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Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula have a wealth of small farms producing vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy products. The Puget Sound area also has miles of shorelines and access to fresh and saltwater fisheries.  And there are a growing number of local food artisans creating fine cheeses, breads, wines and much more. Finally, we have an ever-growing list of restaurants and food retailers who are including local food in their offerings.

The distribution system hasn’t quite caught up with all of this local abundance, so buying it isn’t as easy as walking into your neighborhood supermarket. You need to

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If you love to cook, and you’ve ever wished for a commercial, licensed kitchen right here on Bainbridge Island, you’re in luck!   Would you like to:   make value-added products from your farm produce? Have a legal kitchen from which to do catering? Have a professionally-equipped kitchen in which to take or offer cooking classes? Have a space to do big baking or canning projects, by yourself or with a group?

We’re in the planning stages of just such a kitchen, to be a part of the new BARN artisan center, and we

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Makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients:
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked nettles (squeeze out the cooking water and finely chop, it should look like frozen spinach)  
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to butter mixture, and mix

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Experimental gardening: saving seeds simply

For the past 3 years, I’ve allowed many of my vegetables to go to seed and replant themselves. Kale was first. I enjoyed watching the birds eat the seeds and the following spring the bed was full of new kale plants.

The next year, since Chard seedlingsI was expanding my garden and wanted to rotate crops to balance the nutrient demands on the soil, I was a little more proactive. I pulled out kale and parsnip plants that had gone to seed and laid the intact stalks on freshly prepared beds. That worked quite well – I didn’t weed, water or even think yet had both kale and parsnips to eat.

This year, I did the same with lettuce, chard and leeks. I now have dense clusters of 3 inch-tall lettuce leaves in the beds where I laid the stalks 3 months ago. One cluster is bright green (see photo), another purplish and the third mottled, just like their parents. I noticed that the stalks seemed to protect the seedlings as they emerged; despite the dry weather and crowded conditions, they remained healthy. The chard took longer. Clusters of chard seedlings are just now emerging (see photo). The adult plants produced an enormous number of seeds. It took a long time for them to mature (the entire summer, it seemed, though I have a terribly memory and don’t remember precisely).  I’m less optimistic about the leeks. They produced beautiful heads of seeds, but were still green and plump when I cut them and laid them on the beds (unlike the dark and dry little seeds that come out of a seed packet).

I would be fun to hear about other people’s experiences with  seed-saving strategies.


What's Fresh

Bainbridge Island Farmers' Market: Opens April 12, 2014
Poulsbo Farmers' Market  Saturdays: Opens April 5, 2014
Suquamish Farmers' Market: Opens April 16, 2014

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Island Food Circle

Island Food Circle Guide

Organizes food sources by category so that it's
easy to locate an outlet that's convenient to you.