Lucky Duckies

Quack quack, yo. [CNN Photo]

Surely you've heard and seen by now of the giant inflatable rubber duck parked in Hong Kong's harbor, on its peacemaking journey around the world. (Fingers crossed it comes to the Puget Sound, but I bet danged San Francisco or New York will get it next!) Tourists have come. Rubber duck vendors have come. Local restauranteurs have cashed in with rubber-duck-shaped foods.

Well, I would like to say that tourism has other spurs than giant inflatable rubber ducks. Last week our own Bellevue Farmers Market was visited by a large host of Norwegians who were affiliated in various ways with the Bergen (Norway) farmers market! Seriously, people, if folks will fly halfway around the world to visit our Market, we know we have a good thing going. Not only did we participate in a goodwill t-shirt and Market cookbook exchange (email me if you need the recipe for Jordskokker og vaktelegg), but we learned lots about each other.

And what is a blog for, if not to share our learnings with you? I've got three.

1. Be grateful for our vegetables, their abundance, variety, and availability.

And these

The abundance of vegetables at our Market was the first thing our visitors remarked on. Norway, which comes in at Alaska's latitude, has a short, intense growing season. Not only that, but many fruit and vegetable farmers do not grow a variety of produce, rather focusing on one item and growing tons of it. Potatoes, say. Think monocultures in Iowa. Things are changing, but they're in the early stages.

2. Ditto the gratitude for flowers.

As with the vegetables, our visitors marveled at the number of flowers for sale.

3. Pacific Northwesterners are weather wimps. The Bergen Market runs from February to December. Let me repeat: the Bergen Market (latitude Alaska) runs February to December. And people actually come. The tents have blown away, they've had snow dumped on them, and one time they even had to flee into a nearby mall, but the Market must go on. Yowza.

Must...dig...out, so I can get to the Bergen Farmers Market (Photo:

Thank you to our visitors! May we one day return the favor.

In the meantime, all you fortunate Bellevue Farmers Marketgoers who only have to drive a couple miles under (partly) cloudy skies, here's a recipe from the "Bondens marked" cookbook that can be made with all our fresh, local ingredients. (Thank you, Google Translate!)

Pasta with Basil, Pancetta and Egg Yolk
(Spagetti med basilikum, sideflesk og eggeplomme)

1 bunch basil
2 Tbsp flake salt (this seems awfully high--maybe flake salt is a lot less dense? Do to taste)
2 cloves garlic
4/5 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/5 cups olive oil
1-1/4 cups pancetta
1-1/2 lbs pasta

Pluck leaves from basil plant and chop in a blender with the salt, garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Add olive oil and mix until it's a smooth pesto.

Cook the pancetta over medium heat in a pan. Cool, chop, set aside.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and mix with pesto.

Transfer pasta to a deep bowl. Sprinkle with pancetta and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with extra cheese. Put the egg yolk on top and add a few whole basil leaves.

See you all Thursday, rain or shine!