, if you will. Underneath that umbrella, we house a variety of programs, each designed to tackle a food and farming issue not addressed by government, private enterprise, or other non-profit organization. Why the italics? Because they highlight the fact that our programs are unique to our beautiful state and wonderful communities.

Now the rant. We don't work for free. Our contractors don't work for free. And, while our volunteers work for free, they require management and organization, which isn't free. Our research isn't free. Our time isn't free. Yes, this rant is fueled by my tax-hangover, but it's also fueled by the fact that in the first quarter of 2009 we have fielded more general phone calls and provided more free advice and assistance than any time in the past. People have been dropping into our office like rain in Seattle: it feels like all the time, and just when you think it's over, it starts again. We love that people call us with questions. We love that we can provide a unique service to our community and region. But again, that service ain't free. And yet, event though we provide a unique service, one that is increasing in popularity, it looks like we're gonna be losing more funding. Wha?!?! Yep. As our time becomes scarcer and our services more valuable, we get less funding.

While we are writing more grants and seeking other forms of funding, there's another strange occurrence tied to the uptick in interest in local food: more organizations jumping on the bandwagon, trying to capture a piece of the pie. Again, in general, it's wonderful to see people taking a greater interest in food and farming. But specifically, it means that we are all thrown into a mild-mannered version of the Thunderdome where we compete for the same grants and funding sources. While local ag. is a hot topic, there's still not a ton of funding available. For instance, everyone loves the classic farmer-chef fundraising event...unless you get invited to 15 of them within a three month period! That doesn't pencil out for anyone involved. Too many mouths to feed. Plus, many of the other organizations jump into the fray to try and generate more demand for local food...which is great, but we really need to address the other side of the equation and help generate a greater and better supply of local food. Consumer education and consumer demand are vitally important, but unless we preserve farmland and help new farmers get on that land, all the demand in the world won't matter.

So...what's the point of all of these words? Simple: I ask you to think about the person on the other end of the line when you are requesting a service. Not just for our organization, but for all of those other organizations out there who provide important services, valuable services, unique services that may be in jeopardy of losing large amounts of funding in the coming year. If you value those services, help out by becoming a member or making a small donation.

Okay, here's to hoping that I don't regret this post later today.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh happy day! Food Lust tickets now on sale!

Are you ready to party on the farm? Tickets are now on sale for Food Lust 2009 at

Join us for a “down on the farm” celebration of our region’s remarkable bounty with a mouth-watering, multi-course meal prepared by Seattle’s best chefs and local farmers at Fall City Farms, on Saturday, June 6.

The feast (and the fun) begins at 5 PM with drinks, appetizers, and silent auction, followed by dinner, Bottle Brawl, live auction, and Dessert Dash. This year, we’ve added a dash of soulful Cuban music, with SuperSones.

Participating chefs and farmers to date include Brasa, Circa, Fall City Farms, Fall City Roadhouse, Herban Feast, Matt’s in the Market, TASTE at SAM, Stumbling Goat, and Taylor Shellfish with more to come. Participating wineries include Lopez Island Winery, Hoodsport Winery, and Perennial Vintners.

Tickets are $85 per person; all proceeds will benefit Cascade Harvest Coalition.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Follow us on Facebook!

Become a fan of Cascade Harvest Coalition on Facebook. We are trying to utilize new social networking technology to help us connect farmers and consumers.

Join us on Facebook!


--US Food Safety Outdated, Needs Updates, More Inspections

--Portlanders Want Local Food In Local Schools Helps Match Wannabe Gardeners With Backyard Space

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Helpful guide to meat labels

Check out this helpful, printable, foldable guide. Of course, if you buy locally raised meat, you can just ask the farmer...


Friday, April 3, 2009

Food Lust 2009 Tickets on Sale April 15 -- Celebrate Local Food with Cascade Harvest Coalition!

Food Lust wants you!

While the IRS is clamoring for your taxes, you deserve a fresh on-the-farm, gourmet al fresco gala. Yep.

Starting Wednesday, April 15, tickets for Food Lust 2009 will be available online at

Tickets are $85 per person and include a mouth-watering, multi-course meal prepared by Seattle’s best chefs and local farmers in celebration of this region’s remarkable bounty, as well as the accomplishments of Cascade Harvest Coalition and its supporting members.

The fun begins at 5 PM with drinks, appetizers, and silent auction, followed by dinner, Bottle Brawl, live auction, and Dessert Dash. We’ve also decided to add a dash of Cuban soul, with live music by SuperSones.

Teaser alert: Participating chefs and farmers to date include Brasa, Circa, Herban Feast, Matt’s in the Market, TASTE at SAM, Stumbling Goat and Taylor Shellfish with more to come.

Stay tuned for more updates – we’re lining up amazing auction items and of course, desserts that will make you swoon with pleasure.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2009 Farm Guides are here!

Yee-haw! The 2009 Puget Sound Fresh Farm Guides have arrived. This year, we have a completely re-designed guide thanks to Lida Enche-Keene, our go-to graphic design artist and illustrator. Here's a taste of what's inside:

Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this wonderful publication possible! If you are interested in getting your hands on some guides, please let me know:


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

2009 Local Farm Walk Schedule Announced!

Tilth Producers of Washington and WSU Small Farms Team present:

2009 Farm Walk Schedule

Monday April 13 - Terry's Berries, Tacoma

Recordkeeping in a Diversified Vegetable & Fruit Operation, 12:30pm-4pm

Terry's Berries is a 20-acre diversified organic vegetable and fruit farm that markets produce through an extensive CSA, on-farm store and farmers markets. Terry will share the specific recordkeeping tools she uses to plan, stay organized and track information during her extended production and marketing season. She will share her forms, systems and ideology, including CSA planning and tracking, organic certification records, greenhouse planning and planting, capturing harvest information, and ways to use records for planning future farm improvements. (Organic)

Monday April 27 - Lopez Island Farm, Lopez Island

Pastured Pigs and Soil Fertility, 10am-1pm

Bruce Dunlop is a grass farmer and meat producer who utilizes rotational grazing to optimize soil nutrients. Pig manure fertilizes fall-planted pasture which feeds sheep in subsequent years. A Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) farmer grant is helping Bruce compare soil fertility in plots with pigs pastured under different rotation regimes. See and discuss early results of this on-going research with Bruce and WSU faculty collaborators Tom Schultz and Craig Cogger. Sheep breeding, offal composting, meat production, processing, and marketing methods, and the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative USDA certified mobile meat processing unit will also be discussed. Special Note: Attendees should plan to board the ferry from Anacortes at 8:50 am and board return ferry from Lopez Island at 1:50 or 4:55 pm. Roundtrip fares: passenger: $10.95; vehicle + driver: $26.60; bicycle surcharge: $2.00. See for shuttle information. (Sustainable)

Monday, May 18 - Monteillet Fromagerie, Dayton

French Cheesemaking in the Walla Walla Valley, 12:30pm-3:30pm (followed by optional wine & cheese tasting)

Monteillet Fromagerie was the first artisan cheese farmstead in the Walla Walla Valley of Southeastern Washington and features a Grade A dairy and cheese making facility. On 31-acres, Joan and Pierre Louis Monteillet intensively manage pasture for Alpine goats, East Freisan-Lacaune sheep, poultry and pigs. Throughout the production of traditional hand ladled chevres (goat) and brebis (sheep) milk cheeses, the Monteillets strive to foster a lifestyle that is creative physically and spiritually, as well as economically. Following the farm walk, Joan will host an optional cheese & wine tasting for an additional $15. (Transitioning to Biodynamic)

Monday June 8 - Crown S Ranch, Winthrop

Organic Animal Husbandry, 12:30pm-4pm

Crown S Ranch is a 120-acre, pasture-based organic farm owned and operated by the Sukovaty-Argraves family. Engineers by training, Louis and Jennifer have combined innovative, modern technologies with sustainable, old-fashioned practices to create humane, economically and environmentally-sound animal husbandry systems that are "better for the animals, better for the environment, and better for you." Farm Walk participants will discuss techniques for integrating cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens and lamb using management-intensive pasture rotations. Come see their solar powered chicken train and learn about nutrient recycling to minimize off-farm inputs (closed farming system), on-farm organic hay, grain and feed production, and meat processing. (Organic)

Monday June 22 - Estrella Family Creamery, Montesano

Artisan Cheese Production, 12:30pm-4pm

Estrella Family Creamery is a 164-acre grass-based dairy located in the Wynoochee Valley of Southwest Washington. Kelli and her family make twenty different types of aged cheeses by hand, several of which have received national and international awards. Cows and goats graze in organically-maintained pastures and are fed alternative forages such as oat hay and fodder beets. Tour the farm and see the cheese making operation, including five separate cheese aging rooms, each with its own unique environment. The Estrellas sell their cheese at Seattle farmer's markets, local retail stores, and an on-farm store on Saturdays. (Organic/Sustainable)

Monday July 13 - Let Us Farm, Oakville

Organic Mixed Vegetable Production and Farmer Transition, 12:30pm-4pm

Steve Hallstrom and Cecelia Boulais have converted a defunct 80-acre dairy on the Chehalis River to a productive organic mixed vegetable farm. Produce is sold through farmers markets and the Olympia Food Cooperative. Steve and Cecelia strive for sustainability through utilizing summer and winter cover crops and field rotations; conservation tree planting and habitat strips. Tour the greenhouses, hoop houses and fields. See innovative farmer housing including a converted silo, milk-tank suite and dining parlor. In partnership with Cascade Harvest Coalition's FarmLink Program, Steve and Cecelia will share how they "grow farmers," and discuss their plan to transition the operation to the next generation. (Organic)

Thursday July 30 - WSU Field Day and Organic Farm, Pullman

Current University Research and Teaching in Organic Farming - Eastern Washington, 9:30am-1pm

Come discover the latest research and hands-on teaching methods being tested at the Washington State University (WSU) Organic Farm in Pullman, including a four-year study of diverse winter and summer vegetables grown in unheated, unlit field hoop houses to increase production efficiency. The farm operates a 105-member fruit and vegetable CSA, selling to the local community. Students provide the bulk of the labor as part of their academic program. Tour the farm with the farmers, researchers, and students guiding the discussions. Visitors will be introduced to current student projects and faculty research plots. (Organic)

Monday August 3 - WSU Field Day and Organic Farm, Puyallup

Current University Research in Organic Farming - Western Washington, 1pm-4pm

WSU Puyallup's experimental organic farm highlights a wide variety of organic practices and research plots. The organic farming and nutrient management research team has partnered with berry researchers to evaluate day-neutral strawberry varieties. The organic strawberry trial will run for three years and early results will be shared during the farm walk. Pastured sheep have recently been added to the system, helping researchers understand soil quality and fertility changes with the addition of pasture to a vegetable rotation. Pastured poultry have been part of the experimental farm since its inception-chickens and mobile chicken tractors will be on display. Other topics include Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for food safety and drip irrigation. (Organic)

Monday August 17 - Alvarez Farms, Mabton

Large Scale Diversified Vegetable Row Crops, 12:30pm-4pm

The 120-acre Alvarez Farm is located in the upper Yakima Valley, with its rich volcanic soil, relatively moderate climate, and abundant irrigation water from the Yakima River. Hilario and Soledad Alvarez grow over 200 varieties of vegetables and melons, including a large diversity of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, zucchini, peas, beets, green onions, corn, okra, garlic, summer and winter squash, peanuts and more. Produce is sold throughout the Yakima Valley and through farmers markets in the Puget Sound region. More than 120 varieties of peppers and 50 varieties of tomatoes are grown from seeds harvested from their own crop. By taking soil tests every three years, the Alvarez family carefully monitors key soil indicators and organic matter content to ensure the long-term health of their farmland. Farm Walk attendees will see the entire operation, learn about soil monitoring and improvement, and how to make water-based pest spray using garlic cloves. (Organic)

Monday September 28th - Blue Dog Farm, Carnation

Berry Production, Static Composting, and Raising Children while Farming, 12:30pm-4pm

Owners Amy and Scott Turner will share information and host discussions on a wide range of topics while we tour their dynamic community-rich farm. These farmers will share how they are changing Blue Dog Farm into a more diverse and integrated farm by combining vegetable and fruit production with animal and feed production. With berries as the main crop, attendees will see a variety of weed and disease control practices for small acreage fresh market blueberries and raspberries. Another main highlight at Blue Dog Farm is the static aerated pile method for composted mulch. Learn about the benefits of different compost ingredients, equipment, recordkeeping, testing, and best final use. Amy and Scott will also talk about the challenges and benefits of raising children while actively farming. (Organic)

Farm Walk Logistics - Complete details at

* Beverages are provided.
* Cost is $10 for Tilth Producers members; $15 for non-members; for student group rate, inquire at (206) 442-7620
* Driving directions available at
* Register on-site or pre-register by mailing a check with your farm walk choice(s) to:

Tilth Producers of Washington
PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145

Tilth Producers Membership is encouraged to help support the Farm Walk Program. ($45 regular or $30 low-income) Member benefits include a subscription to Tilth Producers Quarterly, a Directory of organic growers and resources, discounts for farm walks and the annual conference, free listing in Tilth Intern Placement Service, Directory and email news. For more information: (206) 442-7620 or

Tilth Producers of Washington promotes ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable farming practices that improve the health of our communities and natural environment.

Tilth Producers of Washington
P.O. Box 85056
Seattle WA 98145

Nancy Allen, Administrative Director

Visit the Tilth Producers website:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Biodegradable Bags, Local Farms, and Greenwashing

For the past few weeks, I've been researching biodegradable bag options for local farms and farmers markets in Washington State. I was looking primarily at standard sized t-shirt bags, dimensions: 17.7” x 22.8”, 0.96mil(thickness), holds approx. 10 gallons. As I delved into this topic, more and more questions arose:
• What does “compostable” mean?
• How is that different (or similar) to “biodegradable”?
• Are the bags made from non-GMO corn?
• Are they made from petroleum, with an approved additive?
• Will they compost in landfills/home composts or do they need to be composted at approved facilities?
And so on, and so on. It’s a complex issue, without a single “right answer”. I am trying to find a biodegradable bag product that fits five criteria:

1. Affordable, compared to standard plastic t-shirt bags
2. Biodegradable, according to Cedargrove Composting and Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI, a national certifying and testing agency)
3. US Manufactured, there are no local manufactures, but we want to purchase a domestically produced product
4. Authenticity, the goal is to develop a long-term, values-based relationship with the manufacturer, not a sales-based relationship. We want to work with a company that values sustainability, rather than one that simply sells a “sustainable” product.
5. Made from non-GMO corn. We cannot promote sustainable agriculture if we undermine it by purchasing GMO-based products.

In the past, CHC has worked with a local company to purchase “biodegradable” bags. Recently, I found out that their bags are NOT biodegradable in the Cedargrove Composting system, nor are they on the BPI list of approved products. Essentially, they sold us plastic bags at a premium price. Not good. It seems many manufacturers simply label their products "biodegradable" or "sustainable" for marketing. Yes, I have encountered "greenwashing" before, but this was the first time that I didn't really have any background experience or knowledge.

One manufacturer has consistently met our criteria, but before CHC makes a purchase, we're waiting for responses from local farms and farmers markets about their interest and commitment to biodegradable bags. At least we're now more conversant with the terminology and a little less naive about "greenwashing".


Monday, March 23, 2009

Cascade Harvest Coalition is a 2009 Local Hero Award recipient!

Thanks, edibleSEATTLE!

Local Hero Awards

Paperpot Transplanter

Boo-yah! This is for Amy Sills:

Here's an excerpt from the email I received:

The transplanter is hand-pulled and relies on seeding into a system of paper pots that are in a chain. Because the pots are in a chain, they feed themselves through the transplanter. With this transplanter, I can put 264 plants in the ground (one flat) in less than a minute...all while walking upright (no kneeling, crawling or stooping).

Because the pots are in a chain, the in-row spacing is pre-determined. Generally, the system is best suited for closely spaced crops. It is absolutely perfect for allium family crops. It can also be used for things like spinach, chard, many cut flowers, beets, and some herbs. I am still experimenting with various other crops.

I discovered the transplanter while living in Japan a few years ago. I was so excited about it that I not only decided to buy one and bring it back but also made arrangements with the company to import them because they are so well-suited to small farms. The paperpots are not OMRI certified but my WI-based certification agency has approved them for use on my certified organic farm.

The transplanter itself is about $1000. The paper chain pots range from $1.60 to $2.60 per flat. There are other components of the system as well (trays for the paperpots, frames to hold the paperpots open before filling with potting mix, etc.).


2009 Puget Sound Fresh Farm Guide almost finished!

We just finished the final proofing session for the 2009 Farm Guide! Hooray! Lida will send it to the printer tomorrow and the final product should be ready for distribution the first week of April. Until then, check out the GoogleMap of all of the local Farm and Farmers Market Listings in the print edition:

View Larger Map


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

North Sound Farm-to-Table workshop recap

Hey everyone!

The most recent Farm-to-Table workshop, held on March 2nd up in Mt. Vernon, was a huge success! About 50 people attended, roughly half of whom were farmers, one-quarter were local food buyers and one-quarter were resource/support organizations. We had a phenomenal panel of presenters, who discussed "Emerging Market Opportunities for Local Farms":

• Holly Freishtat, Sustainable Food Specialist for Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR)
• Kirk Hayes, Devine Gardens
• Jodie Buller, Skagit Valley Food Co-op
• Tim Crosby, Northwest Agriculture Business Center/Growing Washington
• Kai Ottesen, Hedlin Farms

The talk ranged from Farm-to-Institution sales, the Puget Sound Food Network, brewing your own on-farm bio-diesel, developing advance growing and purchasing plans with local retailers, diversifying market operations, and more. After the presentation, the audience jumped into the game with lots of questions and comments.

After a short break, we reconvened in smaller break-out sessions to tackle some of the topics brought up in the panel presentation:

• Farm-to-School
• Farm-to-Healthcare
• Puget Sound Food Network
• Farm-to-Retail

To finish the afternoon, we opened up the floor for one-on-one networking and discussion. Everybody who attended seemed engaged, interested and willing to talk to each other. While the top goal for the workshops is to facilitate new sales relationships between local farmers and local food buyers, one of the meaningful longer-term outcomes is the high-quality discussion about "what's next" for local agriculture. The relationships forged through positive group discussion and brainstorming might just turn into the next successful business partnership. Sometimes we get complaints that there's too much talking at these events....well, how else do you expect to make sales? You gotta communicate effectively before you can sell effectively.

Join us for the next workshop!

West Sound Farm-to-Table Workshop
Date: TBA (check our website for updates!)


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taste the love and spread the word; Food Lust returns June 6, 2009

Save the date for Food Lust, Cascade Harvest Coalition's annual on-the-farm gala, Saturday, June 6, 2009 at Fall City Farms.

Now in its fourth year, Food Lust is both celebration and tribute to the work of Cascade Harvest Coalition, its supporting members and the extraordinary bounty of local and sustainable food our region has to offer. Our festive fete to food and all things farm fresh pairs Seattle’s best chefs and local farms, resulting in a sumptuous, multi-course feast, accompanied by live music, inspiring tales of food and of course, our rockin’ live auction.

Temptation is the name of the game at Food Lust – from briny oysters to artisan cheeses, delectable desserts and award-winning Washington wines.

We are also looking for a few good sponsors; they play a big role in helping us underwrite the cost of the dinner. Interested in contributing to one our auctions? Donations of products and services related to food, farms, or family fun are welcome – we’re happy to help brainstorm some creative ideas.

Contact Mary Embleton ( or Mark McIntyre (

Proceeds from Food Lust benefit Cascade Harvest Coalition’s work to expand and grow our programs and keep us on the frontlines as the region’s food and farming resource center to create a healthier, more sustainable food and farming future in Washington state.

Food Lust 2009

Date: Saturday, June 6, 2009

Time: 5 pm -drinks, appetizers, silent auction
6:45 pm - dinner, followed by live auction

Location: Fall City Farms, Fall City

Tickets: $85.00, on-sale date TBD

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 CSA Directory Released!

Puget Sound Fresh, a program of Cascade Harvest Coalition, has released the 2009 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Directory. The 2009 edition of the directory features alphabetical listings of 71 farms offering CSA programs in the Puget Sound region and eight home delivery services that buy directly from local farms.

In these uncertain economic times, everybody is on the look-out for a great deal. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are a great value, offering excellent access to local, farm-fresh food for a great price, while building stronger community relationships. CSAs are direct farmer-to-consumer arrangements, where consumers purchase a "share" of a local farm and, in exchange, the farm prepares a box or bag of the farm's products. It’s a unique and special relationship that builds community, supports local farmers and gives consumers direct access to fresh, local farm products.

For more information about CSA farms in the Puget Sound region or to order a free supply of 2009 CSA Directories, please contact Mark McIntyre at (206)632-0606 or

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

She's got peas....

and she knows how to plant them.

We just received our shipment of Puget Sound Fresh pea packets! Come find our booth at the Northwest Flower & Garden show starting today and running through Sunday.

For more information, visit the Northwest Flower & Garden Show website.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New banner in honor of the weather...

2009 Farmer-Chef Connection recap

...will happen sometime this week, once we've uploaded and organized our photos. Quick opinion: it was awesome. Herban Feast's new space, SODO Park, is phenomenal. Big turnout. Lots of farmers. Lots of friendly faces.

In other news:

Friends of the Fields, North Olympic Land Trust, and the Farmland Preservation Program of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and three Clallam County Commissioners teamed up to place a conservation easement on the Dungeness Valley Creamery farmland, which ensures that the land will remain in agricultural production in perpetuity. Nice. Read more here.

Crazy project that just popped up on our radar: CSA by Sail. Looks like Sustainable Ballard teamed up with the Sail Transport Network (?) to ship locally produced food from the Kitsap Peninsula to the shores of Ballard. Interesting idea. I'm curious what the Ballard Farmers Market thinks about the competition. I'm also curious about the legitimacy (at least in the eyes of Public Health and the City of Seattle) of the operation. But I'm MOST curious about how this idea came to life. I'm still processing this new-fangled idea. Really interesting. Did I already mention that?

More to come later.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Future of Farming in King County

The King County Agriculture Commission is sponsoring a series of public meetings in early 2009 to gather information that will help shape the future of agriculture in King County.

Findings from these meetings and other research will be used in a report to the King County Council relating to the future of agriculture.

Next Meetings:

Auburn - Thursday, February 12 - 7—9pm Auburn City Hall Council Chambers (1st floor)

Enumclaw - Thursday March 12 - 7 — 9pm Enumclaw High School - Commons

Vashon - date to be determined

Can't attend a meeting? Answer a short survey at

For more information, contact Nancy Hutto, chair of the King County Agriculture Commission at 206-949-4550 or Steve Evans at .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WSDA Releases "Future of Farming" report

"The project sought input on the present conditions and future challenges of agriculture from as many industry segments as possible."

"Detailed justifications for recommendations and proposals for specific potential future actions are included within this strategic plan."

"Strategic actions recommended may be appropriate for legislative actions or for implementation at the producer organization or agency level. Readers are invited to consider the Strategic Plan for Washington Agriculture as a tool for education, a launching point for discussions, and a seed for future actions benefiting the social, environmental, and economic future of Washington."

Check it out:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Good Food" screening at North Seattle Community College

What: Good Food Film Screening
When: Thursday, January 22nd 7-9pm
Where: Homewaters Project at North Seattle Community College

I will speak about CHC, local food, farmers-as-stewards of the land, the Homewaters Project and more, before the screening. Plus a Q & A session after the show. If you haven't seen the film, swing by and check it out.


Friday, January 16, 2009

"Nominate Your Favorite Food Revolutionary" and other fun Friday stuff

Happy Friday, everyone!

A few ideas/items before I tackle the meat of today's post:

1. We started a "drop-in" tally sheet. In late November, right before our board retreat, Mary and I tried to estimate how many people dropped in on us, unannounced, to pick our brains (mostly Mary's) for information and feedback. I put the number at 64, or 16 per week. Mary guessed 16, or 4 per week. After some discussion, we decided to include drop-in phone calls, which are essentially the same as an in-person drop-in: people calling, unannounced, for information. So we made a tally sheet. The goal is to see how many people we deal with outside of the parameters of our programs. We're not complaining. We love helping people and talking about what we do, we just want to get a clear picture of how much time we spend doing it. We encourage you to swing by the office or give us a ring. We're always down to shoot the breeze. Just be prepared for some furious scribbling and "inside-joke-style laughter" as you walk in the door.

2. We've sent out invitations to potential board members! Right now, we are running with a skeleton crew of six board members. Good thing those six are dynamos. At the board retreat, we brainstormed a list with a bunch of new faces that we'd love to see helping us build a better foodsystem and we can't wait to start hearing back from some of our long-time friends and colleagues.

3. The CSA Directory is almost ready to go to the printers. We are still waiting on a few farms to send us their updated information for 2009, so once we get everything penciled in, we can start production. I hope we can get the print proofs before the month is out.

Okay, "Nominate your favorite food revolutionary." Seattle Weekly has teamed up with the Pellegrini Foundation for the third annual Angelo Pellegrini award, "which honors lifetime contributions to food in the Puget Sound region." Boo-yah. What a great award!

Quick aside: I love the Seattle Weekly, especially the food section. Helmed by Jonathan Kauffman, the SW food staff does a kick-ass job of reporting both short- and long-term food news and stories. Their blog, Voracious, is a great resource for up-to-date goings-on abour town and an enjoyable read. Not an easy feat. If you haven't checked out the SW lately, take another look. Well worth it.

Back to "Nominate your favorite food revolutionary." Do it. I know who I'm nominating....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 Farm Guide -- Apply for ad space today!

Here's the announcement:

The Puget Sound Fresh Farm Guide, now entering its 30th year of circulation, is the go-to directory in the region for farms, farm products, harvest events and farm-related businesses. Advertising your farm or business in the Farm Guide is an affordable and highly effective way to reach potential customers interested in local food and farming. Nearly 100,000 copies are distributed to potential customers via libraries, coffee shops, farm stands, doctors’ offices, community centers, regional events/trade shows, and more. In addition to the printed edition, the Farm Guide is also available online at the Puget Sound Fresh webpage, which is one of the most visited food and farming websites in the region.

Consumers trust the Farm Guide to be the most comprehensive food and farming consumer resource available. Farm Guide readers will find:

• Farm Listings: up-to-date contact/location info, product availability, and compelling descriptions of the farms and farmers.
• Farmers Markets: locations, operating dates, and what products and events customers can expect to find.
• Seasonal recipes: what to do with that Patty Pan squash you got from a local farm? The Farm Guide has a bunch of useful recipes all from local farmers and chefs.
• Event Calendars: find out what’s coming up in 2009, from county fairs to harvest celebrations to u-pick opening dates and more.
• Your farm or business!

“The Farm Guide is a resource I turn to when I'm trying to track down a particular food, but it's also one of my favorite places to find things to do in summer and fall. Visiting farms during county harvest festivals, getting out of the city to check out some new farm stores--even the ads are a great resource,” says edibleSEATTLE magazine editor Jill Lightner.

Right now, you have an opportunity to secure a spot in the 2009 Farm Guide. Advertise in the 2009 Farm Guide and declare your support for local farms in the Puget Sound region.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meeting with Sustainable Connections and Farm-to-Table Workshop

We had a meeting this morning with a group of folks from Sustainable Connections, which is, according to their website a "non-profit membership organization of 600+ NW Washington business and community leaders working to transform and model an economy built on sustainable practices. We envision business practices that lead to Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, and Buying Local First as commonplace in our region and a model for the rest of the world."

We sat down together to try to figure out where we might be able to partner with each other and which messages we would try to push in 2009. Essentially, we were trying to get on the same page so that we can help each other out. I think it was a really productive meeting and helped us find some great opportunities for collaboration this year. In fact, we have a collaborative event coming up in the near future:

North Sound Farm-to-Table Workshop

Join us for an afternoon workshop to network and discuss how to strengthen our local foodsystem in the Northern Puget Sound counties.

Who: Farmers, food artisans, local food processors, vintners, chefs, bakers, restaurateurs, grocers, and school, hospital, or nursing home food service representatives interested in direct marketing opportunities.

What: A networking meeting to connect local farmers and producers with local food buyers. An educational workshop to share and discuss solutions to barriers within our local foodsystem.

When: Monday March 2nd, 2009 1-5pm

Where: WSU – Mount Vernon Research and Education Center

WSDA – Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program
WSDA – Farm-to-School Program
Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland
Sustainable Connections

Contact Information: Mark McIntyre (206)632-0606

If anyone is interested in attending, please let me know!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flood pics from Garden Treasures Farm

Mark Lovejoy sent us some pics of the flooding around and on his farm near Arlington, WA.

Click here for more information on flooding and for a list of flooding resources. We will try to add more information about how to help flooded farms as it comes to us.

FYI: Just found out about this nifty website that predicts flooding for Washington rivers from Mike Peroni's blog (of Boistfort Valley Farm).


Monday, January 12, 2009

Sign-up for the 2009 Farmer-Chef Connection!

Yee-haw! The Farmer-Chef Connection, organized by the Seattle Chefs Collaborative, is one of my favorite events of the year. It's a big meet-and-greet for local farmers and local chefs, complete with "speed dating", tasty lunch (locally sourced, of course), and this year one of the break-out sessions is all about in-house charcuterie! As I wrote earlier: yee-haw!

The conference will be held at Herban Feast's new-ish space, called "SoDo Park". Local restauranteur legend/celebrity chef Tom Douglas, Luke Woodward of Oxbow Farm, and chef instructor/author Greg Atkinson will speak/lead discussion panels. It promises to be a fun, worthwhile event for chefs and farmers.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Food safety and local food

There's a lot of chatter in the blogosphere in response to Bill Marler's Ten Top Food Safety Challenges for 2009. According to his website, Mr. Marler is "an accomplished personal injury and products liability attorney." Challenge #2 is local food:

"Outbreaks linked to local food and/or farmer's markets. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups and food co-ops need to demonstrate knowledge and practice of food safety, and be inspected. In addition to produce and meats/fish, prepared items are currently unsupervised in some, but not all locations."

This is amended copy. The original post did not include "but not all locations." Prior to the amendment, the local food blogs lit up with chatter, ranging from anger to applause.
Devra Gartenstein, owner of Patty Pan Grill and blogger on The Quirky Gourmet, took issue with Mr. Marler's targeting local food,

"Marler makes the claim that prepared foods at farmers' markets aren't regulated, an assertion that is nothing short of bizarre in light of the fact that it's simply untrue, and also potentially harmful to many small-scale producers like myself who pay through the nose for permits, and follow health department regulations."

Read the rest of her post here.

The Ethicurean, a wonderful local food blog, also took issue with Mr. Marler's targetting local food.

Food safety is a critical and difficult policy issue, especially as we move forward in the globalized/localized struggle. The balance between public education/awareness and policy/regulation is difficult. Anything we do to our bodies (read: eat) is a personal choice and involves personal risk. But at what point is the producer/processor of a food product liable for their product? If I buy carrots from the farmers market, I wash them off before I eat them. If I buy carrots from a supermarket, I wash them off before I eat them. That's just what I do, but not everybody follows the same rules. If I get a stomach ache from eating carrots from either retail location, what do I do? Sue the pants off somebody? Demand that the government inspect every carrot? Seriously, I don't know. I'm asking. And rambling.

As farmers in the Puget Sound battle swollen, flooding rivers, we will surely grapple with the question of food safety at farmers market in the next few weeks. Back when I worked for a local farm, we suffered a massive flood...and there was no specific policy for us to follow regarding what we could or could not sell/eat. Instead, we were handed the FEMA flood policy that was developed shortly after the flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina. Obviously two very different scenarios: one, rural, unidirectional, seasonal, the other, primarily urban, stagnant, and catastrophic...yet only one policy. That's a small example of how many questions and concerns, by producers and consumers alike, that have yet to be answered by food safety policy.



-Bill Marler's blog is awesome. He tackles a variety of food safety topics and has an enjoyable writing style, with wit, humor, and durn-good research. Go check it out.

-There was a comment conversation between Marler and Gartenstein on the Green Fork Blog.

Food Trends of 2008: a look back

More trendwatching! This time, we're looking back to see what was hot in 2008. A bunch of Seattle-area restaurants are name-dropped throughout the article, including Sitka & Spruce, Cascina Spinasse, Tilth, Sutra, Poppy, Joule, Monsoon, Boom Noodle, Cache (a supper club), Quinn's...whew. Lots of great restaurants, lots of great ideas.

Though, with all of the back-patting and lovely descriptions of strange techniques and innovative dishes, the title of the last trend provides an ominous glimpse into the future: "The Recession Effect." I refer you back to an article written a while back by the Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman titled "Is Seattle Currently Experiencing a Restaurant Bubble?", which discusses an interesting twist in the story of restaurants and recession.

Seattle has a delicious and, according to the national media, up-and-coming food scene. I'm hoping that it continues that trend, in spite of our nation's economic woes.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Local products taste test? Yes, please!

Ann Lovejoy, who writes "The Green Kitchen" in the Seattle PI food section, wrote an article in today's paper, "Put local produce to the taste test, and enjoy." Yep. That's a bold statement in favor of local food. Any time you throw the word "test" around, you know that the writer is serious. Y'know, because "testing" carries a lot of scientific clout. But seriously, her reasoning for the triumph of the taste of local produce is much more about how local food provides a unique sense of place, than it is about white lab coats and test tubes. She writes, "the sun and rain, the soil and the biota, nature and the farmer have combined to nourish the mother plant and produce the root, shoot or fruit you are eating." In wine language, we'd call it "terrior".

It's a great idea to hold a local produce taste test. Perhaps we should organize one. Post ideas for a tasting menu to the comments section.

Read the rest of the article

Of course, local chefs have known the secret of local food for a long time. On the front page of the same PI food section is an article about rising stars in the Seattle food scene.
In that post, there's a link back in time to the last batch of rising stars in the Seattle food scene from 2003. Lots of familiar names there that are now the superstar chefs of today. Check out the intro paragraph:

"Fresh. Local. Seasonal - For the Rising Star Chefs of Seattle, these terms are a given. The game they play demands a different strategy, to push these terms further - and we aren't talking just herb gardens here. From growing their own vegetables to changing what local farmers already grow, these chefs command a higher sense of purpose. Still think of Seattle as the capital of coffee and umbrella collections? Think again, Seattle is coming up in the food world, fast. They may have to change the motto from the City of Goodwill to the City of Great Food."

Bottom line: chefs know it. Food writers know it. For sure, farmers know it. Now go find out what everybody's talking about when they say local food tastes better.

Speaking of local food tastings, the Volunteer Park Cafe has a Wine Dinner coming up on January 10th, spotlighting àMaurice Cellars.