Local Food Classes
Category : Make It Yourself
As I began transitioning to eating as a locavore (using only locally grown food as much as possible), I naturally did more cooking at home. I rediscovered a love for cooking and preserving fresh, delicious foods. I also started looking for ways to learn more about food preparation and local farms. As always, I found an abundance of local resources.
Community Food Co-op’s Healthy Connections classes are a good place to start. For example, their July classes include: how to make fermented drinks and natural sodas; how to prepare–and eat–a summer local food menu; sustainable outdoor cooking techniques; berry dessert demonstrations; how to can and pickle (cucumber pickles, kim chee, berry preserves, and more); and “Live Desserts”, made with raw ingredients. Classes also sometimes include foraging topics, such as beach walks to find edible seaweeds. Classes usually range from $10 to $50, and are held at either the downtown or Cordata store locations. Visit the service desk at either Co-op store for more information.
If you’re interested in learning to grow your own fruits and vegetables, Cloud Mountain Farm near Everson has an extensive list of free classes available. Topics include fruit trees, grapes, sustainable gardening techniques (such as bird and butterfly gardens, or using native plants), and food preservation (canning, drying, and freezing). Their annual Fall Fruit Festival is an education in itself. They also have email lists to help you grow healthy, productive and beautiful fruit, nut and berry plants as well as landscape plants.
Red Barn Lavender (Ferndale) offers craft classes for making wreaths, wands, and decorations using their wonderfully scented fresh lavender. Did you know the scent of lavender repels moths? Most of their classes are held in July during the peak season for harvesting lavender flowers. Cost ranges from $5 to $25. Private or group classes are available, too. Visit their website for more information, or contact them at the Bellingham Farmers Market .
For variety of topics it’s hard to beat the workshops held at Inspiration Farm (619 Laurel Rd., Bellingham). A sampling of upcoming subjects include: how to use a scythe, biodynamic gardening, permaculture techniques, low tech energy production, poultry processing, and glass marble and beadmaking (farmer Brian Kerkvliet is also a glass artist). Most classes cost about $40. Visit their website for more information.
Sustainable Connection’s annual Whatcom County Farm Tour is a wonderful way to learn about participating farms and the products they produce. Educational and interactive activities are planned at each location. The free self-guided tour is scheduled for Saturday September 10 this year (2011). Contact Sara at (360) 647-7093 x114 for more details. (I’ll be doing apple recipe demonstrations at BelleWood Acres near Lynden during the tour–come say hello!)
In summary, this description of food and farm course offerings is by no means complete. I haven’t even mentioned the local community colleges, for instance. Both Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College have extensive lists of community education cooking classes. A new organization called Whatcom Folk School also has cooking, gardening, and small farming courses scheduled. If you begin looking around, I think you’ll find plenty of fun and interesting classes to suit your needs.