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Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

Early Summer Bounty PaintingFor several years now, I’ve been reading and talking with people about the advantages of becoming a locavore*, a person who eats only  food grown, farmed, or produced locally.

I’ve learned a lot. I could go on at length about why eating locally is more sustainable, is often healthier than typical grocery store food that’s been transported an average distance of 1500 miles, and why it’s good for the earth and all living things in many other ways, but instead I’ll refer you to three books that got me interested in the first place. Continue Reading

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

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe

Category : Main Dishes, Make It Yourself, March, Recipes

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe Spices

“Corning” beef is actually a method of pickling. The raw beef is soaked in a salty brine for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the recipe you use. (I opted for a few days, because that’s the way I am.) Continue Reading

Whatcom Farms Offering CSAs in 2014

Category : About Food Sources, CSAs, Whatcom Locavore Basics, Where to Buy Local Food

Photo of farm barnIt’s that time of year again–time to consider signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. (Learn more about what a CSA is and how it works.) CSAs can be a good local food solution for people who don’t have much time or inclination to shop for food.  They can also be more affordable than purchasing food items separately.

This year’s CSA offerings (see below) include produce, chickens, eggs, fish, flowers, and much more. It’s really quite amazing! We live in a local food paradise. Continue Reading

Big News! Big Changes!

Category : About Food Sources, Book and Movie Reviews, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Photo of Bellingham HeraldIt’s official. Tomorrow (April 1, 2014) my last Whatcom Locavore column will be published in the Bellingham Herald. (No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke.) It’s just two weeks short of being exactly four years since I started writing weekly articles for them.

Every week I wrote an article, created and tested an original recipe, and my daughter Joan took a beautiful photo to show Herald readers what local food was all about. It’s been an interesting ride, and the Herald has been a wonderful venue for spreading the word about eating local in Whatcom County. Continue Reading

2013 Locavore Holiday Dinner Menu Plans!

Category : Whatcom Locavore Products

Cheese ConeWhatcom Locavore Holiday Dinner Menu Plans have been created to help make it easier for you to serve local foods to your family and friends this year. Three five-course menus are available, one with a beef entree, one with salmon, and one vegetarian (lacto-ovo-vegetarian to be precise, since eggs and dairy are used).

The five courses include an appetizer, soup, salad, main dish with side, and dessert. (The vegetarian entree needs no side dish.) Serve them formally one at a time, or family style with some courses combined.

You won’t find “turkey with all the fixin’s” on any of these menus. Instead, the recipes have been selected to help you discover exciting new holiday flavor combinations using familiar, locally grown, seasonal ingredients. Continue Reading

Holiday Help From Whatcom Locavore

Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

Mint Candy Cane BeetsWeeks leading up to the holidays can be a stressful time, even when we love the people and activities we are planning. Here at Whatcom Locavore, we’d like to offer you some simple ideas to help make your holiday preparations less stressful and more enjoyable. Continue Reading

Hot Cider Toddy Recipe

Category : Beverages, Holidays, November, Recipes

Hot Apple Cider ToddyThis recipe is inspired by fresh apple cider from BelleWood Acres. However, it also includes a beverage experiment I tried several years ago.

I was living in a cabin with a huge walnut tree just outside the door. Every year, I’d watch for the walnuts to ripen, but every year I’d awaken one morning to the sound of blue jays. That was the day the walnuts would all be gone. The jays were faster than me when the walnuts were ripe.

One year I read about an Italian liqueur called nocino, which is made from green walnuts steeped in vodka for a couple of months, sometimes with added herbs and spices. At last! I’d found a way to enjoy at least some of the walnuts before the jays ate them.

At first, the nocino I made tasted bitter, but everything I read said the flavor would get better with age (as in years). It did.  Continue Reading

2013 Ciderfest at BelleWood Acres

Category : Farm Stands, On the Farm, Retail Stores, U-Pick Farms

BelleWood Acres Apple on TreeI’d been looking forward to the annual BelleWood Acres Ciderfest for weeks, and I finally got there on Sunday afternoon. When I came in the door I was enveloped in the sweet, fruity smell of fresh apples and the lively sounds of the fiddle and guitar combo of the Gallus Brothers.

I got there just in time for a late lunch, so I made my way through the crowd to the Bistro area. Fresh cider, hard cider, cider cocktails–the beverage menu options seemed endless. It was clear that the heart of this event was an apple orchard farm.  Continue Reading

German-style Sweet Potato Salad

Category : October, Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes

Sweet Potato SaladSweet potatoes can be prepared exactly as you would prepare regular white potatoes, though the flavor will be considerably different–richer and sweeter. In salads, as fries, mashed, sautéed, boiled, steamed, or however you choose to prepare them, sweet potatoes add a sweet earthy flavor to any dish.

I also use them in recipes just as I would squash or pumpkin. Their sweetness makes them ideal for desserts as well as savory dishes. The classic sweet potato pie is a good example. In the recipe below, I’ve used a favorite German potato salad recipe and adapted it to use sweet potatoes instead. Continue Reading

Farmers Market Finds: Local Sweet Potatoes!

Category : About Food Sources, Bellingham, Farmers' Markets

Sweet PotatoesUnexpected food finds are one of the things that make shopping at any local farmers market fun and interesting. Organic produce farmers are able to do small scale experimenting to see if new varieties can be grown successfully in our climate.

Over the past several years there have been several of memorable moments. Continue Reading

Braised Short Ribs With Mushrooms Recipe

Category : Main Dishes, October, Recipes

Shiitake MushroomsIn honor of the 2013 Wild Mushroom Show, hosted every October in Bellingham by the Northwest Mushroomers Association, I wanted to create a mushroom recipe. The main question in my mind was about which type of mushroom to use. The list wasn’t as long as you might imagine. While there are multitudes of edible mushroom varieties that grow wild in this area, and I love hunting for them and looking at them, I have zero skills at identifying them. I sadly crossed all wild mushrooms off my list. Continue Reading

2013 Wild Mushroom Show

Category : October, Wildcrafting

2013 Wild Mushroom ShowEvery year in October the Northwest Mushroomers Association (NMA) hosts a Wild Mushroom Show at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham. It is a unique event, and a remarkable demonstration of the diversity of nature. It’s also really fun!

Members of the NMA gather fresh examples of as many varieties of mushrooms as possible which grow wild in our area. Tucked in with moss to help keep them moist, hundreds of mushrooms are displayed in trays. Labels identify the Latin names, common names (if any), and icons indicating edible or poisonous varieties. Continue Reading