Oxbow Farms

Get While the Getting's Good

If we can't be there, at least we can eat their salt.

Okay, so the sun has gone into hiding temporarily again, but the first Saturday Bellevue Farmers Market of the season was as glorious as all the Thursday Markets have been. What a great day for great food and great conversations. The new location, in the parking lot of the First Congregational Church, has similar ambience to Thursday--trees, asphalt, and a church in the background. Awesome!

And as with the Thursday markets, I made new discoveries on my trip. For one thing, Tieton Farm & Creamery joins us this year from--where else--Tieton in the sunny Yakima Valley. Lori Babcock pastures her own herds of sheep and goats on the farm, blending their milks into some fabulous cheeses. Technically they are known as "Mi-Chevres" because they're not just goat cheese (chevres), but Lori just calls them chevres because she got tired of explaining what a mi-chevre was. All I know is, if you sometimes find straight goat cheeses too tangy, give Tieton Farms a try. The sheep's milk mellows the tang for a milder, sweeter result. By the time I reached the Market, Lori was already sold out of her chevres rolled in Hawaiian Red Salt or Black Lava Salt. (Guess we're all yearning for some tropical weather...) I couldn't miss what I didn't know, however, and found her chevre in paprika very tasty. And after trying Tieton's Feta, I don't know if I can go back to storebought!

New vendor Snohomish Bakery provided a welcome accompaniment to my cheeses: pumpernickel bread with NO caraway seeds. I ran home and sliced up the dark, dense loaf and threw it in the freezer. That day, and every day since, I take two pieces out and toast them up and eat them with cheese or butter. The kids were a little freaked out by how dark the bread is and accused me of burning the toast, but that meant more for me.

And finally, as a dessert, Becky of Oxbow Farms passed on the following recipe suggestion. I was bemoaning the fact that strawberries and rhubarb aren't in season at the same time in Washington, but Becky said a co-worker of hers just makes Rhubarb Sauce. She cuts the rhubarb into 1/2" chunks and tosses it with equal parts sugar and white wine and one vanilla pod. (Say, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup wine to a pound of rhubarb.) Then she covers the pan with foil and bakes in a 350F oven until saucy. Hmmm...

Let me add to that a friend's suggestion for Broomstick Pie, and we'll be in business. This is the non-healthy storebought part of the post. Annie suggests you wrap Pillsbury dough around a broomstick and cook it over your roaring summer firepit. When it's done, smother it in butter and honey (both available at the Market). Dump in a spoonful of your Rhubarb Sauce, and--voila!--Rhubarb Broomstick Pie! You'll probably be a sticky mess and attract bears, but I suspect it'll be worth it.

See you this Thursday and Saturday, rain or shine!