Millingwood Organics

Welcome, October

Just two more Thursday Markets left! October 4 and October 11. If you have favorite farmers and vendors that you hit up on Thursdays, be sure to stock up and ask about alternatives: will they be moving to Saturday? Do they offer places to buy their products in the off-season (buyers' clubs or CSAs)? Do they offer bulk deals?

The sun keeps on shining, but the calendar moves on. We're seeing sure signs of fall:

  

Goose Neck Gourds, people!

And how about these beauties?

As you probably know, you don't just pay those squash to look good. If they're uncut, you can just roast those puppies up anytime this fall or winter. Our family is still eating butternut squash from last fall, if you can believe it! So grab a few to decorate your house and eat them whenever you please. You can cut in half and roast in the oven or halve them and let them go in the crock-pot for several hours. Mash up the pulp, add butter, brown sugar, salt, and a little ginger, and you're good to go!

I tried two new pepper varieties this week:

Aren't they cute?

Darling "blueberry peppers" at Alvarez went in a salad, and the ones below were suggested to me as an alternative to jalapenos. Although they didn't have the slight kick of jalapeno peppers, they had flavor and crunch and worked just fine in my pico de gallo.

And then I saw these stripe-y wonders:

If anyone out there has an easy home recipe for Baingan Bharta (forgive my spelling), the yummy Indian preparation for eggplant, I would sure love to have it. It's the Asian subcontinent's answer to Eggplant Parmesan, and so far those are the only two ways I've enjoyed the beautiful vegetable. Err--fruit.

We aren't the only ones eating well this fall. When the nine-year-old sidekick and I hit up Juice Box for an "RPP" (red pepper, pineapple, and uh--something else that starts with a 'p'), we checked out the bin catching all those leftover peels and cores and such:

Food confetti

I commented on how awesome their yard waste must be, and they told me they actually hand the stuff over to Millingwood Eggs! Dave feeds it to his chickens who--to mix my farm animals--go absolutely hog-wild over it. All the beets in the pulp have actually tinted the eggshells faintly pink, I guess to go with Millingwood's lovely pink egg cartons. So if I drink the RPP from the Juice Box, and the chickens eat the leftovers from my RPP, and I eat the eggs from the chickens--mind-blowing. Some kind of semi-closed ecosystem going on.

Anyhow, there is all kinds of food excitement happening at the Market, and I hope you get over there! Remember Saturdays go until right before Thanksgiving.

And now, I leave you with a bouquet:

Because you're worth it.

Give Visiting Friends a Taste of Bellevue

"Quarry Stone" on the far right

We had friends in town the past several days, and while my part-time job chauffeuring my three children hither and yon prevented me going into full-time tour guide mode, I did manage to get them to the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market. Big, big hit.

Big, and perfect for slicing!

Doug and Kim had already sampled Rockridge Orchards' luscious Quarry Stone Hard Apple Cider at our house the night before, so we bought another bottle of it, along with some of the Skipping Stone Berry Cider and Tayberry Wine. Haven't opened the Tayberry yet, but the two hard ciders went over well, with Quarry Stone still my favorite. I've already promised to bring it to a 4th of July barbecue. Seriously, you have to try it. Just be sure to leave me a bottle. Tastewise I'm not a beer fan, so the Quarry Stone leans to the fruity, rather than the dry ale side. It was absolutely perfect with the Skagit River Ranch burgers we grilled up on Saturday, topped with Market lettuce and a Kittitas Valley Greenhouse tomato. For those who prefer drier hard ciders, Wade Bennett has those as well.

I fully intended to try something new at The Box, but my kids demanded another Kahlua Pork Hom Bao and made such loud mm-mm sounds eating it that Doug got one, too. Thank you, Chef Reis. The branching-out will have to happen next week (or when I don't have the kids). Please keep that mini bagel burger around another week!

Our friends' youngest daughter was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy, so Kim eyed the gluten-free offerings at Manini's with interest. Scientific American  reported this week that children who grow up in urban settings are more likely to develop food allergies than those raised in rural areas(!). Since nowadays our kids largely eat the same Big-Ag food, whether they're country mice or city mice, researchers are still theorizing as to cause. Do rural kids have better immune systems because they're around more dirt? Are city kids exposed to more pollutants? The jury's still out, but--hey--if your suburban kids need a gluten-free muffin, Manini's can set them up.

Gluten-Free bread mixes, if you go for semi-homemade

And finally, while a swim meet prevented me from making the Saturday Market last week, I do have a tidbit on it from the week before. Please welcome Millingwood of Lake Stevens! Dave Mills has a flock of 335 chickens, roaming freely on five acres and producing 130 dozen of the tastiest eggs per week. Such natural, organic egg goodness went into my daughter's homemade Red Velvet birthday cake, and I like to think those two eggs offset the whole bottle of chemical food coloring I dumped in next. Yikes.

See you all Thursday! Don't be surprised if I stop you and ask how you plan to cook some of the goodies in your shopping bags.

Market Countdown!

Hip hip hooray--the Thursday Bellevue Farmers Market opens in just over three weeks! Hope you've already marked your calendar for May 10, 3-7 p.m., in First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue's parking lot (last year's location). Opening Day is certainly on mine--in ink and highlighted.

Some exciting news about this season:

  • Welcome back to Rockridge Orchards! My mouth waters, just thinking about one of their cold apple ciders on a hot summer day. Their web page highlights ciders, vinegars, produce, wine, and honey, so I can't wait to see what they bring. I'll definitely have more on the blog about them when we open.
  • Snohomish Pie Company joins us Thursdays! Not to be confused with the luscious Snohomish Bakery (who, thank heaven, will be returning on Saturdays), the Snohomish Pie Company specializes in--you guessed it--pies. All I can say is, those folks in Snohomish really do know a thing or two about baking.
  • Millingwood Organics of Lake Stevens will bring eggs on Saturdays, to the relief of us marketgoers who arrive too late on Thursdays!
  • If you're a fan of Tieton Farm & Creamery's subtle, tasty goat and sheep's milk cheeses from last year's Saturday Market, be aware that they're moving to Thursdays. Don't be caught out for that weekend cheese tray...

More news to follow, as we get closer!

Last week I visited the in-laws in Richland, Washington, and was thrilled to see this article in their Tri-City Herald about Washington asparagus farmers.The very first Washington asparagus is being harvested as we speak, people! The paper reports about 100 asparagus growers in our state, with 70% of them in Benton and Franklin Counties (where Richland and my in-laws can be found). The article's worth a read. As a non-farmer, I had no idea that asparagus is the most labor-intensive crop to harvest. It must be done by hand, as the worker with a pack strapped on him stoops over to whack each stalk with a knife. (My father-in-law confirmed this, having grown up in Dayton, Washington, which used to be Ground Zero for Green Giant Asparagus.) Not only is the work hard, but the same field can be cut up to 65 times in a season! Bring it on, I say. Love the stuff.

Happy 2nd half of April to you all.