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

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