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Time to Sign Up for a CSA!

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Category : About Food Sources, CSAs, Where to Buy Local Food

Photo of Field at Small FarmCSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions are a terrific way to get started in local eating. You buy a subscription or “share” from a farm offering CSA’s in the early spring. In return you’ll get a bag or box of farm fresh food every week, usually from May through September or so. Here’s the list of farms in Whatcom County offering CSA’s for 2010, according to Sustainable Connections’ March newsletter: Continue Reading

Yogurt, Chives, and Sorrel Dressing

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Category : Recipes, Salads

Photo of Salad with Yogurt, Chives and Sorrel Salad DressingGreenhouses allow us to enjoy fresh salad greens most of the year here in Whatcom County. DEVine Gardens has a colorful mix of various tender greens that I really enjoy.

Making a local dressing is a bit of a challenge, though. To the best of my knowledge, no one in Whatcom County produces a salad oil, the basis of most salad dressing recipes. The next alternative is frequently lemon juice, also not produced locally.

In this recipe I offer one possible solution for both problems. First, using yogurt as the main ingredient gives the dish a creamy texture similar to that given by salad oil. Second, the leaves of the sorrel plant have an acidic, lemony tang that is quite delicious. Continue Reading

Rainy Day Crockpot Beef Stew

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Rainy Day Crockpot Beef Stew One of the special delights of eating local food is trying new ingredients or using familiar foods in new combinations.  I haven’t cooked much with sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes. I tried using them in a cottage pie recently, and was delighted with the flavor. This time I tried using them in a hearty beef stew.

The flavor of sunchokes is distinctive, slightly sweet, and fairly strong. It blends better with other flavors if the sunchokes are cut into small pieces. For this stew I recommend a quarter-inch dice.

This is a variation of a traditional beef stew that uses a lot of mushrooms and a thick wine sauce. Locally raised stew beef cooks up tender and tasty. Continue Reading

Early Spring Après Gardening Menu

Category : March, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Early Spring Apres Gardening MenuEarly spring in Whatcom County is when gardening begins in earnest. Soil needs to be fed and loosened, beds are spruced up, seeds are started indoors, and plant and seed trading picks up momentum. The first sunny days when you can actually feel the warmth draw us outside to get our hands dirty, but the weather can be a bit dicey. A garden project that starts on a warm morning can end in a cool–even rainy–late afternoon. When I’m tired and muddy, cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do.

Today I headed for the garden with a smug feeling knowing that dinner would be ready and waiting for me at the end of the day. When I entered the house a few hours later, it was filled with the smells of a hearty warm entrée. I roasted some potato wedges, mixed a dressing I’d made earlier in the day with some tasty salad greens and beautiful Easter Egg radishes, and voilà! A warm, tasty dinner after a chilly day of gardening. Continue Reading

Sunny Cottage Pie

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Sunny Cottage PieCottage Pie is a mixture of ground beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes and baked to blend the flavors and brown the top. The vegetables used are typically peas, carrots, and celery, but you can use whatever you like. This is a good dish for cleaning out the produce crisper in the refrigerator.

For this dish, I wandered through Terra Organica and found some wonderful collard greens from Terra Verde (Deming) and delightful little sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) from Osprey Hill Farm (Acme). I decided to carry the “sun” theme farther by getting some Yukon gold potatoes from Hopewell Farm and Broadleaf Farm (both near Everson) for a light sunny color on the top. Continue Reading

Sunny Solstice One Dish Meal

Category : March, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Sunny Cottage Pie MenuOn a cold, rainy solstice day, my thoughts wandered to hearty hot dishes. Cottage Pie seemed a perfect solution for this week’s locavore meal.

Cottage Pie is the beef version of Shepherd’s Pie. Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional English dish made using lamb or mutton (hence the name). Basically a layered casserole, Cottage Pie uses ground beef  instead. It’s mixed with several vegetables, all topped with a layer of mashed potatoes and then baked to blend the flavors. Continue Reading

Exceptions

Category : Not Available?, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Photo of Sugar, Salt and Pepper - Not Available LocallySome common ingredients are not produced locally. If you can’t find it, make it, find a satisfactory substitute, or simply live without it, what’s a conscientious locavore to do?

A very basic example is salt and pepper. Neither salt nor black pepper is produced in Whatcom County. Continue Reading

Other Food Producers

Category : Other Food Producers, Where to Buy Local Food

Foods produced by the following sources have been used in our recipes. Some do not use only ingredients from Whatcom County, but they make their products here. Also, while you may be able to buy directly from these producers, their products are often available at grocery stores or other retail outlets. Continue Reading

Grocery Stores and Other Retail Stores

Category : About Food Sources, Retail Stores, Where to Buy Local Food

We have purchased ingredients used in our recipes at the following grocery stores and other food related retail businesses: Continue Reading

Farms

Category : On the Farm, Where to Buy Local Food

The following Whatcom County farms have produced ingredients used in our recipes: Continue Reading

Raspberry Soup

Category : Breakfast, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian

Photo of Raspberry SoupIt’s hard to find locally grown fruit in the grocery stores in winter. I love my freezer at this time of the year. I was rummaging in the fruit section of my freezer and found a bag of beautiful frozen raspberries from last summer’s harvest in my friend Nancy’s garden. I froze them spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then put them in a plastic freezer bag. That way the berries don’t stick together. After months in the freezer, the color was still so beautiful and the flavor was so sweet that I didn’t add any sweetener to this recipe. You could add a tablespoon or two of local honey if your berries are more tart. Continue Reading

Potato Egg Nests

Category : Breakfast, Recipes, Vegetarian

Photo of Potato Egg NestsI’d encourage you to experiment with this recipe, which combines two traditional elements of an American breakfast–eggs and hashbrowns. In this version, the potato “nests” are made with raw grated potatoes which are first parboiled, pressed into muffin tins, and then baked. One variation would be to pile the parboiled potatoes on a cookie sheet and use a spoon to make depressions for the eggs before baking the nests. Another possible variation would be to use mashed potatoes instead of grated.

There are multiple variations for the eggs as well. The version below cooks raw eggs in the “nests”. You could just as easily scramble the eggs first with various additional ingredients, such as mushrooms, jalapenos, etc. Another option would be to poach the eggs before topping with grated cheese and doing the final bake. Continue Reading

Dressed Up Breakfast Menu

Category : March, Seasonal Menu Ideas, Vegetarian

Photo of Dressed Up Breakfast MenuEggs and hash brown potatoes are a classic American breakfast combination. For this week’s menu I wanted to offer a little bit fancier version of the standard–and delicious!–breakfast fare.

In earlier articles I talked about sources for local eggs, potatoes, and cheese. The new ingredient this time is creamy Golden Guernsey Yogurt from Grace Harbor Farms made from non-pasteurized whole milk. I also used some raspberries from last summer that have been waiting for just this moment in my freezer.

This menu also requires a note about salt and black pepper, neither of which are produced in Whatcom County. It would be possible to create salt by dehydrating seawater. Evaporation would take forever in our humid climate. Boiling off the liquid would take many hours, perhaps even days–not exactly an efficient use of energy. Peppercorns, as far as I know, can’t be grown in our climate at all. Continue Reading