Bloom Creek Cranberries

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!

A Few Things to Be Thankful for at 2014's Last Bellevue Farmers Market

The original teacup squash, grown by the hub

Alas, we have come to the end.

And there's not even any time to mourn properly because Thanksgiving and Decembermageddon will shortly be upon us. At least my 11YO daughter reminded me to put out the Thanksgiving decorations, for their brief stint before the Christmas bomb goes off in the house. (Exhibit A: my favorite tablecloth [right], all but buried under three computers and truckloads of papers, homework, and other crud.)

If your mind is desperately trying to get a head start on the season, let me help you out. Whether you have to put the whole meal together, or someone just assigned you one dish, the Market has what you need.

Your holiday Market shopping list:

  • Cranberries for sauce. It's fine to make it now--all that sugar keeps it indefinitely.
  • Salad greens. Chard, kale, spinach, mixed greens. Thanksgiving meals can be so starch-heavy that you want your salad to perk up the palate. The flavorful greens go well with Holmquist Hazelnuts and Tieton Farm and Creamery Cheese. Toss in some thin apple or pear slices!
  • Soup. Make your own with some butternut squash or pick up some quarts to go from Got Soup? Everyone just needs a teensy cup of flavorful soup, to prepare them for the heavy-duty eating ahead.
  • Bread and rolls.
  • Cider and wine.

 Martin Orchards has mouth-watering apple and pear flavors. Drink them straight, heated with mulling spices, or splashed in with sparkling water for your own "sparkling cider." We bought a half-gallon of the pear, but my children have been complaining because we've had to ration it. This visit I'll grab the gallon.

  • Potatoes for roasting and mashing. Lots and lots of potatoes. In a range of colors and without any nasty pesticides.
  • Carrots and brussels sprouts. Roast 'em. You won't be sorry.
  • Now, I know you already got your heritage turkey. But don't forget sausage and herbs for the stuffing!
  • And round off with a couple pies. Buy on the spot, or place an order with Adrienne's, with pick-up at Bellevue Presbyterian Church on Wednesday!

Just look at those puppies!
Ye all-important Order Form

And, supposing you weren't asked (or trusted) to bring anything. Well, every hostess likes a thoughtful gift. May I suggest...

Yup. Chocolates or toffee or a bottle of wine or a jar of honey or some beeswax candles or a jar of pickles! If they're avoiding carbs and you don't want to unfriend them (yet), maybe some flavored hazelnuts..? All I know is, if someone showed up at my house with Market food offerings, he or she would be my New Best Friend. It's that simple.

Sigh. So while I have much to be thankful for, I'll still be counting the days for baseball season and Market season to resume. In the meantime, continue to check back here for your weekly food news and foodie book reviews!

2013 Thanksgiving Holiday Market

You wouldn't know it from the decorations up in the stores or the songs on the radio, but the Forgotten Holiday is almost upon us. Take a seat, Santa--it's time to talk Turkey.

This Saturday will be the final Bellevue Farmers Market of the Season (chorus of waaaaaahs!), and it's chock-full of goodies for your holiday and beyond. Never mind the Twelve Days of Christmas--tell your true love you've got some Thanksgiving Market Must-Haves.

1. Vegetables. Thanksgiving has the most wonderful variety of vegetable side dishes, and we've got the fresh, local vegetables to make them happen. Potatoes. Carrots. Squash. Onions. Brussels sprouts.

2. Apples and Pears.

An impressionistic view from Collins' website

Both Martin Family Orchards and Collins Family Orchard have got the apples for your homemade pies, this season. Talk to the farmers about which varieties they recommend. Some people like their apple slices intact with a little crunch, even after baking. My family prefers no crunch at all. And just for eating out of hand, try the Packham pears at Collins. I am not kidding--don't let these get away. We ate them with groans of utter delight.

3. Cranberries! For your sauce or to throw in your pies or to frost with sugar syrup and serve as a beautiful holiday appetizer.

Ask nicely at Bloom Creek, and they'll give you a handout of tasty, easy recipes.

4. Don't feel like making your own cranberry sauce? Camp Robber Jams has plenty of alternative jams and spreads. Rome Doherty has whipped up Cranberry-Jalapeno Jam, Cranberry-Apple Butter and Cranberry Chutney to accompany turkey, all made with Bloom Creek berries. Or, for the less traditional barbecued turkey, he suggests Smoked Apple Butter with Chili!

5. Speaking of things you might not feel brave enough to undertake, remember the Market has handmade pies and tarts and pastries.


Yippie-Pie-Yay's pumpkin offering

6. Or first-course soups made from perfect ingredients! According to Got Soup?'s website, this week Jerry will be carrying a mouth-watering Potato and Kale with Smoked Gouda, among other offerings.

7. Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without any bread. Bread to accompany soup. Rolls to go with turkey (my kids especially love this). Bread for stuffing.


Tall Grass pics

8. And finally, to wash all that goodness down, Ciders and Wines.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery will be sampling special, small-batch cider varieties at the BFM this weekend:

In Finnriver's own words, "The Apple Blueberry is made with Finnriver's own estate organic blueberries and antique Hewe's Crab apples, for a sparkling, ruby-colored blend of sweet berry field and earthy orchard.  The Golden Russet release features the 'champagne' of cider apples for a bright, bubbly, off-dry, charismatic cider that will complement a holiday feast with its hearty taste and tribute to tradition." Oh my word.

And for those who prefer wine and no bubbles, Wilridge Winery suggests their Estate Nebbiolo as the perfect complement to our Thanksgiving meal. According to their website, "The 2010 Naches Heights Estate Nebbiolo is the second from Wilridge Vineyard.  2010 was a challenging year for many Washington vineyards.  However, some late warm weather in the fall favored those who were not afraid to leave the grapes hanging as long as possible.  Nebbiolo loves a long cool growing season like 2010 where it has time to gain ripeness but also maintain acidity from cool nights.  The result is a delightful wine that will gain complexity for many years to come."

Since it's the Thanksgiving Holiday Market will be our last gathering of 2013, don't forget to put some goodies by as gifts and personal stockpiles. It's a long, long way to May.


Last Two Markets of the 2013 Season!

And sadly, what might be my final Market because one of my kids has a swim meet on the Last Market Day (11/23). But I'll still be eating and blogging away through the off-season, dreaming of fresh, local food again.

Time to get out there and grab your fresh eggs and fruits and vegetables, plus a couple hostess gifts for Thanksgiving, if you aren't the one hosting the feast.

Did you see the Sunny Honey Company's array of offerings?

Lip balm, candles, honeycomb, creamed honey with cinnamon--things you can either smear on your face, stuff in your face, or keep the room lit so you can see your face.

Beeswax, you light up my life

And, of course, honey:

I got some of the last of the fireweed, but you can see there are several varieties. Beekeeper Anne Smith of Whatcom County and her 56(!) hives do all the pollination for our own Alm Hill Garden. Great little workers, those bees. I asked Anne whether her colonies ever experienced the dreaded "Colony Collapse Disorder" that mysteriously wipes out whole hives of bees, she said No. Neither had Cary Therriault of our Thursday Market's Cascade Natural Honey, that I recall. Good news for Washington State, at least for the time being.

If you aren't using honey in your tea or to make Deborah Madison's granola recipe, you might want to give this luscious fall roast a try. Just a few ingredients, and they all came from last week's market.

Honeyed Cranberry Roast (from Mabel Hoffman's Crockery Cookery)

1 pork roast (I got mine from Van Vuren Farms, of the egg fame)

1 cup cranberries, minced or ground (got these from Bloom Creek Cranberry Farms--they promise to be back at the last Market, if they haven't sold out by then)

1/4 cup honey

salt and pepper

pinch of ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Season the roast with the spices and throw it in the crock pot. Mix the cranberries and honey and pour on top. I also poured in 1/4-1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Delicious! I served it with orzo and roasted butternut squash. And there was enough roast left over that I used it with a can of refried beans for burritos the next day. One minute of work, two meals for five. Not bad!

So come by and stock up these last couple weeks. And don't forget that free parking at gracious Barnes & Noble.

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!