Van Vuren Farms

How to Handle Post-Market-Season Letdown

It's been 2-1/2 weeks since our last Bellevue Farmers Market of the season. The giant box of fruit I got from Collins is nearly spent, and I've officially run out of honey and had to buy my first carton of Stiebrs eggs at the store. It's a long way till May.

If you're suffering Post-Market-Season Letdown as I am, I have a few tidbits that might break your fall (and winter and early spring, as the pun might be):

1. The University District Market is still going. I know, I know--I haven't made it over there either. In fact, I should probably change the name of my blog to "SuburbanFarmJunkie" because I really hate trying to park in Seattle. So sue me. The U District Market claims you can park on the street (after circling the blocks countless times) or get tokens to park for an hour in four nearby lots. Haven't tried that yet, but may have to. Because you can find many of our favorite farmers and vendors selling there, and I miss them and their goodies! Plus, I still have memories of Preston Hill Bakery's Christmas stollen.

[image from SeattleLocalFood.com]

2. Make this the year you join Skagit River Ranch's Bellevue Buyers Club. Once a month you place your order, and it gets delivered to a home in Bellevue for you to pick up. Easy peasy. My order is coming today, thank heavens, with its roasts and eggs and such--even the turkey I pre-ordered but didn't pick up earlier because of my aversion to parking in Seattle (see #1).

Missing this face? Me, too! Along with all the good food she sells me. [Pic from SRR FB page]

3. Oh, and speaking of eggs, if you're just missing those wonderful eggs from Van Vuren Farms, with their orange-y yolks and their soy- and corn-free-ness, did you know they do online ordering with drop-offs in Kirkland, Seattle, or Mercer Island, every two weeks?

Awww....[pic from Van Vuren website]

Because the best gift you can give your family is good food! Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. When we support our local farmers and vendors, we're giving our family the gifts of a healthy local economy, a nurtured environment, and--better yet--we're giving them the gift of better health. As the rates of food allergies, diabetes, and cancer rise, the more real food we feed our families, the longer we can all go!

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!