amazing

Busman's Holiday

One of the pleasures of exploring our coastal northwest is the chance to see other kitchen gardens growing in this climate. Recently we traveled by ferry and bicycle from Lopez Island to Vancouver Island, BC, the Olympic Peninsula and Whidbey Island and back to Lopez. As we pedaled along bike trails and quiet roads, we saw flourishing vegetable and fruit gardens on a much larger scale than ours and delighted in the farm stands, farmers markets and restaurants that they supply. On the bike route from the Sidney, BC ferry terminal to Victoria, we stopped at Mitchell s1, a sixth generation family owned and operated farm that has been growing on the Saanich Peninsula for over 150 years. From our bikes we could see their fields stretching up one side of the valley and in their store we saw some of the over 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables they grow. Their website offers a great series of vegetable photos.

The next day, biking from Port Angeles to Sequim, we stopped at Nash s Farm Store2, a highlight for me because I ve admired Nash Huber ever since reading about him years ago in the Puget Sound Consumer s Cooperative (PCC) newsletter. Unlike Mitchell Brothers, Nash Huber didn t start with family land but with the PCC Farmland Trust3. Working with the trust he has saved acres and acres of farmland from development and farms many of them now4, supplying his farm stand, farmers markets and restaurants with his produce. He s especially famous for his carrots. I spotted him at the back of the store and one of the staff said proudly, Yes, that s our Nash. In addition to farm stands open daily, there are farmers markets5 all along the Olympic Peninsula.

Most are open only on Saturday but we were lucky to find the wonderful Wednesday Port Townsend Farmers Market6 open at Polk and Lawrence streets in the uptown section of Port Townsend. Dharma Ridge7, Finnriver8, Midori Farm9 and Red Dog Farm10 were just four of the many farms offering gorgeous fruits and vegetables. After seeing the beautifully grown produce from all of these farms and talking with their proud farmers, we imagined future bike trips to visit each of them.

Busman's Holiday

Busman's Holiday

As travelers, we didn t have a kitchen for this amazing produce but there are wonderful restaurants that serve this abundance. In Victoria, we ate at Olo11 a word that means hungry in Chinook Jargon. We were hungry when we arrived but not when we left. Their menu12 featuring locally grown vegetables and fruit, island-raised beef and fish from local waters reveals why. One side dish I repeated as soon as we got home was farro served with fava beans. It sounds simple but the subtle visual treat of light brown farro and bright green fava beans and the combination of chewy, nutty grains and soft, earthy beans, were perfect. Olo served this side with lingcod but it makes a fine meal on its own.

In Sequim we ate at Nourish13, Garden to Plate, Sequim s Gathering Place . It is located at the very top of a long hill but definitely worth the effort to get to on a bike. We sat outside and enjoyed the views of their gardens, Sequim, the Strait and in the distance Lopez Island. My delicious NW Nicoise Salad substituted grilled NW wild salmon for the usual tuna and added lots of vegetables and greens to the classic potato and egg. Inspired by their salad, I made a version of it for a picnic the other night adding green and yellow beans and sliced red and gold cherry tomatoes to roasted potatoes and grilled salmon. And in Port Townsend we ate lunch and then breakfast the next day Sweet Laurette Caf and Bistro14, another inspiring farm-to-table focused restaurant. The breakfast Farmers Market Scramble, dictated by what is fresh and organic from our farmers this week added a saut of many of the beautiful vegetables we d seen the day before at the Wednesday market to softly scrambled eggs, just the thing to set us up for the final day of biking.

Heading home on the ferry later that day, we admitted that a bike ride around our Lopez Island and the other San Juan Islands would have given us similar experiences of farms, farm stands and markets and farm-to-table meals but branching out to see what s around us reminds us of the amazing variety and abundance of farming in our region. We re ready to explore more.

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References

  1. ^ Mitchell s (www.michellsfarm.com)
  2. ^ Nash s Farm Store (nashsorganicproduce.com)
  3. ^ PCC Farmland Trust (www.pccfarmlandtrust.org)
  4. ^ farms many of them now (www.pccfarmlandtrust.org)
  5. ^ farmers markets (www.olympicpeninsula.org)
  6. ^ Wednesday Port Townsend Farmers Market (jcfmarkets.org)
  7. ^ Dharma Ridge (dharmaridgefarm.com)
  8. ^ Finnriver (www.finnriver.com)
  9. ^ Midori Farm (www.midori-farm.com)
  10. ^ Red Dog Farm (reddogfarm.net)
  11. ^ Olo (www.olorestaurant.com)
  12. ^ Their menu (www.olorestaurant.com)
  13. ^ Nourish (www.nourishsequim.com)
  14. ^ Sweet Laurette Caf and Bistro (www.sweetlaurette.com)

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