The Butter Bitch and I have been on hiatus for the past few months, due to our day jobs and ongoing projects. The Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest Sunday Magazine devotes most of this week's issue to an overview of Washington's locavorean movement and the promotion of sustainability in the wine.
The Bounty Around Us looks at promotion of small farms, CSAs, and local agriculture through the efforts and entrepreneurship of a number of people.
Puget Sound perspectives - and Calgary?
Much of the article examines the state's locavorean situation through the perspective of Fred Berman, the current Small Farms Program coordinator for the state's Department of Agriculture. Berman, a native of California, pulled up roots over 30 years ago to learn farming in Norway, an experience that taught him practices that were lost in the United States 75 years ago. He came to Washington State in 1977 to start a farmers market, and since then has run his own farm and worked to promote farmers markets and local agriculture. One of his current projects is to convince Western Washington University to source local food for the 40,000 meals served weekly.
Considerable space is devoted to thriving newcomers, such as Local Roots Farm and old hands Full Circle Farm. Full Circle not only supplies several of our favorite restaurants, but supplies 2500 CSA subscribers year-round. Interestingly, Full Circle sources their produce from outside of Washington. The article's quote of Full Circle's production manager seems to imply that they source food from as far away as Argentina.
Western Washington consumers will want to keep an eye open for items bearing the Puget Sound Fresh label, which indicates that the product was grown in one of the Puget Sound counties. The Puget Sound Fresh site led me to Small Potatoes Urban Delivery, a "store to door" service that delivers organic foods. They operate in Seattle, and the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary.
More somber news is that three of Seattle's "local-only" farmers markets – Lake City, Broadway, and Columbia City – will have to lease new homes within the next three years, because of redevelopment by the property owners. See the early summer newsletter of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance for more details. This comes on the heels of the uncertain future of the University Farmers Market. On the bright side, a new farmers market just opened in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of North Seattle.
Eat Local - tasty prepared foods
An interesting newcomer is Eat Local, a store selling prepared foods made from mostly local ingredients. The foods are frozen for later reheating by harried individuals and families. In addition to locally sourced ingredients, the store uses recyclable materials. Some dishes come in glass containers, for which consumers are charged a refundable deposit.
I took advantage of Eat Local over the Fourth of July holiday, when I decided to paint two bedrooms and a hallway. Painting two rooms which still contained enough books to fill 17 boxes was not a great idea, as I had to box and move the books as well as the furniture. Getting food from Eat Local, to avoid preparing food with my soon-to-be paint-spattered hands, was an excellent choice.
Eat Local's macaroni and cheese is very good, in the style of fancy mac 'n' cheese everywhere. They use several cheeses and toast the top with breadcrumbs. Of greater interest was the fennel crusted pork tenderloin, which unexpectedly was wrapped in bacon. I've poked some fun at the bacon fancying of others on this blog, but I have to admit that the bacon made the tenderloin great. Their rhubarb crisp was delish, a delight that I haven't had for years. I can only disparage the chocolate-filled shortbread cookies, which were a bit dry; the creamy chocolate filling redeemed them.
100-mile diet - Seattle
Speaking of the 100-mile diet, the article mentions the Vancouver, British Columbia pair, who coined the diet and recently published a book about their exploits. Missing from the article is any mention that Sustainable Ballard is promoting the 100-mile diet for Seattleites. Sustainable Ballard lists food sources and recipes, and they even have a convenient map that shows what areas are within 100 miles as the crow flies.
Enough to wash your palate
On the wine front, Gabriel Campanario touches on recent efforts by Northwest vintners and vineyard owners to reintroduce sustainability and organic practices to farmland. The article is light on details for anyone who has spent time looking at biodynamic and sustainable viticulture. Campanario does not define biodynamic or what sustainability means to the wine industry, but he does mention some of the organizations involved in sustainable viticulture. There are worse ways to spend 5 minutes, and the article includes a list of wineries – including several Washington stars – that are moving towards sustainable winemaking.