I began this week by wandering through the Community Food Co-op at Cordata and Westerly in Bellingham, looking for locally grown produce. The Co-op labels local produce with the farm name on the price sign, so it’s easy to spot. Produce from out of the area is labelled with a state code (WA, OR, CA, etc.), or with the country of origin.
There wasn’t much in stock at this time of the year–several kinds of mushrooms from Twin Sisters, leeks from Holistic Homestead, baby spinach from Devine Gardens, and wheatgrass from Dominion. I knew the Co-op also had local dairy products (milk and cream), and a few cheeses. I didn’t find any local meat, seafood, or poultry. I thought I could probably make a meal from what was available, but it didn’t sound very exciting. I was glad I had time to think about it.
On the way home, I stopped at a butcher shop north of Ferndale that carries top quality meats. I asked if they ever had local beef–“None,” was the answer. Poultry? “No.” The clerk patiently explained that it’s prohibitively expensive for the average family farm to become USDA certified, which is required on meat for sale to the public. I knew, though, that I’d bought Island-grown beef at The Islander grocery store on Lummi Island, and made a mental note to find out how they meet the USDA requirements.
Perhaps seafood? I called several retail seafood shops in the area–Barleans, Hannegan,Vis. A fellow at Vis explained that there won’t be any fresh seafood caught in this area until next May. I would have sworn I’d seen crab pot buoys in Hales Passage that morning, so again realized I need to do more research. Perhaps the Lummi Tribal fishermen have their own retail outlet.
That evening I settled on my menu for this week:
- Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
- Braised Mixed Greens or Baby Spinach
- Rosemary Sourdough Bread (by Avenue Bread)
- Minted Asian Pears with Currant-Apple Sauce
I purchased the main ingredients at the Co-op, added some Island beef, some fresh herbs from my garden, some garlic left over from last summer’s CSA subscription, and a bottle of Chardonnay from the Legoe Bay Winery. The dessert was made from home-canned pears harvested a couple of years ago from a Lummi Island orchard, and the currant-apple sauce was made by a friend from her garden. (See recipes linked above for more details about food sources used in making this meal.)
So–my first locavore menu to share with you! Not bad for the middle of winter in our cold northern climate, don’t you think? The only transitional foods included that are not strictly local are the bread and wine–both used ingredients obtained from outside Whatcom County, though the final products are created here.
I also discovered it’s a little stressful to cook when you know it will be photographed when it’s done. I’m sure it will get easier with practice.
I’m pleased to say the meal was delicious! I hope you enjoy it, too.