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What’s This Web Site All About?

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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

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

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

Bosc Pears

Category : On the Farm, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Bosc PearsWhen thinking of Washington farm products, most of us think of apples. Washington is known as the largest apple producing state in the country. Did you know that Washington farmers are also the top producers of pears?

Apples are a wonderful fruit and I enjoy many varieties of them, but if we were going to do true confessions I’d have to admit pears are my favorite tree fruit. They’ve been my favorite for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to childhood. When I was in my twenties, I can still vividly remember the time at a friend’s house in Alaska when I first tasted fresh pears with Gorgonzola cheese. I think I may have swooned. Continue Reading

Smoked Salmon Recipe Using Barbecue Grill

Category : Appetizers, Breakfast, October, Recipes, Snacks, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Smoked SalmonI’d read you could smoke salmon in a charcoal barbecue grill using a hot smoking technique, so I decided to try it with some fresh chum fillets I’d just cleaned. Chums make good fish for hot smoking because they are a fattier salmon and so stay moister during smoking. The fish I had was caught the previous day by local reefnet fishermen here on Lummi Island.

I made the brine/marinade shown below and soaked a couple of fillets overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I took the fillets out to drain and dry slightly. I also put a couple big handfuls of alder chips (purchased at Yaeger’s Sporting Goods, 3101 Northwest Ave., Bellingham) in a bowl of water to soak for a few minutes. Continue Reading

How to Clean a Fresh Salmon

Category : About Food Sources, Other Food Producers, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Smoked Salmon and Biscuit(Originally published October 10, 2012)

A couple of weeks ago I had an iconic Pacific Northwest food experience. It began with a salmon.

It was the last day of reefnet fishing, a special method of salmon fishing which has been practiced in Legoe Bay off Lummi Island for many years. Reefnetters keep the fish they catch in live holds until the last possible moment. Besides keeping the fish alive it also greatly reduces stress and bruising from rough net handling. When you buy fish directly from the fishermen on the beach at the end of the fishing day, you get the freshest possible fish in the most perfect possible condition. The fish will be whole–head, guts, and all. I bought a chum salmon from Rush Rock Reefnet. Continue Reading

How to Boil Water

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Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

Photo by Scott Akerman Eating as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown food, as much as possible) almost always means cooking meals at home most of the time. The reason is simple–local food is fresh and raw, not processed or prepared food.

Many people say they don’t cook because they don’t know how. If you’re one of those people, I have good news: no matter how complicated it may look, cooking isn’t rocket science. There are only a handful of cooking skills necessary to begin preparing tasty, healthy meals. These few simple techniques can be used across a wide variety of ingredients. Continue Reading

Slow Cookers Make Home Cooking Easy

Category : Book and Movie Reviews, Whatcom Locavore Basics

Best of Bridge Slow Cooker CookbookEating as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown food as much as possible) means you’ll be preparing meals at home most of the time. It also means those meals will be prepared mostly from scratch (i.e., no processed foods). Most people, I think, agree that eating at home would be better for their health, but some balk at the amount of time they think they’ll have to spend in the kitchen.Now, I could make a pretty good science-based argument that a lifestyle so hectic you don’t have time to ensure you eat well has other inherent health risks (stress effects on hormones, for example). However, it’s even easier to demonstrate that spending a lot of time in the kitchen in order to prepare healthy meals is totally unnecessary. Continue Reading

Pickling Vegetables

Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

Pickling VegetablesIn past articles, I’ve talked about how eating as a locavore (eating only locally grown foods as much as possible) means learning how to store and preserve summer harvested foods in order to have them available later in the winter. There are multitudes of ways to do that: root cellaring (even if you don’t have a root cellar), canning, freezing, smoking, dehydrating, salting, fermenting, etc.

One of my favorite food preservation methods is pickling. Crispy pickles make a nice treat as a side dish, condiment, or snack and the variety of flavors and possible combinations of ingredients are limitless. Continue Reading

Can Whatcom County Farms Feed Whatcom County?

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Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

2011 Whatcom Food & Farm FinderA reader wrote in with this question recently: “Do you know if there is any data about whether Whatcom County produces enough food to feed its population?”Short answer is, “Perhaps yes, if we eat mostly berries.” I’m just joking (sort of). The real answer is much more complicated. Continue Reading

How Local Food Affects Your Mood

Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

How Food Affects Your MoodA friend asked me recently, “What’s a locavore food you can eat when you’re feeling blue (or tired)?” Serendipitously, I had just been studying how food affects your mood, so thought I’d share some of what I’ve been learning.To begin with, let’s look at some typical eating behaviors that can lead to feeling depressed or exhausted. See if this cycle sounds familiar. Continue Reading

Organic Food: Better for You or Not?

Category : Whatcom Locavore Basics

Fresh KohlrabiYou’ve probably seen the media headlines saying something like “Organic Food No Better for You Than Non-organic.” The Stanford study cited in those articles was a “meta-analysis”, meaning the researchers surveyed already existing research. Their conclusion? Non-organic food is just as nutritious as organic food.

While there are some studies contradicting that statement, the real problem is that the headlines imply that there’s no benefit to choosing organic food. They suggest that nutrition is the only reason people choose to buy organic over conventionally raised food. That’s ridiculous, even according to the Stanford study itself. Continue Reading