Blink, and You Might Miss These

We were at the Mariners game last night, being alternately grieved, thrilled, annoyed, and then thrilled again by the 7-6, extra-inning triumph over the Detroit Tigers. There was mediocre pitching. There was a bag of kettle corn and a serving of garlic fries. There was a grand slam. There were Tigers fans getting on my nerves.

Thanks for the pic,

I bring all this up for no reason, except that the Mariners don't win all that often, and we ought to savor it.

Just as we ought to savor the summer fruit season as it goes whizzing by! The strawberries are already done and the cherries soon to follow.

Get 'em while they last!

 Tell me you've tasted these offerings as well...?

FYI, a "nectarcot" is an awesome sweet-tart fruit that reminded me of a pluot. All our fruits are coming at us at an accelerated pace because of the heat wave, so we have to stay alert! My hub even spotted ripening blackberries among the monstrous weeds that threaten to overtake the Greater Puget Sound if you relax your vigilance for even a few months. Blackberries. In July.

But while we're snatching up fruit as the season flies by, don't miss other tasty things making appearances.

Did you notice the smoked tuna on offer at Fishing Vessel St. Jude's? So. Yummy.

Under a glass dome, like the treasure it is

And how about the appearance of Jujubeet, with their cold-pressed juices and wholesome snacks? More on them later because I used to work at their Bellevue store, but for now, one of their publicity shots:

I've had this exact drink at Jujubeet

And, this Saturday (7/11) and next Thursday (7/16), don't miss the reappearance of Peasant Food Manifesto, food truck of awesomeness.

Where I had this so-luscious mac and cheese with kimchi:

If any of you out there are Mariners fans, you know the valuable life lessons fandom teaches, which easily apply to eating seasonally:

  1. You can't have whatever goodness you want, whenever you want it.
  2. When the good times come, milk them for all they're worth.
A friend who accompanied us to the game happened to be up getting food and refilling water bottles when the Mariners loaded the bases and Austin Jackson hit his first career grand slam. He heard the pandemonium but got no closer to the festivities than staring up at the monitor by the concession stand. 
Sadly, that will be me, with this week's Markets. I'll be eating pool concessions at the kids' swim meets while you all have a ball. Think of me, when you're enjoying summer's walk-off victories.

"Hoperaking" in Action

Who hasn't wanted to be a member of the Mariners ground crew, at one time or another? You get to be right on the field among the players; you get to drag those big rakes; you even get to do that little dance, whether or not you show any special gift for dancing.

You may wonder what such an opening paragraph has to do with the Bellevue Farmers Market or eating well, but stick with me, faithful reader/eater, because today's UrbanFarmJunkie post is all good news, all the time.

For starters, pitchers and catchers have reported to Mariners Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona, starting the cycle of hope all over again. So what if the Angels signed Albert Pujols? This might be the year! We're already playing .500 ball, since the reset button has been hit and everyone's 0-0. That ground crew isn't just raking Ichiro-trodden dirt, they're raking hope!

I'm into "hoperaking" lately, having greatly enjoyed Katherine Gustafson's Change Comes to Dinner: How Vertical Farmers, Urban Growers, and Other Innovators are Revolutionizing How America Eats. Gustafson coins the word to describe her mission of traveling around the country finding hopeful stories of where food is going right. She ranges far and wide, exploring small-farmer co-ops in Montana, inner-city rooftop greenhouses, sunless hydroponic gardens in shipping containers, farming programs in prisons that reduce recidivism and feed into a catering business and school lunches! Gustafson covers some familiar food-writing ground, of course, in her journeys--a review of our dependence on a few species, our over-use of pesticides, soil erosion, etc., but she has much to say that was new to me. For one, she questions the foodie law of "local is automatically better." As Gustafson points out, "An apple in a load of millions shipped cross-country in an efficient eighteen-wheeler might well account for fewer carbon emissions than an apple in a single bushel driven thirty miles to a farmers' market in an old diesel farm truck." It just depends. However, what local food does provide in spades, she discovers, is a host of intangibles: community building; "bolstering local food economies"; job creation; greater responsiveness between market and consumer; increased food security through preservation of species variety.

The stories in Change Comes to Dinner are small, small Davids, in the face of Goliath agro-industry, but the sheer number of Davids Gustafson uncovers demonstrates how widespread is American interest in restoring connections to food, community and quality of life. Especially heartening were the stories of gardening programs for prisoners and inner-city youth, two populations historically without access to the earth or farms. Learning farming skills not only provided nutritious food, but also opened up professional opportunities and built confidence. Great stuff.

While each little David may not make Goliath blink, much less bring him down, the sheer number of Davids might, when it becomes a larger cultural shift.

Consider this last tidbit from the Wall Street Journal. Under pressure from McDonalds (which is itself under pressure), pig farmers are being encouraged to eliminate confining gestation stalls. As the article points out, McDonalds purchases 1% of the pork in America (!), so when they talk, producers listen. Well, Americans eat 100% of those McRib sandwiches, and when we talk, McDonalds listens. And so it begins.

Happy Valentine's Day! Treat the honeys in your life to great community food and go rake some hope!