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Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Category : Canning & Preservation, Holidays, Main Dishes, March

Corned Beef and Cabbage RecipeSince beginning the transition toward eating as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown food whenever possible), I’ve learned to make a lot of things myself that I used to buy ready to eat. In the process I’ve made four simple discoveries which have revolutionized my overall approach to eating and feeding my family. Here they are: Continue Reading

Spring Salad

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Spring SaladBy late spring many of the salad greens are ripe enough for first harvest. Fresh local leaf lettuces in various colors, salad mixtures with flavor powerhouses such as arugula, mesclun, mizuna, and frisee, and so much more have begun to show up in grocery stores, home gardens, and farmers markets.

When I want to make a meal of a salad, it becomes the “kitchen sink” variety. I go through my produce drawer and mix in a little of everything. Continue Reading

Cooking With Local Herbs

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Herbed Meatballs MenuYou may already be cooking with “fresh” herbs from the grocery store, but if you haven’t tried locally grown fresh herbs you’re in for a delightful experience. The difference in flavor between dried herbs and fresh herbs, even fresh herbs shipped for long distances, is huge, but local freshness boosts the flavor by yet another quantum leap.

When you work with local farm fresh herbs, the first difference you’ll notice is the fragrance. Chopping herbs for a recipe is one of my favorite cooking activities. The scent is exquisite, and you can easily judge the freshness of your herbs by the smell alone. Continue Reading

Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok Choy

Category : Condiments, Recipes, Side Dishes

Pickled Napa Cabbage and Bok ChoyI love Broadleaf Farms’ napa cabbage–have I mentioned that yet today? Probably. It’s so perfectly crisp and delicate at the same time. Simply marvelous!

This week’s menu was based on a cheese fondue with bread chunks for dipping. As I tried to decide what to use for a side dish, it occurred to me that a cheese fondue has ingredients similar to a cheese sandwich. What do you have with a cheese sandwich? Pickles! Continue Reading

Beef and Napa Cabbage Stirfry

Category : Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Beef Cabbage StirfryStirfry is always a good option when you need something quick to prepare, or when you want to use up small amounts of ingredients left in the refrigerator. You can combine almost any kind of meat and/or vegetables, add simple seasonings and a little liquid, fry it quickly in a hot pan, and dinner is ready! Continue Reading

Where’s the Beef?

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Where's the Beef MenuRaising high quality grassfed beef commercially has been a challenge in Whatcom County. First, it takes a lot of land to raise enough cattle for year-round meat availability. Second, they have to be slaughtered at a USDA-approved facility, and none was available here.

Several farms have overcome these obstacles and local beef is now available for those locavores among us trying to be healthier and reduce our carbon footprint by “eating local.” It’s very difficult and expensive for farms to get their grassfed beef certified organic, but most locally produced beef is raised as organically and humanely as possible. If you have any doubts, you can always ask the farmer (another benefit of eating locally), or ask the market where you buy the meat. Continue Reading

Tangy Napa Cabbage Slaw

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Category : Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Photo of Tangy Napa Cabbage SlawFresh local napa cabbage is incredible–crisp, juicy, beautiful and flavorful. The cabbage was so ripe and tender and the head was so full, I could hardly pick it up without crushing outer leaves under my fingers. You’ll never get a head of cabbage like that when it has to be shipped for a thousand miles. Continue Reading

Grilled Hamburgers with Salsa

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Category : Grilling, Main Dishes, Recipes

Photo of Grilled Hamburger with SalsaThere’s nothing like the crispy crust of a well-grilled hamburger! Commercially available local grassfed beef is a little hard to find in this area, but it’s well worth the effort in terms of flavor and quality.

I went to the online Farm Finder and searched for beef. Only one farm, Third Thyme Farm in Sumas (360) 988-5805, reports specializing in grassfed meats, including beef. There are also farms who produce meat only for friends and family.

The difficulty is the absence of a USDA inspected meat-packing facility in the County. The Lopez Island Community Land Trust came up with a novel idea to solve the problem for farmers who are members of their Island Grown Farmers Cooperative (IGFC). They built a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) which operates under a USDA Grant of Inspection and travels to the farms to do the butchering on site. While most of their members are outside Whatcom County, there are some local members, too. They have an outlet grocery on Lopez Island, but many of their member sell directly from their farms. Continue Reading

Early Grilling Menu

Category : May, Seasonal Menu Ideas

Photo of Early Grilling MenuAs the weather warms (at least when we stand in direct sunlight out of the wind), fantasies of grilled food begins to appear in my mind. Fortunately we just purchased a new countertop grill, so there’s no need to wait until July. Now we can have grilled food at any time, so I decided to try a locavore hamburger.

Hamburger buns present a challenge to Whatcom locavores, though. The nearest commercially produced grain is grown in Skagit County, and they don’t produce very much.  So what can we do? See my article on Food Purchasing Priorities. Continue Reading