Archive for the ‘farmers markets’ Category

We are aflutter. This Sunday is the 6th annual ‘An Incredible Feast’ event, organized by the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. The concept pairs local family farms with “Seattle’s Best Chefs”, to prepare and present unique dishes made from farm fresh ingredients. All proceeds from the event support the Good Farmer Fund, an emergency relief for local farmers in need, and the NFMA’s educational programming.

Held outside in a farmers market setting, guests can sample 30 dishes, enjoy local wines and beers, and meet the chefs and farmers behind the food. We have participated as a farm in the past, and the event is a lot of fun.

But this year, we are participating as both farm and restaurant. Our own incredibly talented chef at La Boucherie, Meredith Molli, will be preparing the Sea Breeze Farm ingredients for the feast. And I am fairly certain we are the first and only participating business to wear both hats at this event.

TICKETS are available now at brownpapertickets.com. The Feast goes from 5 to 8 pm and is located at the site of the University District Farmers Market. Join us, and 30 other farms and chefs, for an amazing evening!

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My cousin and his family reside in the Las Vegas area.  Every summer, they make a pilgrimage to Vashon Island over the Fourth of July holiday.  And every time we see these guys, we can’t help but interrogate them on the climate in their home state, and marvel at their descriptions of 110 degree normalcy.   It explains why they choose to vacation every July in Washington, and why they don’t seem to mind a bit that 90% of their 10-day holiday was overcast and cool.

Last night, as we passed fried chicken, grilled carrots and asparagus, pan-fried potatoes & salad, all grown locally, someone asked about farmers markets in Nevada.  There is one, they said, in their city, but no one goes to it because it is too hot.  I looked it up online.  The Henderson Farmers Market is listed, along with 20 other’ Certified Farmers Markets’ on the Nevada Department of Agriculture website, but the link to the Henderson market is dead.  So I tried the “Las Vegas Farmers Market” link –feeling incredulous, but hey, I hear Las Vegas is a big place where anything is possible– and this time there is something.   Fourteen vendors are listed, including “‘Dawg Daze Hotdogs” and “‘Paws Across America.”   The only food-related item I am able to verify is a vendor of homemade salsa.

I know I take the year-round availability of locally grown produce for granted.  But now I’m asking myself.  What would I do if I lived in the desert?  Without farmers markets, and in a climate hostile to growing a garden?

OK, I know I wouldn’t starve.  I would purchase produce at the grocery store, probably at Whole Foods or similar.  I’d still have access to organic produce, presumably trucked in from nearby California or Arizona.  Not the end of the locavore’s world.

But without a local farmers market –and I’m speaking strictly as a consumer, not a vendor–  what I would probably miss the most is much less tangible than a bag of salad greens or a fresh picked bunch of carrots.  My weekly farmers market visit entails much more than simply buying the produce our family will consume in the immediate following days.  That time is also about catching up with friends and family; listening to music; talking politics; making play dates; relaxing; connecting.  It’s a little like church, in all the good ways.

The family went back to Nevada today; I see it’s a balmy 101 degrees in Henderson.  I hope they enjoyed the visit.  I know they enjoyed the dinner.  I enjoyed the perspective.

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In February, George and I spent a week in the Basque Country of Spain and France.  We rented a small flat in St. Jean de Luz and made daily pilgrimages to the farmers markets in the surrounding towns.

St Jean de Luz market

We often saw the same vendors at multiple markets.  Just like us.  This guy had an incredible selection of cured meats (most of which we were unsuccessful in transporting home through customs.  The dogs thought we smelled delicious.)

Les Halles in Biarritz

Les Halles in Biarritz

Most of the markets were both indoors/outdoors.  Bayonne, Biarritz & St Jean de Luz markets were all anchored by a beautiful, central building, adorned with wrought iron.  Often birds would fly through the rafters, making the market scene all the more magical.

Olives at Les Halles in St Jean de Luz

The vendors outside set up their tables in a way that created curving, meandering paths through the many stalls.

Lord, did I mention the cheeses?  Somehow I doubt these beauties ever suffered the indignity of a thermometer probe.

Poulet de Bresse

These lovely birds, the prized Poulet de Bresse, are sold with heads and feet still on; the distinctive red crown, white feathers and blue feet mimic the colors of the French flag.

I am sure all is not perfect in France.  The vendors likely have their issues.  There are rules.  There are health code inspectors.  But those markets are also woven into the fabric of French life.  A trusted and admired colleague told us today that 2-4% of Americans are buying food at local farmers markets.  I’ll have to look up that statistic for the French.

And plan another trip.

Bay of Biscay

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The first weekend on Vashon is always a great time.  Our little island is full of artists and supporters of the arts. This weekend, we will be participating in the First Friday Gallery Cruise.  As you may know we are honored to have Martin Koenig’s photos up at La Boucherie!

Well, to cut to the chase:  If you make a purchase at one of our Sunday farmers markets (West Seattle and Ballard) this Sunday, November 29th– you are eligible to receive a coupon which will pay for your ferry ticket to the island the first weekend in December (4th & 5th)  when you make reservations to dine at La Boucherie Vashon.


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