Hama Hama

Two Farmers Markets Left!

The good news is we aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving because the parents are coming this direction. The bad news is we aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving because the parents are coming this direction. Meaning, I don't have to be organized when it comes to luggage and the kids' schoolwork, but I do have to get my act in gear about Thanksgiving dinner. Especially since there are only two Saturday markets left!

When you're thinking about eating local for Thanksgiving, don't forget the following goodies on the shopping list:

  1. The perfect hostess gift. Caramels? Toffee? Smoked Salmon? A jar of jam? Fancy cheese? Flowers, naturally.
  2. Appetizers. Assemble a cheese tray with Golden Glen's Cheddar with Red Pepper and Samish Bay's Ladysmith (Jalapeno, if you feel adventurous). Or whip up some cream cheese and serve it alongside Handmade in Seattle's Ginger Pear Butter. Or stop at Hama Hama for some smoked oysters.

  3. Potatoes. Whether chopped and roasted or mashed with tons of butter, the Market carries every variety. And I've said this before, but after you read Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire, you will never want to eat a non-organic potato again.
  4. If you aren't making rolls, grab some tasty bread at Ble. Slice it and throw it in the freezer until you need it.
  5. Don't forget that Samish Bay carries sausage, if you prefer sausage-and-cornbread stuffing. Not to mention, onions and celery can also be found at several stalls. If you like oyster stuffing, hit Hama Hama.
  6. Having a pescatorian Thanksgiving? Treat your guests to Food Magazine's Thanksgiving Salmon recipe, complete with cranberry sauce. Loki Salmon tastes wonderful cooked any which way, and the diehards might not miss the turkey.
  7. And finally, for dessert, there are plenty of apples for homemade apple pie, and I've even spotted a few pie pumpkins. Tiny's Organic had a new apple--the Golden Russet. Not as dramatic to look at as their Arkansas Blacks, but very tasty and crisp.

Get cracking, and we'll see you on Saturday!

Hubba Hubba Hama Hama

The name is irresistible, and last Saturday I stopped resisting. I hit up Teresa at Hama Hama Company for some fresh clams and made my very first attempt at Manhattan Clam Chowder. If you're a shellfish lover, you know about Taylor Shellfish at our Thursday market, but Hama Hama is new this year to the BFM. Like Taylor, they carry fresh oysters (live and shucked) and clams, as well as tasty smoked oysters. When my friend picked up a pack of the Teriyaki Smoked Oysters, I asked her, "What will you do with them?" She gave me one of those you-have-to-ask? looks. "What else? Pop them like candy."

She also came away with two dozen live clams to whip up her own batch of chowder and provide moral support. Yes--as someone who had never before prepared shellfish, I needed moral support. Not only did C coach me through clam prep, she also called to say that, when she steamed her own open, one of the little guys had a crab inside!

Step one: rinsing and scrubbing. The clams already looked sparkling clean, but I managed to get a few pans of water clouded up. Like most moms, I have plenty of "little helpers" in the kitchen, and the clams certainly caught my second-grader's eye. This is the poor child whose only "pets" are the chickadees that come to the outside feeder, so naturally, no sooner did the clams put in an appearance than she was begging to keep one as a pet. (I promised her some empty shells in return for some slave labor.

Step two: boil/steam the puppies for 5-7 minutes until they pop open. In space, no one can hear you scream, and the same holds true for clams in boiling water. I suspect, if I threw the clams in with a twinge of guilt, I'm still not ready for an Annie-Hall-style lobster scene. Check out the rich clam broth. After I poured that out into a measuring cup and let any remaining sand settle out, it provided a luscious base for the chowder.

Step three: pry the little suckers out of their shells and chop them up. About a hundred years ago (before kids), my husband and I spent a day in Siena, Italy, popping into a little no-name restaurant for dinner. What I ordered there has gone down in history as the Plate of Death, although the menu called it, innocuously enough, the Seafood Plate. The waiter brought me a heaping platter of...Death. Crustaceans of every variety, clams, oysters, fish! All whole and intact, looking like themselves, only...dead. Suffice to say, I don't do super well with things that look like themselves, only dead, which is why this was my first attempt and do-it-yourself shellfish. I am relieved to say that clams are not overly gross, and I didn't have to call in the fourth-grade boy to do the job for me.

Step four: throw the chopped clams in the soup and heat through! Manhattan Clam Chowder, if you recall, is basically a tomato-vegetable soup with a clam broth base and clams thrown in. I figured it would go over better with the kiddoes than opaque, potato-y chowder, and I was half right. (The boy wouldn't touch it.) Note the salad of Alm Hill spinach, River Farm cucumber and homegrown tomatoes, dressed with Fosse Farms Provencal.

Rather tasty! Pick up some clams this week and give it a try. If chowder isn't your thing, Hama Hama has a sheet of serving suggestions and recipes. Bon appetit.

Saturday Market Opens This Week!

--which is good news for those of you who have been wandering around near Top Pot asking for directions, weeks in advance!

Some of our farmers and vendors will overlap between the Thursday and Saturday markets, but there will also be new faces, including Hama Hama Oysters and Skagit Valley's flower-growing Jello Mold Farm, recently featured in this Seattle Times article. And for you fans of Asian vegetables and squashes, look for Mair Farm-Taki.

Meanwhile, another great week at our Thursday market. This time I arrived before the first-of-the-season's strawberries were sold out at Tiny's Organic and managed to get at least five of them before my youngest ate them all. The trend for enormous strawberries in the grocery store mystifies me, since every market aficionado knows that the littlest ones are the real flavor bombs.

For Memorial Day one woman purchased twenty-one (!) bouquets for the graves she intended to decorate, including one of gorgeous peonies, perhaps from Pa Yang Farm. All I can say is, I feel rather sorry for the graves next to the twenty-one because they might look a little shabby in comparison...

After sampling one of Foraged and Found's "sea beans" (available through mid-July), Jonathan and I had a fascinating discussion about their new tea and medicinal offerings. F&F is known for its mushrooms and huckleberries, of course, but they also carry such things as nettle tea, rich in vitamins A, C and E and iron, and said to be a digestive aid and to improve the skin and scalp! Jonathan suggests cutting it in with loose-leaf mint tea or mint leaves. They also carry that superstar of the Vitamin-C-supplement section, rosehips. I'd never actually laid eyes on the things before, and thought you might not have either--hence the picture. As with the nettle tea, Jonathan chops up 2-3 rosehips and adds them to mint.

And having worked up a decent appetite, I checked out the chef demo by Newport High School's Culinary Class, a two-year program taught by Tracy Green. The roughly 30-student classes are serious business, being two periods long and going for the entire year. In their second year, the students become sous chefs. For the market demo they instructed the audience in making a Potato-Onion Gruyere Galette, passing the generous sample tray twice, before moving on to making pasta.

And finally, speaking of pasta, I brought home a pound of lovely, pink, beet fettucine from La Pasta and served it up with homemade Alfredo sauce and Loki salmon. Just writing about it makes me want to dig out the leftovers for breakfast!

Think good thoughts this week, and maybe this Mayvember weather will lift, but at least our seasonal market produce will be there Thursday and Saturday, rain or shine.