2011 Whatcom County Farm Tour Event

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Category : Events, Seasonal Menu Ideas, September

At BelleWood Acres for 2011 Whatcom County Farm TourWow! What a day! BelleWood Acres invited me to offer cooking demonstrations for the annual Whatcom County Farm Tour yesterday (Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011) and people began pouring in a half hour early!

Ten farms, two wineries, and the Bellingham Farmers Market were all participating in the event organized by Sustainable Connections. I don’t know yet how may people took advantage of the opportunity to visit farms, meet the farmers, and take part in the special activities available, but there was a steady stream all day.

It was a lot of fun to be at BelleWood Acres to meet people and talk about local Whatcom County food! Some were regular readers of my column in the Bellingham Herald (on Tuesdays). Others were hearing the word “locavore” for the first time. All had an opportunity to taste samples of the locavore dishes I prepared (see recipes linked below). It was satisfying to hear exclamations over the flavors and to see people coming back to my table with friends and family in tow. As I explained to people, the flavors aren’t the result of any fancy cooking skills (I don’t have any!). They are the result of starting with ultra-fresh and ripe locally grown ingredients. With quality ingredients like that, very little preparation is required.

Efforts by the BelleWood Acres farmers Dorie and John Belisle and their staff were incredible. As John says, “It takes a level of commitment that people can’t even imagine.” From directing people to parking and greeting them at the entrance to answering multitudes of questions and helping them purchase apples and other products, the staff showed an energy and friendliness that never flagged, even in yesterday’s hot sun. The tractor-towed farm “train” ride was in constant motion giving people tours of the apple orchards and thrilling all the children.

Tasting tables were set up under an open air roofed area where the breeze kept us comfortable. Besides myself, BelleWood had tables for tasting apples with various cheeses, apples with caramel or their specially made peanut butter, sparkling apple cider and more. Susy Hymas was also on hand to answer questions. Susy teaches classes in canning and other food preservation, and also teaches nutrition at the culinary school at Bellingham Technical College.

Surrounded by the wonderful scent of fresh apples, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day. The Belisle’s were unflappable in the midst of it all, not only making sure that visitors were well cared for but also that staff was being well supported and getting regular breaks and meals. It was amazing to watch!

Since we were at BelleWood, I selected recipes which centered on their delicious apples. I also chose recipes which gave me an opportunity to talk about a particular food technique, including how to make yogurt cheese, how to use the resulting yogurt whey to make sauerkraut at home, and how to make a simple crust for an apple tart. Here are links to the recipes used:

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