Tieton Farms

Buy or Make, It's the Last Market of the 2015 Season!

Oh my. We're headed for that long drought in fresh, local food called the Market Off-Season. Not only that, but Thanksgiving is only a week away!

Time to get your pilgrim on!

While I myself will be at a swim meet in Mukilteo all Saturday, I'll be thinking mournfully of the last Market and how I had no cash last Saturday to buy myself some Bloom Creek Cranberries. I even dragged my 12-year-old Sherpa with me through the rain to the BofA ATM, only to remember my husband had made off with my ATM card.

But you can be at the last Market. And you can fully prepare for your delicious feast. To help you out, I'm providing this Buy/Make Shopping List.

Bet our backyard squirrels would love to get their paws on these

Appetizers

BUY a Proven baguette and some Tieton cheese and smoked salmon. Or some Britt's pickles and Samish Bay smoked sausage for the relish tray.

Or...

MAKE some balsamic- and olive-oil roasted vegetables and some bread-machine focaccia, sprinkled with coarse salt

Salad

BUY some of the spinach or arugula or mixed greens and dressing at Growing Washington

And...

MAKE it into your favorite salad by adding your favorite fresh vegetables. I saw these sunchokes last week, which are crunchy like jicama and lovely in salad.

Turkey

BUY Hmm...hope you placed your order some time ago

And if you did, you'll still need to...

MAKE your roasted main dish. The New York Times offers these instructions.

Sides

Side dishes are the glory of Thanksgiving, in my opinion. And the Market is your source for side dish ingredients.

MAKE mashed or au gratin potatoes. Roast some squash and top it with your favorite sugar concoction. Grab some green beans or brussels sprouts. Don't forget to bring cash for your bag(s) of Bloom Creek Cranberries!

Dessert

BUY a pie. Heck--buy a few and freeze the extras. It is always handy to have a pie in the freezer. You never know when you'll be invited to dinner, and pies are the best way to win friends and influence people. I've never met anyone who didn't like pie. Oh--actually, I did meet one person and instantly distrusted her because how can a person not like pie?

Or...

MAKE your own pies. If there was ever a time to make an effort, this would be it. All those crunchy apples, just dying to be handed to the kids to be peeled and sliced, while you make the crust. Some folks like their apples still firm in the pie, but we like apples that get nice and soft. Ask our fruit farmers which apple is right for you.

And don't forget to grab a hostess gift! Fresh flowers or a box of toffee or a bottle of wine.

Remember, after this we're on our own until May, which means months of get-togethers where people wheel out the same Costco offerings over and over. If you just sighed, you are not alone.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Five Reasons to Hit the Saturday Market This Week

At book club last night, a friend mentioned dropping by Trader Joe's and finding that just about everything seemed to be Pumpkin Spice. There were the snack bars, the coffee (blergh!), the chai, the pumpkin spice cakes and pies and frozen things. There was actual Pumpkin Pie Spice. Pumpkin dog biscuits.

Because dogs like food trends, too

Pumpkins are hot. And if you like pumpkins, this would be the year to take advantage of their trendiness, because in a year or two pumpkins will probably go the way of sun-dried tomatoes and chia seeds. (Chia seeds, at least, are just over the trend crest, so there are still plenty of the little fellas to be found, gracing random food products.)

But Trader Joe's isn't the only one riding the pumpkin wave. Our Market farmers are as well. Have you noticed all the pumpkins we've got?

1. PUMPKINS

These would be Burpee Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Think of these sweet, smooth darlings as the high-maintenance cousins of butternut squash. But the same principles apply: hack the thing in two, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in the oven. Then just dish out the tender flesh. Years ago, the Seattle Times ran this article on sugar pie pumpkins, with handling and recipe ideas. You, too, can experiment with pumpkin-flavored everything in your house!

Because our book club was reading Out of the Dust, a young-adult prose-poetry tale of the Dust Bowl during the Depression, our themed food included a homemade apple pie, which really can't be beat as a fall favorite. The Market has several varieties of...

2. APPLES

Sweet ones, sweet-tart ones, you name it. Just ask your farmer which variety you should try for eating out of hand or making into applesauce or slicing into pie filling. They're at their crisp and delicious best.

3. ASIAN PEARS


I bet I'm not the only one who has missed Rockridge Orchards and all the scads of Asian pear varieties Wade(?) used to bring. But I've noticed we still have a couple types at Collins Family Orchard. Sam recommends you let them sit out until most of the greeniness is gone, replaced by golden dots. She also says these are fabulous dehydrated like apple chips!

4. POKE TO THE MAX


My daughter and I have grabbed plenty of Saturday lunches at this truck. I go for the Loco Moco bowl, while she prefers a Shaka Sandwich Wrap. Whatever you choose, it's sure to be fresh and flavorful. Plus it's always delightful to hear someone speak to you with a Hawaiian accent...

5. FRESH-BAKED BREAD


Those of you who haunt the Woodinville warehouse district might already know Proven Bread, where Alexis Carson provides rambling winetasters with picnic fixings like sandwiches and charcuterie and fresh-baked goodies. Well, we at the Saturday Market also get to enjoy her James-Beard-Award-Nominee baked offerings. What better to pair with a hearty fall soup, or some Tieton Farms cheese and a salad?

Okay--this is not a post to write before breakfast. I'm off for now, but hope to see you all this Saturday.

Summertime, and the Eating's Easy

In talking to many of you, this summer you've been experiencing a steady flow of visitors, out-of-town and otherwise. In between trips to the Space Needle, Safeco Field, and Pike Place Market, you're also working to come up with meals for these friends and family. Thank goodness it's summer, and the eating's easy.

A friend sent me these pics from her recent barbecue (visiting brother):

Grilled salmon in foil
Alongside potatoes and corn brushed in coconut milk and grilled

If your mouth doesn't water when you see these, something might be wrong with you. And these are all things you can grab at the Market, brush with your fat of choice, and throw on the grill.

When we had old friends who now live in Indiana show up, we threw Skagit burgers on the grill, opened a bag of potato chips, and chopped up a watermelon. Done.

It was our month to host the Supper Club I mentioned in an earlier post here and here, and as the hostess I chose the fourth "Summer Sensations" menu from Debi Shawcross's book:

  • Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Herb Marinated Chicken
  • Quinoa Corn Salad with Mint Vinaigrette and Toasted Pine Nuts (or "Pine Puts," as the cookbooks mispells it)
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Peach, Blueberry, and Raspberry Crisp with Dulce de Leche Sauce
The verdict? The bruschetta and quinoa salad were keepers. (Funny note on the quinoa salad: after listing the menu, Shawcross encourages her readers to become locavores and eat local, if only for a night. So...quinoa? I suppose some of her readers might be Peruvian Highlanders.) And if I had to choose between the bruschetta and the quinoa, I'd go with the bruschetta.
Therefore, I share with you this recipe, with Market-available ingredients marked with an asterisk (*).
Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes
3 large heirloom tomatoes, diced*
2 garlic cloves, minced*
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/2 c chopped fresh basil*
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 baguette, sliced into 1"-thick slices*
1 garlic clove, halved*
6 ozs goat cheese, softened*

In a medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and lemon zest. Set aside. (Leftovers of the topping are yummy on tortilla chips, FYI.)

Heat grill to medium-high. Place baguette slices on grill and lightly toast on each side. Remove slices from grill and rub one side with garlic clove. Spread about 1 tsp of goat cheese on each baguette slice. Top with a spoonful of tomato mixture.

Serve immediately. About 10 servings of two slices each.

Frankly, I could have made a meal of the bruschetta alone. And, if you haven't tried Tieton Farm and Creamery's offerings on Saturday, you're in for a treat. I'm betting their "Bianca" cheese would be awesome in this recipe.

Quinoa aside, we do enjoy such riches of local food that I'm not surprised everyone flocks to us in the summer. I only wish they'd brought some of their own local goodies to us! Our Indiana friends, for instance, told tales of the sour-cherry-picking extravaganza they enjoyed.

Hard at work at Lehman's Orchard in Niles, Michigan

Enough to make you weep
As if this weren't enough, the residual cherry juice is good for gout (just FYI)
Sigh. Who doesn't love summer?

Of course, if all this cooking, easy as it is, sounds too much, and you missed the sour cherries in Niles, Michigan, you can always take your guests to the Market itself and let them choose from our smorgasbord of goodies, both prepared and unprepared. See you all there!

In Praise of Fresh

Wow. Summer is going strong, and if you aren't eating Market fresh yet, let me persuade you not to miss this! Take just one, eeny weeny example:

It's green bean season, people. They're skinny and crisp and flavorful, and they're on our dinner menu just about every day this week. So far we've had them two ways, both so delicious that I had to share them with you. As always, ingredients found at the Market are marked with an asterisk (*).

Green Beans with Bacon and Goat Cheese
1 lb green beans, trimmed*
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 slices bacon*
1 dried-fig-encrusted goat-and-sheepmilk cheese from Tieton Farms* (1 little cheese is enough for 2 recipes)

Steam beans till crisp-tender. Drain and add butter. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble cooked bacon and cheese over and serve warm or at room temperature.

Once you've run out of the awesome cheese, you might want to try a more international recipe. My book club met last night, and as always, we tried to theme the food to the book. In this case we had read Lost in Shangri-La, a fascinating nonfiction account of a plane that went down in WWII in a highland Papuan valley. The survivors of the wreck encountered Papuan tribespeople with Stone Age technology, who had never before seen white people or modernity.

 I highly recommend it for WWII and adventure buffs or those with an anthropological bent. One of the members of our book club had lived as a missionary in Wamena and knew all the places mentioned in the story, so we had her draw up a typical Indonesian menu for us, for which each of us prepared a dish. Everything was so tasty that most of us went home uncomfortable, but a particular hit were the "Buncis Tumis," the stir-fried green beans. Thus:

Buncis Tumis

 
Heat in a wok or large skillet:
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 tsp crushed garlic (3-4 cloves)*
2 tsp grated ginger (about a finger length)
 
Add:
½ sweet onion, sliced to shape of green beans*
1 cup sliced carrots, sliced in shape of green beans*
2 cups green beans, cut in 1-2” lengths*
½ cup water

2-3 T kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce found at Asian markets)

Stir fry until beans just begin to grow tender, maybe 3-4 minutes.

Remove to serving dish.  Toss well with fresh ground black pepper.

Clockwise from top: Chicken Curry, Buncis Tumis, Turmeric Rice, Gado Gado ("Mix Mix")

As long as you're stopping by Uwajimaya or the Asian Food Market for kecap manis (pronounced "ketchup mayonnaise," if you need to ask the clerk), you might as well grab some Indonesian Gado Gado dressing or a packet of "Bumba Gado Gado" (Gado Gado Spices) to make your own. Then just make up a tray of your favorite fresh items--

  • potatoes, boiled and cubed*
  • cucumbers, peeled and cubed*
  • boiled eggs*
  • tomatoes*
  • green beans*
  • sweet potatoes 

--sprinkle cilantro* over and drizzle with dressing. You can also squeeze fresh lime over it. 

And lastly, while I'm on the subject of fresh, did you notice the newly-caught salmon from Two If By Seafoods?

From the bin labeled "Grill Me"

 Get 'em while they last!
 

Blown Away

So clearly I'm not on social media as constantly as I ought to be. With my ten-year-old Market-bag sherpa in tow, we drove toward Barnes & Noble to park last Saturday, the crazy winds threatening to roll the car over, and it wasn't till the 10YO said, "It's not there," that I realized the Market was not, in fact, there. Darn winds.

Hope this wasn't any of you, trying to get to/from the Market [Komo News photo]

Fortunately no one was injured in all the flying canopies, and we can hope for clouds, calm, and a few showers this Saturday.

But do get out this weekend because the Bellevue Farmers Market will be welcoming Bloom Creek Cranberry Farm of Olympia!

[Pic from their website!]

Farmer Felix Mahr boasts of an "epic" harvest this year in which the berries are "extra big because of our nice warm summer." Not just bigger, but also "sweeter than usual"!

The Man Without the Can

You meet all kinds at Thanksgiving, from people who like their cranberry sauce from a can, ridges intact, to those who make their own fresh, a few times a year. That would be me, so I'll be needing a couple bags.

Another reason to come out this Saturday is to try a dozen eggs from Van Vuren Farms. I've been getting them since the Thursday Market ended, and they're wonderful. Giant, with dark yolks and nice body to the whites.

And I love how Van Vuren chickens are fed NO corn and NO soy. They're pastured, running around in the grass and supplementing their locally-sourced feed with bugs like good chickens should.

The one in the middle got one, I think! [pic from VV website]

As Ma said in On the Banks of Plum Creek, when the plague of grasshoppers ate their entire crop and covered every inch of ground, at least the chickens wouldn't need as much feed. And, "There's no great loss without some small gain." You tell 'em, Ma.

Speaking of great farmers and cheesemakers like Ma Ingalls, the gals from Tieton Farm & Creamery will be back this weekend with their luscious artisan cheeses made from sheep and goat's milk.

Lori and Ruth Babcock, the cheese babes

Life is not complete until you've crumbled some Phoebe (a "Greek-inspired feta") on your salad or spread some creamy Sonnet on a slice of artisan bread. I remember years ago a California cheese ad that ran something like, "Good cheese comes from happy cows." If that's the case, you can imagine how good Tieton's cheese is, since their herd of sheep and goats gets rotated to fresh pasturage every three days!

It's all about perspective, folks, when it comes to weather. After 60 m.p.h. gusts last Saturday, how could a chance of drizzle even raise an eyebrow this week? See you all at the Market, and remember the free parking!

One Perfect Market Meal

Those of you who come from families of more than one person know, it can be a difficult thing to prepare a meal that everyone enjoys. In my house we shoot for four out of five--if only one kid thinks it's kind of sick, we are in business.

Therefore, when I whipped up this meal last week and everyone ate it, my first thought was that I needed to share it with you. The meal also fit other important criteria:

1. It was a piece of cake to make.

2. It used mostly fresh, local, Market ingredients.

Drumroll, please... I give you Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup and Corn-Tomato Salad. (You can also throw in a loaf of Market artisan bread or make your own at home.)

Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup
1 lb beef stew chunks (available from any of our meat vendors)
1 cup of beef or chicken broth
1-1/2 to 2 cups sliced cabbage
3 big tomatoes, chopped in chunks
2 carrots, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything in the cooker and cook on Low 6-8 hours, or High 4 hours. Just before serving, add:

1 cup frozen peas (just before serving)
1/4 to 1/2 cup orzo, cooked (see note on pots below)
The broth is nummy--perfect to blot up with good bread, and the meat just melts.

Of course I forgot to take a picture until I'd eaten the last of it the next day.

I did remember, however, to photograph the salad:

Pretty, and tastes even better!

Corn-Tomato Salad (my variation on this Food Network salad)

2 ears of fresh Market corn (DO NOT use storebought or frozen! Everything depends on the corn.)
2 big tomatoes, chopped
2 cups of green beans, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, slivered (DO NOT use dried)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mild cheese, cubed (I was out of Market cheese and had to use shredded mozzarella)

Dressing:
1-1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Now here's the trick with the pots: bring one big pot of water to a boil. Throw in the two ears of corn and cook for ONLY TWO MINUTES. Take them out with tongs and throw in the green beans. Cook the green beans until crisp-tender, anywhere from 4-6 minutes, and fish them out with a slotted spoon. In the still-boiling water, pour in your orzo for the Beef Vegetable Soup and cook according to package directions.

One pot of water, three things cooked, minimal clean-up!

After the vegetables are cooked, combine all ingredients and toss.

This is the only salad my girls have ever asked for seconds of, and I plan on buying more corn so we can have it again before the season ends. Everything has to be fresh, fresh, fresh for the full effect. Fresh mozzarella from Samish Bay would be delicious in this, or their Queso Fresco. Tieton's feta could also work, if you wanted a tangy contrast to the sweet corn.

And finally, on an unrelated note, I have two P.S.es:
1. For fans of the crinkly variety of spinach, I found it at Hedlin! More crunch, less furry-teeth-sensation.

2. And, if you've missed the usual Asian pear harvest from Rockridge Orchards, I stumbled upon some at Tiny's Organic.

There you have it! See you all at the Market this week.

Summer Bucket List

So we just got back from our last summer hurrah, travel-wise: a trip over the Pass to Eastern Washington where the in-laws live. If you've never ventured that way, I highly recommend it, not only for the farm stands and big sky and wineries, but also for the blossoming food scene. We dined on local melons and corn, sausages, and my mother-in-law's patented, world's best macaroni salad. I'd give you the recipe, but she eyeballs it every time. My guess would be cooked ditalini, chunks of your favorite cheese, chunks of ham, chopped sweet pickles, hard-boiled eggs, and mayo to bind them all.

But back on our side of the mountains we have plenty of goodies left to enjoy, including salads like the one I make (pictured above) with cherry tomatoes, green beans, onions, and dill, in a vinaigrette. Everything but the dill you can find at the Market, and sometimes even the dill! Otherwise, dried works just fine.

If you haven't tried our Market cheeses yet, let now be the time. Last week I picked up Tieton Farm & Creamery's "Phoebe" Cheese, a "classic sheep & goat milk feta" that is just delicious. Smooth, crumblable, and so tasty. I threw some of that in our usual spinach salad, and even my ten-year-old (who does not like the feta sold at Costco) ate it.

This week I plan to get some fresh mozzarella or another soft, fresh cheese to slice up in a Caprese Salad. Such a salad needs no introduction, but if you've only had the kind made with storebought cheese and tomatoes, you've actually never had a Caprese. Take it from someone who's been on Capri and groaned my way through the real thing--you need vine-ripened tomatoes and honest-to-goodness fresh cheese and basil and your very best olive oil. Sometimes we sprinkle some balsamic vinegar on, too, but it's totally not necessary if your ingredients are good. Just salt and pepper to taste.

And did you notice we're in that transitional phase? I spied my first apples and pears of the year:

Not that we're anywhere near done with peaches and nectarines and apricots and plums!

When I tasted a nectarine, I did a "nectarine dance." Seriously. No video, but it involved shutting my eyes and hopping up and down. My mouth waters just typing this...

Finally, I think I might get brave enough to give the duck eggs a try. You can find them Saturday, and I heard sales have been slow, maybe because others (like me) have never cooked or baked with them, and feel timid about it. I shouldn't--being from a Chinese background, my mom ate plenty of prepared duck eggs from the store, but the way they were prepared made my American-born nose wrinkle in distaste. Click this link, if you're curious. Duck eggs look far more appealing this way:

Happily in their shells and still chicken-y

I might start easy--go first with substituting them for chicken eggs in baked goods. Maybe in a pound cake, where you want the added richness. For more ideas, PCC had a helpful post. If anyone else gives them a go, let me know!

So we'll see you this Thursday and Saturday, and see what everyone else has on their summer bucket lists.


Food of Champions: Olympic Edition

#4 on Unpleasant Things to See: Frenchmen triumphing over you (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

So, like many Americans, I've been glued to the couch, subjected to whatever NBC chooses to show me of the 2012 Summer Olympics, whether that be interviews with John McEnroe (huh?) or Ryan Seacrest (seriously--what???), gymnastics at 10:30 p.m., or a replay of the swim final I already watched hours before on the live stream. By the time they aired the Men's 4x100 Freestyle Relay, I had begun to hope that maybe I only dreamed the crushing livestream version, where France's anchor ate Ryan Lochte for lunch. Alas.

France's Olympics aren't going too shabbily. As of this morning, they have 9 total medals to the U.S.'s 18, and a greater proportion of theirs (44.4%) are Gold, to our 33%. Their secret? I mean, besides hard, hard work and carefully-cultivated natural talent? Lately I'm thinking it's the food. I recently finished a fascinating read by Karen Le Billon, French Kids Eat Everything. The title says it all, really, and when I had finished her account of her family's year in France, where they were all indoctrinated into the French culture of food, I was convinced. Dang it! Why did my kids turn up their noses at odd vegetables--all right, at even many common vegetables--beg for snacks all afternoon, and make faces when I presented something new at the table? No more. I was going to introduce more variety in our diet, limit the snacking, and, when the inevitable chorus of "What is that? Ewww!" went up, I was going to go with the French response: "Try it. If you don't like it this time, you will after you've had it a few times." I might even throw in a "you don't wanna swim like Ryan Lochte, do you? You wanna swim like Yannick Agnel. To swim like Yannick Agnel, you must eat everything, like Agnel does."

Take this recent salad, I made, 100% with Market ingredients:

Spinach, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onions, Tieton goat cheese feta. And then I dressed it with

because Wade at Rockridge had urged me to try it out and give feedback. He's told me twice what "shiso" is, and I've remembered it zero times. Some kind of Japanese herb. In any case, the dressing tastes cucumber-y and very, very fresh. Our houseguests took seconds, if not my children.

At the same meal we served grilled Market vegetables alongside: bell peppers, sweet onions, and teeny tiny baby potatoes I got at Alvarez. The main dish: Two If By Seafoods salmon glazed with olive oil and honey.

Recently the Huffington Post ran a slideshow on some Olympian diets. Beach volleyball champ Misty May-Treanor likes Greek yogurt with honey, for instance. On Saturdays you can find Samish Bay's luscious Greek yogurt. Swirl in a spoonful of Cascade Natural Honey and a handful of granola or almonds, and you're set. Just about all the athletes ate a variety of vegetables and steered clear of processed foods. For those who needed to carb load before a big event, sandwiches hit the spot. And you know you can put whatever you want in the middle--it's the bread that makes the sandwich, and we have such tasty ones both Thursdays and Saturdays. The athletes would love our Market.

One final reason to hit the Market this week: some theorize all those fruits and veggies and whole grains relieve depression. The jury may still be out, but it certainly might impact minor bummed-out feelings, like seeing your relay get trounced or looking at all those Olympian bods and trying to calculate how many calories you've (not) burned, prone, on the couch.

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.

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!