Bounty Food Experiment

Beginning in September of 2014 until August of 2015 Lopez individuals and families participated in the Bounty Food Experiment. The challenge they accepted was to eat local and to write a weekly report about their personal experience on this website. The entertaining stories and delicious photos tell of the seasonal bounty available to all of us here on this island in the Salish Sea. Reading the Bounty Food Experiment is pure inspiration!

THANK YOU to all the Bounty Food Experiment volunteers:

September – Henning Sehmsdorf and Elizabeth Simpson
October – Suzanne Berry & Table (Amy) Stuzienko
November – Marney Reynolds
December – Linda Hudson
January – Faith Van De Putte
February – Marney Reynolds (Lopez & Yucatan)
March – Suzanne Berry & Table (Amy) Stuzienko
April – Sandy Bishop
May – Teri Linneman & Liz Scranton
June – Jan & Bob Sundquist
July – Chuenchom (Chom) Sangarasri Greacen
August – Ande, Scott & Aliza Finley

                                                 The Finleys ~ August                                            A

BLOG POST #4
FROM ALIZA:
What a fun opportunity to explore our culinary creativity, and our relationship with the things that feed us. I surpassed my goal and ate completely local except for some nuts. It has been very surprising how abundant this island is with talented growers and preparers of edibles!! As we enter into the dark, slow-growing months, the goal to eat locally continues with new challenges, but we have four Locavore Evening Meals at School to look forward to, the Harvest Dinner, and for those who would like to increase their awareness of what local farms have for sale month-to-month, http://ediblelopezisland.blogspot.com/ is a great resource, as is the new Farm to Market page on Lopez Rocks. I’d say we are all on our way to a fresh and delicious future!!
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FROM SCOTT:
Our month of eating locally passed rather quickly, I think because there was so much going on. Overall, I was delighted with the quality and variety of the foods available on this island, and also in the menu we were able to come up with. Although I must admit, my experience during our food-month was primarily the tasting, as I left the bulk of the sourcing, menu planning and meal preparation to Ande. Outside of a couple of mediocre experiments, generally the food was yummy!
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My strongest impression from the month was of the overwhelming generosity of neighbors and friends, with gifts of local butter, salt, honey, fruit, vegetables, cheese, salmon, eggs and yogurt. I felt we were supported by the entire community – that we were all in this together. I also assisted Ande in taking on new and fun challenges like making yogurt and Lopez wheat noodles. And I discovered that I can survive without caffeine, chocolate and beer (but there’s surviving and there’s thriving – I am going back to these comforts at month’s end.)
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I thought I was eating relatively locally before, but this month has opened my eyes to a whole new level and I plan to read more labels and make even more local food choices now. I am choosing to make my “Blessing the Hands…” 100-mile radius more like a 200-mile long oval, including the area encompassing the Salish Sea, from the mouth of Juan de Fuca to Campbell River, B.C. The communities and farms in this integrated ecosystem enjoy a similar marine climate, food and culture, and it just feels like Home. And of course, I will add a few exotic exceptions to my menu, but I would like the bulk of my food to come from “Home.”
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Salish Sea

A word that I have been obsessing over this month is “connection.” I feel that all of the challenges we currently face, from political and economic to environmental, health and interpersonal, stem from our own disconnection within each of these areas. The path to healing is to reconnect – with the food we eat, the natural bounty around us and with each other. This past month has been a great healing for me.
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Lopez School Garden boots

FROM ANDE:
This week’s culinary highlights were:
Making yogurt, this time from cow’s milk (Fresh Breeze milk from Lynden), was much more successful, that is, more recognizable as yogurt than our previous attempt with goat’s milk. It still did not solidify quite as much as Teri’s yogurt, but the taste is creamy and tangy and it works well for breakfast. Blossom carries Fresh Breeze in both plastic and glass bottles.

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We’ve been wanting to drag out our juicer for a long time now and this gave us the push we’ve needed to get back to juicing as well as try our hand at making fresh whole wheat pasta. I picked the nozzle that looked like it might yield a fettucini type noodle, mixed up the Lopez wheat with eggs and a pinch of salt, briefly kneaded it into a ball and let it sit for an hour to relax the gluten. With Scott’s help (it really is a two person job), we extracted the noodles, hung them on our clothes drying rack, and boiled up a giant pot of water. In the meantime, I doctored the pureed tomatoes we made as the base of gazpacho last week, adding some fresh basil and tomatoes and more garlic and let it thicken. The results had mixed reviews – the cooked noodles expanded and the whole wheat made them a bit heavy….a smaller diameter size might work better for taste, but would be much more challenging to handle.

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With McCauley Farm honey passed along to us in week one by Chom and Lucas’ gift to us of Sunnyfield honey just processed this week, Aliza, Scott, and I decided to hold a taste test. We all agreed that the McCauley honey had deep notes; Aliza thought it had a caramel taste. Sunnyfield honey was lighter, I found it more floral, and to Aliza, sweeter than McCauley’s. What a treat to have two delicious 100% local honeys to choose from!

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From Christina, Aliza had the idea to turn all of our remaining Lopez Harvest pea pods into hummus by boiling the pods and then pulverizing them in her Vita Mixer. With the addition of a little salt and Stephen W’s chili powder, it makes a wonderful unique spread!

This week we attended a Sunnyfield Farm dinner served al fresco family style in the bright late afternoon sun, including chevre torte with sun-dried tomatoes, Barn Owl bread and homemade flax seed crackers, red cabbage slaw with roasted tomatillo vinaigrette, zucchini with scorched tomatoes, sockeye salmon, braised goat’s meat, and to-die-for lemon chevre cheesecake with blackberry sauce. A fabulous time was had by all!

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A day or two before we started our month of local eating, Ezra Fradkin (of the excellent Foodshed Assessment Survey) said in response to my trepidation, “You will probably eat better this month than ever before.” Looking back over the last 31 days, I have to agree with him. Not that the food was so different from my usual diet, but that I ate with a very different mindset. The level of awareness of what I was putting in my mouth for every meal and where it came from – whether our own garden, a friend here on Lopez or another community close by – fundamentally changed my orientation to my food. There was allowance for much slower preparation time, a heightened sense of taste and an underpinning of gratitude at every meal.
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Truly, it takes a village to eat local…..thanks to everyone who gifted us with food that was grown and crafted with so much heart – Christine Langley, Chom Greacen, Stephen Wrubleski and Summer Moon Scriver, Teri Linneman, Marney Reynolds, Judy Neiman, Lucas Limbach, Sandy Bishop & Rhea Miller, Carol White – and to all the purveyors – Andre at Sunnyfield Farm, Ken & Kathryn at Horse Drawn, Adam at S & S Homestead, Julie & Blake at Helen’s Farm, and Jim Birkemeier.
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As a Transitioneer, I can imagine a time coming of regionally-based eating that makes the preparation of food into a daily adventure, much more ingredient- than recipe-driven. In this ideal future, everyone takes their carbon footprint seriously and strives to keep it as low as possible for the good of all. Scott’s idea of our Salish Sea partners has come to pass and we now have large sailboats traversing our local waters delivering goods and food from our neighbors on the Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, Whatcom County, Whidbey Island, as far south as Seattle and as far east as the Skagit Valley. Along with our common ecosystem, we have strong, shared values, such as a reliance on organic farming and a prohibition of GMO seeds. Most people on Lopez grow their own food, buy produce at the farmers markets (now one in the Southend as well as the Village) or visit the farmstands directly. There are agriculture festivals all year round and an active agro-tourism that encourages visitors to participate in what each season brings. We have identified the various crops that grow best in our Salish Sea region and restaurants and consumers have found creative and delicious ways to use all this abundance. Can’t you see this magnificent future unfurling before us?
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The Bounty Food Experiment has limited value if it’s just a temporary fun contest. What makes it worthwhile are the insights and lessons we take from this experience that transform and elevate our own personal behavior and have a positive, lasting effect on our local and regional foodshed. That is the primary issue in front of us now, one on which we must put our collaborative genius to work to create a thriving future for our beloved island home.
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BLOG POST #3
FROM ALIZA:
Since I have been eating as locally as possible all year, I will share what that’s been like.
Last summer, I preserved as much as I could until our freezer and root cellar were filled. Then in the colder months, I was the home maker. Eating locally is one way to reduce our carbon footprint, I discovered several more: use the broom instead of the vacuum, the clothes line instead of the dryer, and let out the clutch when driving downhill, allowing gravity to take us.
The production and transportation of food is one end of the journey, how we prepare food is a whole other opportunity for efficiency. Ovens use a lot of energy, so we save it for big projects like baking bread and granola. Crock pot, toaster oven, and stove top use direct heat. If you have a microwave, that uses the least energy. Pressure cookers are phenomenal, they use a fraction of the time, water, and energy to cook things!!
  I would cook a large pot of beans for the week and do various things with it: burgers, casserole, salad, stir fry… One invention of mine I call Beansagna. Instead of using noodles for lasagna, I used bean puree layered with the traditional ingredients.
Crepes were another fantastic discovery. We filled them with anything and everything. Caramelized onions, mushrooms, cheese, herbs, winter greens from the garden, balsamic-caramelized brussel sprouts, or enchilada style (sweet corn, tomatoes, beans), or moo-shoo style (winter cabbage, onion, sesame, carrot, chicken, and spicy local plum “duck” sauce).
Of course there are endless things to do with winter squash and potatoes. Chanukah was an opportunity to get really creative with latkes (traditional potato pancakes), we made pink and purple ones (purple potatoes, beets, caraway, with dill sour cream) and
butternut parsnip ones (with ginger orange applesauce).
Each time I peeled an apple or went to discard the core, I put it in a crock of water. Over a month or two this became superb apple cider vinegar. With no extra work, we’ve enjoyed gallons and gallons of our own vinegar that did not have to be hauled here by a truck! It’s a wonderful feeling. Vinegar can be used for all kinds of things beyond the culinary. I also saved the seeds from all our squashes (all of which are available at the seed library); the excess I made into milk for crepes, panna cotta, and over cereal. I also saved a whole bunch of flax seeds which Steven Wrubleski grew last summer, and made crackers out of them. Flax is a great binder, it can replace eggs to make something vegan or flour to make something gluten free.

It’s a good thing to participate in the global economy for some things, and there are a few commodities my parents would miss if they never had them again: mushrooms, avocado, coffee, almonds, and grapefruit for my dad, and chocolate, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and lemons for my mom, and of course they both like cheese (feta, blue, cheddar, brie). I think the island definitely has room for a mushroom farm and a hard cheese maker! I would say, the trick to keeping dinner interesting, whether eating locally or not, is to rotate the ethnic flavors (Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, Asian, everyone has their favorites) . But you only need a few spices from the bulk section, and a few small bottles of this or that to really spice things up. Tamari, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast, kalamata olives, and fish sauce enhance any savory dish. One tiny 2oz. tin of chipotle added smoke and spice to countless meals. It just takes a pinch of the right stuff to really take a dish to another level. It was a very nice feeling not to have to open a single can of tomatoes or beans this entire year!

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Herbs drying last summer

FROM ANDE:
TUESDAY, AUGUST 18TH: Aliza came home today with quite a windfall of fruits and vegetables – fresh corn on the cob from Christine and blackberries, plums, and very special pears from Carol White, who had previously given her summer squash, tomatoes, apples, peaches, and horseradish. People share their bounty so generously! We’ll enjoy the corn tonight with a giant Lopez Harvest salad topped with Sunnyfield feta.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20TH: Tonight I tried a super simple idea from the “Enchanted Broccoli Forest” with mixed results. Aliza had brought home a large amount of beautiful green beans from Cousins Farm. After briefly steaming them, I pureed them with the rest of our goat’s milk yogurt. The texture was still too chunky, so Scott got the soup a little smoother with the immersion blender. Even after we added some Davis Bay salt, Stephen’s chile powder, and fresh chopped chives it was still a little too bland. But served alongside our array of fantastic local cheeses, it made an edible and nutritious meal.
DSC09145FRIDAY, AUGUST 21ST: This week’s Shabbat meal was halibut kabobs, using Brendan Flynn’s Lopez-caught fish, and cherry tomatoes and Costata Romanesco squash fresh harvested from our garden. After grilling, we spread basil lemon butter on the skewers and served it with wheatberry pilaf and a Lopez Harvest salad with Carol White’s pears, chopped roasted hazelnuts from Lynden and Sunnyfield chevre. And another scoop or two of honey lavender ice cream topped with peaches, blackberries, blueberries, and hazelnuts for dessert.
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SATURDAY, AUGUST 22ND: Eating locally requires you to participate in the Slow Food movement. Making enough to ensure leftovers really helps cut down some of the laborious prep time. Like Wednesday’s meal-to-go of leftover grilled chicken brought to me after work by Scott before we attended the Cliff Mass program at Woodmen Hall. And tonight’s burger patties, this time accompanied by some more of Christine’s fresh corn and sautéed onions. With the giant bags of greens that Aliza brings home from her work at Lopez Harvest, salad has also been a huge mainstay of our diet this month. When we don’t have time to fuss, breakfast has been alternating, somewhat boringly, between fried or scrambled eggs with toast or wheatberry porridge. Eli just told us that he is moving and not taking his chickens with him, so our Southend egg connection is about to end….anyone have extra eggs to sell to us weekly?

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SUNDAY, AUGUST 23RD: The third Sunday breakfast of our Bounty month was Lopez wheat hazelnut waffles with Lopez Island Farm Apple Cider Syrup, Vera butter, and blackberries picked by Aliza at Carol White’s patch. Yum yum!!!
DSC09157Today’s garden projects were bagging the newly-dried onions, creating a bar from which to hang the garlic in our root cellar, and processing our cabbage (plus one head from Horse Drawn and one Savoy from Cousins Farm) into sauerkraut. What an amazing process fermentation is to break down a food which is difficult to assimilate into something that aids digestion!
Dinner was a group creation: with Helen’s Farm chicken as the inspiration, the three of us put our heads together to see what kind of meal we could create. We decided to braise the chicken with lots of garlic, sage, summer savory, lemon juice and zest, Ronni’s apple cider, and our own chicken broth and serve it with a cabbage apple concoction a la Chef Greg Atkinson (check out his cookbook Northwest Essentials) and roasted new potatoes dug today. A little monochromatic on the plate, but incredibly fall-off-the-bone delicious….Scott said it was the best dinner we’ve made so far.
DSC09161I’m really enjoying the challenge that the restriction of ingredients provides: using what we have on hand as a starting point, sometimes adapting recipes to fit, but often just cutting loose and experimenting. After all these years of loving to cook, I’ve never felt confident enough to allow myself this freedom before….what a kick!
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BLOG POST #2

FROM ALIZA:

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Since 2010, when I visited my parents here on Lopez Island, we ate from the garden. The superiority in taste and postprandial satisfaction surpassed anything I could buy in southern California. A dream was born.

I started growing my own food in 2013. Going into this project, I thought ‘Oh, I am going to eat so well, and come up with all kinds of great recipes, it’s going to taste much better than anything I’ve ever gotten from the store and for a fraction of the price’. Yes, all this came true. But what surprised me was, when it came time to harvest the vegetables, I would procrastinate. I would just stand over the head of lettuce or beet and admire how beautiful the plant was and feel a surge of pride that I had facilitated it coming into being. Eventually I’ve gotten over the parental feeling enough to pick from the plants I grow, but the pride is still there. And it dawned on me that really, at the heart of what we are all truly gleaning from being Locavores, is creating a Relationship.
I had gained a direct relationship with the materials I was assimilating into my body. Growing up in a Naturopathic-loving family, I was made well aware of the medicinal powers of plants, but the full effect of their therapeutic nature was only fully realized through growing them myself. And we are not so different, plants and people; observing their life cycle and nurturing their development has given me insights on life. My brother-in-law is a very accomplished chef. He asked me on our last visit “what is an insider secret to growing lettuce” and I answered “you can pick the leaves all You want, they’ll regrow, so long as they have good roots”. This is true of people too. Good, strong roots, that’s why we’re all still here. And gaining a relationship with my food has also started me thinking about my ancestors (pretty much all farmers), and how people used to grow food before innovation separated us from this sacred vocation.
And that got me thinking about going local with another love of mine: Music. So I got a bunch of piano books with songs from the 1900s-1980s and dusted off the piano. They say that the only way to really understand geometry is to draw it. I would say the same thing about music. Filling the house with the tunes of yesteryear brought to life the joys, heartbreaks, humor, and marketing jingles of generations past. It is proof that we still feel the same emotions, the same yearnings, the same talents as our forefathers. Each decade was its own evolutionary step to freedom as the youth of that time danced their way out of the old paradigms and into the new, to be outdone by the next succession-planting of kids. I feel like this is what we are doing now in so many areas of our lives, as individuals and collectively as a society, hearing the music of today and learning to dance to it, trusting the steady beat to take us somewhere groovy.
So maybe we had to lose our relationship with the Earth in order to truly know what we have. One of the greatest lessons plants have given to me is that seasons change, spring returns, one plant gone-to-seed last year can grow a whole field full the next. So plant what You Love.
If anyone has more squash than they know what to do with – especially those giant ones – I am very interested!! I am doing a project on the genetics of squash on Lopez Island, please call 468-5199.

FROM ANDE:
MONDAY, AUGUST 3RD: Andre warned us that our yogurt might be a lot thinner than we’re used to – apparently, most commercial yogurt has fillers like milk powder and tapioca to thicken it. But in the morning when we gave it the taste test, it was more like drinking tangy yogurt-flavored milk. We’ll experiment with different yogurt starter – perhaps our low-fat Nancy’s is to blame – and with trying to keep the temperature higher through the incubation period. But it still made a great breakfast over the leftover Dutch Apple Baby. Lunch was Sunnyfield chevre sandwiches with Christine’s carrots. Dinner is what we call Protein Salad – Lopez Harvest greens, tomatoes, and carrots with more Sunnyfield feta, hard-boiled eggs and our own roasted beets. I’m not feeling the slightest bit of lack yet, but of course, we still have 84 meals to go.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4TH: Focusing on our most memorable meals, today there were two. A couple of days ago, we put Lopez wheatberries to soak and sprout per Chom’s suggestion. This morning Scott chopped them up, cooked them for a short time, drizzled on a little honey and some goat’s milk for a delicious breakfast porridge.

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The second was our dinner of Tuscan Beans – a delectable and easy concoction of two of our dried beans from last year – Rockwell (from Aliza’s work at Stephen W.’s garden) and Papa de Rola – Christine’s heirloom tomatoes, lots of our own fresh garlic and sage and a splash of lemon juice. Paired with some more Lopez Harvest greens and cucumbers it was heaven.
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5TH: Yesterday, Aliza brought home a slab of Lopez salmon caught by one of Christine’s neighbors the day before that Christine shared with us. Tonight we had the wheatberries doing double duty as a pilaf sautéed and then baked with our onions and garlic alongside the salmon grilled over rosemary sprigs and a salad of ribboned cucumbers, tomatoes, and Sunnyfield feta with a light dressing of our goat’s milk yogurt….truly a feast!
DSC09078THURSDAY, AUGUST 6TH: It’s becoming clear that there will be no sense of deprivation this time of year – between our own garden, the farmstands and Farmer’s Market booths, and the incredibly generous contributions from others, we have so much abundance that our fridge and pantry are stuffed to bursting. Teri Linneman gifted us three of her prize cheeses today – Chaource (smooth, moderately flavored with an edible rind), Camembert, and a cow’s milk feta – as well as a quart of her creamy yogurt. I find that I really look forward to the next culinary experience, not out of hunger so much as the adventure of using all these diverse elements to craft a meal.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 7TH: The day started off in the Birkemeier’s blueberry patch where Jim, Joyce Brinar, Peggy Bill, and I picked and chatted. I left with 6 lbs. of berries and a box of gorgeous Suncrest peaches. Next on the agenda was Split Rock Garden where I picked the rest of Marney’s marionberries, some romano and haricot vert beans, and scored some leek starts to join the rest of our kale, arugula, and other brassicas in our soon-to-be winter garden. In the afternoon, I cooked up some of Marion Speidel’s rhubarb into sauce, froze two pans of blueberries, and made our special Friday night dinner. This week it was grilled chicken breasts from Helen’s Farm dry-rubbed with tarragon, Davis Bay salt, and shiso (an herb that Aliza dried); the just-picked romanos, parboiled and lightly sautéed with more tarragon; and roasted Skyriver fingerlings. Paired with a bottle of Lopez Island Vineyard’s table white and a dessert of fresh berries and our own figs, topped with goat’s milk, we were well-sated by evening’s end.
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SATURDAY, AUGUST 8TH: Our daughter, Reiko, our grandchildren, Oliver (12) and Lucie (5) and Oliver’s friend, Evan, arrived today to spend the next six days with us. The boys would be creating “Lopez Survival Camp” with Grandpa Scott as counselor and Reiko as camp director. Lucie and I would spend as much time as possible having girl time. We decided that it was too difficult to incorporate the needs of our guests (particularly the boys) into our local eating experiment, so we would have several food tracks going on simultaneously. I made two different pizzas for dinner using our homemade sauce for both (I immersion-blended a batch of soft tomatoes from Christine that Aliza had slow cooked and decanted and added sautéed onions, garlic, and fresh basil) – one kid-oriented with cheese and Applegate salami and the other with dots of garlic scape pesto, Sunnyfield chevre, chopped chard, whole basil leaves, and leftover grilled salmon. We had a giant Lopez Harvest salad – greens, tomatoes, and cukes – which I was shocked – and pleased – to see all the kids inhaling.
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SUNDAY, AUGUST 9TH: I’m finding it very hard to maintain enthusiasm for this local diet while trying to have quality time with our visiting family. It takes more effort to plan and prepare our food and I find myself wanting to fall back on easy alternatives and old habits, like a quick pasta dinner. So, at times like this, we tend to repeat the same meals over and over which gets rather boring and almost feels like cheating. For me, the fun of this process is to be as creative as possible. When I’m distracted, I don’t feel inspired and then this experiment just becomes a drag on my mental resources. We also just found out that we would be spending most of the upcoming week in Seattle, attending the funeral of a close friend and supporting the family. Another challenging situation which we’ve decided to manage by eating local to the Seattle area…..not so hard these days when the PCC and even stores like Central Market showcase their local farmers.
MONDAY, AUGUST 10TH: Tonight the last “Survival Camp” menu was a hobo meal which had to be cooked over the campfire. We prepared balls of Lopez wheat and water which Oliver and Evan cleverly molded around sticks and baked in the fire pit. We intended to give the kids a slab of Alaska cod with rosemary grilled Lopez halibut for us and foil packets of assorted vegies and potatoes for everyone. By the time the fire was ready, it had gotten really late, the veggies were taking forever, the fish got switched, and the supreme treat of homemade Honey Lavender ice cream prepared by Reiko and Lucie – Northwest blackberry honey, milk and cream from Lynden, and lavender from our own garden – hadn’t completely frozen. Best laid plans…..Tomorrow, we’re off to Seattle and even less predictable adventures in local eating….
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12TH: Last night, we made it to Seattle after a ferry picnic dinner of Jones Family burgers and Lopez Harvest salad and two manic 12 year old boys in the back seat daring each other to do crazy things all the way down.
Today we unwound at the Edmonds PCC, checking out their local offerings. Apparently, their definition of local extends to the whole state of Washington, Oregon and Canada. The only produce that we considered local was from Nash on the Peninsula and Rent’s Due Ranch in Stanwood and there were limited items from each, like green beans and lettuce, which we really didn’t need, although we did end up buying some Nash’s red chard. However, we found High Country honey from Burlington, organic chicken from Mt. Vernon, Mt. Townsend cheese from Port Townsend, Appel Farms Gouda from Ferndale, and of course, Madeline Angevine from Lopez Island Vineyards. We decided to treat ourselves to some Seattle-brewed beer, in spite of not knowing where the hops were grown and, since I hadn’t had time to bake before we left, to a loaf of Honey Whole Wheat bread from the Old Mill Bread Co. in the Crown Hill neighborhood which had only six ingredients. Carbohydrate possibilities being so limited, we also included a bag of Washington red potatoes.
We spent quite a bit of time investigating where the various oils came from, trying to differentiate between where they were grown and from where distributed. Two olive oils were wholly from California – one of the Napa Valley brand and California Grown. Of the other cooking oils, only the Napa Valley Safflower oil appeared to be distributed and possibly grown there. I think this category is the biggest deficiency in our local foodshed. We heard a rumor that Nikyta Palmisani and Kenny Ferrugiaro are contemplating production of a Lopez sunflower seed oil….how cool would that be?!?
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13TH: A stripped down mayonnaise for our cheese sandwiches was our biggest project today.
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After lunch, we attended the grand opening of my cousin’s Rooftop Brew Company and sampled some delicious “local” beer. He told us that Eastern Washington is actually the hops capital for the country.
A wonderful cold concoction of green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, Sunnyfield feta, and leftover halibut with an olive oil/lemon juice dressing was on the docket for dinner. Our four year old granddaughter, Lili, ate her own dinner of quesadillas and then launched into four helpings of our salad! DSC09121
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14TH: Lili and I spent the morning baking challah, a braided egg bread traditionally served at the ushering in of the Jewish Sabbath on Friday nights.
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Tuscan Lemon chicken, combining lemon zest & juice with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, sautéed rainbow chard with more garlic, and roasted potatoes with rosemary was our Shabbat meal, with Birkemeier peaches and blueberries and Lopez blackberries served with a dollop of Teri Linneman’s yogurt lightly sweetened with honey for a perfect finish.
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SATURDAY, AUGUST 15TH: With our two granddaughters, ages 4 and 5, in tow, we visited the Shoreline Farmers Market this morning on a quest for more local offerings. We were pleasantly surprised to find organic Whatcom County green peppers and roasted Ennis hazelnuts and Skagit Valley strawberries, but most exciting was hazelnut oil grown and produced in Lynden. It has a flash point slightly higher than olive oil, so we’ll do some cooking with it, but mostly we’re interested to see how it does in a dressing.
It was nice to get back to the island tonight, to the comfort of our own beds and all of our accumulated provisions for this month of experimental eating, always a challenge while traveling and adjusting to the habits of our hosts. We were able to sample the Honey Lavender ice cream made by Reiko & Lucie – out of this world taste-wise, but I find that after these two weeks, I can only handle extremely small amounts of food this rich.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 16TH: Sticking with our tradition of Sunday morning pancakes, I created Lopez wheat crepes filled with Sunnyfield chevre thinned with goat’s milk, lemon zest, cooked sliced apples from Aliza’s 2014 gleaning and a topping of Birkemeier peaches, blueberries, and Lopez Farm Apple Cider Syrup. The only thing missing was a fragrant cup of coffee. We each had tea instead – lemon balm from our friend Judy for Scott and chocolate mint from our garden for me.

DSC09137 I baked another batch of Honey Whole Wheat bread and after an energetic day in our garden, dinner was an easy gazpacho, using pureed tomatoes as the base, our freshly harvested cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, garlic, green onion, dried tarragon and basil and apple cider vinegar, cuke from Christine, a dab of honey from Macauley Farm, powdered chiles from Stephen W. A warm slice of fresh bread and a selection of local cheeses, including Teri Linneman’s Camembert, ended the day perfectly.

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Halfway there….and still (mostly) enjoying the challenge and surprises of this experiment!

SCOTT:
I am facing the prospect of a month of eating locally with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I am concerned about doing without my comfort foods, (or maybe they are my food addictions,) like coffee, ice cream, wine….. AND COFFEE!! On the other hand, I am curious to see how my body and psyche might react by doing without these crutches, and I am eager to experience what a month of eating consciously may do for the soul. After all, how hard could it be? We are already eating at about 70% local, so just a few ingredients to sort out locally, like oil, salt, leavening for bread, ingredients for sauces and dressings, etc. Am I fooling myself?
I grew up in Whatcom County in a farm house attached to a grocery store, which also served as the local community center. While I had free access to candy, pastry, ice cream and other assorted treats, my mom was a health nut, ahead of her time, and determined to raise healthy children. She nursed all five of her children – and this was in the 40’s and 50’s when that sort of practice was old fashioned and definitely not cool. She read books by Rachel Carson and Adelle Davis, and fed us castor oil, garlic, and vinegar mixed with honey. We raised our own beef and used the manure on our back yard organic garden. So, growing up, I found those candy bars and milk shakes that were so freely available in our grocery store too sweet and unpalatable.
In the years since then I have eaten mostly wholesome, unprocessed foods and, since moving to Lopez six years ago, an increasing amount of my intake has been local. In my distant past I have spent some time following a macrobiotic diet (mu tea and brown rice only,) a low-carb diet and Dr. Randolph’s Polarity Therapy diet. Most of my adult life I have spent as a vegetarian, and have followed the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut (keeping kosher.) More than deriving nutritional, health or other tangible benefits, these disciplines have given me an opportunity to eat mindfully – to really focus on what I am putting into my mouth. It is too easy in this culture to fall into patterns of eating unconsciously, out of habit or while distracted.
I haven’t decided yet whether I will commit to the full enchilada, 100% local diet, or whether I will make some exceptions. I am open to making a compromise if, for example, the only way to make something palatable is to use a minor ingredient from say Bellingham or Whidbey Island. Whichever, my intention is to eat as completely consciously during August as possible, and I am eager to see what I have to learn about my relationship to food and my own self-discipline.

BAliza ~ @ least 75% local (or much more, depending how productive my squash is). Adventures in eating local began for me in October of 2010. I was living in Los Angeles, working in the film industry. It was clear that corporate life was a slow death. My plan was to move to Lopez Island, rent a small cabin with a big garden, and learn how to grow my own food. I took a 3 year detour to start a coffee shop in Port Townsend, and made it to Lopez in early 2014. I am truly living my dream here, with Christine Langley of Lopez Harvest and Steven Wrubleski of Cousin’s Farm as mentors, and The Great Squash Project of 2015 well underway (more on that later) the Bounty Experiment is the perfect way to end one growing year and begin another!

CANDE:
I grew up in a middle class suburb of Baltimore in a home where my mother was known as a gourmet cook and good food was definitely appreciated, but gardeners we were not. I think one or two years we may have had a couple of tomato plants in our backyard, but neither of my parents were the outdoorsy type, so food pretty exclusively came from the standard grocery store of the 1950’s. It wasn’t until I was on my own after college and pursuing an alternative lifestyle in 1970’s Bellingham that I first experienced the joys of growing a vegetable garden, raising chickens, and making my own homemade soy milk, yogurt, and granola.
Since our move to Lopez six years ago and joining the Locavores almost immediately (thanks to a chance meeting with Sue Roundy at the Dump), the idea of local food has become central to our lives. We have a large vegetable garden that we laboriously carved out of the woods and a construction zone. I get a lot of joy out of baking all of our bread and granola, canning and freezing what our garden produces, and participating in the miracle of seeds turning into delicious food.
Being the participants in the last month of this year’s Bounty food experiment is both beneficial and daunting. Of course, we’ve been able to learn a huge amount from the experiences of the previous eleven, but they’ve also set the bar extremely high. As I pondered how to approach our Bounty month, I found myself wondering what life would be like in an ideal future, when carbon footprints would be limited to a region. Here on Lopez our trading partners would probably range west to the Peninsula, north to Bellingham, east to the Skagit Valley, maybe as far south as Seattle. My first go-to would always be providers here on my home island, but this 50-100 mile circle feels like “local” to me. The only non-local exceptions that I plan to make this month will be oil and lemons (coming from California) and yeast so that I can continue to bake bread (I haven’t been brave enough yet or found time to experiment with the sourdough recipes from the Bread Lab). So, here we go…

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Our garden

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1ST: What I started to notice as we progressed through our first day of this regime is how eating this way slows me down….in making decisions about what I’m going to eat at any moment, planning ahead for meals, and the act of putting food in my mouth. I’m eating smaller portions and savoring each bite much more than usual. I’m moving outside my usual habits: using combinations of herbs or ingredients that normally I wouldn’t bother trying and allowing myself to be more creative and spontaneous.
Today we started by taking stock of all our resources – canned jams, dilly beans, and pickles, dried herbs and teas, and a freezer full of local halibut, chicken, ground beef, tomatoes, sliced apples, berries, garlic scape and basil pesto, and corn. Thanks in great part to Aliza’s dogged gleaning last summer and fall, we are already well-provisioned.

EPlum jam, green tomato jam, plum syrup, Davis Bay salt (thanks Christine!), dried red pepper (thanks, Steven!), marjoram, summer savory, sage, basil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, shiso, lovage stew blend, Provincial herbs blend, flax seeds, tarragon, chocolate mint, and honey comb (thanks, Lucas!). Not shown: Vera butter and almonds (thanks, Chom!), our honey Lopez wheat bread….

I’m also finding that a large portion of our typical diet is already locally-based – breakfast was our usual eggs from Eli Derzay’s chickens and my home-baked honey Lopez wheat bread with plum jam we made from fruit picked last week in Marion Speidel’s garden. We did miss our morning coffee, but Scott substituted lemon balm 
tea.

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Lunch was Christine Langley’s greens brought home by Aliza after working at Lopez Harvest and Sunnyfield Farm’s fabulous feta with more slices of bread, this time with Vera butter generously provided by Chom. For dinner, we took stock of a lavish bag of vegies that Christine had also donated via Aliza (imagine local Japanese eggplants and green peppers!) and realized that with a few additions from our own garden and freezer, we had everything we needed for an authentic ratatouille.

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Our ratatouille – before and after

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2ND: Scott and I have a tradition of Sunday morning pancakes, so I made Dutch Apple Babies, sans cinnamon and vanilla. I tried crumbling some of our dried chocolate mint into the batter, but it was still too bland until we drizzled Macauley Farm honey (another gift from Chom) and then it was perfect. Again, coffee would have been nice; I drink decaf so it’s not the hit of caffeine that I miss, but the sitting over a hot cup that extends the relaxing meal and unfortunately, tea does not do it for me.

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A group of us met some British filmmakers at Common Ground to talk about Transition and related groups here on Lopez and some of us ended up at Chom and Chris’ for a filling and delicious 100% local lunch of roasted potatoes, herbed romano beans, greens from their garden, and plums for dessert. What a treat! Chom showed me where she foraged wild sheep’s sorrel which has a wonderful lemony taste and I realized that we’ve been pulling it out as a weed for years….a great addition to salads…I wonder if you can cook it?

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Our afternoon activity was getting our goat’s milk yogurt ready for its 8 hours of incubation. Needing more variety in our diet is truly an incentive to learning some of these processes that just take a little more effort and very little extra time.

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Goat’s milk gets heated to 180 degrees, then cooled to 120 degrees and decanted into quart jars to incubate in a warm oven for 8 hours.

Again dinner was one of our tried and true combos – Jones Family Farm (via Lynden) grilled hamburgers, with the addition of Stephen Wrubleski’s amazing chili powder and smoked paprika grown in Port Townsend, roasted potatoes, and stir-fried S & S Homestead green beans (purchased at the Farmer’s Market from Adam) with Christine’s fresh basil and our garlic, and a few Crowfoot strawberries, still frozen, for a perfect ending.

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 July – Chuenchom (Chom) Sangarasri Greacen
oyster harvest
Chom’s Lopez Bounty Blog – week 4
Reflecting on my experiment of trying to eat local on Lopez Island, I gained a renewed respect for the sun.
Growing up in a tropical country, I often took the sun for granted. In fact, the sun was something to be feared, shielded against, and avoided, by staying indoors during the mid-day, using an umbrella on sunny days, or wearing protective clothing.
The tropical sun also means abundance of food all year round. Plants like basil, peppers and eggplants are perennial in Thailand and can be harvested year round. Others, such as mangoes, are seasonal. But different fruits and vegetables are available at different times throughout the year. With all-year-round availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, there was little need to put up food. It was easy for me to take for granted the food abundance.
But here, at 49’ latitude, the sun feels very different on Lopez Island, and so does the seasonal nature of food abundance. Local food availability is linked so closely to the ability to harness the energy from the sunlight, which is plentiful in the summer and in short supply in the winter. To eat local to the extent possible requires growing/harvesting a lot of food, eating seasonally, and putting up surplus food for later, darker days.
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Cucumber salad                                                   My first sauerkraut!
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Salad harvest                                                        Dinner with neighbor Sue’s beans
I certainly have a new found appreciation for bears. Their ability to eat a lot when food is plentiful, store abundance by getting fat, and then hibernate when food becomes scarce is very enviable. No need for freezing, canning, dehydration, fermentation, refrigeration or root-cellaring!
I had a perfect opportunity to channel my inner bear while on a hike with Chris in Eastern WA two weeks ago. The trail (Black Lake Creek) was incredibly lined with such generous offerings of two distinct types of huckleberries, wild raspberries, black-capped raspberries, thimbleberries, wild black currants, and elderberries. (I couldn’t help but consider them part of my “local” diet.) I had never seen such a diversity and abundance of berries such that our “hike” quickly became a slow crawl between berry bushes along the trail.
Despite the advantage of having opposable thumbs, I found berry foraging to be hard work, but with the high reward of scrumptious bursts of flavors. I LOVE the direct bush-to-mouth action of feeding myself. How primal, efficient and delicious! Despite my best intention and attempt to turn the berry bounty into fat reserves for scarcer times, I was disappointed to find that my tummy had a space limit, even for wild berries! And there were still so many ripe berries begging to be eaten! Even my 1-quart container got full way before all the berries got picked. It was hard to walk away from them, knowing full well that they would likely fall to the ground and rot before bear-like creatures (like me) or real bears got to them. I thought to myself then how I would be willing to trade my opposable thumbs with a bear’s ability to store abundance and hibernate!
If my cravings for non-local foods could be turned off, eating local in July is really not difficult because so many fruits are ripe, veggies & root crops are plentiful, and salmons start to come in. But knowing that the sunlight abundance was at its peak and declining, eating local beyond the month of July would require a lot of harvesting and putting up food.
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Wild berries
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   Two kinds of Huckleberries                            Thimbleberries
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Wild Currants
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Wild Raspberries                                                   black capped Raspberries
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Unknown Currants
I am a novice when it comes to food preservation. Not having grown up with traditions of putting up food, I used to think it was wasteful and a bother to use energy to freeze, can, or dehydrate food. I have now understood the need to store surplus food for scarcer times. Signing up to eat local also gave me the nudge I needed to learn and practice to can and ferment food. I was very happy that my first batches of orach and cabbage krauts turned out successfully and were yummy. I have also been busy harvesting and making jam and dehydrated fruits. All these take a great deal of time and resources. Eating locally and sustainably would have been much easier if humans were as evolved as bears! It also gave me a perspective on why, in a tropical environment, it takes less energy and land per capita to sustainably feed a person.
Some plants naturally store better than others. Potatoes, onions, and winter squash can store through the winter while seeds, beans, nuts and grains (wheat) can keep for years, without requiring energy input. During the month of July alone, Chris and I (mostly I) probably went through 20 lbs of hazelnuts (including the weight of the shells). They were the main comfort food that I could just pop in my mouth for instant gratification. Certainly, we would need a lot more nut trees on Lopez to sustain this level of consumption. I would also like to personally grow more dried beans and plant more trees, if we would have access to land. Working toward a community root cellar would also be very nice.
Coming back to the original question that I had posed for myself at the beginning of my experiment: what have I learned about myself in my attempt to move “eating local” from my head to my heart?
I found this question to be difficult to answer because of my hesitance to face my inner demon. Yes, I found that I sorely missed certain familiar food and flavors such as rice, oil, soy sauce, sesame, limes, coconut, curry, fish sauce, dried shrimp, etc. But what I also missed was the convenience and comfort of purchased food. How nice to not have to shell nuts before grabbing a handful of them to pop into my mouth! How convenient to want something and just buy it at Blossom or LVM. How easy it would be to think of food as a mere commodity.I think the most difficult part of this journey from the head to the heart is confronting my own hypocrisy. Despite what I know and what I value, why do I still shop at Costco, for example? Is it greed (getting more for less money)? A sense of powerlessness (discounting the impacts of my action)? Willful ignorance (not wanting to contemplate the inter-connectedness of my food choice and the industrial economic system and the earth)? It is probably all the above in descending order.
As I ponder my own hypocrisy, I really wonder why my greed is so deep-rooted. Why is it hard for me to let go of the thought that I’m losing out if I don’t get the best deal out there? That I’m an isolated island out to compete against others, trying to not lose out in the system of a big faceless market place of food capitalism. My heart knows so well that this voice in my head is dead wrong, but why am I still weak and powerless against it? That is the question I certainly need to ponder some more. If anything, I should at least give myself a pat on the back for having the courage to admit hypocrisy.  At least the Lopez Bounty Experiment has enabled me that much, and this blog exercise has helped me name my inner shadow.
Now that I got my confession out of my chest, I feel somewhat lighter but totally exposed. Going forward, I want to remember my love of foraging, harvesting, and sharing abundance. I love the smiles and happy faces of beautiful people who grow and make local food and infuse their love in it. I am immensely grateful for abundance in all forms. Abundance of wild and cultivated foods, of rich, prolific soil, of health and healing that takes place if we allow nature to do its magic. Abundance of heart, generosity, community, and good cheers of shared bounty and meals.
May love and light heal and radiate from myself, the people around me, and the interconnected web of life—the soil, the ocean, and the earth. Lastly, thank you to the almighty, life-sustaining sun.
Chom’s Lopez Bounty Blog – week 3
Horsedrawn wheat sprouts
Horse Drawn wheat sprouts
If I gave you the impression last week that eating local was all rosy, I’ll focus my writing this week on the challenges to give a more balanced portrayal of my overall experience of eating local.Vicki Robin from Whidbey once said “eating local is like an extreme sport.” I started to understand it now. Despite July being one of the easiest month to eat local, I found myself at times light-headed, exhausted, weak, stuffed up, cynical, doubting myself and even questioning my sense of belonging.Eating only food grown and harvested from Lopez Island can be restricting in social situations and kept me from having a taste of homemade coconut-based spinach mint ice-cream and many other creative culinary creations that many Lopez potlucks had to offer. It is certainly tormenting to have integrity warring with curiosity and cravings inside of my head. Food prep can also be very time consuming. For example, it took me 6 solid hours to shell enough hazelnuts to last me a month. Six hours of swinging a hammer and dodging flying shell shrapnel plus some physical therapy to recover from it.A major challenge of mine is grain. I spent a lot of time learning to tame our local grains: wheat. I had been off wheat and gluten for a while because I often felt wiped out energetically and had stuffed up nose and sneeze attacks when I ate wheat (white processed wheat is the worst offender). So when the month of July started, I tried to do without grain initially. After only 4 days, I started to feel light-headed and low-energy. I wanted so much to make use of my CSA wheat from Horse Drawn but was wary of the effects wheat had on my body. In my journey to “tame” wheat, many thoughts came up. I felt frustrated and inadequate that I didn’t really have any knowledge base to draw on when it came to wheat. I felt I was such an imposter trying to eat local when my physical existence itself is an import. Having grown up in a culture where meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are referred to as “rice”, wheat was not really part of my diet growing up. How I wish we could grow rice on Lopez or even in the Pacific NW! (But really, I would be scared if this wish were to come true – what mess would we be in if that day would come.)  But my struggle with local grains did bring up doubts about whether my body could really belong, dietary-ly speaking, in a rice-less country. To address the hollowness I felt from grain-free diet, I decided to give wheat a try. That was when I decided to try sprouting and fermenting wheat berries. Thanks to tips from Adam Lee, Sage and Nathan and Steven Wrubresky, I tried different combinations and variations of soaking, sprouting, blending (to cut intact berries), and fermenting. Some turned out to be flavorful oatmeal and rice substitutes, with minimal allergenic effects. Others (particularly the batches cultured with straight yogurt starter) ending up being excellent chicken feeds. All these personal R&D efforts certainly took time. The long process of “taming” wheat also means that it takes about 4 days for the grains to be ready for my consumption. And I didn’t even try to make flour, having decided that my yearning for baked goods was not enough to justify the extra effort dehydrating and grinding sprouted grains).  But all in all, I was very happy that I was able to find a way to locally meet my dietary need for grains, thanks to the CSA wheat from Horse Drawn through LCLT. Potatoes helped me big time as well. New potatoes in my garden became ready just in time to give me some varieties in the starch department. Another major challenge I had was the fact that my kids had very different definitions of what is considered “local” (“only things from the earth surface” for Sara and “only things from the solar system” for Ty). As for Chris, when he called from Myanmar to let me know that he was eating local papaya for breakfast, I couldn’t help but retaliate by being protective of my hard-earned shelled hazelnuts and butter from Vera (whose sacred teets I humbly laid my hands on to extract creamy nourishing liquid). So I became the loner in the family on this Lopez-food-only journey. Given my jello-like will to start with, it was thus not surprising that my will completely crumbled about half way through the month. After a long day at the Farmers Market with the kids, I was quite hungry in the evening. My plan was to make the easiest meal (fried rice) for the kids and Chris so that I could get to preparing my own meal ASAP. By the time fried rice was done and everyone else was ready to sit and eat, I just stared at the fried rice and had this overwhelming urge to “screw it”. Too low-sugared to have any self-control, my long suppressed craving for RICE came rushing out like a torrent. I pleaded silently for sympathy and understanding from my family and found love mixed pity in their gazes back at me. Seconds later, I found myself scarfing down heaping spoons full of fried rice and moaning with pleasure. Such a delicious, guilty defeat of my shattered will! Though I didn’t want to admit it, but that was not an isolated incident! Sigh…(Please forgive me so I can forgive myself.)
breakfast of sprouted fermented wheat plus hazelnuts berries and honey
Breakfast of sprouted fermented wheat plus hazelnuts
scrumptuous breakfast with leftover salmon and Sunnyfield Farm chevre
Scrumptious breakfast of leftover salmon and Sunnyfield Farm chèvre
making salt in the solar oven
Making slat in the solar oven
Family picnic
Yummy picnic at Point Coville with Laney (intern at Sweetbriar Farm)
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My favorite veggie that reminds me of home (Ipomoea aquatica Forsk. Var. reptan or “kangkong). Grown in my garden with seeds smuggled from Thailand.
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Ready to be turned into breakfast
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“Life is good” meal with stir-fried Kangkong, sockeye salmon and sprouted wheat berries
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Vera’s butter is so golden!! My main source of fat.
Chom’s Lopez Bounty blog – week 2
fruits & wheatmeal
“Wheatmeal” with blueberries, peaches, plums and hazelnuts
My head My head has been exposed for a long time to the fact that growing food and eating locally make sense, ecologically or otherwise. A while back, Faith Van de Putte and I wrote an article in the Islands Weekly on food and crude. Here is an excerpt. “We often think of sun, rain and soil being the basis
 of our food chain, but the typical American diet is essentially dripping with 
oil. According to University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, 
an average of seven calories of fossil fuel is burned for every calorie of food
 we eat in the U.S. This means growing, processing, and delivering the food
 consumed by a family of four requires the equivalent of 930 gallons of gasoline 
per year. How does all that fossil fuel get embedded in our food? It starts on the 
average farm with machinery and inputs. A study by David Pimentel at Cornell
 University reveals 30% of fossil-fuel expenditure on conventional (non-
organic) farms is found in chemical fertilizer. An organic farm may have less
 of a fossil-fuel footprint, unless they rely on manure or other inputs trucked in 
from long distances. Many do. 

Some foods take far more energy—grain-fed beef, for instance, which requires
 thirty-five calories for every calorie of steak and burger produced. In general,
 plant calories take less energy than animal calories.

There is often a long journey between farm and fork. Oil fuels that journey.
 The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service estimated that 
processed food now travels an average of 1,300 miles. Some, like imported frozen shrimp and tuna, travel more than 8,000 miles to get here.

 Cleaning, cooking, refrigerating, canning and packaging food before it arrives
 at the store all take energy and add up to a larger footprint.” Food and crude diet graphic LCLT’s former intern Ezra Fradkin has also collected some facts about the connections of food, energy, economy, sustainability and community. –          Agriculture is responsible for ~18% of global GHG emissions. –          Studies have shown that, on average, we have 10 times as many conversations when we shop at the farmer’s market than we do at the grocery store! –          When you shop locally, you reinvest 45 cents of every dollar within the community, versus only 15 cents when you shop at chain businesses. –          The average dollar bill, when spent at a local business, will be spent 30 more times within the same community before being spent elsewhere, whereas a dollar spent at a chain store will recirculate less than 10 times locally. And each time a dollar recirculates locally, it is has the same benefit to the local economy as a new dollar coming in from the outside! (Ezra is currently doing The Lopez Island Foodshed Assessment to evaluate our island’s food supply and identify a vision for change. Please participate in the survey or learn more about the project by visiting the website: http://lopezfoodshed.weebly.com/.) My heart When I reflect on my experience of the past two weeks, the smiling faces and generosity of people who have shared so abundantly with me are what touched me so deeply. Though my journey toward local food has been slow prior to the Bounty experiment, after two weeks I have truly felt in my heart the joy and happiness of eating local. I feel so loved! Today (Tues ) after joining David and Faith for a morning yoga, they fed me a local breakfast of poached eggs with wild-crafted beach asparagus and a slice of Barn Owl Lopez loaf. We then went to the Birkemeier’s to pick blueberries and I brought enough home to eat, freeze and share!  Later, I had a rare treat of peach goat-milk ice-cream that Sandy had earlier put in my freezer while I was not home! Suzanne Berry also dropped off a bucket of perfectly ripe and beautiful plums, an assortment of dried beans and frozen tomatoes and squash the evening before. I saw her again in the evening at her house and walked off with a big bag of almonds from her tree.  My next stop was Liz and Teri’s house and they gave me four different types of their gourmet homemade cheese and a box of peaches from Jim and Margaret’s farm. The day ended with me and four LCLT interns picking gorgeous plums from an awesomely loaded tree that Sheila Metcalf has beautifully tended and generously offered to share. It has been such a remarkable day. But it also very well highlights the spirit of my experience eating locally this past two weeks. I earlier wrote about doubt and dread of eating local. At the beginning, I felt a tangible fear of letting go of the comfort and convenience of store-bought food. It felt as if I were to let go of the fraying rope of manufactured or imported foods, I would be falling into a dark unknown or unfamiliar territory of self-imposed food limits. Now I have that warm, fuzzy feeling of being so well cared for. (We’ll see how long this will last, especially since I’m taking a two-day trip to “America” in a couple days.) I’m awash with deep gratitude. I owe my nutritional and spiritual nourishment to yummy greens and beets from Doug and Tamara (Sweetbriar Farm), eggs from Sandy & Rhea and Sally Reeve, hazelnuts from Ronni and Levi, wheat grains from Ken and Katherine (Horse Drawn Farm), wheat know-how from Sage & Nathan, Adam Lee and Steven Wrubleski, goat cheese from Andre and Elizabeth (Sunnyfield Farm), frozen tomatoes from Faith and Suzanne, honey from Kevin Murphy (McCauley Farm) via Sandy & Rhea, beets and carrots from Adam Lee (S&S Farm) and Julie (Helen’s Farm), butter from milk from Vera of David Zapalac’s cow-op, sockeyes from the Sellers, basil from Ed Suij and Maile Johnson on Orcas, whey from Janie, cherries & plums from David Bill, snow peas from my mother-in-law Asha, black currants from Ab, last year’s dried apples from Sue Roundy, various berries along the path at Common Ground maintained by my lovely neighbors, plant starts from T&D farm, oven heat for making salt at Barn Owl Bakery, abundance from my garden, the hard work of various critters and microbes in the soil, compost from Midnight’s Farm, and the sun and rains.
plums from suzanne
Plums from Suzanne
cheeses from Liz and TeriFour different types of homemade cheese from Liz and Teri
Sara & beets at Sweetbriar
Sara and beets at Sweetbriar Farm
great raspberry year
Great rapsberry year
volunteer potatoes in my garden
Volunteer potatoes in my garden
If eating 100% local is like taking a plunge, it feels as if I am falling, but with complete surrender and a smile on my face. Instead of free falling into a scary unknown, I found myself touched and supported by many loving hands holding me up. I think I kind of get it now – what it feels like to be a rock star jumping into the waiting hands of a supportive audience. sharing abundance and laughter                                        Sharing abundance and laughter
Who knew I’d get to experience the thrills of a well-loved rock star from eating local! P.S. Many people asked me if my children Ty (almost 13) and Sara (11) are also eating local. The answer is yes, with a caveat. They have their own definition of “local.” Sara’s definition: “only food from the earth’s surface” (by the way, the ocean is part of the earth’s surface, in case you were wondering). Ty’s definition: “only food within the solar system”. P.P.S. I’ll have to come back to reflect on the challenges of feeding while different household members have different definitions of “local” later.
Chom’s Lopez Bounty blog – week 1
oyster harvest
I was born and grew up spending my summers in a rural village near the Thai-Malaysia border. Clear cool water came from a hand drawn well located right in the kitchen. My mom or grandmother would prepare meals in a 3-foot-wide wok or a pot over firewood or charcoal. Vegetables and fruits mostly were home grown (fertilized with urine), from our neighbors or wild-harvested. Protein came from fish in a nearby pond, chicken in the backyard, or occasional game like wild boars from the woods.  With no electricity or refrigeration, the best way to preserve food, when faced with a temporary over-abundance (say, from butchering a chicken), was to share with neighbors (who happened to all be blood-related one way or another), in the hope that they too would do the same. The nearest market was in the town of Betong, about 20 kilometers away from the village on a winding road. Going to the market was an infrequent special occasion worthy of getting dressed up for and involved riding an old wooden truck, crammed with passengers (with serious catching up to do), their animals, produce and other trade items. To get an afternoon snack, I would trail behind my machete-wielding grandma, ready to dislodge and whack a green coconut or wild pineapple into submission. All these experiences are now properly classified as fond memories. But back then, sour pineapples and fern fronds did pale in comparison to the manufactured snacks that were later introduced when a local shop was opened in the village. Oh, to spend (my parents’) money for such a novelty like chemically colored sugary drinks in a shiny plastic bag was like to experience an ecstasy of tasting power, luxury and progress, all in one hit. My early contact with industrial food imports was a source of pride and joy, as well as hope for the future (“more progress, please!”). Look at how far I’ve come! Now I even signed up to eat local for a month, while living in a beautiful tourist destination island in the superpower country of the U.S.A.! Why did I sign up for the “eat local” experimentation? (“Yeah, Mom, why do you do this?” echo my kids, Ty and Sara.) Because I’m confused? Well, I am often confused and disoriented by the contradictions and ironies of my life (or shall I say “lives”?) but that’s not really the reason why I decided to experiment eating locally. There are lots of reasons that my head can give for me signing up: to walk the talk, to support local farmers and economy, to reduce my carbon foot print, to strengthen my connection to the land and people in the community, to be part of the awesome Lopez Bounty project, to explore and reflect on my relationship with food, to heal my body, soul, soil and the planet, to try something different, to torture my kids (though they have now learned to feed themselves (the food they like to eat) out of necessity), and to have something to talk about with other people. But only a fraction of what’s in my head is also felt in my heart. If I’m honest, I am not sure who actually did the signing up: my head (my ego) or my heart. There is this little being in me, named Doubt, that keeps planting seeds of thoughts about why I should not bother, how it’ll be too difficult or time consuming, how I lack the will to let go of my addiction to instant gratification, convenience and comfort food, etc. As the month of July approached, I felt dread and doubts seeping in my consciousness as Doubt grew louder, if not stronger. So before Doubt got better of me, I’m using this month, this blog as an opportunity to hold myself accountable, to face my shadows, and to allow the “why” of eating local to travel from my head toward my heart. It’s been a week of local eating adventures and so far so good. Other than olive oil in my pesto, salt and sugar in my food preserves, occasional slips (e.g. I semi-unconsciously gulped down some lemonade to quench my thirst during the 4th of July), I have enjoyed the local abundance in early July. It has been quite an adventure with a lot of food for thought actually. More on this later. Stay tuned!
some colors of July bounty
some colors of July bounty
white currants
white currants
hazelnuts from Ronni and Levi's farm
hazelnuts from Ronni & Levi’s farm
harvesting sea water for salt making
harvesting sea water for making salt
gooseberries
gooseberries
garlic scapes
garlic scapes

June – Jan & Bob Sundquist
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Week 4 – Jan
  “Nothing is more powerful than a community discovering what it cares about!” ——-Rhea MillerDuring our “last week” participating in the BOUNTY Experiment, we enjoyed having our youngest grandson visiting with us. As a result I now “know” more about the world-wide phenomenon of “Mind Craft” than I’ll ever remember! Also, we experienced the lukewarm reception of “more vegetables than David had ever eaten before” in his life! We were delighted at his willingness to try them all! Somehow that was reassuring. Also, we allowed ourselves to eat out a couple of times, and we were actually surprised at the “locally sourced” foods we were offered! A backward glance: early after taking the leap into joining in the BOUNTY Experiment, I spent much of the “high harvest” of 2014 procuring, processing, and storing the foods we’ve used during our ramp-up to being “it” in June 2015. I’ll do the same during this years “high harvest.” Why? It Works! Perhaps the most satisfying part of the Experiment for me were the many days I spent exploring my “dated” but fascinating knowledge of grains. I recalled the efforts toward the “standardization” of grains and flours in the United States that I studied while at Kansas State University and the grains my family raised. Then the standardization efforts were so the USA could continue to supply the world with white flour to make the white breads abundant enough to feed the world. I like to think my family would have worked toward “diversity” of wheat and other grain crops in order to create a more productive resource. Incidentally, my thanks to Bluebird Grains in Winthrop, WA for growing diverse grains & Blossom Foods for stocking many of them in their Lopez Island store. I’m painfully aware that this last blurb for the BOUNTY Blog is past deadline. Therefore it takes the form of a “bread ‘n butter” note. Myself and Bob and many guests and visitors who’ve enjoyed our participation in the BOUNTY Experiment this past month—-and they will again as we plan to incorporate many of the foods available locally into our going forward mode of eating. Our thanks to the Lopez Growers community, many individuals who’ve educated us and provided direction when we arrived at crossroads. Also, our thanks to the Lopez Community Land Trust which has worked so diligently to fill the former lack of locally grown wheat. Thanks for helping me rekindle my deep interest in breads. Part of the appeal of “The BOUNTY Experiment and Blog” for us was its focus on PLACE and BELONGING, things so many think lost in our hectic and even uprooted lives. For us – and perhaps the Growers and even YOU the reader…..it’s about trying to stay in place, and care for the land that feeds us!
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love & respect.” —-Aldo Leopold
Week 3 – Jan
“Hunger is the best sauce” —-an old Chef’s saying
So, let’s chat some about the dilemma of “how to get milk when you ain’t got a cow”! As you know, the local milk cows have full-up fan clubs! I say, “ you go girls!” And, we solved our dilemma by taking a “foodie field trip” to Skagit County to buy farmstead cheese at Samish Bay Cheese and locally caught fish at Skagit’s Own Fish Market & Berries by the Barn. We had wonderful conversational tours at both places and purchased some Ladysmith cheese with fresh chives. This Samish Bay ‘signature’ cheese is somewhat like a Queso Fresco or a Ricotta Salata. Since 2010 Ladysmith cheeses at competition, have consistently “brought home the bacon”, so to speak in the “unripened cow’s milk cheese” competition. The varietal of Ladysmith with fresh arugula and calendula flower petals is not only pleasing to the eye but also delightfully light and flavorful. This past Friday, 6/19/15 I took a plate of Ladysmith with chives and some very thinly sliced rafts of my ever-improving “Bubbles” bread to share with friends at a mid-morning coffee. Everyone agreed this fresh cheese is packed with a complexity of flavor that wasn’t expected. Bob and I came away from our foodie trek along Chuckanut Drive with the strong sense that places to taste & eat are seemingly located on 6 foot centers. Sure beat the other common reason to be off island —visiting doctors and Costco. You know every time I make a note to include in our weekly blurb for the BOUNTY blog, I’m sure all of you readers know far more about this exquisite opportunity than we ever will. However, being highly verbal even in written speech, I’ll go on. Yesterday a friend (bearing great and gorgeous Lopez greens) remarked “well you started getting ready to do this BOUNTY experiment for a month almost a year ago”! She’s right! However, growing up in mid- America in the middle of the last century prepared us for “getting ready.” It seemed we were forever eating the foods we planted in the spring last year in the spring of this year. And forever we shall be doing that again. My first and most enduring mode of learning “readiness” and the craft of cooking was imparted on the Farm in the kitchen with my mother and Aunts and my 1st cousins. In those times “Harvest Crews” were our neighbors and everyone’s relatives returned to “help” and to re-energize their personal sense of community! During the weeks leading up to harvest the elders checked historic weather records (maintained on every farm), wheat yield records , corn yields and costs of getting crops to market were the stuff of every conversation. The Kitchen notes maintained by the elder women were reviewed and current meal plans were made dependent upon present day garden crops and their readiness and the inventory of the contents of Food Lockers at the freezer Storage Center located near the community Grain Elevator complex (the High Rises of the Bread Basket of the Country in our town of Minneapolis, Kansas) population ‘about’ 2,000 people! Designation of my jobs and of my first cousins task assignments were age dependent. We all started out washing fresh foods vigorously. If scrubbing them was needed we used small brushes specially given to every farms ‘summer kitchen’ as a courtesy by the Fuller Brush man. Then we moved through “the chairs” doing more and more prep work every year and finally some Crew Jobs like baking, saucing, chopping and storing cold foods, cooking the Main Dish meats, or desserts. The ever important coffee, iced sun tea (made in tubs) and cooled by ice chunks stored in the onsite cold room after being delivered by a truck insulated by HEAVY thick layers of canvas. The Cold Room on my grandfather’s farm was a dug-out, similar to a root cellar but much deeper so as to hold the cold for as long as possible. The BOUNTY Experiment evokes within me that almost liquid feeling of community, caring, relatedness, being known and valued that the family farm always provided me. And finally, this week’s crowning jewels! The dry beans offered us by many Lopezians, left at the back door, even handed to me in a smallish brown paper bag by a fellow worshipper one Sunday. These wee morsels of nutritive value go far beyond their diminutive yet gorgeous appearance would suggest. I’ve planted three hills of beans so I can already begin appreciating them. And, the patience needed to grow, harvest, dry, and shell these wee nuggets of goodness will help teach me to wait, watch, and care for the plants and the fruit they produce. What we ate this week: HUGE, LUSCIOUS Salads. Seafood and pizza. Hamburgers, Lopez buns, Salmon, Spareribs, baked True Cod, coleslaw, Rhubarb & Blueberry Cobbler, whipped cream and MORE SALADS! SPECIAL APPRECIATION THIS WEEK TO: Sweetbriar Farm, Horse Drawn Farms, T & D Farms, Stonecrest Jams, Crowfoot Farm, Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy, in Lynden, WA (available at Blossom), Samish Bay Cheese, Skagit’s Own Fish Market & Berries by the Barn, and Rosabella’s Garden Bakery in Edison.
I leave you this week with something Julia Child so famously said: “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all!”
Local beans - jewels of the pantry
Local beans – jewels … pantry
Glorious Greens
Glorious Greens
Bubbles bread sandwich loaf
Bubbles bread sandwich loaf
Frizzy Lizzy my favorite!
Frizzy Lizzy my favorite!
Spareribs & Carmelized Yams
Spareribs and Caramelized Yams
Stella waits for Gravity to work!
Stella waits for Gravity to work!
Blueberry Rhubarb CobblerBlueberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Week 2 – Jan
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must all eat to live.”
Joy Harjo’s poem, “Perhaps the World Ends Here.”
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A meal, particularly a locally sourced one, created by hands we admire and treasure, often transports us to other places like little else can. The stories awakened and shared at table move hand to mouth with few shortcuts. The most precious ingredient at my table is the time invested in adjusting the dishes of my youth, welcoming extended family while creating warm new memories with those gathered. Remembering the privileges of my age (which I’ve mentioned before) lets me rediscover the flavors and savors of Midwest cultural cuisine, and put aside the unsatisfying effects of fast food (and Jello salads). Some months ago I began acquainting myself with other participants in the Bounty Project, learning about some things I never even thought of. As a result, I challenged myself to create my own personal bread starter that would yield an acceptable sour dough bread, using my flour shares grown on Lopez by Horse Drawn Farms under the auspices of Lopez Community Land Trust, and milled by Lopez Grist (a new Lopez institution, thanks to Steve & Karla Lillestol). My deepest thanks to all my teachers. With the help of my King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion book, I prepared my first starter mixture and hoped for success in catching so-called Wild Yeast just looking for a home and a job to do. The starter was by now known as “Bubbles,” (we named it after the bubbles coming up through the mixture or, perhaps it was a dancer we saw years ago at the Gaslight in St. Louis). A second starter followed, and a mere three weeks ago I mixed up my third batch of starter, as I questioned the efficacy of the older starter – it had thinned out some and to use one pound of that starter in the bread mixture would have required more flour than necessary. In the recent past, “Bubbles” seemed a little bit off. The initial dough seemed wetter and less elastic. I soldiered on, however, thinking humidity was high; even the flour seemed more “set up” because of lower temperature and higher moisture. During the last rising the dough, even though the heavy cloche cover was in place, popped and blew the top askew. Really weird, but I baked it anyhow and it created an ugly loaf with great flavor. What I learned is that more water makes a chewier, more flavorful bread with a more uniform crumb. Except, you know, wetter dough is really difficult dough to handle and shape. So whatever shaping I did, I found it best to wear disposable surgical gloves and spray them with PAM and to work quickly. Whew. Quick childhood story (after all, I’m a storyteller): During World War II, we kids all knew about the joys of a mouthful of wheat berries…well chewed, they turned in to an elastic wad. If you were careful, you could blow a bubble with it, and finally it could be discarded over toward the dogs or hens! We are amazed at how similar our “bounty” meals are to the way we’ve already come to eat! In the mid to late 1990’s we bought our first CSA with Christine Langley, who grew her products then at Susan Bill’s farm. We’re still hooked on year round Lopez vegetables. So, what did we eat this week? We are creatures of habit so we each fix our breakfasts and lunches…usually an egg and toast or oatmeal and yogurt; lunch is “planned overs.” Frankly, I love to cook and always look forward to prepping dinner but, I do like ideas of what to make for us (recommendations welcomed). This past week we ate pasta with Lopez tomatoes sauce, Stir-Fries (our favorites), lots of salads, and berries! Special thanks this week to: T&D Farms, Sweetbriar Farm, Horse Drawn Farms, One Clay Hill Farm, Jones Family Farms, Crowfoot Farm, and Stonecrest jams. Close to local goods included Hell Fire Noodles from Orcas Island Pasta, and red wheat berries from Bluebird Farms in the Okanogan. Next week: The challenges of milk when you ain’t got a cow.
Typical Huge SaladTypical Huge Salad
Sauce of frozen tomatoes & basil
Sauce of frozen tomatoes and basil
Orcas pasta for sauce
Orcas pasta for sauce
Lopez Dinner 100%
Lopez Dinner 100%
What a lot of Greens
What a lot of greens!
Week 1 – Jan
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“If we don’t sing the songs, tell the stories, and make the foods that are dear to us, our children won’t know what they missed, but I think they’ll miss it just the same.”           Laura Branca
Fully believing age has its privileges (it’s a cultural artifact inherited from our OLD relatives) ….we embark upon our month of eating locally while exercising some privileges! Our goal is to source our food within an approximate 50 mile radius of the center of Lopez Village. Further, we’ve adjusted the above goal to source at least 75% of our foods from Lopez Island; the remainder will come from Anacortes, Bow, and Winthrop. And, oh yes….we’ve seldom met an “exotic” we didn’t like. We’ve selected a list of food exceptions including: olive oil, black pepper, coffee, teas, Agave sweetener, limited cane sugar, some nuts (mostly walnuts), limited dairy products (more about that throughout the month), some oats, lemons, and for Bob, some dark chocolate! Stella, of course, gets her regular dry kibble and anything else she can find while cleaning up aisle 1 and 2 in the kitchen. Both of us were born smack dab in middle of the country in the middle of the Great Depression, cut our teeth on the boundary of WWII , and were parented to be frugal (“if you are making two cups of tea only boil 2 cups of water”). I still do that! My mother came from a big family born & raised on a big farm (she was 10thamong the 13 children), and when I was young I spent every summer at the farm with lots of first cousins who related to me, an only child, like surrogate siblings. Even with grasshopper invasions now and then, periodic droughts, frigid winters, and winds year-round, Kansas was a great place to grow up, in the middle of the last century. Nowadays, Kansas is a great place to be from…..away from. Bob is a “city guy”. Born and raised in Kansas City (where everything is up to date)! However, he did spend some time up in Northeast Kansas with his maternal grandfather and an uncle & aunt who farmed some. He waited until we married though (in 1960) to really explore the world of vegetables. We found our way to Lopez Island about 24 years ago via a circuitous route I’ll gloss over for you quite rapidly. We met during undergraduate school at Kansas State University, then jobs in St. Louis, a transfer for Bob to Los Angeles where he continued his career in electrical engineering and I worked for Southern California Gas Company, then a transfer to the San Francisco Bay Area where I worked at California Wine Institute and Bob joined Western Electric until the government in its wisdom directed AT&T to divest of Western Electric. We looked around then and noticed we’d been married 5 years, had car payments and a mortgage so, it must be time to start a family. Along came Brie in 1965 and Beth in 1969. In the mid l970’s we were transferred to Seattle and unlike some mid-westerners we took to the Pacific Northwest like ducks to water! Way back in August 2014 when we volunteered to join in the BOUNTY EXPERIMENT, Rhea said “It’s great that you’ll have this time to prepare, and make allies who can be helpful!” As usual Rhea was right and our thanks go out to the many Lopezians who have aided us in our planning and sourcing local foods. More will follow in additional “blurbs for the blog”. Hope you’ll travel along with us. So, let me leave you with this tidbit of advice, “Never throw anything away….it’s just a ‘planned over’ until the dog gets it if the frittata doesn’t.” Bob, Jan and Stella !
Mixing Bread Bread made with wild yeast and Lopez wheat flour

Bread cooling

Bread cooling

Salish Sea Salt-2

Salish Sea Salt – thanks to Jamie Stephens for ‘water catchment’

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Egg noodles drying on the rack Bob made

Bi-Season Chicken Noodle Soup

 Bi-season Chicken Noodle Soup with egg noodles

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Stella gets some of the noodles too!


May – Teri Linneman & Liz Scranton

Week 4 – Teri

Liz and I finally made it out to gather some wild foods. We had a wonderful day visiting with Ruby and Irene, looking at their gardens and harvesting a bit too. We did get a few wild foods, dandelion greens and chickweed, but our bounty was mostly harvested garden goodies. Not only did we come home with lots of greens, but Irene also passed on some hard cider and dried beans. We were also able to get two big bags of rose petals, which    I made rose water out of. Our trek to get wild food turned into a fine afternoon of laughing and telling stories and a huge bounty of food. Not a bad day!!

bounty for the weekWeeks bounty

Irene with beans

Irene's beans

  Irene & her beautiful beans

2. cattails, daylily, chive flowers, lobster mushrooms

Ruby and Liz

Ruby and Liz with rose pedals               Cattails, oyster mushrooms, daylily & chive flowers

This week was the last community dinner at  the school until next fall. While the meal was not 100% local, the intent was there, and both Liz and I enjoyed the wonderful food cooked by the Locavore group. You may have seen Liz in the kitchen, she is the dishwasher Queen with the yellow apron. Dishes are her friends!! And there were a lot of dishes that night. I think Liz said that it was one of the biggest dinners this year. I am sorry that I did not get a picture of the food, because it was really beautiful.

So let me tell you about my love affair with the pressure cooker!

Last week I canned chicken broth in my big pressure cooker, this week I used my 5 qt. stainless pressure cooker to make some really yummy meals. I started the week off with cooking Irene’s tiger eye beans with chicken gizzards. I used to take a lot of time to cut up the gizzards and take the tough parts off, but now I put the frozen gizzards in with the beans after the first soak, and cook them for about 25 minutes. The gizzards are so tender and the beans were cooked to perfection. After pressure cooking I then add them to a pan of cooked shallots and garlic and red peppers. Such comfort food, from dried bean and frozen gizzards to the table all cooked within one and a half hours.

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Tiger eye beans with chic hen gizzards

My second date with the pressure cooker was on Friday morning, when at the last minute I decided to make lunch for the orchard work party. We had taco salad, with Dragon Tongue beans from Horsedrawn and ground beef from Helen’s Farm. I pulled out frozen tomatoes, dried hot chilies, and roasted red peppers from last summer and made a yummy salsa. Then instead of sour cream, I strained yogurt to make it thick. All served on a huge bed of fresh greens. The crew had been working all morning thinning fruit, filling in a trench for drainage and covering the berries to keep out the birds.

1. work party

3. work party

5. Dragon Tongue beans

6. Salsa

7. full lunch (1280x960)8. lunch for the crew (1280x960)

Work party lunch

My final date was on our last day of the local diet where we had a wild dinner. I cooked a whole wild rabbit in the pressure cooker for 35 minutes, and it was so incredibly tender that I was able to pull the meat off the bones and make a rabbit stew with wild harvested lobster mushrooms, shallots and red peppers. As side dishes we had cooked lambs quarters, Cossack asparagus (these are the tender inside leaves of the cattail plant), and fried day lily flowers. The Cossack asparagus was just OK, but everything else was really delicious. We also had a very delightful rhubarb wine given to us by Denny and Stuart McDougal. It was a wonderful meal to end our month of local food.

4. rabbit stew5. fried Day Lilies

Rabbit stew                                                    Fried daylily

6. Our wild dinner with Rhubarb wine (960x1280)

Our wild dinner

One other meal this week that was noteworthy was our spotted prawn dinner. These little beauties are pure heaven. They are harvested in our local waters, but you need to have a boat or know someone who is willing to share. I had been holding off on cooking the prawns because I really wanted some kind of grain to have with it. Suzanne and Table shared some of their quinoa with us, and I have to say that it was the best I have ever tasted. I love finding new recipes on line, and this one was a keeper. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/healthy-garlic-shrimp-and-quinoa-grits.html I used up the last of my Asiago cheese in place of the parmesan. Sure wish I had hung on to that cheese.

1. Spotted Prawns2. Prawns with Local Quinoa

Spotted prawn dinner

So with this last meal, we salute you. We had a lot of fun, and we ate well. If eating local for a month is not something you aspire to, I encourage you to make a goal of eating local at least once a week. It is a lot of fun to gather foods that are grown here, and to support the local farmers. If you haven’t seen the new Farmers Market link on Lopez Rocks, check it out regularly or go visit a local farmer to see what is available. (http://www.salishrocks.org/page.php?handle=25)

Cheers

Cheers!

Week 3 – Teri This week started with Liz smelting with Randy O’Bryant. She came home about 9:30 with a gallon or two of smelt, and then was up till 2 am cleaning the fish. Some people just eat them whole, heads and guts, but we like to clean them, then freeze them in Ziploc bags filled with water. They stay fresher that way. I cooked them with chicken fat, garlic, shallots and fresh herbs. Such simple food, yet so tasty. smelt dinner We are so lucky to have Randy and his commercial license for smelting. If you haven’t been following what is going on with this issue last year, check out Randy’s story by reading Adam Nash’s blog ( http://www.adamnash.us/island-way-of-life/ ), which beautifully documents this wonderful community event and has a heartfelt letter from Randy about the plight of smelt fishing. The good news is that with all the public support Randy was able to obtain a group permit which will allow him and the community to continue the tradition of smelt fishing on Lopez. This week was our week to have Ashi over for dinner. She is 16, and last year she approached me about spending some time together because she wanted to learn to cook. We have a lot of fun cooking, and often talk about local food. This week we made a frittata with roasted peppers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, and leeks, along with a fresh salad. It has been a lot of fun to watch her gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Our orchard is so full of promise right now. The trees all have fruit set and the berries are are bursting with fruit/flowers. We were so excited to see apricots this year, but unfortunately we had fruit drop. Not sure why, but we knew it was risky planting them. Eric says we will be lucky to get fruit every 3 or 4 years. I wanted to try though, because I love apricots, especially ripe off the tree. We got the cherries and strawberries covered with netting this week before the crows got to them. Last year, they didn’t even wait for the fruit to ripen. We lost over half the crop before we realized that the birds were eating everything. I am so looking forward to the first strawberries. Should be within the next week or so. berries I of course made cheese this week, 6 camembert, and a new cheese that I am very excited about. It is called Stracchino di Crescenza. This fresh cheese is ready to eat in just a few days, so I will be sharing what I think about it in my last post of the month. Tomorrow I am making 10 quarts of yogurt and a pound of butter because we had extra milk due to Liz covering for someone in our milk share. I am anxiously waiting for my new wine cooler/cheese cave. I have five tommes that are aging in my back room and the temp is starting to be a bit warmer than I want it to be. A few days ago I was rooting around in the fridge for a cheese to grate on our crab salad and came across an Asiago cheese I made in December. When I was aging this cheese, it got really stinky so I was giving it away to be eaten young. Well now I wish I had kept more of it as it turned out to be a really tasty cheese. That’s the hard part of making hard cheese, you have to wait so long before you eat it that you never know if it is going to be great or pig food. I have had my share of both. crab salad with Asiago cheese In preparation of the upcoming harvest of chickens I made chicken broth. How is making chicken broth preparing for harvesting chickens you ask? Well I had three giant 2 gallon bags of carcasses from last year’s birds in the freezer, and I need to make room for the new birds. We have one freezer that is just for our years’ worth of chickens. I am able to fill an eight gallon pot with enough bones to make 18 quarts of broth. Last year I bought this giant pressure canner that holds up to 19 quarts. It is such a time saver!!!! I usually make this much broth about 3 times a year. I use it when I make soups and grains. 01725d5d3a0dabb5ee0bdb13f4e7d1a6ccceef1c7e 017571a731748ea01817f645854c8e3b6fa3eb4817

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Everyone talks about how organic chicken is so expensive. Making broth and using the fat is a way to make sure we are getting all the value from those lovely birds. And, if you think about the work that goes into raising chickens in a healthy environment instead of the warehouse of commercial growers, you are getting a bargain. Not to mention, we get our orchard fertilized for free every year. If you are interested in raising your own chickens but don’t know what it takes, Liz and I would be happy to let you see what we do. And, there is rental equipment to process chickens or turkeys available right here on Lopez. Check out the ad on Lopez rocks: http://www.salishrocks.org/page.php?type=item&item_handle=1432651827&menu_type=postit&return=21&offset=0&limit_key=&limit_rock=9  Since I was making broth, and I had all those bits of chicken from the bones I made chicken soup and added some fresh beans that Marney gave me from her freezer along with roasted peppers and tomatoes from my freezer. Those beans were incredible. The soup and a fresh salad with day lily flowers made for a perfect meal.

chicken soup with beans

We hope to harvest wild foods on Monday. Ruby and Irene invited us to see what they harvest from their garden and land. Last weekend at the farmers market, Ruby showed me some bread she made with cat tails. She is very excited to show us what she knows. Liz’s mom was a harvester of wild foods. In fact Liz’s Aunt Ditty use to say, those Scranton’s are always gathering food, cooking food, or cleaning up after eating food. After lusting over Liz’s mom’s copy of Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking the Blue Eyed Scallop by Euell Gibbons her Mom found a new copy and sent them to us. Liz remembers that whenever they went out for a drive her Mom could be heard saying “Brad stop the car, there’s something I need to pick on the side of the road.” Liz and I are not quite so dedicated about wild harvesting, a least not yet. Who knows, after our visit to Ruby’s we may get re-inspired. In reflecting on our month so far, one thing I noticed was the lack of garbage and recyclables. An added bonus for eating local, very little packaging when you are harvesting fresh and local food. Yes there is some planning that needs to happen with eating local, but so far it hasn’t really been too hard, the main thing is to keep the fridge full of options. One last thought for this week. Marney shared a post about the drought in California. Subject: Your Contribution to the California Drought http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/05/21/us/your-contribution-to-the-california-drought.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news I was shocked by what I read, and wondered if much of the water usage could be decreased by drip irrigation and planting more diverse crops instead of monocultures. Overhead irrigation needs to be outlawed. What a waste of water to evaporation. I also wonder what organic practices do to reduce water usage. I know we are very careful about water usage, and rely on heavy mulching to decrease our need for water. I would love to see a study on organic growing and water usage. So with that sobering thought; eat local, use less water and less packaging, and support your local island farmers! Week 2 Submitted by Teri We have had an amazing week with food. I had hoped to go out and forage for wild stuff, but life is very full and I didn’t make it. We did have some great offers of places to collect wild foods and other foods that we have not been able to source, and it its top on my list of things to do for next week. Hopefully having a four day weekend will free up some time to get out. We have yet to suffer from boredom for our meals. I do not tire of our nightly salads. Tonight we had Christine’s lettuce and spinach with beet greens from the giant beet we got from Chom. (This beet has been adding to our meals all week), and chopped apple from Marney. I added some cheese that I blended with yogurt and cream, and salad dressing of yogurt mixed with cider vinegar and quince syrup. Yum!!!! Speaking of cheese, I have been experimenting with making a hard cheese that will store longer than the soft ripened cheeses I have been making the past few years. I think I finally have a cheese that I am happy with, but with the weather changing I had to finally break down and buy a big wine cooler which I can age my cheeses in. This should make a huge improvement on having a cheese that is more reliable for the final results. The other benefit of making this particular cheese is that it is made with skimmed milk, so I am also able to make over a pound of butter each week. You should see this butter; it is so yellow from all the fresh grass the cows are eating. Of course I will also continue to make those creamy Camemberts from Roses milk. IMG_0509 IMG_2038 IMG_2902 This is our 5th year to raise meat chickens. We have 48 Red Rangers that are now 6 weeks old. They arrived in the mail as two day old chicks. We had ordered 4 extra so we would be sure to have 50 on harvest day, but unfortunately we lost 5 in shipping, and then in subsequent days we lost 5 more. This is very unusual, as we usually only lose a few. Fortunately for us, the supplier sent 4 extras beyond the 54 we ordered. They lived in big box with a heat light for 4 weeks, and then get moved out to the field in a chicken tractor, where they are moved to fresh grass every day. We soak their organic grain with the whey left over from cheese making so that it is slightly lacto fermented. They seem to love it and are growing like crazy. The grain is from Scratch and Peck a local producer from Bellingham that sources organic grains locally. We use to get grain from Canada, but found out that some of the grain was coming from China, and decided that not only was it too far away for a food source, but it was also not to be trusted. We will harvest at 12 weeks, just before the 4th of July which is when my parents arrive. Usually the few days after harvest I spend making bone broth with the heads and feet and the carcasses from the birds that I part out, but this year they will have to go in the freezer to wait until after my parents leave.

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Our scores on gifted food this week were Lopez honey and the giant beet from Chom, cider and some gnarly potatoes from Lyiardia and Charlie, cider syrup from Alex, and rose blossoms from Midnights farm. We were also able to get cauliflower, eggs, herbs, artichokes and horseradish from Horse Drawn Farm. And of course the beautiful greens from Christine.
IMG_2881 The potatoes, while gnarly were happily used as sides to an amazing steak we got from Blake and Julie (Helen’s Farm), and in the best salmon chowder I have made in a long time. The cauliflower was lightly boiled then baked whole for a crispy crust, and also mashed with the leeks we got last week from Sweetbrier Farm. Both were incredible. We had them with our chicken one night and as a side to eggs for breakfast one morning. cauliflower (roasted) with chicken and artichokes cauliflower mashed with leeks and eggs from Horsedrawn

fresh smelt with swiss chard from Sweetbrier Farm

Marney's smoked salmonsalmon chowder with roasted peppers and gnarly potatoes

Steak with sauted bok choy and potatoes

From the rose petals I made rose water, which I used with our frozen raspberries to make a sorbet that was inspired by a dinner we at the Duck Soup Inn on San Juan. They do an amazing job of sourcing mostly local food, something I wish was the norm rather than the rarity I find in most of our local restaurants.

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On the subject of restaurants, both Liz and I ate out this week. My experience was less than local, but very tasty. I went to the Bay for a birthday party. Looking over the menu, I saw that if I wanted to eat off the appetizer menu I could come close to local, but it didn’t hit my fancy for that night, so I settled on Dungeness crab cakes figuring that they had to come from somewhere close by. I also had Lopez Island Vineyards Siegerrebe and a delightful salad with Christine’s arugula, along with other non-local ingredients. And I did partake of the desserts going around the table, not local for sure. Liz went to a Mariners-Red Sox game in Seattle. She took a cooler of food for breakfast and dinner, but was not allowed to bring food into the Stadium. She was able to find a vendor who sold Seattle made sausages and locally brewed beer. But then she splurged and had roasted peanuts, not local, but mighty tasty and a tradition. We also had to go off for a day of appointments. We packed a cooler of food and had a very nice picnic in Mount Vernon with my cheese, hard boiled eggs, salad and some wonderful smoked salmon from Marney.

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While we didn’t make it 100% for a local diet, I think we did well. During the week we had several opportunities to talk with people about the project. I find it interesting how many people I know, that know about eating local, and still don’t make the connection of supporting our local economy. Yes, some, in fact many people grow their own gardens, but will then go to the market and buy meat from non-local mostly non-organic sources. With all the GMO grains that are used to feed these animals, and all the additives in processed foods I find it frightening what is called food. I am so grateful for all our local farmers, for the care they put into growing food that I can purchase or trade for to make all the delightful fresh meals we had this week. I am happy to support their efforts at a price that is sustainable to them.

Week 1 – Submitted by Teri

For the first week, we started the local diet on two sides of the country. Liz was on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island with her Mom, where local food is difficult if not impossible to find. They just started having warmer weather a few weeks ago so no chance of going to the local farmers for food. She did go quohogging, and had a delightful meal of clams casino, (clams, herbs, and bacon under the broiler). Then she had to travel back home, and we all know how difficult it is to eat local in airports.

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I went right into the local diet eating lots of fresh salads, and our home grown chicken, Blake and Julie’s beef, and ratatouille using tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from Horsedrawn that we grilled and then froze last summer. When Liz got home, we had venison, chicken, fresh caught smelt, pork chops and sausages. The salads have been awesome, with the addition of our dried pears, peaches and plums, my Feta, chopped apples, and Marney’s radishes. We have been experimenting with no oil salad dressings, as we are not using olive oil. I use yogurt as a base and add tart syrups like quince and homemade cider vinegar. This has worked out well for the most part, but I have to say I really do miss not using olive oil.

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My breakfast is usually a smoothie, with my yogurt, frozen raspberries and blueberries from our orchard, and sometimes a local egg. Liz’s regular breakfast is yogurt, berries (some combination of Marion berries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or blueberries), walnuts and maple syrup (which are her cheat foods). We both enjoy our liquid cheats of coffee and green tea.

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Our lunches are usually leftovers, or my cheese and salads. These are easy to grab from the fridge and go.

I was worried that we would not have much variety on our plates with this month being the in-between time of gardens growing, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how much we are able to glean from our friends and neighbors. We are completely covered in the protein department, with all the local meats available to us, plus our own harvesting. I spent one day going from place to place and picking up an abundance of fresh foods. At Horsedrawn I got cauliflower, eggs, winter squash, horseradish, shallots, and herbs. Tamara and Doug shared some chard and leeks. We got Christine’s bok choy, salad greens, and spinach and Mitchell Bay’s Kiwis at Blossom. Marney gave us the last of her winter storage apples, radishes, bitter greens and goat cheese. Yesterday, Faith came over with a bag of walnuts, artichokes, apple cider syrup, and dried lobster mushrooms. With all these gifts, we have had wonderful meals.

Unknown-5Unknown-3 Unknown Yesterday, (Saturday May 9th), I did a cheese demo at the Lamb, Wool and Goat Festival. Liz milked Thursday and Friday night, so I had about 4 and half gallons of milk. I did the Julia Child method and started a batch the night before and was able to show the whole process of making a fresh lactic acid cheese. I have included a picture of the cheese and butter made during the demo, and then one of me finishing off the cheese at home later that night. I used salt that I got from Dave Sather, Principal at the Lopez High School, who is collecting local salt water from Odlin and reducing it to salt as a fundraiser for the student trip to Greece in 2016. (He will be selling salt and homemade soap this summer at the farmers market, so watch for him there and support the Lopez School trip to Greece) We also went to the Lamb, Wool and Goat Festival dinner, and while most of the meal used local foods some of the added ingredients were not local. However, we did cheat and eat all but the desert. I have to say, I did enjoy the salad with the olive oil dressing, not to mention the wonderful lamb and beans.

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When we got home I made Liz some peach ice cream using frozen peaches from the Birkemeier’s. I figured out that you can freeze peaches whole, run them under water to quickly peel off the skin, slice them off the pit, add cream from our lovely cows and whiz them up in the food processor for quick and amazingly peachy ice cream. No sugar used, no processing fruit, just pop the whole peach in the freezer.

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What do we miss? Olive oil, Kombucha, olives, crackers, fruits that are not in season or grown in tropical places, rice and other grains and seeds. All in all, eating a local diet is not too difficult, and certainly worth the experience. Has it been hard? Not really. We eat mostly local anyway, so it was just an adjustment to the few things we can’t get or didn’t prepare for. We are excited to go out this week and collect some things that we would not have normally eaten. We plan to glean wild foods from some of our friend’s gardens and will let you know how that goes next week. We are so lucky to live in a community that is so educated about food, and has an abundance of food. Also, we are lucky to have had such a mild winter, other years there may not have been as much growing as is the case on the east coast where they suffered a terrible long cold winter.

INTRODUCTION TO THE MAY FOOD BLOG Teri Linneman and Liz Scranton

Teri & Liz

Teri and I are excited to participate in the Bounty Food Project. About 15 years ago, Teri and I made a commitment to eat 25% of our food organic. At this time we were becoming educated about the origin of our food and the methods used to grow much of the food we were eating. Chemical fertilizers and the industrial agriculture model are damaging to the environment and we had decided we would vote with our dollars on the food we eat. At the time, we felt we could afford to buy 25% of our food organic. We realized right away that the organic food tasted better and within 2 years we were purchasing almost 100% organic foods and by budgeting we found that it was not a hardship. Also, at this time we began educating ourselves about the importance of eating local and seasonal foods. So in some ways, this commitment to eat local food for one month is not a new concept. Eating food that was grown or raised locally within our island boundary opened our eyes to how fresh food can taste, and we learned an appreciation for each season. Despite this commitment to eating locally produced food, we still rely on outside sources for our food. Just peeking in our pantry we have found that a good percentage of our food stuffs are from off island (maybe 20 to 25%). Some of these items are: rice, beans (although we have begun buying horse drawn beans this year), coffee, tea, olives, nut butters, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, crackers, sweeteners (honey, sugar, maple syrup), flours, nuts, pasta, spices, lemon juice, lemons, other citrus, various condiments to name a few of the items. Foods that we hunt, gather or grow ourselves include: Fruit: apples, plums, pears, strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, marion berries, blueberries, cherries, dried apples, pears and plums, apple sauce, fruit chutneys; Meat: chickens, chicken broth, chicken fat, goose jerky, sausage, duck, goose and venison; Other items: mint tea, nettle pesto, some wild mushrooms, smelt from Randy O’Bryant’s smelting gathering, We make vinegar, fruit shrubs, Kumbucha and sauerkraut. We grow a few herbs – rosemary, sage, chives and each year I collect some sea salt at iceberg point. From local farms we obtain most of our vegetables, some beans, whole grain, peaches, tomatoes which we freeze, red peppers which we roast and freeze, eggplant which we roast and freeze, squash which we cook and freeze, basil which we make into pesto, back fat for lard and most of our meat beyond the wild meat and chicken which we raise. We are members of a “cow share” so we get local, organic cow’s milk that Teri makes into cheese, yogurt and butter and sometimes mascarpone. We buy a few cases of wine from Lopez Island’s Vineyard (LIV) each year so we can support our local winery and drink wine made locally. We like to participate in food trades and have traded chickens for vegetables and fruit for garlic. We also purchase locally caught wild salmon and have traded foods we make for some locally caught prawns and oysters. Teri and I had been vegetarians for many years – Teri for over 20 years and me for about 17 years. We were aware of the cruelty and pollution generated in industrial raised meat and did not want to be part of this. In 2000 I was chair of the Lopez Community Land Trust Board and was instrumental in convincing the board to develop the Mobile Slaughter Unit. This was a new idea that had not been done anywhere in the United States. Len Kanzer and I completed the fund raising for the Mobile Slaughter Unit and board member Barbara Thomas and community members; Bruce Dunlop and Kay Gagnon served on a committee with island farmers to develop the Island Grown Farmers’ Cooperative. Bruce Dunlop was hired as a consultant to help facilitate the process of getting the unit designed and approved by the USDA. It was a huge concept to sell the mobile slaughter unit to the community and the LCLT board. The LCLT was taking a big risk with this project. Now, many years later, the project continues to be a great success and has proven to be a big asset for local farmers and the community! It was through working on the Mobile Slaughter Unit project and learning about locally raised meat that Teri and I decided we wanted to begin eating local meat. At the time, I said to Teri that I could not eat meat unless I could kill the animal and butcher it myself. So the first thing I did was buy a 20 gauge shot gun and Bob Lyon took me hunting rabbit and Canada goose. Soon I shot, cleaned and ate my first rabbit and since then I have shot a deer and processed it each year. I hunt water fowl – mostly Canada goose and shoot the occasional rabbit. We now raise our own meat chickens. Neither of us likes the killing part of this. When I hunt or kill our chickens, I say a prayer for each animal I kill and give thanks for the animal giving its life so we can eat meat. We are reverent and grateful for every life we take. We do this because we enjoy eating meat and we are happy that our big protein source is local, sustainably “harvested” and humanely raised on grass pasture. We believe that meat is an important part of our nutrition. So it is with a great depth of knowledge about local and seasonal foods that we embark on this project. We have a lot of food put by so we know we will eat well but there are some items we are NOT willing to give up and in the spirit of the spice trade (historically spices and other goods have been traded across many miles), we will continue to eat the following items: coffee (for Teri), green tea (for Liz), chocolate, maple syrup, spices, walnuts (our walnut tree is young and produced only 6 walnuts last year but someday I hope it will provide the walnuts that go on my yogurt in the morning). Historically our ancestors processed foods and lived on what they grew, gathered and processed. Putting food by was serious business – it could determine how well a family thrived or even whether they survived. Every year we dry, freeze and can all kinds of food. We are very aware of how our putting food by relies on fossil fuels – we have 3 freezers and a big food dryer. Our dependence on fossil fuels is a dilemma we will not try and tackle here. So now you have a bit of background as we enter into this blog. We hope to engage you and ourselves in the bounty around us. My lovely wife is an awesome cook and I am sure together we will have some amazing meals. Bon Appétit Liz and Teri

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APRIL – Sandy Bishop

Week 4 Radish

A succulent radish we enjoyed

We went to the mainland to get our drivers licenses renewed. So….you know what that means: preparation and packing food for the day. Rhea got out the cooler – we tucked in some greens and leftovers from the evening before and away we went with a picnic on the road. Actually, there was no we involved. Rhea packed it for me and all day I pulled out little surprises she had stashed in the cooler. Apples

Apples sautéing

My week started with a gift from Faith: three small artichokes sitting on my desk at work. I marveled at their beauty, the green and rich purple of those spiky leaves. I steamed them and ate them, as is – nothing but the pure flavor of fresh, tender, first of the season, artichokes. Faith was so sweet, she said something like, “Well, we didn’t have enough for our meal so I thought of you and your month of local eating, and it was perfect”. Artichokes It has been another fun week in local eating. Chom introduced meto thinly sliced raw rhubarb with some chopped mint and rosemary drizzled with honey. We used it on greens and also with yogurt. I highly recommend this nice crunchy slightly sweet and tart treat. There are 4 of us who share this land and all 4 of us are Taurus’s. We have birthdays within 2 weeks of each other. Just before Pamela and Suzanne left on their birthday adventure, they brought by a couple quarts of milk. We have lots of eggs from our chickens so this last week has once again been rich with dairy and eggs. Frittata

Potato/onion/squash frittata

I had a birthday celebration after our Sunday evening gathering. People were so adventurous and generous in their food preparations. Two weeks ago we discussed having a shared local meal and feast we did. Davis brought venison, with garlic chives, that he foraged from Liz and Teri’s flower garden and also some big, plump Scarlet Runner beans. Karen and Marv made a beautiful veggie pie with a crust. Adam brought cooked beans and Janie made a Tarte Tartin with figs and leeks, which were sautéed to perfection in a hefty supply of butter. Bob brought delicious lamb stew meat with locally grown lime leaves. To top it off, Suze brought a leek potato soup and Chom brought her famous rhubarb compote and a lovely three layer blue corn bread. Grace and Jean made strawberry brownies (sans chocolate) and a large bowl of strawberry ice cream. Geordie brought a bucket load of fresh tender greens and we also had some fruit pies and a frittata. It’s April in the northwest, but we had no problem finding enough foods for a celebration. Feast

Part of the feast

Lamb:beans

Lamb with local lime leaves, and venison/garlic chives and scarlet runner beans

Cake

Strawberry brownies and ice cream (notice some sugar for those not eating local)

Gathering

The gathering

All ten chicks are still alive. They are now 20 days old. The mama hen is a wonderful protector. Rhea heard the trill of the eagles and thought for sure tragedy would follow but the mama had rushed all of the chicks deep under the chicken run where they could tuck safely under her. When the clouds roll in, I love the way she prepares the ground, spreads her feathers and then lets the chicks tuck in warmth. Chickens I have experienced the month as both having flown by and moving at a snails pace. I’ve adjusted some of my plans since I was eating local. There were times it proved too much energy to prepare for guests more often. I have been gifted so much this month and I’ll never forget just how generous and creative people are. It was really a treat to feel so cared for and well nourished. I wouldn’t have had nearly the fun if I had to be on my own figuring all of this out. Berry pies

Berry pies – one with custard

Rhea is happy the month is coming to an end – there were days when we cooked different foods based on what I had available in the local department and what she needed. I am looking forward to using olive and coconut oil again and giving up side pork. As much I have enjoyed the science of bread making and the flavor of our local wheat, I look forward to removing bread as a mainstay. I like a large variety of fruits and veggies and will be adding many of them back into my diet. All-in-all we live in a place of great abundance with great friends. Viva la Lopez. Viva la Lopezians.


Week 3 – local food experiment

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Breakfast greens with egg and side pork

The chicks are now 11 days old. They are safe in our garden, tucked inside the chicken run at night and roaming in a larger open area during the day. The worm population is being rapidly diminished, along with the slug eggs, weed seeds and other small bugs.

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Mama and chicks

This has been a rich and abundant dairy week – the gifts of milk, cream and yogurt have sustained a big part of my diet. Tonight Chris and Chom called to say that they found a stash of apples in their shed. They also have some local kelp and hazelnuts. At our Sunday evening gathering, Karan and Marv brought a local dish made with shallots and frozen zucchini, Adam brought some cubed potatoes with S&S grated cheese and Geordie showed up with a beautiful bag of greens, including tender spinach and kale.

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Bok choy and side pork

A few days ago Rhea cooked a local dinner for some friends visiting from Seattle. It was really beautiful and nourishing food—winter squash with sautéed bok choy and onions, potatoes, local salmon and green salad with yogurt/blackberry dressing. We ended the meal with fresh mint tea, rhubarb and honey topped with Vera yogurt. The dinner stirred some great conversation, including our wild adventures in dumpster diving, the politics of food and the importance of knowing where your food comes from. We asked the young couple how they got inspired to dumpster dive. The answer surprised me. He said he was first introduced to Theo’s Chocolates’ dumpster. My, oh my–another version of the sweetness of local eating – right from the dumpster. There was so much chocolate that his eyes feasted for a while on the sheer abundance. From Theo’s he went to other establishments, including local food coops and high-end specialty stores. They described their rich finds, including organic dried buffalo jerky–as in many, many pounds of it, now safely tucked inside their freezer. They mentioned that some of the coops are now into composting and that is putting a crimp in their dumpster finds. They find that most people just let them walk away with the food, but a few chase them away. It seemed to depend on whether or not they were caught by management or by an employee. IMG_1265-2

Rhubarb sauce with yogurt and honey for dessert with guests

I’ve been wondering about local eating and the social aspects of sharing food. I have been on the receiving end of so much local goodness and abundance – but I find it more difficult to cook for people. Today, I attended a board retreat. I brought a jar of soup and everyone else had food to share. Then Chom appeared with an all local dish of apples, raspberries, honey, rosemary and a topping of local wheat and Vera butter–such a generous gift.

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Chom’s apple-raspberry crisp with honey, rosemary, and butter

Before this month is over, I am going to cook a big bunch of local foods and invite people to share it. I am learning about creativity in sourcing foods, combining flavors and sharing abundance. I like hearing from various people about how they combine foods and flavors. IMG_1294

Whole wheat bread rising


Week 2

I was home for lunch and wondering about what I was going to eat. I was poking around the garden and heard sounds under the rosemary bush. I thought maybe I was going to catch our missing chicken and shoo her back to the chicken yard. Before I could get around the bush, I heard a whole lot of peep, peeps, and chirp, chirps. There I saw ten little day old chicks scurrying around the mama hen, a little frantic, a bit excited after bursting out of the egg and not quite knowing if I was friend or foe. Rhea poked around and found the nesting place just outside our front door. It was tucked under a fern beside a cedar tree, on the edge of the garden. There we found cracked shells from the 10 hatched chicks and 5 whole eggs which were cold to the touch. We called Pamela and Suzanne. They gathered a chicken run and some fencing and now the little chicks and hen are safely enclosed in our garden. To me this event signifies local food at its finest…a full circle event. Much gratitude to the hens for laying all the eggs we eat – I have to say it is more fun to see little chicks than to scramble eggs. We received an invitation from Audrey DeLella Benedict, Cloud Ridge Naturalists and Joe Gaydos, SeaDoc Society to join them for the book launch of their new book, The Salish Sea, Jewel of the Pacific Northwest. I thought we were going out for the evening for hors d’ouvres and a short program. Rhea had grabbed some fresh mint before we walked out the door. We strolled through the village, and when we opened the door to the Bay Café, I could see two long tables laid out for a full sit-down dinner. The publisher, Audrey, wanted to show her appreciation to the community of Lopez and meet some new people, and she was treating us all to dinner. What an extraordinary evening. I had been resigned to drink water with my sprig of mint and pass on the hors d’oeuvres and wine, but out came the Shoal Bay clams, then Christine Langley’s arugala salad. I passed on the risotto, but thoroughly enjoyed the fresh bok choy also from Christine’s. Fresh caught halibut was served. I passed on the dessert and wine, but otherwise enjoyed a mostly local faire. I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the gifts of local foods that were laid before us. The Salish Sea, Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, is a not to be missed book sold at our local bookstore. The rest of the week has been filled with gifts: greens from Geordie, Ona, Janie and Davis; beautiful plum/apple compote from Karan; and lots of fresh milk and cream from David and yogurt and milk from Table, Pamela and Suzanne. I have enjoyed lamb stew made with Audrey and Michelle’s lamb, and breakfasts with broccoli shoots and shallots from Horse Drawn and fresh eggs from our chickens. Bruce brought me a sweet treat of frozen Crowfoot strawberries and I found myself dreaming of summer when I opened the container and smelled the fragrant scent. The amount of prep time needed, and the additional decision-making time, has made this past week more demanding than I would have liked in an already too-packed week. Inspiration comes and goes. I did make four small delicious squash pies with fresh eggs and milk and a flaky home-rendered lard crust for our guests last night. All in all, I am feeling BIG gratitude for all the support people have offered, including Rhea’s. The gifts and sweet offerings are so helpful. Next week is a new adventure. We have a plump chicken from Blake and Julie….and will see what pops. It’s spring and the soil is bursting with life. First IMG_1241_2

New chicks in the chicken run

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Morning mint tea from the garden

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French toast from our bread and eggs

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Sandy adding the side pork form Faith’s pig to breakfast

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Prep for potatoes

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Beans and side pork

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Lamb stew with our chili

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Breakfast Greens


Week One

When I came to Lopez Island 36 years ago I was a vegetarian and thought that eating meats was a form of barbarism. About 10 years ago I noticed a shift happening with my thoughts. I was becoming more sensitive to how far food traveled, the conditions in which it was grown, water sources used and the holistic health of the entire food system. It was around that time I introduced local meats into my diet. Now I have to say I am glad I did – because it sure makes a local diet in April much easier for me. Rhea has chosen not to do the local eating experiment with me this month, due to the fact that she has a blood sugar condition. Nonetheless, she is the best of best in terms of support. We still cook together and often eat the same meal—it’s just that she also adds foods. Colors: white, orange, green seem to dominate my plate these days. The white flesh of chicken, onions, egg whites, creamy white yogurt, stems of bok choy, pure white leaf lard, orange egg yolks, orange roasted winter squash, green kale, bok choy, chard, and broccoli shoots. Next comes browns, the crusty, brown Lopez wheat bread, bits of bacon, local beans. Foods I have added that I usually don’t have: Bread. I rarely eat bread and now I eat it once or twice a day. I am having so much fun learning the art and science of bread baking and bacteria catching. Bacon or side pork—I find myself cooking either with a bit of smoked bacon we put away last fall or some fresh side pork. (Thanks to Faith’s piggy’s). I have been using ¼ piece with breakfast, sauteed with onion, kale stems and flowers, roasted squash and a pile of fresh kale leaves and a delicious fresh egg. Voila – breakfast is ready. Foods I usually enjoy but have cut: A few items come immediately to mind: olive and coconut oils, almonds, non sweet cranberry juice with a green powder each morning, a sip of red wine now and then, mushrooms, citrus of all kinds—lemons, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines—and a greater variety of vegetables. April Fools Day – how appropriate that this day marks my first day in local eating. Last summer when I signed up for April, I took it upon myself to do some prepping. We had a bumper crop of pears and quite a few apples. I got Birkemeier peaches and blueberries, Crowfoot strawberries, and two little boys picked 5 gallons of blackberries, which I reduced into 6 pints of sticky sweet pure goodness. (I consider myself a fruit-aholic. Bruce Creps knows this about me and sympathizes with my condition. He often delivers excess fruit to our office). We canned, froze and dried fruits, roasted tomatoes, cubed and roasted winter squash, purchased local meats and for about a month I was busy seriously preparing for April. It occurred to me that if I planned to eat local all year long I would have to quit my job. After a flurry of activity I stopped preparing. I was aware that with each passing day April was coming, but life took me in other directions. Soon it was February and it was warming up. So I planted the cold frame chock full of greens. One morning in March, our friend Tannur Ali was visiting and she said, “Hey, there goes a baby bunny in your garden”. We have bunny fencing everywhere so it is highly unusual to have bunny action. I walked out to check on the cold frame and every single baby green had been mowed down, except the spicy mustards—depressing in the fresh baby green department. The garlic is shooting up, rhubarb is lush, kale is still coming on strong and colorful buds and flowers are bursting forth everywhere. It’s hard to stay depressed over baby bunny action when the whole world is exploding in color and scent, but still, damn that little bunny for taking away some sweet baby greens from my April diet. But back to April 1 looming. I have this job that demands a lot of time, and the Village planning committee is getting ready for an April 9th public meeting, and the Dump is getting ready to host the April 18th Great Islands Clean Up, there is sign painting for the dump, setting up the food lab, supporting the school farm and garden program, the Bounty project, the Islands Energy Coalition OPALCO forum and the Solar de Mayo planning sessions for solar on the schools….I have been a wee bit distracted and not taking seriously my commitment to 100% local eating for the month of April. Then just as I am telling myself I need to get serious because the next morning will be April 1, our neighbor Suzanne appeared at the door. She and Rhea had been talking. Suzanne may as well have ridden up on a galloping horse, with a cape flying off her shoulders. She appeared bearing gifts. A real she-ra (like a hero). She brought a 6 pound 4 oz. chicken, a dozen eggs from our chickens, a bag of onions, some apples, and fresh salt. I had managed to make 3 quarts of fresh yogurt from the lovely cow, Vera, and with some Horse Drawn grown wheat I made bread consisting of whole wheat, whey (left from the Greek yogurt process), Brook Brouwer’s starter and local salt. The next day Chom gifted us more local milk with a lot of cream on top and I made butter and she also gave us some hazelnuts from Ronni and Levi’s. David Zapalac, in his kind and generous way, gave me Kenearly, Hutterite and Marfax dried beans along with two plump pats of yellow butter, some potatoes and more milk. We grew some sprouted alfalfa, and soon I was deep in the experiment ready or not – April was here. People are both generous and thoughtful beyond measure. Table made a gift of bread. We came home from the Nicaragua fundraiser (where I couldn’t enjoy the beautifully prepared south-of-the-border fare) and there by our spirit house, right next to front door, was bread. We thought, “It must be a gift from Table.” Later she and I compared notes on one of last steps of this 21-hour bread making process. I’m going to try her way (baking in glass lidded loaf pans instead of cast iron). It was delicious with the texture and taste perfect. Karan Yvonne also shared bread with me. It was so scented when I opened the cloth napkin it came wrapped in—one more person to discuss this magical process of sourdough bacteria with. Both the science and art are intriguing. With the big fat chicken and the beans I made two soups. From those two main ingredients I figure I have about 12% of all of my monthly meals made (and some of it tucked safely in the freezer, in glass jars with little socks around them to prevent them from cracking when jostled). Based on 30 days has April, and 3 meals each day = 150 meals for the month, I have 22 servings between the two soups, so 12% it is. I like to practice being in the here and now but I operate better in the now when I have planned for taking care of my basic needs. This whole affair with local eating now seems more on the fun adventurous side of life and less like another stressful project I’ve gotten myself into—not to mention that I am on the receiving end of just how generous people are. We headed to Horse Drawn to get a pound of fresh broccoli side shoots and some celeriac to round out our foodstuff. During my morning headstand on Saturday, an image came to mind for a sweet little weekend treat. Combining fresh bread, and bit of butter, milk and eggs, some canned pears, and roasted strawberries…why not make a type of bread custard? No cinnamon or cardamom but it was delicious. How sweet is it to live in place where we have abundance both in terms of friends and food. I am reminded of my time in Sado Island, Japan. In the 1980’s I lived with a monk and his assistant. The monastery was located at the top of a mountain just outside a small bustling seaside village. My job was to cook (which I didn’t know how to do) and to clean the four, larger-than-life gold leaf Buddhas situated in the four nooks on the stark white massive stupa. I had my ladder and cleaning supplies and each day rubbed the golden life forms until they shone bright. A few days after arriving on the island I began to wonder, just how the three of us would survive. We grew no food of our own and none of us worked for money. Then, on Saturday morning I discovered what the tradition was. Every Saturday morning after our morning prayers and chores, we would make a trip into the village. We walked slowly down the narrow roadways, beating drums and chanting to the lord Buddha. Then when the monk recognized a supporter (often by the flag they made visible), the shopkeeper would fill our begging bowls with either fresh foods or yen. We would bow and then head on down the road. At the end of each of these forays into the village we would be set for another week. How did this idea for a 12-month experiment in local eating, pop? Last spring Rhea and I were sitting with Vicki Robin in her kitchen in Langley. It was early morning. Vicki had been up for awhile in her room finishing her new book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us. Rhea and I were in the kitchen preparing tea. Vicki joined us and the three of us sat perched on high stools around the kitchen counter. The conversation soon turned to food and the politics and art of eating locally. Soon we were laughing out loud about the crazy nature of trying to get enough crunch and sweet in a local Northwest diet. We then learned about Vicki’s venture into zackers and zookies (zucchini crunch – savory and sweet). A few months later, Vicki arrived on Lopez to do a talk and read from her newly published book, Blessing the Hands that Feed Us. She is laugh-out-loud funny. And all of us, myself and the audience, were chuckling as she talked and read about her antics from her new book. The book is well written and well researched, which caused me to want to purchase it and devour it in its entirety. One morning soon thereafter, I was in bed reading and laughing out loud at a passage in the book. It occurred to me that it would be fun to do a year of local eating on Lopez. Of course, I did not want to do a year. Our neighbor Suzanne did that a few years back and I knew my life was not set up to take that on. But, I wondered about 12 different people on Lopez, each taking a month and sharing our findings, trials, and joys? I shared this idea with Rhea and Sue Roundy. We agreed, it would be a great addition to the Bounty Project. (Bounty–Lopez Island Farmers, Food and Community tells our local food story through beautiful photographs and oral history. Twenty-seven Lopez Island farms are participating in this three-year project sponsored in part by the Lopez Community Land Trust and Lopez Locavores. Bounty website:  https://lopezbounty.org/ ) Rhea agreed to coordinate the project, Sue agreed to post. Soon we had all 12 months filled and it’s been really interesting to read the accounts of those who have gone before me. I said I would take the month of April. It’s my birthday month and I usually like to do something that I haven’t done before. Although we eat a lot of local food, I have never eaten 100% local. Let’s face it I wouldn’t be eating local without the many contributions from those who grow and process local foods. Big thanks to everyone on that front. You all are the best. One thing I can say thus far is that I haven’t had a single meal that wasn’t delicious and healthful. It’s all about the preparation time (weekends are really good for this) and having enough relationships to get the food in order to get meals on the table.  Enjoy the attached photos.

Local bounty—the beginning….

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Chicken broth soup with dollop of yogurt

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Breakfast strata

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Serving of strata

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Alfalfa—yes

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David Z’s gift of beans for soup

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Fresh morning egg with veggies

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Lopez wheat sourdough

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MARCH – Suzanne Berry & Table (Amy) Stuzienko

By Table: Every Sunday all four of us celebrate “Family Day” where we commit to the garden and get So. Much. Done. Its amazing bonding time for humans, animals and plants alike.

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The real heroes of local food month, our chickens.

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Our bees have finally come through!  All right! first bit of homegrown honey.                  Nice work Pamela!

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The little guys are growing up so fast!

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This was last week’s bread, honey almond. The nuts are so hard and take forever to crack- but just such a delicacy.

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I made this loaf with extra honey and let it ferment a bit longer                                         and boooooyyyyyyy is it goooood!

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Still have plenty of stores left over. Winter squash, onions, and potatoes.

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We broke our fast in the finest of style with this garbage.

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By Suzanne: Reflections after a month of eating Lopez only local food: I am immensely grateful for all the beautiful food that I ate this month. I am grateful for all the people who joined me and prepared inspired food with Lopez ingredients. I also thank Table for sharing the cooking tasks so that we didn’t each have to do it all ourselves. I loved playing with squash to make many interesting dishes. I loved the loaves of wild yeast bread Table made. It seems my appreciation for each bite was enhanced and every meal was delicious. I think the biggest difference was that it took more thought and more time to prepare meals and think of what to cook. I thought that if I /we always ate Lopez only, our preparation and food storage would be more so than it is. I remember a couple years ago, for a holiday gift I gave my parents a package of eight jars of jams and pickled vegetables and canned goods from the garden. My mother was so expressive of her appreciation for the gift. She repeatedly told me that she couldn’t believe that I chose to can food from the garden. My mother said she was so grateful that she did not have to can and put up food. She had grown up in the time of the Great Depression and World War II and Victory gardens and was grateful for packaged food and “modern” processes that made preparing food less time intensive for her as an adult. I had a heightened awareness that food connects us to all people everywhere and throughout time. We all have the need to eat and we all search for food that is available to us where we live. In this time, we in the US are able to find available and eat almost any food from anywhere in the world throughout the entire year. But this is a relatively new phenomenon. Being on the Lopez diet reconnects me with the historical practice of finding and cultivating foods that fit my local terrain and climate. I appreciated looking around to see what was available outside as well as looking in the freezer and cupboards for what we had preserved. I am aware that I am usually accustomed to experiencing a diversity of foods throughout any given week. While on the Lopez only diet, the number of foods available to me shrank. I appreciate all the foods and spices we get to enjoy regularly that aren’t from Lopez , and at the same time that I realize that when less is available, each thing is more precious. I appreciate all the local food that is a normal part of my diet and I feel lucky that there is so much regularly available on Lopez and that we get to eat so well. So many vegetables and fruits, grains and legumes, nuts and seeds do well in our climate and produce for a long season. Now as I enter April, I’ve had ginger and chocolate and a banana. It’s all good!

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Beautiful salad with spinach and bok choy from the garden with a little veggie and bean soup on top with Sunnyfield Farm goat chèvre and Table’s bread.

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Apple pie

IMG_5980Savory squash dish…sort of like a soufflé.

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Mashed potatoes and butter.

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Roasted garlic. (Not as good without olive oil, but still delicious and good in other dishes)

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Homemade yogurt with milk from Vera. Table got to be an expert at making this.

By Table: rotated bees Pamela’s brood, busily putting up their stores for the winter. OK Gang, I’ve been slacking on the post front. Wish I could say it’s because I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen preparing the finest, most innovative, nutritious local meals mankind has ever-nay will ever- see, but unfortunately this is not the case. I mean, sure we’ve been cooking over at our place, but somehow it’s unnervingly easier than last time. All March I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, and puzzling why this experience feels so different than October. I think it comes down to two things. #1 Preparedness! I don’t know why this word is any different than “preparation” but I always see it associated with disasters and thought that our endeavors to prepare-ify averted doomsday scenarios like “No butter? Enjoy your raw potatoes” or “Some salt in your soup? Don’t think so!” Oh our prepare-ocity was simply inspired. 
Henceforth Pamela has been a great sport about letting us skim all the Vera cream from her latte milk so we could whip it into shape, specifically butter shaped. This time around we collected it bit by unnoticeable luscious bit, over the course of months and managed to sneak into the freezer over a quart worth! We’ve pied, fried, toasted and garlic roasted, with no skimping on my new favorite food group. That’s right, for me, butter is now a food group
As for salt, something near and dear to my heart and personality, we boiled off enough sea water in October to get March started. Then Ralph and I kayaked out Davis Bay one of those beautiful later winter days we’ve been having and filled two more gallons along the Strait of Juan de la Fuca. (So fresh and clean clean.) It’s nice having salt enough to share. It is in such abundance here, with just a minimal and fun bit of effort. 
A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to attend the Bread Lab workshop at the Ag Summit. KABLOOIE! That was my mind being blown. At the time I found it a bit overwhelming. “What the heck is an autolyse? How do you even say that? What if I don’t have a scale/ bread baskets/ scraper thing/ stainless steel table/ timer, oven large enough to cook multiple loaves/ etc etc etc.” Well I did my best to fear not, and lo and behold LOAVES! Slightly less dense than those of yesteryear. I bake once a week, which gives us enough bread to nosh here and there but not enough to be lazy and ditch out on cooking. Now I must take a moment to give props to the amazing Kenny Peaches Fuggiarwhatsisface, for repeatedly supplying us with 100% local, 110% delicious bread. zbreadSourdope The other fun thing I’ve been cooking up is yogurt. Vera’s in full swing now and we get over two gallons a week. Every time a new batch of lait comes in, I yogurtify the last. It’s an incredibly versatile food, and serves as a nice cheese stand in, dessert, sauce, smoothie companion, or plain ol’ snack. It can even be a savory thing! Remember tzatziki? I especially enjoy it on my pancakes!
  Finally I must express my love and appreciation for my dear friends, freezer and dehydrator. Without their steadfast endurance and hard work March would not be possible. Thank you two for all those sweet crunchy tomatoes chips, juicy berries, peppers, onions, corn, prunes, tomato sauce, quinoa, currants, pears and frozen yogurt lighting up our appetites. Staples like these provide us with incredible whipped smoothies, crumbles, pies, soups, savory custards and edge curbing snacks.  Go dehydrator/freezer Go! zasaian pearzsmoothie

Asian pears & Berry sorbet

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Berry Cobbler & Savory Squash Custard

#2 Novelty. Or should I say, lack thereof. In October this was new, there was a countdown. There was pomp, and dare I say circumstance. This time around it’s like yesterday’s news. It barely feels like any extra work (pretty cool really), and I don’t even notice the holes in my diet. (EXCEPT COFFEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!)  Which leads me to this little thingy thang I wrote for the blog weeks ago and never posted. zcoffee zlatte To replace coffee I’ve been making lattes by steeping yaupon holly and mint, then adding a lil honey and steamed milk. Tastes great, looks just as cool in the cup as it does on your teeth and it kicks like a wee little pony. HOLES Eating locally is a lot like looking at Swiss cheese, or more appropriately, sourdough starter. zstarter The first thing that stands out is all the holes, the absence. But the reason we love sourdough and other CO2-ed out fermentees is in fact the suspension. Rich,”cultured,” steeped in wholesome goodness- a thing that is alive and passed on, and actively interacting with surrounding biota. It’s the antithesis of individually sealed singles immortally un-expire-able carrageenan yellow industrially kraft-ed or the white flouffie Blunder Bread. 29 Ingredients in Wonder Bread: 
Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour , Barley Malt , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron ] , Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3 , Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 } ,Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 } , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ] ) , Water , Corn Syrup High Fructose ,Contains 22% or less , Wheat Gluten , Salt , Soybeans Oil , Yeast , Calcium Sulphate , Vinegar , Monoglyceride, Dough Conditioners ( Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Calcium Dioxide ) , Soy Flour , Diammonium Phosphate ,Dicalcium Phosphate , Monocalcium Phosphate , Yeast Nutrients ( Ammonium Sulfate ) , Calcium Propionate , To Retain Freshness 3 Ingredients in Table Bread: Flour, Water, Salt Now enjoy the photos! garden at night

Our beautiful beloved bounty producing garden in the moonlight. zkiwi
Love having fresh fruit this time of year! zshiro zbrusszshoots
Shiro Mead still going strong! Brussels Sprouts Brussels Sprouted, probably even better when they’re bolt-y

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More food. Don’t worry though, she’ll be a layer.

_____________________________________________________________________________ By Suzanne: Beautiful brunch at Christine and Claudia’s. All Lopez local. Poached egg on a nest of onion, nettle and kale. Salad of spinach, beets, cabbage and corn. Kimchee made with sea water. Lopez wheat bread and local butter. Squash custard (basically pumpkin pie filling without the spices.) IMG_0150

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Today Table and I begin our second month of eating Lopez local food only. When we were deciding which months to select, we chose what we thought would be an easy month and a hard month. October was the full on harvest, easy month and March would be the hard month. It hasn’t turned out that way, due in part to a mild winter and in part to the wealth of stocked food we put up in the fall. Out in the garden we have lots of kale, some carrots, Brussels sprouts, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, oregano, mint, brassica greens, leeks, new arugula and pak choi and nettles. We’re planting out spinach, lettuce, chard, kale and lettuce starts. In the fridge and freezer we have butter, yogurt, milk, eggs, cabbage, some saved Horse Drawn carrots, some beautiful kim chee Christine made with seawater, some of Elizabeth and Andre’s chevre, lard from Blake and Julie, lots of tomato sauce rich with summertime produce, pureed squash, corn, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, applesauce, peaches, fig sauce, some hazelnuts from Levi and Ronni’s trees, Waygu beef, chicken, some of Faith’s pork. Table doesn’t eat meat and I eat it only infrequently. In the house we still have loads of onions and garlic and winter squash. We have dried peppers and dried corn. Lopez sea salt, dried summer squash, dried beans, honey, dried mint, dried tomatoes, Lopez wheat berries and flour, quinoa Table grew, almonds from our tree, apple cider vinegar. I’m sure there’s more, but you get the gist. It still feels like a time of abundance. So different from the winter months the last time I did the Lopez only diet years ago. This diet puts me in touch with my European heritage, the memory of bringing ways to grow favorite foods with us as we travel to new places, the agriculture of raising foods in garden beds and orchard bushes, trees and vines. I am aware that many of the foods I will eat during this month are transplants to this land, much as I am. I am aware of the excitement of being able to grow and provide for ourselves locally with foods that we enjoy. I am also curious about ways older than my knowledge. Pamela is in the midst of the Ask Me Training that Russell and Madrona are offering in the islands this year. She learned from them at a recent training that some of the native people who used to inhabit this island, were year round residents, not transient peoples harvesting the wealth of the sea in the summer months. I want to learn what they were eating in March and if what they were eating is still available today. I am guessing they satisfied their hunger with less wealth of choices of foods then we are used to enjoying. I just know it feels different to look to the land and sea around for what is naturally present in that environment and to eat what is found there, than to bring to an environment familiar foods from different regions of the world and grow them to eat in the new place. It’s all very interesting to me!

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FEBRUARY – Marney Reynolds

Living and Learning and Eating Local This past week in the garden was enjoyable. Not only did I finish the pruning and mulching but I also worked in the greenhouse starting seeds. It never ceases to amaze me how each little nubbin of a speck can carry all that DNA to give the plant its uniqueness. Some of the seed I use I have been saving for many years. Planted with hope for a good outcome – our food for the coming season and also for next year! As for the food side – February has been a fairly easy month in terms of sourcing some fresh food. Not a lot but enough to give us a bit of crunch with our dinners. This week I harvested the last of my carrots and kale. I still have some beets, a bit of chard and one giant celeriac. The lettuces from the greenhouse are done. I pulled all of it out because of aphid. I did transplant the larger lettuces out in the beds. Next year I’ll plant only spinach and maybe some mustards to see if I can curtail the hungry little green critters. The transplants are doing fine outside. I’ve got them covered – each with a mini cloche over them to mostly protect from slulgs. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t have a big frost. We really haven’t had a harsh winter. Well at least not yet! I keep a garden almanac and it tells me that about this time last year we had snow and wind and cold. This year my fruit trees with their blossoms starting to open, will not like a freeze! A highlight of my week. The last 2 days I have attended the Ag Summit held here on Lopez. What a wonderful opportunity to take in some classes and learn about soil, seed saving, pollination, and bread baking! And these were just the few that I chose to attend – there were certainly other classes/workshops offered. Bread Class1 Lopez Boule Lopez-grown wheat was one of the grains that was featured in the bread class. I took some of the dough home and baked it off. It was quite unlike any other dough I have worked with. And the aroma in the house was different than my usual bread baking. It was sweet smelling! I do bake with a percentage of Lopez wheat but not 100%. This was indeed an eye opener for me. The taste is a very full wheat flavor, nutty and somewhat sweet. Here are photos of what I came up with for our evening meals. Again, I made enough of the braised pork (thank you Ken for the recipe!) to give us leftovers. Pork Braise This meal features black beans, pulled pork and a veggie stir fry. All Lopez! Pulled Pork Dinner For this meal I stuffed poblano peppers I had grown, (roasted and frozen) with the pork, some roasted squash, topped with goat cheese and a spicy chile sauce. Again all Lopez!  The chile sauce was ground serrano and jalapeño that I dried. Really easy and really good! Relleno Dinner This meal was a quickie! Soup from the freezer and freshly baked bread. All Lopez! Ribollito And for dessert.. a berry tartlet using local butter, leaf lard pastry and our blueberries and marionberries. Berry Tart So, this is my last week (sniff, sniff!) of eating local and writing for the Bounty blog. I am not sure if I will be eating all that differently come tomorrow. Well, I think I will have a bit of chocolate and I will most likely have citrus along with a few other things! This (our second month) has been a pleasure and a great opportunity to explore the local-ness of eating. Thanks to the Bounty Team and to those who have participated in this food experiment for all the great inspiration of eating local! I also want to thank our Lopez farmers for the food that they provide for us. Without them we would not be nearly as well fed nor nearly as happy! _____________________________________________________________________________ The Garden Awakens!

Here we are in the middle of February. My thoughts are on pruning the fruit trees and fertilizing the berry vines. When the sun is shining I make way for time in the garden. I love my garden this time of year when the fruit buds on our trees are peeking out from what could be considered a dead branch. Garlic, planted in November, is 6 inches tall. The lovely leucojum aestivum are showing their beautiful flowers. I can’t believe all the emerging growth! It is magic!

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So begins my work but it is work of enjoyment. Well, almost enjoyment! There are days when it is raining and windy and cold and I have chosen to be out there in the garden doing tasks that have to be done. The love affair continues though. This year I decided to give the plum tree a really good pruning. Now I suppose pruning a plum should be done at a different time but I could not wait. I am aiming for a tree that is manageable in height. I have been told by some really good fruit growers here on Lopez that it is possible to prune a tree, bringing its fruiting limbs back “down to earth”. I think pruning is just about one of my most favorite tasks. To focus, really seeing a tree and be truly aware of each limb and each bud, there is nothing more meditative than this task. For this tree I took off about 12 feet of height. Time will tell if this was a good move. But for me that is what gardening is all about. The trial and error from which I learn. Intuition tells me it will be fine. Maybe not so many plums this summer but in the coming years I think it will continue to thrive. Prune #1Prune2   Once again a very busy week but not so busy that I didn’t have time to enjoy cooking. Our meals have been nourishing, hearty, and (may I say!) delicious not to mention local. Granted, February does not offer much in the way of local and fresh but as I said last week, my root cellar and freezers are full of home grown ingredients and meats from our local farmers, just waiting for a bit of love and attention. I did purchase a head of cabbage and one beautiful cauliflower when I went to pick up my eggs at Horse Drawn. The cabbage was used in many ways including slaw, quickly stir-fried, and in a roast of mixed vegetables. For the roasted vegetables I took potatoes, beets, onions, squash, cabbage, carrots tossed in a bit of schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) added some aromatics like thyme and rosemary and roasted. I made a lot because I wanted to have leftovers. With this I grilled a pork tenderloin that had marinated in garlic, rosemary, thyme and rubbed with a bit of rendered leaf lard. Alongside, I also served a quick saute of apples, and a roasted cauliflower that I dusted with my own chili powder. Next evening I made a “hash” out of this entire meal, chopping all the ingredients (save the apples) and topped it off with an egg per serving. This “left-overs” meal took me all of about 15 minutes to make. It was so delicious! Pork Tenderloin2 Veg. Hash1 I don’t like to waste food. To me this shows disrespect for the farmer or person who grew this sustenance. We rarely if ever discard leftovers. When we do have leftovers we usually eat them for lunch. But this week I guess I took it a step further. Many of our dinner meals consisted of utilizing these tasty tid bits! I made a strata one night with pulling ingredients out of the fridge. It contained the remaining roasted vegetables (I told you I made a lot!) and locally-made sausages from Liz and Teri. I traded oysters and prawns for these incredibly savory beauties. For this recipe I used their venison/apple sausage (locally harvested of course!). I also used my bread, dried tomatoes, some eggs, and feta that I had made in December. Again a simple meal but very satisfying. It was rounded out with a slaw mixed with chopped apple. Strata To finish up this week in food I was invited over to Teri and Liz’s for dinner. Another lovely evening spent with friends who respect the land we live on and who cook the food they harvest and buy with such love and skill. After all isn’t that what food is about; sharing the bounty and enjoying it with friends. I am truly grateful for this land we have and what can “spring” forth with a bit of attention, care and love. Thank you and see you next week. Bon Appetit! Teri's CheeseL&T Dinner _____________________________________________________________________________ My Week of 8 – 15 February A Little Of This, A Little Of That As I write this I am on the ferry headed for the mainland. I have the opportunity to join a study group taught by my meditation teacher. So, I have packed food! Lopez food! I bring with me apples, goat cheese, goat yogurt, freshly baked bread, part of a roasted chicken, carrots and the end of my celery and a roasted squash. I know this sounds like a lot of food and I will only be gone about 24 hours but I didn’t want to chance running out! This week has been rather challenging for me. I returned home from our trip to Mexico with a head cold. I also had to come up with a PowerPoint presentation on the current news regarding GMOs for the Orcas Co-Op. I didn’t have a lot of time and I didn’t really feel like cooking and fortunately for me, I didn’t have to. I pulled out from the freezer, soups and then some. We have been eating tomato soup, bean and vegetable soup, chicken soup and one night we had turkey pot pies. Now those were a treat. Yes, I did roast a chicken with vegetables and the glory there is lots of leftovers. I have come to look at my freezer as my sous chef in certain ways. Never did I think I would be the proud owner of 2 full- size freezers but there you are. When the vegetable garden and fruit trees brim with food these modern conveniences come in mighty handy. To really keep foods at their best I use a vacuum sealer. I also dehydrate and can. I recently bought a pressure canner. For broths and tomatoes there is nothing better. For those who preserve food you know how much work is involved. But when winter rolls around what bounty there is to be had! To be able to enjoy raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, peaches, marionberries, broccoli, spinach, peas, corn, snap peas, haricot vert, cranberry beans, and Romano beans is truly wonderful. Let’s also mention what is in the root cellar. Lots of potatoes, squash, apples and even a few bell peppers. One word about what is coming out of the garden – not much! I harvested carrots, chard, beets, greenhouse lettuce and that is about all. Not bad for the middle of winter! See you next week. Here are just a few photos from this past week. I promise to have more this coming week! image1 image2 _____________________________________________________________________________ Traveling and Finding That “Eating Local” Is A Necessity The first week of February saw Page and I returning from Mexico. We took a month to travel around the Yucatan Peninsula visiting Maya villages, farms, and ruins and oh yes, some beautiful beaches as well! So for this first installment for the Bounty Food Experiment I’d like to give you a snapshot of some of our experiences pertaining to food (of course!) and farming and how we came to understand that “eating local” is not just for us folks in the U.S. but is the way the people we visited, eat. From the fruits and vegetables to the cheese, tortillas and beans we ordered, in both large and small restaurants, we ate what the locals were eating: foods that were almost exclusively produced within a 5 to 75 mile radius of any given place we found ourselves visiting. Of course in the small grocery stores there were “junk food” options but for the most part in the main mercados the food offered was local and fresh. Why is eating local a necessity here? My opinion – because Mexico is not a rich country. Oh sure, the standard of living in the large cities is good but for a lot of the people living in the more rural areas, food needs to be inexpensive. One of the best ways for that to happen is to grow it within close proximity to where people have access to it. The cost of transporting food over great distances is not in the program. We traveled through and stayed in some rugged areas. Mostly inhabited by Maya people. In their villages we found that most had a small garden, had access to a water well and had a community grain mill where they would bring their prepared corn to grind into masa. The taste of a freshly made tortilla is so delicious especially if it is grilled over a wood fire!

Grain MillGarden 2

Señora Guadalupe from the village of Ek Balam shows Page how to form and cook tortillas over a wood fire!

Grilling Tortilla

The Yucatan Peninsula is quite a remarkable area of Mexico. It is blessed with arable land and is surrounded on 3 sides by ocean; Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Caribbean on the north and east sides. When we were near the coastal areas our meals consisted of fish, very fresh fish. These meals were almost always accompanied by black beans, corn tortillas and a salsa made of onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and either jalapeño or habanero. In some of the areas rice would also be included on the plate. Rice is grown in the state of Campeche, which is part of the Peninsula. Corn is a huge staple as are black beans. I think habanero runs a close third. Over the course of our visit we came to enjoy this extremely spicy hot pepper! Also, I was pleased to know that Mexico continues to prohibit the growing of GMO corn. Meaning I could enjoy all the tortillas I wanted! Grilled fish and onion with a tortilla topped with beans, tomato, radish and avocado crema.

Grilled Fish2

The area south of Mérida (Capitol city of Yucatan State) was the focus of our visiting the Maya ruins. There are dozens of them. The Maya built their great cities here most likely because, in this region, the land was fertile – they could grow their 3 main crops of corn, squash, and beans. This area continues today to support farms and ranches. We enjoyed seeing the numerous farms as we drove to yet more ruins. And what was on the menus? Cochinita Pibil or Pollo Pibil of course! Translation – roasted pork or chicken prepared with achiote and baked/steamed in banana leaves. Here it was served with black beans, guacamole, pickled onion, and freshly grilled tortillas. Habanero salsa on request!

CochinitaPibil

One other item that kept showing up on our plates was chaya. As near as I can tell it is a cross between spinach and chard. Quite delicious, it is grown on bushes and harvested year round. We had it juiced with mangoes (which were in season and last only about 2 months), chopped into scrambled eggs, and sauteed and served with black beans. Again, simple and delicious.

chaya

And finally some scenes from one of the central mercados that we visited. Note the price of plum tomatoes – $8 pesos. With today’s exchange that is about U.S. 70¢ per kilo!

Market

ChickenTomate

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JANUARY – Faith Van De Putte

EasterWhat are the flavors of our Lopez culture? What is our regional cuisine? These questions have been woven through this experience of eating only from our island. When I travel I seek out the tastes of those places; the dishes and flavors that spring from a people’s relationship to their land.

Our contemporary Lopez culture is so young; waves of immigrants from Europe, Scandinavia, the Midwest, California, Mexico. Although the Salish and Lummi nations have thousands of years of eating from these shores other than crab, clams, salmon in the smokehouse or venison on the fire little of their food ways have been maintained by current islanders. This new culture has had a little over a hundred years to form. The early settlers brought their milk cows, their lamb, planted the orchards and introduced new seeds. Betty Hastin, who was born and lived her life on the South end once told me the story of bringing zucchini seeds to the island. She lived in Seattle during World War Two and her neighbor was an old Italian man who gave her the seeds. After the war when she moved back to Lopez she brought them with her. Now it is hard to imagine summer without the abundance of zukes. How they suddenly get huge and by August everyone is giving them away. zuchini I find myself doing experiments in my mind. If we were all eating from Lopez for generations (because I image that is what it takes for a regional cuisine to mature) what would our food look like? What would our staples be? What would we serve at celebratory feasts in the winter or in the summer? When a visitor arrived and sat down at our tables what would they notice? What would surprise them? As I ask these questions I begin to question the questions themselves. The isolated self sufficient world that grew so many regional food cultures is not the world we live in. We live in a time of rapid change, of access to the foods and seeds of the world, season extending infrastructure and plant breeders who are shifting genetics of crops to work in our area. And as a community we are creating our identity. This creative question of how to have a local identity and be global citizens is being worked out by communities all over the USA. I think it is one of the underlaying appeals of the local food movement. It is a movement about belonging and caring for the land of one’s home. Each farm that grows a favored crop, each gardener saving seed over the years and sharing it, each recipe passed on, each request for that favorite dish again, each potluck on the beach is creating our food culture. I have become excited about what we can create together. HeadDinner In this month in the middle of winter I have had an abundance of flavor. The base is meat. Seared or roasted so the rich brown of caramelization informs the dish. Stock from chicken, duck and pork that imparts a soft on the tongue comfort of marrow and collagen cooked down. Tomatoes roasted in the wood fired oven until their sugars balance perfectly the acidic base . Onions or shallots start so many dishes. Softening into their sweetness in hot lard. Apple cider syrup whose sugar opens to a mellow tang reminiscent of a balsamic reduction. And salt. We are surrounded by it. Herbs began to fascinate me since I couldn’t just open up the spice drawer. I already used the rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, etc. that grow so faithfully here but was excited to find myself reaching of others. Dill seed. I love fresh dill in summer but in winter the little seeds sprinkled on grated carrot or sauted cabbage liven things up. Fennel seeds became another favorite. A pinch of whole seeds in a pork braise. Yum. I worried about not having sugar at the start of this month but have found that there is so much sweetness. All the warmth of summer stored in the flesh of fruit, of squash, of tubers and grain. My tongue seemed to recognize and celebrate the complexity of flavors without the exclamation point of refined sugar taking over. Ip Ssan Hong Many people have asked- what about vegetables? With our mild climate and season extending infrastructure we have the capacity to have greens all year round. It has been fantastic to have the hoophouse and that has allowed me to have lettuce (which I actually didn’t utilize as much as I thought because I couldn’t work out a dressing I liked due to no oil source that was liquid at room temperature), spinach, broccoli, Ip Ssam Hong Chinese cabbage (love this variety!), and corn salad. Kale and brussel sprouts survive out in the garden. Fruit is plentiful in the freezer and canned in the pantry. Apples are a little soft but one gets less picky when there is less to choose from. There is an intimacy with decay one gets from eating from the land in January. The last hard freeze is visible in the brussel sprout cut in half. A line of brown where leaves succumbed to the cold. The delicata squash in the basket that suddenly softens and sports a white furry coat. In the onion bin I rustle through, squeezing for softening under paper skins. I cut out the dark spots out of my imperfect potatoes and the wireworm holes in the carrots. There are little slugs nestles in the base of the cabbage. I don’t really mind. We are all trying to eat. The slug, the mold, the vole, the human. There is plenty for me. I give what I don’t want to the worm bin, the chickens or pigs. Life is hungry. My Swedish grandmother grew up on the south end of Lopez in the teens and twenties. She was raised on what they could grow and the abundance of a milk cow. Before it was an experiment, when it was just life. As a young woman she cooked at Norton’s Inn on Orcas and told me stories of starting the morning butchering the chickens for the evening meals. Later she was Mr. Moran’s personal chef at Rosario. When she died she left a freezer full of pies and we would take them out on Christmas or Thanksgiving. She stayed with us for years through the food she left. I still have a couple of jars of cherries canned back in the 80s. During this month of eating local I have thought of her. Of custards and cream. Of a well stocked “fruit room” and the taste of canned plums for breakfast. My earliest memories of garden are with her on Orcas in her Crow Valley garden (she moved there in her 20s, married and raised my Dad there on a 20 acre farm). Breakfast What have I missed? That is the question that people are asking me this week. The first on the list (and this was a surprise!), oatmeal. I have been eating fabulous breakfasts of sausage or bacon and eggs, French toast or pancakes and I have yearned for the simplicity of oats. Ironically, they grow well here and were historically one of the island crops. And yes, I have missed my black tea in the morning and did cheat and get a single shot of espresso after I had rushed to the early ferry, forgotten all of my carefully packed food. David saved the day by speeding it down to me in the ferry line (I hadn’t even noticed I didn’t have it). As he passed in my cooler he said “just get a cup of coffee when you get to the mainland.” I figured it was good advice! The hardest part of the month was going to potlucks or parties and not being able to eat. I did not like the being the guest who was saying no. Who was not able to graciously eat the gifts that were offered. There a magic that happens when we all break bread together. When we eat the same things we share the same ground. Our bodies store bits of the same earth. And when the food we eat together comes from the land on which we live then we create a trilogy of belonging: earth, nourishment, community. I welcome back the foods and flavors that I have not had for this month. In part out of recognition that I/we are citizens of this whole planet and those plants: olive, cacoa, coffee, tea, tumeric, cumin, ginger can hold the thread of our connection. What is the fabric that I am weaving with my food. I want the warp and weft to tie me to this place, this community but I also want threads of color and different texture. Threads from the jungle, the sugar maples, vineyards and other food communities. I have been inspired by this assignment and will continue to blog about food, farm and community on the Midnight’s Farm blog: http://www.midnightsfarm.com. Thank you to the Lopez Community Land Trust and the Lopez Locavores for putting this project together. I look forward to reading further adventures in local eating! Ribs ____________________________________________________________________________

Ducks

Slaughter After cleaning up, when I was coming in to make dinner, the flock of mallards on the marsh rose together, arching across the sunset, only to land again with much scolding and worry. Overhead an eagle, graceful, silent, and intent, with talons lowered swooped down. It is so easy to identify with the ducks, fleeing the predator but I know that today I am more aligned with eagle. There is blood on the driveway, in the grass, on my pants and hands. We fed the seven pigs their last breakfast this morning and then ushered them one by one into the chute. It is fast- how life can end. I held a tub under the neck and caught the last heartbeats of blood. Startlingly red. Pigs Pigs are how I crossed the line from growing food to feed myself to growing food for others. Pigs are how I moved from buying 25 pound sacks of chicken feed from the Island Farm Center to1000 pound sacks of hog feed. Pigs are how I dipped my toe into being a “farmer”. I am an imposter but learning. On Tuesday we slaughtered. It was the first time we had used the Island Grown Farmers Co-operative (IGFC) USDA approved mobile slaughter unit for hogs (David has used them in the past for beef cattle but that was before my time here on the farm). The truck and trailer rumbled in before dawn. Setting up right outside our front door due to its flatness, circular drive and proximity to the pigs. Our seven hogs were not enough to fill the unit so other farmers brought their animals, all sheep. Soon pickups and trailers lined up with their flocks huddled uncertain in the corners. A pesky ram was the exception and he bumped and butted the inside of the truck canopy.

IGFCHanging

Jim and William the IGFC guys deftly set up in the dark and got to work. They were graceful to watch in their bib raingear and butchers sheaths full of knives. A shorn black lamb was the first and a blind ewe the second. Starting with the hind legs, working into the groin and down the belly the skin is parted from flesh. The whole coat comes off inside out with some tugging but surprising ease. Underneath the fascia is a web of differing density with the pink of muscle showing through. The lambs look so small without their wool.

IGFC

Outside the trailer the farmers stand in the growing light, sipping coffee and sharing tips about the best places to send sheepskins for tanning, the difficulties of drying hides in the winter. Offal is loaded into the tractor bucket and David takes trips up to the compost. Four sheep an hour. One by one the trailers leave empty. Finally, afternoon and time for the pigs. We go up to their pen and two by two they enter the chute, are stunned, bled and hung by the hind legs on the tractor bucket to be taken down to the trailer. Pigs are fascinating creatures. Once they get used to you they do love a belly rub and will plop down and contentedly let you rub their soft undersides. They frolic too. With new pasture or wallow or when the air is right. Their little tails go in circles with delight. They love to be sprinkled and I would indulge them on hot days. They would tip their snouts up and mouth the water. Sometimes when they got bigger they would sleep outside in pigpiles. A row of four or five pigs spooning, each twitching to its own dream. And yes, they really love food and are not tidy eaters. There is shoving and competition at the trough and hurried gobbling when something extra tasty is available.

Stew

The day after the slaughter there is an emptiness on the farm. A quiet. There is nobody to feed in the morning. Nobody to eat the scraps from the days cooking. When I drive in there are no piggy shapes silhouetted against the evening sun. I miss them as I get the last roast from the spring batch out of the freezer. Somehow cooking and filling the house with the scent of meat browning brings the pigs home again. In the rich flavors of stew nestled with the tomatoes and squash they loved so much I let my appreciation wander back in time, remembering. And as I sell these hogs to others I am so glad that they are going to be appreciated, to be savored, to gather people around tables, fuel conversations and community. Treat Our friend Isobel Davis came from the city to visit. She is an artist and accomplished cook among other talents. Neither of us follows recipes and we decided to call our style “improvisational cooking”. I shared how the constraints of the “Lopez Diet” has spurred my creativity and even if I wanted to follow a recipe they do not fit the “what is on farm” pantry. Cooking becomes a rhythm, an evolution of one thing into another. We asked the question “what would an improvisational recipe look like?”. For example: a chicken. First it is roasted and the proud center of a dinner. The left over meat is picked from the bones and the carcass is put in a pot with water on the wood stove to cook down into broth. The next night the meat goes into something- soup, stirfry etc. The broth is strained, the bones are picked again for the dogs (and given to the pigs when they were still here). The broth gets cooked with beans and becomes another main course soup later in the week.

Isobel

Isobel gave me the biggest treat. We went off island for the day to pick up the pork. I had my lunch bags packed and my thermos of tea. I was prepared to want and I did. It is easy on the farm to just eat from Lopez but the mainland is often associated with treats. With a latte or going out to lunch. Of getting some novel tastes. And this trip I had only my tiffin to look forward to. It was actually a fabulous lunch that would have cost a pretty penny at some smancy organic café. And lucky for me the treat came when we got home. Isobel had gone to town in our kitchen! There were a lovely dip of soisson vert beans cooked in duck broth with toasted Barn Owl Bakery Lopez Loaf to start, a roasted chicken, wheat berry pilaf, brusselsprouts, broccoli with garlic, and a celeriac salad with an apple cider dressing. And a bottle of Lopez Island Vineyards Madeleine Angevine (which was a treat after just having cider for days). It was all so good! Improvisational Recipe for a Braise In a Dutch oven sauté alliums (onion family) in a fat source until translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add (if you want to go in this direction) carrots and celery, or peppers or mushrooms and sauté on low heat until soft all the way through. Add some garlic at the end. Take all of that out of the pan and set aside. Take your meat (usually a roast) and sear on all sides. Sear it until it browns and caramelizes but does not burn. When that is done put a cup or so of liquid (broth, wine, cider, beer, water, fruit juice) in the pan and deglaze the pan. Add the onions, etc. and enough liquid (more of the earlier list or tomatoes, plums, etc.) to go at least half way up meat. Squash, potatoes and or soaked beans can be added to the liquid. Flavor with herbs such as rosemary, thyme, bay, fennel, juniper, sage, oregano….. and salt. Cover and put in the oven at 250-300 degrees for 4ish hours. Greens such as cabbage, kale, collards or parsley can be added at the end if you would like!

Breakfast

Breakfast Walnut sourdough pancakes with Birkemeier peaches and blueberries and apple cider syrup. On the side our bacon and sausage.

Dinner

Dinner Meatloaf with our woodfired oven roasted tomato sauce, delicata squash with chicken stock and apple cider syrup, broccoli from the hoophouse, grated carrot salad with dill seed and Berta’s footlong white beans.

Desert

Dessert Warm fresh goat ricotta, our raspberries, walnuts and apple cider syrup.


Faith Van De Putte – January 1, 2015

Day One:  I dreamt of a kitchen (mine but not- they way things are in dreams) and there were bowls of strange exotic fruits. I knew I could not eat them because they were not from Lopez.  I woke up less hungry than I feared. Vera Vera It is frozen and clear. My day to milk Vera, the cow who lives down the road. Glass half gallon jars clink in my basket. I enjoy this morning routine: boil water, sterilize pails, put a flake of alfalfa in the bin, open the gate to let Vera into the corral. This morning the cold has turned the mud to hoof print craters. She shies from the uneven ground and with her udders swinging slowly crosses to the milkshed. I give her a nudge on the rump as she puts her nose in the headgate, drawn by the alfalfa even though she knows I will push the bar over and trap her there. She settles in to bites and chewing. I brush her down, murmuring about how pretty she is. Then sitting on the little plastic stool I take the rags out of the warm soapy water and wash her udders. I feel the milk let down and the fullness of her bags becomes a tauntness of skin. With the bucket positioned underneath I finally begin to milk. The squeeze of thumb against forefinger and then the full grip to push the milk out in a stream. At first a metallic zing and then froth builds as the bucket fills and the sound become smooth. I ease into the rhythm, my hands active as I rest my head against Vera’s warm and earthy flank, let my eyes wander out to the crisp morning. When I am done I take the buckets in and strain the warm white into my jars. Milk for the week. The Horse Drawn Farm Carrot In the village and I didn’t pack any snacks. I duck into Blossom Grocery. Is there anything I could eat? Freezers, fridges, shelves and bins. And I find only a carrot. A pure, unadulterated Lopez carrot. Other than squash and frozen meat it is the only thing that is just from Lopez. Crisp, sweet and so satisfying. I wonder- why don’t I usually buy carrots for a snack on the run? Salt Salt A Southwesterly throws waves against the tide in Cattle Pass. The Olympics are obscured with clouds. The dogs run ahead, circle back to make sure we are following and run ahead again with tails erect and wagging. I pull my hat further down over my ears as I pick my way down the rocks to the waters edge to fill my gallon jug. Salt. I have not had it for days. Salt. Such a staple, traded for eons, the first preservative, the enhancer of flavors. Living on an island I am surrounded by it. I fill a big stainless pan with my gallon of seawater and put it on the wood stove. Over the next day and a half of evaporating it condenses, transforms. Turns from clear liquid to white crystalline flakes. It is light and putting a bit on my tongue the sharp bite of sea and brine and salt expands into my palate. When I scrape out the pan I end up with a cup of salt. One gallon turns into one cup! When I sprinkle the flakes into my dishes, onto my eggs I am cooking with wind, waves and tide. Abundance The realization that I have grown more food than we can eat slowly dawns on me. Pumpkins are piled in the utility room, squash sit in a basket in the corner of the living room. Potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic are waiting in the barn. Our freezer is full of chickens, pork and beef we raised, berries from the island, old yogurt containers of stock (pork, chicken, salmon and duck), tomatoes roasted in the woodfired oven, pesto, bacon we cured and salmon. In the garden- brusselsprouts, kale and in the hoophouse- broccoli, lettuce, asian cabbages and spinach. So much abundance, it is easy to cook. Easy to eat well. Meals Breakfast FrenchToastBarn Owl Bakery Lopez Loaf French Toast (eggs from the farm and Vera milk) with preserved pears and apple cider syrup. Lunch lunch Chicken, bacon, red pepper (from Susan Bill’s greenhouse), shallot, black coat runner beans and a lacto fermented dill pickle on the side. Dinner DinnerLamb chop raised by Molly Bill with leeks, broccoli and carrots braised in chicken stock. Tea TeaMint and wild rose


Faith Van De Putte

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If I told you about my life through the food I have eaten, it would start with clams. Old memories of raingear on white shell beaches.  The sucking of mud on the shovel. Each one, a find, to drop with my child hands with a plunck into the bucket.  Later at dinner, hard little shells opening to soft bodies and the briney sweet on my tongue.  I grew up on a sailboat. Moved to Lopez in 1979. There was venison on the fire at parties.  Old refrigerators in barns with glass gallon jars of milk and a little box to leave your payment in.  Abandoned orchards full of apples and plums.  There were crabpots to haul up and berries to pick.  There were giant ice cream cones at Richardson Store. Mom cooked. Dad cooked.  We ate well. In college in Bellingham I purchased my first CSA share- working off part of the payment by helping on the farm.  It was balance to the rice, beans and cheap pasta. Professional years in Seattle.  Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, sushi, Ethiopian, the flavors of the world. Shopping at the farmers markets and the PCC. Various gardens tucked into backyards. Forays into the parks in the spring to gather nettles.  Nettles my link to the wild.  I committed to the gathering, the steaming mounds of green drenched in butter.  I served them to friends.  I dried them.  I knew where they came from.  How they grew. Lopez again.  Now an adult.  “I want to inhabit my food supply.” We buy squirming little piglets.  Chickens run about in the afternoon.  The garden expands into long efficient rows instead of the intermixed tumble I had been experimenting with.  We put up a hoophouse that bursts in summer with tomatoes and shelters the tender greens against our current cold.  I can. I dry. I freeze.  Squash is piled in the utility room.  Potatoes wait for stews in their boxes in the barn. And now.  December 31st.  Filled with the sweets and treats of winter holidays.  I realize how my much I do inhabit my food supply.  I am drinking my last cup of tea.  I will miss this.  I am committing to eating food only from Lopez and its surrounding waters for the month of January.  The only exceptions will be salt or sugar which I have preserved things with this summer. Seems like a good way to start a new year.

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DECEMBER – Linda Hudson

It’s a Very Vegan Local Christmas Feast! hudson1-2

Friends gather around the bounteous feast table.

Last week we had our now-to-be annual Vegan Christmas Potluck at the warm and welcoming home of friends, Connie Holtz and Chuck Schietinger. We didn’t ask for people to bring local foods, but in keeping with the Lopezian mindset, it was almost a given that the dishes contained Lopez squash, carrots, apples, pears, quince, salad fixing’s, cabbages and beets, in addition to a selection of Lopez wines. Not everyone who came was vegan, but everyone made the effort to honor our vegan hosts with their dishes. hudson2-2

Here is a close-up of dishes on the table: Our offering was the Sweet and Sour Cabbage-Apple-Leeks: lower right hand corner.

So, our month of Local Eating is almost over, as is our year, 2014. Time to reflect over both, I think. First of all, I have found that our goal of eating 50% local foods from within 50 miles was very easy to do…and this was in December! Though I do realize that local eating would be harder in the upcoming months of January, February and March, my mind boggles at how easy it would be to do the rest of the year. So those thoughts, naturally, bring me to the subject of resolutions for the upcoming year, 2015. In 2015, I resolve to cook as locally as possible. If it takes a little more effort to go to a farm stand instead of just grabbing the same item at the supermarket, then make the effort. Check what’s in the freezer to see what’s left from last year’s harvest when planning menus. Be more proactive in networking with local farms and farmers to find some of the extras on my list, such as eggs, butter and cheese. Cook with what’s available at the time. And most important, stay away as much as possible from boxes, bags and cans! I can think of no better way to close than with a picture of our beautiful Christmas dessert lovingly made by our hostess, Connie Holtz. Red Kombucho Squash “Cheese”cake, yes, it’s Vegan! Even “I never eat dessert” eaters were grabbing for a piece of this one! hudson3-2 Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2015;  filled with friends, family and good local food! Linda Hudson _________________________________________________________________________

December 22nd, 2014

Linda Hudson

It’s a funny thing, but as I progress into week three of the Bounty Local Eating experiment, I am continually hearing a little voice in my head whispering, “Simplify, simplify”.  When I look into our pantry I find myself wondering why we have so many boxes of cereal (blame it on David?), or why I still “need” pancake mix. It’s actually a little bit embarrassing at this point. Has the answer been, “But it’s so handy (is it?)”, or “We may run out?” Anyway, it’s something for me to ponder at the very least. Another question that has been on my mind this month and, in fact, has been for some time now, is how can we work towards becoming more food self-sufficient on our farm? For a couple of months now, several of our friends and neighbors have been having discussions about teaming up to construct and maintain a High Tunnel Hoop House, to be erected on our property. We were already thinking big, say 20’ by 48’, when I found out that funding was being offered through the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) of the USDA. I applied right away and am hoping that we will receive some kind of help with the expenses. Our plan is to concentrate on year round vegetable production to feed at least 8 people. I would also like to return to dried bean production, something I had great success with a few years back. Then the busyness of life got in the way. But, oh, what a variety of beans are available to grow and how gorgeous they are as well…I must make a go of it again next summer! Well, now to our preparation and consumption of local food in our meals this week. With my continuing supply of potatoes, carrots, squash, eggs, and luck in finding sources of local bread and cheese, we ate well this week. Here’s the photographic evidence!

Hudson1

Root Vegetable Pad Thai with Rice: all vegs locally sourced

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Cheese, Bread and Fruit Board: cheeses from Ferndale, Bow, Pt Townsend: Bread, Barn Owl

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Veggie Omelet: local eggs and all vegs

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Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash with Zucchini Fritters and Root Veg Pilaf: all local except for rice

And last, but certainly, not least:

Hudson6

My Harvest Festival Potluck Award Winning, Green-Tomato-Chutney Bran Muffins

Ok, coming up this week….The Holidays! No fear, as we are going to a Christmas Day Potluck with like-minded friends: Veggie/Vegan Locavores, all of them. I should be posting some great pictures from our sumptuous year-end banquet! See you next week, Linda H.

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December 15th, 2014

Linda Hudson

Ok, so it’s been a good week. With my supplies; both frozen and canned, donations to our cause, plus what’s still going in the garden (not much), I’ve been able to put together some amazing local meals. I’ve also made a Local Food reconnaissance mission to Bellingham during the last week. Actually David had a doctor appointment and we decided to stay for a couple of overnights. So what did I find? Well, first of all, I was so looking forward to shopping at perhaps my number one favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s. What I found there was kind of a shock. Previously, I found the store a treat; full of interesting, trendy, organic goodies mostly offered at a very reasonable price. This time I walked in with eyes wide open and saw shelves carrying pre-packaged processed foods and, after a few minutes spent looking in vain through the produce and cheese departments, I gave up on finding nary an item produced within 1000 miles. What has happened to me? Can it be that after just two weeks of cooking mostly locally, my consciousness has been raised?…could it have been that fast? In thinking about it though, perhaps not: I’ve been on the path to local for some time now and I think visits to Trader Joes were just my replacement for trips to the candy store. In better news, we stopped at both the Bellingham and Skagit Valley food coops. Here it was like night to day. Every fruit and veg for sale was labeled as to its locational origin, with much being very local, and most being from Washington State. But what got me is that origin was mentioned at all. Most of the time, finding where a product was made requires a magnifying glass. I loaded up on some root vegetables which I have been unable to find on the island; turnips, parsnips and rutabaga, plus some cheeses from Ferndale and Bow, (expensive, but worth it) and several kinds of apples, (the Elstars were grown on Guemes), and sailed home with visions of local recipes-to-be in my head. Ok, so what did I prepare last week? Here are some of the highlights:

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Stuffed Baked Mini Acorn Squash, with Zucchini Fritters and Roasted Root Vegetables with Rice. (Local: squash; Horse Drawn, zucchini; our garden, Root vegs; Coops, bread; Bread Farm) hudson2 Baked Apple-Blackberry Turnover with Pecans (Local: Apples; our orchard, Blackberries; picked last fall and frozen, Honey; Old McCauley Farm, Lopez and Pleasant Valley Farm, Rexville, WA hudson3 Potato-Carrot Chowder with Pumpkin Babycakes (fritters) (Local: potatoes, carrots and pumpkin; Horsedrawn Farm and Hummel House) hudson4

 Curried Root Vegetables with Rice (Local: our tomatoes for sauce, root vegs; Horsedrawn, Coops and Hummel House)

And last but not least: hudson5 Bean Burritos with Spanish Rice and Roasted Potatoes and Carrots (Local: dried beans from Horsedrawn, tomato, garlic and parsley from our garden, potatoes and carrots, Horsedrawn and Hummel House) Thinking over my food sources from the last week, I am calculating that I am easily accomplishing my goal of 50% local from within 50 miles.  In fact, I may be achieving more than my goal. What a yummy week we have had! I am so glad that I am joining in this experiment! Next Week: Planning and looking ahead to eating more locally on Great Meadow Farm next year! Plus, more yummy local food…

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December 8th, 2014

Linda Hudson

“If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week (Steven L. Hopp, p. 5).

Barbara Kingsolver quoting Steven L. Hopp in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Over the past few months, preparing for my month of local eating, I have been thinking of how I got to this point, food-wise, verses my childhood and young adult years of Hostess Twinkies, Snowballs, and McDonalds. Growing up in the Chicago area, I was exposed to some ethnic foods most notably, fantastic pizza and other pastas served at the Italian restaurants, but at home our spaghetti came in a box labeled Chef-Boy-R-Dee. I remember the box as containing spaghetti, a can of spaghetti sauce and a small container of Parmesan cheese. I remember eating a lot of things out of cans too; Dinty Moore Beef Stew and Hormel Chili were favorites. But there were small glimmers of a better food future to come. Mom always bought wheat bread, leaving me to have to go to friends’ houses to get Wonder Bread, and she would not allow soda in the house. One early memory I have is of Mom and Dad wrestling over a bottle of Coke; Mom trying to pour it down the sink and Dad trying to stop her. Dad had a beautiful garden, but it consisted mainly of flowers, though I do remember enormous tomatoes and melons, easy to grow in those hot and humid Chicago summers. When I married, I married an Englishman, so it was meat and two veg from the start; the veg mostly coming from cans. And as my husband discovered enormous jars of peanut butter right away, I shudder to think that his first work lunches consisted of sandwiches of peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff! So, how did we get to from there to here? It’s been a slow progression of education and experience. Following in my father’s footsteps, I started to garden, but to me gardening meant fruit bushes and tomatoes and other vegetables. That meant figuring out what to do with the bounty when everything came in at once. I made jams, syrups, froze and canned and found that I really enjoyed the whole process, not to mention having good things to eat throughout the winter. An early influence on my thinking about food was the publication, in 1971, of Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet. By this time, we were living in Bellingham and saw the rise of food co-ops and farmer’s markets. As a result, our eating habits began to change, and by 1984, we became a vegetarian family. In 2007, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful book, Animal Vegetable Miracle and I became enamored of the concept of eating locally and aware of how far most of our food travels before it gets to our tables. It has been estimated “that the average American meal travels 1500 miles to get from the farm to our plates” (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), and that’s just wrong in my opinion. So eating locally for at least some of our food, in our case, trying for 50% this month just makes sense to me. So, how did we do with eating locally this week? Well, it’s been a good week, especially food wise. I’ve made good use of squash/pumpkin and the tomatoes that I froze in great quantity a few months ago. Here are some of the dishes I prepared last week using mostly local foods.

hudson1Frozen tomatoes, ready to be sauced

hudson2

Potato-Leek Soup with toasted cheese on Earthfarm bread

hudson3

Pasta with tomato sauce, vegetables, (herbs from the garden) side of buttered Hubbard Squash.

 

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Vegetable Quiche with squash, sides of many vegetable slaw and pickled beets.

And last but not least:

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Pumpkin Bread which David got to before I could take

a picture!

Sources of vegetables were mainly Horsedrawn Farm, T&D Farms and from our garden. Cheese from Pt Townsend Creamery (from Blossom) Ok, so that’s it for this week. Over and out, Linda (and David)

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December 1st, 2014

Linda Hudson

Ok, so it is Day One of my participation in our Lopez Island Bounty food experiment. I have to say that the blogs of the last three participants created really hard acts to follow, in both local eating and blogging, but I am up for the challenge. First a bit about myself: I am a mother of two and grandmother of one, and I have been married now for 48 years…yes, to the same man! My husband and I moved to Lopez Island 10 years ago and together, and with the help of others, we planted an orchard (28 various fruit trees), planted berry and currant bushes, put in seven kitchen garden raised beds and fenced-enclosed a large area of garden with hoop houses, in which I mainly grow tomatoes. We also have a greenhouse in which I start my tomatoes, mostly from seed saved from the previous year. We call our spread, “Great Meadow Farm”. tomatoes

A fistful of tomatoes from last summer’s harvest

Seven years ago, a crop of barley was planted on our land, (we have 20 acres), and as the summer was perfect for barley growing, (raining nicely, once a month) and we ended up with a record crop. The barley straw was used to make straw bales for the Lopez Community Land Trust offices which were then under construction, and the bulk of the barley seed went to Henning and Elizabeth of S&S Farm for their animal feed. To this day, I remain committed to the idea of the possibility of bringing back the practice of growing grains on many, if not most, farms across Lopez Island. Barley Harvest

Barley Harvest, Lopez Island, 2007

So now to my/our participation in the Lopez Bounty Food Experiment for the month of December: I have decided that my husband and I will try a 50/50 experiment; 50% local food from within 50 miles. I figure we normally eat around 25% local foods year round, (much more in the summer/fall of course), so this will be a bit of a challenge for us, but not be impossible. Unlike some of the previous bloggers, I don’t have a big vegetable garden, but share/trade with several other gardening friends who give us their extras. For the past few months, in anticipation of this experiment, I have been canning jams, (blackberry, strawberry, black current, green tomato), pickling garlic and beets, and freezing lots and lots of apples, shredded zucchini and, yes, tomatoes. I have been stocking up on lots of squash, much of it from Horse Drawn Farm, but I even found squash left in a “free” box by the side of the road near the Village! Here is a picture of much of what we plan to eat this month; frozen, canned, fresh.

pumpkin

I should mention that we are vegetarians, but do eat cheese and eggs. I can see that my biggest challenge this month may be finding local cheese and I am currently investigating sources on the island. I do have access to fresh goat’s milk and recently tried to make goat cheese, but I have a way to go on that one! This week, I will be off island for two days in “America”, land of fast foods and Big Gulps, but I plan to check out both the Skagit Valley and the Everett Coops to see how local foods are faring there. Ok over and out on this December 1st, 2014 Linda (and David) Hudson BarleyLandTrustFinal 032[1]

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NOVEMBER – Marney Reynolds

November 23-30, 2014

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”  –  Cesar Chavez – “I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.”   –  M.F.K. Fisher – “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” — Julia Child

Sustainability has been on my mind as Page and I go into our fourth and final week.  Bounty Food Project has allowed us to look at questions pertaining to food and yes, the politics of it as well.  Are we (the collective we) truly practicing food sustainability when we purchase food that comes from other parts of the country, especially out-of-season offerings?  Are we sustainable when in order to feed our livestock we have to import grain and alfalfa from long distances?  Not that I have answers to solve these questions, but I believe it is good to be consciously aware of these observations. Last Sunday GMO-Free San Juans was featured in the Seattle Times Pacific N.W. magazine.  As some of you may know, my face was on the cover of that publication.  I was a bit stunned to see this photo but I was very pleased to have given the interview to the reporter back in June.  Equally and more importantly glad that there is recognition for what we all accomplished in 2012 – protecting our farmlands and our food from the contamination of GMOs. I am including a photo I took several months ago and haven’t as yet published on this blog.  I feel it important to recognize the seeds that we plant in the carefully prepared soil that yield us our food.  This photo shows some of the seed that I save for next year’s planting.  Yes folks, all GMO-free!  Most of the seed pictured I have been saving and planting for over 20 years!  Also, I’d like to mention the Seed Library at LCLT.  Stop by and visit and “borrow” some seed to plant next spring.

seed saving

What came out of the garden this week –

Escarole, beets, chard, carrot, parsnip, radicchio, kale.

VegHarvest4

This past week I was prepping for the big day…Thanksgiving!  Happens to be my absolute favorite day of the year!   I can’t think of a better “foodie” day than this particular Thursday.  So instead of giving you a play-by-play of this past week’s daily menu I am going to jump right to November 27th with photos and some musings: We hosted the dinner.  We had 8 guests, all of whom contributed greatly to the food that was eaten including our friend Bill who is 96 years old who graced our table with his wit and great appetite!  Thank you dear friends for making our Thanksgiving so memorable. Our Thanksgiving Menu– Hors d’oeuvres which consisted of Erika and Brad’s roasted local oysters, Teri’s chicken liver paté, Stuffed cherry peppers, Cornichons, Goat Camembert, Teri’s cow-milk cheeses, Erika’s locally-caught prawn frittata Hors d'oeuvres Roasted Turkey (Skagit River Ranch – organic of course!) Herbed Dressing (made from our homemade bread) Gravy (my family’s beverage of choice!) Mashed Potatoes (Barb and Oswaldo) Roasted Delicata Squash (Barb and Oswaldo) Apple/Fresh Cheese Stacks w/ Kale (Teri and Liz) Roasted Broccoli (Karleen) Lopez Wheat Dinner Rolls (Karleen) TurkeyTeri2 Dinner Table

Bon Appetit!

TableGroup And yes! there is always room for dessert.  Teri’s Pumpkin and Apple/Quince Pies with fresh whipped cream Oh, la, la! Pies What a meal!  What a great bunch of people! Now that is what sharing food is all about:  Gathering together, giving thanks for the bounty surrounding us and counting our blessings. I so deeply believe that good food, well prepared, is for connecting with others – nourishing ourselves both spiritually and physically.  Made with love and given freely to enjoy, food is more than just sustenance – it is comfort, camaraderie, and connectivity to the earth. And Finally – Some folks have asked me if I have really missed anything this past month?  Not necessarily.  I guess if I had to say, what immediately comes to mind is citrus!  This time of year it perks me up.  It adds sparkle to my meals.  But really, I have such a varied diet and a wholesome one at that, I didn’t miss much. Thank you for joining me this past month.  Enjoy your food and please… Don’t forget to thank a farmer! M Gravey

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November 16-22, 2014

Marney Reynolds

“I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me.  If I am going to eat meat, 
I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, 
on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade.” 
– Wendell Berry
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“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. 
To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” 
– Wendell Berry
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Our third week and I am thinking of world food issues.  I am thinking about what to cook that doesn’t weigh so heavily on this planet.  All these ruminations might sound like too heavy of thought, however to my way of thinking – it is all good.  Cooking from local food sources helps me to put all this in perspective.  This is what the Bounty Food Project has inspired in me – to deeply think about my food growing and eating habits and to what extent they play on our environment, not just on Lopez but the planet.  I’ll explain.
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Last week our friend Cynthia went to the library and checked out a book for me.  When we were at Vita’s wine tasting she handed it to me and said, “You have to read this.  Now!”  The Third Plate by Dan Barber is a somewhat heavy tome, and not just in its physical size.  Barber  (a farm-to-table chef) speaks to the future of food and how we humans need to change not only the way in which we eat but how we grow the food that feeds us all.  Okay, we all know this, right?  But Barber takes this a bit further – he suggests a “third plate”, and I quote “which is less a plate than a different way of cooking, or assembling a dish, or writing a menu, or sourcing ingredients – or really all these things.”  He states that instead of trying to bend nature to conform to our eating habits/desires, we instead bend to what nature can provide/offer.  Barber goes on to cite examples from Spain’s Extremadura region to our own backyard at the Bread Lab in the Skagit Valley.  He talks about “whole-farm cooking” and how peasants around the world have been doing this for centuries.  In order to survive, people had to develop their cuisine adhering to what the region could provide.  This sounds familiar and is brought home especially when LCLT invites the community to its Harvest Dinner.  Have you ever seen so much local cuisine, in one place at one time, in your life?!!
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Here is a photo of what came out of the garden this week –

MR1

Once again, I had some great moments in the kitchen this week.  Here is what happened…
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ALL (most) LOCAL!
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Nov. 15
Breakfast : Omelette with dried tomato, fresh basil, shallot, goat cheese.
Lunch:  Sauteed greens with onion and peppers.
Dinner:  We went to Seattle to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday.  Did we eat local?  Well the next day we had lunch at Serious Pie and had a pizza with ingredients from Tom Douglas and Jackie Cross’ farm in Prosser, WA.  Goat cheese, arugula, coddled egg – delicious.
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Nov. 16
B:  Breakfast with friends.  Local yogurt, granola and blueberries.
L:  Serious Pie
D: Chicken hash consisting of roasted potato, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeños.  Greens salad.
Nov. 17
B: Toast and fruit.
L: Tomato soup, toasted goat cheese sandwiches with dried tomato topped with mustard greens.
D: Chicken and broccoli casserole made with a mornay sauce of, you guessed it!, goat cheese.
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Nov. 18
B:  Poached eggs, toast.
L:  Veggie salad with odds and ends from fridge.  Maybe doesn’t sound too good but it’s a great way to use up leftovers.
D:  Cannelloni.  Crespella (crepes) stuffed with goat milk ricotta, sauteed chard, onion and garlic topped with the ragu sauce I made a few weeks ago.  Greens salad.
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Nov. 19
B: Yogurt with berries.
L: Leftover broccoli casserole.
D: Ribollita soup, greens salad, bread.
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Nov. 20
B:  Oatmeal, sauteed apples with berries.
L:  Zucchini soup and bread, carrot and celery sticks with a goat cheese, feta, tomato spread.
D:  Frittata made with sauteed chard, kale, bell pepper, onion, garlic, shredded potatoes and eggs.  I did add some goat cheese just for good measure!  Alongside this I served roasted whole radicchio and tzatziki (cucumber, yogurt salad).

MR2

Here is our breakfast of crepes.  I used all Lopez wheat for the batter.
They turned out very tender and delicious!
MR3 Nov. 21
B: Leftover crepes stuffed with yogurt and berries with a drizzle of maple syrup.
L: Leftover frittata.
D: Sauteed pork chops served with an apple/quince medley.  Squash bisque, roasted Brussels sprouts, greens salad rounded out this meal.
If you have ever tasted Horsedrawn Farm’s chops then you know we were in heaven!
MR4 Nov. 22
B: Yogurt, granola, dried fruit.
L: Zucchini soup
D: Leftover pork chop with a saute of peppers, onion, garlic alongside smashed potatoes.  Escarole salad with roasted delicata squash.
MR5
Having put Wendell Berry’s quote about the raising of animals for food, at the beginning of this posting, I’d like to end with this quick story about watching the Mobile Processing Unit process pigs.  I’d never seen it in action, but when I went to pick up eggs at Horsedrawn the unit was there.  So I walked over and watched.  It was something I needed to do.  Viewing this was an education.  Knowing how well Kathryn and Ken raise their animals, the scene was one of calm and the showing of respect.  Respect and gratitude for the animal in giving us sustenance.
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I enjoyed this past week tremendously and I am grateful to be able to share
this with all of you.
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Have a great Thanksgiving!
Don’t forget to thank a farmer!
See you next week.

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November 8-15, 2014

Marney Reynolds

“Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” – Michael Pollan

‎”You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients”– Julia Child

This has been a good week for focusing on local as I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading on food issues.  There is much to ponder.   The good news is there are tons of books, magazine articles, and websites out there telling me eating local is the way to go.  Across the country (mostly on the coasts) folks are lining up at Farmer Markets buying directly from their local farmers and food providers.  The farm to table movement is alive and well.  Every year the statistics are published and I am amazed at the increase of numbers in dollars spent especially on organics and/or sustainably raised food.  So here comes the bad news – Then why do we have such a difficult time passing GMO labeling laws?!  I mean wouldn’t you think that this is a no-brainer?  With so many people buying all this locally-sourced food, most of it sustainably raised, I have to ask, “What is the hold-up?”
We held a dinner party last evening (photos below) and we started talking about this very issue.  And the consensus: money!  Duh!  It is money that is driving the big food producers who have backed themselves into a corner, what with the unhealthy ingredients that they are using.  They are so invested in using cheap GM corn, soy and sugar beet (heavily subsidized by our government – our tax dollars at work!) that if they did decide to label their products they would most likely be forced to change to better (read healthy) ingredients!  But are there enough “better ingredients” out there to fill the need for all the processed food that is produced in this country?  Are we actually able to produce enough food (healthy food that is sustainably raised) in this country to feed us all?  And are we able to do this keeping food costs low (the U.S. has some of the cheapest food costs in the world)?  Some articles I’ve read tell me it is possible and that the “tipping point” for sustainable food production is getting closer.  This is what I have been pondering.
INSPIRATION…
I’d like to share with you the person who inspired me the most both in cooking and in gardening.  It is my mother, Josephine!  She was a fabulous cook and a good gardener, not to mention an accomplished dressmaker!  She was of Sicilian descent and knew how to grow and cook vegetables which is what made up most of our meals.  That woman could stretch out a roast chicken or beef roast enough to cover 3 or 4 dinners using a little meat and a lot of veggies.  I continue this concept to this day.  Along with my mom there was also my godmother, Mary Ferrari, also Italian, who inspired me to cook simple meals with great ingredients.  I lived with my godparents when I was 16 and learned so much about cooking.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that this all came around to help me in my learning to cook.  I have this innate “flavor memory” that serves me to this day in recreating the flavors that these two women created in their kitchens.  Their meals, made with love, live on!
Here is a photo of what came out of the garden this week –

Marney 1 The freezing temperatures forced me to harvest most of the celery, artichokes, broccoli and peppers.  The peppers were growing in the greenhouse.  Speaking of the cold, my garden looks like a hodge-podge quilting of various covers being used to protect what remains out there.  I am determined not to lose my artichoke plants as happened last year.  They are surrounded by alfalfa and tucked under blankets.  Before the rain comes I will be out there to trim them back and put buckets over them.  For now they are safe but looking rather silly.

Had some great moments in the kitchen this week.  Foraged for mushrooms.  Didn’t have to look too far.  Shaggy Manes are everywhere.  And I just remembered I was going to say something about fishing.  I think that will have to wait until next week.  Or, maybe, I will write something about it midweek.
ALL (most) LOCAL!
Our Meals For The Week…
Nov. 8
Breakfast : Yogurt and berries.
Lunch:  Sauteed veggies.
Dinner:  Chicken soup with potatoes, carrots, celeriac and broccoli.  Schmaltz (oh yum!) with bread.
Having saved several frozen carcasses plus one whole chicken I made chicken broth.  Had to make space in the freezer since I’ll be picking up more of Julie and Blake’s chickens this coming week.  The aroma in the house was wonderful.  Such a great thing to have a fire in the wood stove and a pot of chicken broth on the cooking stove!   The making of this broth produced quite a bit of fat.  I separated it from the broth and saved it.  I also used some to make schmaltz which is basically chicken fat heated with herbs such as oregano, thyme and a bit of salt.  Bread dipped in this is so wonderful!
Unless I have mentioned it beforehand, all of the food listed is homemade with either my ingredients or those that we have gotten from the farmers here on island.
Nov. 9
B:  Poached egg on toasted homemade bread with a bit of spicy salsa.
L:  Chicken broth and a green salad.
D: Sauteed shaggy mane mushrooms topped with chicken breast, roasted potatoes with a bit of schmaltz for flavor, steamed broccoli, and a green salad.
Before:
Marney 2After:  Can’t really see the mushrooms.  They are tucked under the chicken.
Marney 3

Nov. 10
B: My homemade Valençay and feta cheeses with apple and toast.
L:  Chicken salad w/fresh tarragon, celery, apple over greens.
D: Dinner at Sue’s!  Wonderful cauliflower bisque, green salad and my bread with goat cheese.
This meal was lovingly prepared using all local ingredients.  Food is good but food shared with friends is even better!
Nov. 11
B:  Scrambled eggs with dried tomato and a bit of goat cheese.
L:  Veggie salad with dried tomato, cucumber (brought over by my neighbor!) and goat cheese.
D:  Another dinner out!  Wow!  I am lucky.  This was a chicken broth with cabbage, onion and shredded chicken.  On the side was grilled cauliflower loaded with garlic.  Absolutely delicious.
So now this makes two nights in a row that I have had “girl nights” where my friends, knowing about this Bounty project, have produced some delicious meals.  That coupled with having a good “chin wag” on both occasions.  Thank you Sue and Erika!
Nov. 12
B: Yogurt with berries.
L: Vegetables with chicken broth.
D: Veggies and roast chicken.

Marney 4

Nov.13
B:  Oats soaked in whey overnight, blueberries, maple syrup.
L:  Leftover roasted  vegetables.
D:  Pot roasted pork shoulder (Horse Drawn Farm) in a red chile sauce, black beans (again Horse Drawn), roasted squash w/apple, sauteed chard and for dessert cajeta flan.
Now this was a meal!  I had a terrific time creating the chile sauce used to braise the pork.  I took chiles that I had dried this summer, toasted them and together with garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, a bit of chicken broth created this sauce.  The pork was sublime if I do say so myself!  Our guests enjoyed it as well.  Nothing like getting together with good friends and sharing a meal.
Before:

Marney 5

After:

Marney 6

Dinner is served!

Marney 7

Nov. 14
B: Yogurt with fruit
L:  More chicken soup.  Really, how can you tire of a good thing?  This brings such warmth and nourishment.
D:  Leftover pork, squash, black beans and green salad.
So that was my week in food.  I enjoyed it tremendously and I am grateful to be able to share this with all of you.
Here is to the enjoyment of food and friends.
Don’t forget to thank a farmer!
See you next week.
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November 1-7, 2014

Marney Reynolds

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”    –  George Bernard Shaw
I am not sure if George was a cook.  One thing I’ve noticed about this island community we live on is that there are a lot of great cooks!  And naturally these cooks love food.   What an inspiration for me!  Not only that – there are a lot of great farmers out there providing us with an amazing assortment of delicious and nutritious options.  WOW!  We are so fortunate to have this at our fingertips.
At this juncture in my life, growing and cooking food are my passions.  I also love to fish and forage.  Eating as local as I can is another passion.  I believe it is the single most healthy thing I can do for myself, my family and friends, and this planet.  These days it is a progressive act not to mention a political statement.  If you don’t like the way this country is being lead around by the large “food conglomerates” then eat local and eat only whole foods, meaning very little or no packaged foods.  Vote with your food $$ for a more equanimous, healthy, and sustainable food system.  If you do choose to buy packaged food make sure you buy it from a responsible company that does not contribute to campaigns that deny your right to know what is in your food.  I am guessing that you already know this and do this!  Go to gmofreesjc.org to see more info on this.
The last 15 years, I’ve been involved with some pretty exciting political actions having to do with the environment and preserving the integrity of food.  In Seattle, I started “No Spray Zone” with a few of my neighbors, rejecting the state’s policy to aerially spray pesticides over populated areas not to mention local food gardens. Then in 2012, working with Ken and Kathryn, I, along with many others, contributed to the passing of GMO-Free San Juan County.  Yahoo!  And last year, 2013, I was the county liaison for Washington state’s GMO labeling Initiative 522 which narrowly lost by less than 2%.  By the way, San Juan County was one of five counties in the state to pass it!
Okay, enough of my soap-box rambling.  For this month of November, I aspire to contribute to the Bounty Food Experiment some of my thoughts on food, the cooking and eating of it, and a bit about what inspires me.  It is great to have this opportunity!  I have to tell you though that this first week I have been a bit nervous having read the last two contributors.  Their entries were wonderful, truly entertaining, and the food they prepared, so inviting.  I thought what could I possibly say that could add to what they have already done?  Well, perhaps I should just write about my own experiences – those in the garden, foraging/fishing, and of course cooking.  So here goes!
ALL (most) LOCAL!
I do have a fairly large garden dedicated to raising fruits and vegetables.  With the exception of protein foods, we pretty much eat from it year round.  We purchase our eggs, meat, and goat milk directly from the farmers on island.  I also have a Lopez grain share which gives us wheat for the bread that I bake.  Here is a photo of what came out of the garden this week –

marney 1 Add to this scene lettuce, celeriac, more chicory, chard, fennel, artichokes, kale, parsnips, carrots, beets, and scallions.  If the weather holds, that is if we don’t have a hard freeze, I’ll be able to continue harvesting most of these till the end of November and maybe beyond.  We do have a greenhouse and currently there are the last of the peppers, mustards and lettuces in varying stages of size.  In the root cellar, we have lots of apples, potatoes, peppers, and squash along with jars of jam and chutneys, fruit syrups, jars of tomatoes, canned chicken stock, and a variety of pickles.  I also have some cheeses down there that should be ready in time for Thanksgiving.  The pantry holds dried goods (beans, corn, apples, figs, plums, and pears) and the freezers (never did I think I would be the owner of 2 freezers!) have fish, some local meat, berries, peaches and lots-o-veggies!  And last but not least, since I receive goat milk on a weekly basis, I am now making cheese and yogurt. marney 2

I think now would be a good time to list the “food exceptions” that Page and I decided on:
Bread Flour
Butter, Milk, Cream
Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil & Vinegars
Maple Syrup
Spices
Oats
Almonds
Coffee
Oops!  I almost forgot to list red wine.
We thought long and hard about these items and decided our participation in the Bounty Food Project was not an endurance test but a way to take a good look at just how much of our food does come from off island.  With every meal I prepare I get a better understanding of this.  As you can see I have not included other grains.  We do eat them on a regular basis but not this month!

marney 3

Our Meals For The Week…
Nov. 1st
Breakfast : Granola with yogurt and berries
Lunch:  Left over beef hash, salsa
Dinner:  Squash Bisque with apple confit, green salad, bread, apple/maple syrup/thyme crostata
Nov. 2nd
B: “Dutch Baby” with marionberry syrup and strawberry/rhubarb compote
L:  Squash bisque, salad, bread
D: Potato/fennel gratin, roasted salmon, sauteed broccoli with garlic
Nov. 3rd
B: Cooked oats soaked overnight in whey (left over from cheese making), berry medley, cream
L:  Celeriac soup, green salad
D: Ribolita soup, bread with goat cheese, vegetable salad
Nov. 4th
B:  Poached eggs w/toast and jam
L:  More Ribolita (even better the 2nd day!)
D:  Pan fried oysters (local) served over lightly sauteed mustard greens, baked potato w/ scallions and yogurt, green salad
  I would have taken a photo of this dish but we were so excited to eat these that I wasn’t fast enough with the camera!  They were incredibly delicious!
  Some friends invited me to help out with cleaning their oyster bags and so I went over to MacKaye Harbor, helped with the maintenance of the oysters, and was rewarded with enough of these beauties to make dinner.  So simple, so good.
Nov. 5th
B: Granola, fruit, yogurt
L: Warm veggie salad, poached egg
D: Pappardelle pasta, ragu, green salad, fresh baked bread with goat cheese
I made the pasta using about 30% Lopez wheat.  The ragu was made with local beef and pork and our tomatoes, simmered all day – it was heaven!
marney 4
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November, 2014

Marney Reynolds

Born and raised in Seattle I was surrounded by farms, fields, and water.  My grandparents had a farm raising chickens and turkeys.  There were apple and pear fields near my home and my father introduced me to fishing when I was 6.  I think that is also when I caught my first salmon.  We always had a garden where we lived and when I finally hit grad school, to save my sanity, I put in my first garden.  That is when I really started to appreciate what it took to provide food for the table and how best to utilize it.  I discovered I loved to grow things and I loved to cook!

After teaching art at WWU, being a studio artist, working in Japan, building and finishing furniture, getting married to the best man in the universe (fondly known on Lopez as Dr. Dump), running a graphic design business, becoming involved with local politics, I figured out what I really wanted to do.  The good news is I didn’t have to go far to achieve this dream and Page was very willing to move his business.  What I came to recognize was how much I wanted to grow food, serve my community, continue with environmental activism, and continue developing my cooking skills.  So here we are.  I know that I have been waiting all my life to live on this island.  And for the first time I can confidently say ~
I know I am home!
Marney w_quince

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OCTOBER – Suzanne Berry & Table (Amy) Stuzienko

Table, October 28, 2014:

I did it. I admit it- I cheated. Furthermore, I’m not sorry! It was a dreary Sunday; I’d just motored over from Waldron after three days of eating my cache of Lopez food. It rained on and off all day, the boat ride had chilled me to the bone and I sat alone in the Anacortes Ferry station counting my food rations before embarking on the second leg of my trip- a concert in Seattle. It was going to be a bit of a long day, and I couldn’t have done it without a bit of chemical assistance. The Anacortes ferry station served me the best bad coffee of my entire life; and man was it a ride. After weeks off the sauce my tolerance had flat lined. (The Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria, from the Bullocks had somewhat nebulous results.) What a game changer- totally fantabulous game changer catalyst to a great time in Seattle. Sadly that’s only the half of it. Part II of cheating came in the final moments in the city when my group ventured into the Theo factory store ergo endless organic limitless fair-trade infinite extra fancy repeated multiple rounds of many many s.a.m.p.l.e.s. As far as chocolate goes up here in the northernmost region of the continuous 48, you can’t get more local than from the factory. It seems only fair after packing 4 days worth of beans and wheat berries to replace the tantalizing homemade pizzas, cookies, and soups from Susan, not to mention the stops at aromatic foodie establishments where I nibbled not as our posse enjoyed the city. It took a bit of self discipline but I managed to restrain myself from the final morsels of Waldron yogurt to invest in the future of local food month. Since I’ve made several rounds of my new favorite snack, some batches of yogurt set more successfully than others, and they don’t taste quite as tart as the Waldron dairy, but it’s just so nice to add one more item to my cannon. This leads me to my next section- what does a locavore eat? To start I’ll catalogue today’s food- encyclopedia style- with in depth sourcing and creating details. I encourage you, blog reading Lopezians and non-Lopezian’s alike, to try some of this stuff. You’ll find yourself eating extra healthy, supporting local farmers, boosting local economy, saving money, reducing fuel emissions and your carbon footprint, learning old timey food skills, impressing your friends and neighbors, taking pride in calories rather than shaming them and best of all local food is fresher and tastier! Just ask anyone who attended the Harvest dinner on Saturday. Here we go. Breakfast 06:45 A sourdough Pancake smothered in Yogurt and Jam The pancake is just a spoonful of my starter off the counter, fried in butter. My starter is loose dough, equal parts of flour and water that I left out on the counter to catch a good “culture” of yeast and bacteria. Some call it a natural leaven, as starter’s primary function is to bake bread. Its flavor is nice and tangy so I know I got a good one.   To promote good starter health you need to double it just about every day. This means if you have 1cup of starter you need to add ½ cup flour and 1/2 cup water to it. Doing this you could end up with an awful lot of starter. Imagine your dog grows every time you feed him. This is where the pancake comes in. Before I feed the starter I feed myself. Quite the symbiotic relationship really, I get my filling local breakfast and my million bread making pets get theirs without overpopulating the counter top. The other options are to pitch it or bake constantly. The yogurt is made by heating Vera’s milk to desired temperature; I go with 125 to keep it raw, as I’ve read that it’s more nutritious that way. Then I allow it to cool to room temp (or 100 if you have a more thermophilic sort of yogurt). This part is excruciating, because it always seems to take forever. I’ve heard of setting the warm milk pot in an ice bath to speed things up, and plan to try that next time. Once it has cooled enough you can add your yogurt from last batch/Waldron/Nancy’s or wherever. General rule of thumb is a tablespoon or yogurt for every cup of milk. The last part is the trickiest. You need to find a warm, undisturbed area to leave it as it “sets.” If it gets too cold/hot/jostled you’ll end up with loose yogurt flavored goop, not nearly as fun. There’s tons of science, and I have more to learn all the time. One time I ended up with this cheese bottomed whey stuff- which ended up being fantastic in my eggs. The jam I made and canned over the summer with Crowfoot strawberries (or our black currents) and Old McCauley Farm honey. I can’t recall the exact quantities, but basically you just cook down your fruit, add honey fill your jars and hot pack can them. Those particular fruits naturally produce enough pectin that you don’t need to add any. They’re acidic enough that you don’t need to add any citric acid. Additionally honey’s an ancient preservative. Table-Collage

Clockwise, starting on the left:  Yours truly at my post; Some of our black currents. They make such an incredible jam; My fellow local Foodie beholding food glory; Cooking down Crowfoot strawberries.

Snack I 09:10 Steamed Milk and an Apple Working at the café has proven a bit of a challenge as I’m tempted daily with my most favoritest vice. I’ve been bringing Vera milk in with me and steaming it, hoping for some sort of placebo effect. The apple was a sweet gift from Mary Wondra. They’ve become my new favorite fruit (replacing mango) and are surprisingly filling. Our orchard is quite young, so the apples are few but GINORMOUS. The Asian pear haul has been fantastic, the three teenaged trees outside my little building drop more snacks than I can shake a stick at. Each variety is so different than the next. We’ve cider-ed, pie-ed, roasted and dehydrated them. I’m looking forward to have them through the winter. Lunch 12:06 Suzanne’s Bean Soup with my Bread, toasted The soup was made by my food companion, Suzanne, so I can’t say exactly what the process was, but the ingredients included dry beans, carrots, garlic, celery, and peppers from our garden, and salt from the sea. It’s been amazing having a friend to do this with. Anything one of us cooks, we quadruple, so we’ll both have meals ready to go. It’s very endearing. The other bonus is our different culinary styles, keeping the same ingredients from getting old. I’m more of a cake maker: potato cakes, zucchini cakes, pancakes, veggie burgers, etc; while she’s into soups, salads and dips. I made the bread using aforementioned starter. In addition to Horsedrawn’s Fortuna wheat, and water, this loaf had apples (our orchard), honey (McCauley), salt (Salish Sea) and almonds (our tree). My breads, tasty as they are, so far leave some room for improvement. Consequently I’m not quite comfortable preaching my methods for others to emulate. My loaves tend to rise sideways and be super dense. This could be the result of using 100% whole wheat, rather than a mix, not to mention they lack assistance from little yeast packets. Snack II 02:00 Pancake and Two eggs. So good at breakfast I just had to try one more! The eggs come from our backyard hens, who’ve sadly started to slow down significantly, just when we need them! About once a week I supplement our house of four with a dozen from Horsedrawn. Thanks again Ken and Kathryn! Snack III 05:00 Cup of yogurt with jam You’ll notice quite a few snacks. This is the new normal, being that I have the appetite of a high school football player but eat mostly low calorie vegetables. Things like butter and eggs have become crucial belly fillers. Folks have asked me if eating local has caused me to lose any weight. Quite the contrary in fact, I’m eating more than ever! And its aaaaaaaallllllllll fried in butter, seems we can’t seem to make the stuff fast enough. Suzanne and I are looking forward to March, having a five month gap to stockpile some home whipped dairy gold. Dinner 05:00 Tortillas with veggie mash and greens The tortillas I made very much like pancakes, adding Vera butter and sea salt, and resting a cast iron on the done side once the ’tilla has been flipped- for extra flatness. The veggie mash was comprised of roasted potatoes (this big beautiful purple things Blythe brought home from the Hummel House Garden), dry beans (from home garden), bell pepper and jalapenos (from home and Helen’s Farm via Libby-thanks!) Toward the end I threw in some tomatoes to juice things up a bit. The whole thing was topped with some of Christine’s greens (Lopez Harvest). Table 5

Sauces, Relishes, Jams, Chutneys, and Pickles

As you can see eating 100% local isn’t impossible, as I feared three weeks ago. It’s not even inconvenient really, so long as you don’t mind spending a lot more time cooking- which I don’t. That said eating this way means changing the way I live. I haven’t spent a dime on groceries at Blossom, beer at LVM, coffee at Isabel’s, lunch at Vortex, Cliff Bars at The South or libations at the Galley. All those dimes were transformed into times, time spent in the garden picking, at the library researching, and of course in the kitchen cooking. The occasion was one for me to learn and try so much. It has made me endlessly grateful, not only for the plethora of foods we have right here on island, but for those traveling from exotic corners of the globe, whose absence I have felt the past month. A few weeks ago I asked Suzanne if she felt the experience has changed her in any way. At the time we both were a bit befuddled by the idea. I’ve meditated on it a little bit and come up with something. For one, everything revolves around meal planning, even back in June. I feel like I’ve become incrementally aware of the struggle of humankind of yesteryear. I picture black and white photos of Lopezians, even just a couple generations back, before Costco, and ferries, and plastic, and GMOs, and big box brands, and Amazon, and food catalogs, intermodal shipping containers bringing peanut butter from Virginia, oranges from Florida, avocados from Mexico, coffee from Brazil, off season apples from New Zealand, fancy cheeses from Europe, chocolate from West Africa, bananas from Central America or olive oil from Italy. Having removed all the superfluous luxury items from my diet I felt like a sepia colored, wagon riding, butter churning woman of olden times. I lived a small piece of a world without ferry service, where we all go back to Doing It Yourself, and skills will fill your belly better than dollars. It was cool! Try it! Wow there’s just so much more I have to tell you! I have a bunch more recipes, anecdotes, notions and plans for March, but you’ll just have to check back then. Course I wouldn’t leave you hanging without some photos. Enjoy! Table 6

Just my two favorite people whipping up something good.

Table 7

Above and below:  Huge berry haul off to the freezer where we squirrel them away, and those pans of sauce are right on their heels.

Table 8 Table 9 (Above and below):  Peaches and Trambocino are long gone by now. Just thought I’d end on a mouthwatering note, get everybody all excited to go cook something local. Table 10

Suzanne, October 20, 2014:

For me, October is a month of gratitude and transitions. It’s the time of amazing harvests, putting up food for winter and enjoying beautiful meals with friends. As the days grow shorter, the long evenings offer time to chop and dry tomatoes, red peppers, corn and summer squash: to shell and sort dry beans, to bake bread and pie, to roast tomato sauce for freezing. IMG_5628 Table and I decided to eat exclusively Lopez food for this challenge, because our regular diet is already filled with local food, especially in the summer. This challenge offers me the chance to be more conscious about the food I’m eating. It makes me think before picking something up from the counter and eating it. It makes me take the time to prepare food several times a day. An unexpected benefit is that I find everything tastes extraordinarily good and I am grateful for each bite of food. This month we are transitioning from eating summer squash and green beans, basil pesto and large green salads to eating more dense foods like winter squash and dried beans, potatoes and broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Beets, carrots, tomatoes and tomato sauce, chard and kale continue to provide for us as we dive into fall. IMG_5681 IMG_5688 The first week of this diet was an adjustment. I was often hungry and my diet was pretty simple. I ate mostly vegetables and fruit and had to change my schedule in order to have food ready to eat several times a day. As the weeks have gone on, Table and I have been more coordinated, preparing larger quantities of food so we have leftovers and enough food to share with friends and at potlucks. Now I am back to feeling full as we share bread made from “catching” yeast from the air, quiche, apple pie, blueberry pumpkin bread, bean dip, roasted eggplant, yogurt, bean and vegetable soup, potato leek soup, stir fried veggies, toast with butter and jam. bread In so many ways, we are rich. We have local wheat, for wheat berries and flour. We have salt dried from sea water, oregano and mint, rosemary and sage, parsley and cilantro, hot and sweet peppers for seasoning. We have eggs from our chickens and milk from Vera, which provides us with butter and yogurt. We have apples and Asian pears, frozen blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, currant and strawberry jams made with local honey. We have plum sauce and plum wine from our shiro plums. We have Asian pear cider and apple cider. We have almonds from our tree and hazelnuts from Levi and Ronni’s orchard. We have mushrooms wild harvested. We have onions and garlic and winter squash. We have dried plums and currants, dried corn and peppers, dried squash and tomato. We have a garden full of vegetables even as we head into the cold, rainy season. Table works at Horse Drawn and brings home extra vegetables like eggplant, more red peppers, carrots and potatoes. While Table is vegetarian, I have chicken and waygu beef in the freezer for occasional meat. I am grateful for friends with gardens and farms and orchards, who eat a local diet as a regular part of life. I am grateful for a beautiful garden and orchard and food dehydrator and freezer. I’m grateful to Pamela for accompanying us on this journey and for making us quiche. I’m grateful for lunches at school where I can eat daily local lunch with salad greens, chard, kale, cucumbers, carrots, peppers and occasional roasted squash. I’m grateful to all the local farmer who feed us beautiful healthy food. I’m aware that if all Lopez residents were to eat only local, all the time, we would need to make changes so that there was enough food for all of us. How differently we would relate to foraging and farming and food! IMG_5674 IMG_5685

Table, October 10, 2014:

Hey there little blogski, I haven’t forgotten about you. All the reader feedback as I bump around the island has been so nice. Thanks folks for your kind words, sagacious food advice, and enterprising encouragement.  One buddy said, “You’re doing this for all of us!” No man is an island; islanders know this better than anyone.  Having Suzanne as my food partner, Ken and Kathryn as my employers, Blythe as my personal motivator and Pamela as our private chef have been a huge help in the endeavor to eat local. As it works out, every other day someone spends a few hours cooking and fills the fridge.  We slowly rapidly hack through it and then the next person has a go. It’s very communal and utilitarian. Dad would be proud.  I come home to beans soaking, they see bread rising, and we all make an effort to whir up the butter, bring in the eggs/almonds/squash/what-have-you, and then actually eat it all. The food fever has struck our entire house and friend family. That’s not to say it was easy and seamless from the get go. The first 2 days I thought only of food. When a friend asked, “how’s the local food thing going?” I responded, “It sucks, I’m hungry constantly.”  It didn’t matter what or how much I ate, I was constantly insatiably famished.  I ate egg after egg, and was so “starved” that I watched the beans as they cooked.  One moment I’m not so proud of; I was walking through the garden and saw one remaining ear of sweet corn, overlooked from our earlier harvest. All the rest of the corn had already been eaten or preserved. I checked over each shoulder, thought, “We’ll need this more in March” and ravenously tore through the husk and vaporized it. I went through the garden that day like a stampede of teenagers after football practice, mowing raspberries, tomatoes, even dried dry beans. Part of me was actually worried about making it. HA! Now we can barely eat our food fast enough! We’ve been daydreaming about apple pies, pierogies, and lavender honey ice cream. My world flip flopped from a series of food doors closing to one of endless foodsibilities! After all, Einstein said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

T1

Case and point: Fruit Leathers aka dehydrated smoothie.

Well now that I’ve updated you, I’d like to hop back in my journal again, since it relates. I swear it relates! Food Log-Starbase 1 September 17, 2014 14:45 P.R.O.T.E.I.N. It’s an overcast mid-afternoon, mid September. It’s a Wednesday- my day off- and the first sprinkly day of a predicted few. The harbinger of fall. I’ve seen a decline and shift in the breed of tourists at the coffee shop. Despite our summery 80something afternoons, the brisk mornings and nights tell tale of winter creeping in around the corner.  After a long manic summer the island breathes a sigh of relief. Kids are back in school, colds are spreading, adults are finally trying to get a little sleep. I find myself exhausted, flopping onto the bed in wee dark hours of…WHAT?! 8:30? That’s just not right. And yet, the work ‘aint over, it’s just begun! My leisurely day off began about 7:30 this morning when I called Horsedrawn to see if the hay was in. “Yep,” Kathryn’s voice- clearly upandatem for hours- rang over the phone. By the time I got there a dozen cars- affiliated with roughly 20 farmers/homesteaders/generally awesome Lopezians- were already there.  Like a busy ant colony folks were unloading the several tons of hay, one 130# bale at a time.  Ken, Dave, Eric and Kenny stood aboard Mt Alfalfa- aka Hank’s tuck- loading bales from multiple directions onto a hay elevator which spanned into the barn loft. Audrey and Michelle directed the bales off either to one stack on the north side of the barn where Rob, Andre and friends hauled em into order. Or else they sent the bales forward onto the tandem elevator which carried them to the center of the barn.  Here they were stacked -by Julie, Norm, Sally, Tahoma and yours truly- into two piles that eventually joined in the middle. Kim and Kathryn flitted to and fro surrounded by a small cloud of dogs, crunching numbers and sending folks off to destinations island round.  In 4 hours it was done. It was a sweet and beautiful scene, a great example of the unique cooperation and camaraderie of Lopez Island farmers. I’ve been growing food and working as a farmhand for 5 years, in 3 states, at half a dozen farms, not to mention all the quickie volunteer stints- and I’ve never witnessed a community of farmers so intensely invested in one another.  Just a few days ago I was helping our Cow-op move Vera home. Scott Meyers, of Sweetgrass, drove by, pulled over and helped us coax the reluctant mother and her newborn bull calf into the trailer. (A feat which took MUCH longer than anticipated and involved a record breaking number of cow pies and at least one shock of hotwire.) He’d interrupted his day to help “-Because it looked interesting.” It’s these selfless, hardworking, hard as nails bunch of sweethearts that make local food challenges a possibility, which is my segue to the part about food.  Today- all my thoughts are on protein. Alfalfa the magical legume that transforms dirt, water and sun into protein-rich (intensely heavy) green cow crack(while simultaneously fixing nitrogen into the soil at depths of up to 30 feet with its impressive sprawling roots. Go ahead, say “WOW!”). After I left the farm I zipped home to secure MY winter protein source. The rain started and I skipped past the laundry line and went straight for the dry beans- named aptly for how they are best stored. 

T2

Steven Wrubleski graciously kicked down several varieties to me after Ralph and I helped him clean seed this past winter. So now these guys are total Lopez heirlooms and I was NOT about to let them down. By now they’re all hanging upstairs in the shop. I went ahead and grabbed Suzanne’s garbanzos too; fun to harvest because they grow in what I believe is referred to botanically as a raceme. Like this.  

T3

(The drawing in my journal was much cuter) I was able to make an ‘O’ with my thumb and index finger around each stem and happily slide all the pods off into my basket. Garbanzos- a new crop for me- are neat because in each pod there’s just one to two beans and a bunch of air.  Each time one touches or moves a plant they rattle. After putting up all the beans I checked the enormous sunflower heads inverted from the loft. Curing nicely: no mold, no pesky poaching pests.  I’ve read that once they’re dry I can roll them out like pie crust to free the hulls from the seeds, then winnow the meat. Purpose: Sunbutter in March! Protein source #2, Update: FAILURE! A bunch of the heads eventually molded. The ones I did salvage DID NOT crunch apart easily under a rolling pin. It was painstaking removing them, but sort of worth it as it totally beautified my sourdough loaf. If any more survive the mold I think I’ll skip the hulling part and just sprout them. It might be nice to have a crunchy green lil’ something in March. Our most anticipated protein source is the almonds tree which produced, relatively speaking, a bumper crop this year.  The outer hulls have begun to split- an indicator of ripeness. Sometime in the next couple weeks we’ll shake em down. Update: Today Blythe and I climbed the trees and attempted to shake down the rest of the almonds. We also attempted to simultaneously make monkey noises. Both attempts were more or less successful. We have what looks to be a fair amount of almonds curing in the strawbale’s greenhouse across from the quinoa. The inner hulls are incredibly strong. We’ve managed to break them with heavy rocks- but tend to shatter the meat as well. I’ve ordered an industrial strength nutcracker for the house, but have dreams of attempting the internet’s suggestion involving plywood and vehicles.  Not so different from sunflower advice I suppose.

The final protein source is egg thanks to our 15 or so hens and ducks. I also have to figure out our game plan for the quinoa, a grainy protein superfood that’s also super saponified. Anyone have any super suggestions? I’ve heard something about repeated rinsing involving a Cuisinart. Thanks for reading -Table PS. Tomorrow morning I depart for Waldron for several days, and guess what… I PACKED LOCAL! Crazy right? Of course I can’t forget the photos! Sweller and I harvested bunch of asian pears and made cider over at David Zap’s. T4

T5

On a final note, I’ve been nipping at the shiro plum wine from summer and I must say, IT’S NOT BAD! T6 _________________________________________________________________________

Table, October 2, 2014:

Hello October! I always have enjoyed October. The sunny days, foggy mornings, brisk nights, and rainy spats all juxtaposed against a background of color. Things start to crunch underfoot; as the month wears on smells get progressively mustier. When the month starts it’s all shorts and tomatoes, then by the end it’s winter squash and beanies. October is like the reverse of Lion-Lamb March. That said, generally for me months just sort of start happening, with no pomp or circumstance. I’m not dreading or hopeful on their approach. October’s no exception, except this year! I’ve been thinking about this particular October for quite some time, since June! Here’s an excerpt from my journal: What I’m hoping to eventually get into is Local Food Month an experiment? Competition? Event? Nay… CHALLENGE! put on by the Locavores and LCLT to get 12 folks to each eat 100% Lopez grown/sourced food for the entire month of their choosing. Suzanne and I are teaming up and doing October (easy) and March (hell). While they’re both a ways off, the challenge has sung along silently as my subconscious theme song these past few weeks since I’ve decided to take it on. The coffee I sling at work, and cheese I only have to slice to eat- all seem like endangered modern luxuries with a ticking expiration date. Some things I’ll be saying goodbye to: So long avocados. I love you! Don’t ever change! My darling coffee…How can I ever express the connection-the deep sense of existence and enrichment you effortlessly supplement into my every day. Oranges, while I adore you and your juice-it never felt quite right up here in the 49th anyway. I’m sorry Goodbye. Then of course there’s the stuff I can have, but must suddenly work for. No olive oil- but Butter. I milk about once a week, and if I skim the cream, get maybe enough to make maybe almost about 4tblsp butter. This is from my 12#/1.5gal nearly skim LaBelle milk. It’s a good thing for her she’s such a nice cow. So that needs to get sorted out, since I’m going to need a vegetarian way to cook my eggs- my primary source of protein as I wave by to cheese, peanuts, and tofu.(Note: I have since started milking Vera, who has exponentially better milkfat content, so this fear has been assuaged.) Which leads me to my next conundrum: Will this be the end of my 17 years of vegetarianism? Dun Dun Dunnnnn… I have another 2 vintage journal reflections to post after this one, but will space them out, could be fun reflection time for us all! To add to the list of things I miss, already, 1 day in, I’d like to reiterate first and foremost COFFEE! I predict my next month at the coffee shop will be markedly challenging for me, and I’ll have to exercise self restraint like never before. I trust that ultimately I’ll grow a greater appreciation for my vice, and that this is good for us. It is. It must be! I also miss PB and bread, realizing now what a lazy eater I’ve been. It might have been nice to get a sourdough started all bubblified in anticipation, ready to go right at the start, but hindsight is 20 20. There’s some Lopez wheat flour and water on the counter now, with a little if the yeasty crud from my wine thrown in for a good measure. Maybe it’ll kick start my starter. If it works we can call it the kickstarterer! If it fails I’ll feed it to the chickens. The challenge has challenged me to expand my culinary mind. When I stand in the kitchen and look around at the chocolate and sliced bread of yesteryear, my stomach tightens and I worry that I may starve, or worse…Cheat. Then I go out into the garden and fill my shirt with broccoli, eggs, and squash. I see greens and beets and seeds and nuts and cucumbers, and munch raspberries on my way back to the house thinking how I better get a basket, and when will I find time to cook it all. Well I’ve flapped my gums long enough here. All this food talk has made me hungry, think I’ll go home and cook up some veggie burgers. (Beans, wheat berries, egg, flour, salt, beets, carrots= all sourced HERE!) If anyone has a local cheese source/recipe I’d love to talk to you! Cheers Table Photo Section! Table1 Table2 The first photo is my new favorite source of local food: the elusive Prince mushroom, agaricus augustus, reared its beautiful almondy head in non-other than our chicken coop, and we’ve been gifted multiple flushes of this amazing mushroom over the past few weeks. What a treat! The second photo is salt harvest from our very own Salish sea, a short paddle away. A single gallon makes quite a bit, and as crazy as it sounds, this salt is saltier than normal salt. table4 table3 Both the corn and tomatoes have been dehydrated. The corn will be polenta come march, and the tomato chips taste like candy! Here are some fun photos from work last week! table5 Ken driving Dave and Jim. Kathryn sorting sheep. table7 Prior to haircut. _________________________________________________________________________ The second month of our Lopez Bounty Experiment has begun with an adventurous duo—Table and Suzanne. You are really going to enjoy their exploration this month. Here’s an introduction to the duo.

Table and Suzanne

Table and Suzanne

Table: I grew up back in beautiful Pennsylvania, in the suburbs, nourished by microwavable mac and cheese, and frozen pizza.  My first role model was Lisa Simpson, and in 4th grade, when she went vegetarian, I did too.  It was a bit of a challenge in my culture, and I had no choice but to start cooking or starve.  As time went on, I developed an interest in food and decided to ditch my career at Pizza Hut for a health food store.  There, I became acquainted with exotic new concepts like organic, kale, Newman’s Own PB cups, and nutritional yeast, to name a few.  Naturally this in turn led to agriculture, and by the time I moved out to Lopez, last spring, I’d worked on half a dozen farms, installed just as many gardens, attended classes, taught classes, community organized, independently published, cooked, canned, and dehydrated my brains out. Just kidding, brains are fine, more or less.   Now I work at Horse Drawn Farm and Isabel’s. I’m a volunteer EMT, like my housemates and inspirations, Pamela and Suzanne, the latter of whom is being my local food challenge partner. I tend to spend the majority of my free time preserving food, so we don’t die when we try this again in March, but I also enjoy drawing, writing, rock climbing and playing with the dog. Suzanne: I first became aware of the power of eating locally about 13 years ago. I watched a documentary called “Life and Debt” and from that got the idea to eat only local food for a year, as a political action and personal learning. At that time, I was working and building our house, had a small garden and was ill prepared when I started the year. It was a year of extreme appreciation for everything I ate, and for the people who grew, raised, caught or harvested each item. It raised my awareness of how fragile life is if there’s no grocery store to go to when a crop fails. I felt more connected to the rest of the world and to the people with whom I shared meals.  Since that year, I have progressively grown more of the food for our household. We now have a large garden at home, and regularly choose to eat local food. I also work in the garden at the Lopez School to help provide local organic food for the school lunch program.  I am excited to share this experience of eating exclusively Lopez food with Table. She has fun ideas and will venture into food realms I haven’t considered. Here we go!

Table

Table

Photo of Suzanne with fellow school gardener Valerie Yukluk

Photo of Suzanne with fellow school gardener Valerie Yukluk

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SEPTEMBER – Elizabeth Simpson & Henning Sehmsdorf 

S&S Homestead Farm

 September 22-28, 2014 (Week 4)

The Daily Table: Monday: We had a visit by Linda Lyshall (district manager, San Juan Islands Conservation District) and Candace Gossen, a PhD in ecological sciences newly hired by the CD as energy program coordinator. In collaboration with the Energy Leadership Team and Islands Energy, and sponsored by Opalco, the CD is engaged in a multi-year project to supply public schools in San Juan County with solar energy through community investment, and develop a long-term San Juan County sustainable energy plan (see http://sanjuanislandscd.org/energy/). The purpose of Linda and Candace’s visit to S&S Homestead was to learn about our farm-based systems as solutions for holistic water, energy, and food production and education. For more on our rain water catchment system impounding 750,000 gallons annually, see http://www.sshomestead.org/sites/all/files/file/Solar%20Micro-Irrigation.pdf, and on our photovoltaic system producing 16-20 kw annually, see http://www.opalco.com/?s=henning+sehmsdorf. Dinner: Sirloin steak, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli (all ingredients, except for salt and spices, from the farm) Tuesday: Thinly sliced beef liver fried in olive oil and butter, sauteed onions, green peppers, canned tomatoes (all from the farm), served over white rice (Blossom). Freshly picked strawberries and Asian pears (farm). For liver recipe, go to: http://www.sshomestead.org/sites/all/files/file/ChapterFour_1_10.pdf. Wednesday: Swedish meat balls and roasted carrots, beets and onions, over mashed potatoes flavored with salt, garlic, sweet cream (meat: ground lamb, pork, beef; vegetables, onions, garlic,  herbs, potatoes; cream from the farm; salt and spices from Blossom). For meatballs recipe, go to: http://www.sshomestead.org/sites/all/files/file/ChapterFour_1_10.pdf. Thursday: Baking Day! After baking the usual sourdough rye bread (using farm-raised rye flour), we splurged on baking pizza in our outdoor oven and invited some special folks, including beekeepers who helped us get bees this year: Eric Hall and Elf Faye, and Irene and Zack Blomberg, and their daughter; and cheese makers: Andre Entermann and his wife, Elizabeth Metcalf, from Sunfield Farm, and Bruce Dunlop and his wife, Debbie Young, from Lopez Farm; plus some folks from our church, together with our apprentices, Adam and Deanna, and intern, Janie. The organic white flour for the pizza came from Blossom, but the cheese and vegetable toppings, as well as the fixings for the green salad, and the fresh fruit for the dessert pie, were from the farm. The beer was purchased at LVM. Pizza and oven Friday: Cream of cauliflower soup made with beef broth, milk, celery, onion, garlic and, of course, cauliflower (all from the farm), served with a slice of sourdough rye bread, butter, and a glass of wine. Saturday: Texas Hash made from hamburger, green pepper, onion, tomatoes (all ingredients home-grown), baked in a loaf pan together with rice (from Blossom). Sunday: Our main meal on this day was brunch rather than dinner. Henning went fishing with Dan again, but with the sun rising later, the fish were not ready to rise yet, and the fishermen did not catch any. Instead, Dan and Terry Drahn, their daughter Anha-Kate, and her friend, Ashi Bartolucci, came to church with us, and then to our house for a meal of egg, potato, zucchini, green and red pepper, onion and bacon frittata, served with sourdough bread, butter, fruit bread, Asian pears, and tea. How sweet it is to break bread with good friends on a sunny autumn afternoon in your garden! Other food-related activities on the farm: High School Farm Class (“Farm, Food & Sustainability”): On Monday, we worked with the students in the orchard, harvesting apples and pears, and Henning explained the analogies between the biodynamic practice of using homeopathic dosages of certain fermented vegetable-based composts, and the practices of Chinese medicine based on the idea of the chi. On Thursday, we continued instructing the students in how to turn sheep fleeces into spun wool, carding the wool, and spinning with drop spindles, which we first built in the workshop. Next they will learn how to use a spinning wheel, and after they have spun sufficient yarn, how knit or crochet. High school class in workshop Whole-Diet CSA: Chard, corn, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, leeks, parsley, rosemary, eggs, meat, bread, and flowers. CSA Share Indian corn: This week, we harvested enough Indian corn to keep us in corn meal and polenta until next year. Our favorite recipe, corn griddle cakes, involves soaking the corn in water and soda for 48 hours, cooking it until soft, and blending the corn, sauted bacon and onion, eggs, some flour, salt, pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes, in a food processor, and browning the soft batter in a skillet. Yum! corn Rye: After completing subsoiling and removing tens of tons of rocks from the two-acre field last week, this Tuesday, we seeded winter rye and spread fish bone fertilizer to make up for the destruction of the soil fertility by mechanical cultivation. The one-acre barley field harvested last month was left in stubble and weeds as a cover crop, which will be plowed under next spring and planted to oats or wheat. Given the alternation of warm weather, sun and rain, and sun again, the rye seedlings were already two inches out of the ground by Saturday. Wheat: On Saturday, we seeded two smaller plots, one 3,500 square feet, the other one tenth of that, with two varieties of winter wheat. The first variety, MDM, had been released by the WSU wheat breeder, Dr. Steven Jones (now director at Mt. Vernon Agricultural Research Station) several years back after he successfully crossed pre-Green Revolution varieties to improve productivity without resorting to modern gene-splicing involving radiation or chemicals to induce mutations. The second variety, Darwin, an heirloom seed in the public domain, came to us through O.J. Lougheed, who is well known on Lopez Island as an expert on ancient wheat seeds that antedate the kind of modern crossbreeding that has created significant changes in the rate of gluten proteins in modern wheat that account for the explosion of inflammatory diseases (such as gluten intolerance and celiac disease) since the 1960s. Over several years of growing the seeds, we have bulked up the small quantities received, and by next year will have enough to produce sufficient whole wheat of the kind that will not give us, or our CSA customers, the dreaded “wheat belly.” Succession planting: This is the time of year when we harvest all manner of edible crops and replace them for the winter with cover crops (typically winter rye, vetch, and clover) in order to replenish the soil nutrients, add organic matter, and protect the soil surface from damaging winds and rain. After we turn the cover crops into the soil next spring, the beds will be ready for the next season without any further fertilizer other than the biodynamic sprays, which are really not fertilizers, but homeopathically stimulate the soil metabolism. Parting thoughts: As this month of blogging for the Bounty Food Experiment comes to an end, we reflect on the more than four decades the family has been growing food for our daily table. As long as Elizabeth and Henning had full time jobs teaching in Seattle, we raised fruit and vegetables year round on less than one quarter acre on Lopez Island, and in the summer had chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits, and ran a cow-calf pair on a neighbor’s land in exchange for help with the haying. During the last 20 years, the farm has grown to 50 acres and has become highly diversified, committed to the idea that the agricultural enterprise should not only be economically viable but produce its own inputs: food, feed, fertility, energy, water, wood. Our experience shows us that small-scale homesteading is a wonderful way to ensure personal, community and ecological health. How many small farms like ours would it take to feed every man, woman, and child on Lopez Island? henning

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Elizabeth Simpson & Henning Sehmsdorf 

S&S Homestead Farm

 September 15-21, 2014 (Week 3)

The Daily Table: Monday:  Over the weekend, we had a visit from a young woman, Sylvan Zimmerman, a former co-worker of Adam’s at Wintergreen Farm in Noti, Oregon (before he came S&S Homestead to serve a two-year apprenticeship in biodynamic agriculture). Over the years, Sylvan had discovered that too many small-scale farmers did not make it financially because they lacked skills to keep good records or think in economic terms; so now she is taking a break from farm work to earn certification as a public accountant at Portland State University. “I want to learn how to farm smarter,” she said, “and I want to teach other young farmers those skills.” Smart indeed! For dinner, we had leek and potato soup (besides the vegetables, the soup featured beef broth, butter, fresh and sour cream, plus herbs – all from the farm), together with a slice of home-made sour dough rye bread and butter. For the recipe, see The S&S Homestead Food Book at  http://www.sshomestead.org/Publications (water color illustrations by Kelley Palmer-McCarty, 2009). PastedGraphic-1 Tuesday: On Tuesday, we had another visitor, Kelly O’Hearn, livestock manager at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, New York, a 400-acre, diversified, biodynamic farm established in 1972 to support a Waldorf school offering early childhood education through high school, and environmental education to the public (see www.hawthornevalleyassociation.org). Kelly was interested in our farm management combining economic and educational programs and goals, and we discovered many similarities as well as differences arising from the differences in scale. Dinner featured rib eye beef roast with roasted potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, and herbs (all from the farm), plus just-picked strawberries. Strawberries 071 Wednesday: Wednesday was again the apprentices’ night to cook, which they did in great style: meat loaf, collards, sweet corn, roasted potatoes, yams and other root vegetables, herbs (everything home-grown).  Thursday: Baking Day and Henning’s turn to cook dinner: chuck roast simmered   with onions, carrots and roasted garlic in a cast iron pot in the out-of-doors baking oven, together with steamed beets in a sweet-sour sauce made from home-made apple cider vinegar, flavored with cloves, salt, a pinch of sugar and thickened with a little cornstarch (recipe found in Joy of Cooking, 1975, p. 290), and served over mashed yams flavored with garlic, salt and butter. Followed by a green salad, garnished with tomatoes and cucumber (all ingredients except salt, cornstarch, sugar, and olive oil for the salad, grown on the farm). Friday: Strips of left-over roast served in a fricassee sauce made from the yam broth from the day before thickened with a touch of flour, butter, egg yolk, and cream, and seasoned with a splash of white wine (from a German recipe from Henning’s family), mashed potatoes flavored with cream, salt, and garlic, and green salad (all ingredients, except salt and wine, from the farm). Saturday: As almost every year for the last two decades, we attended the end-of-the-summer juggle fest at Carol Steckler and Al Lorenzen’s  Hummel House to greet neighbors and friends. Unfortunately Carol and Al were absent (on an unscheduled trip for a family reunion), but dinner was delicious as always: grilled salmon, baked potatoes, garlic-and-butter bread, green salad, all ingredients sourced locally. Sunday: At dawn, Dan Drahn and Henning went fishing again at Hummel Lake: fish rising to feed on insects under low fog banks hovering over the silvery water; a heron gliding mysteriously through the still air like an ancient dinosaur; finally, the sun bursting blindingly over the trees to the east. As luck would have it, Henning landed a handsome trout, large enough to feed us for dinner. It struggled against the cruel hook and then lay still at our feet after Dan quickly pierced its brain with a sharp knife. At night, we fried the fish in butter and lemon juice, and served it with new potatoes, green salad (all ingredients, except the lemon and the fish, of course, from the farm), and a glass of white wine. Other food-related activities on the farm: Whole-Diet CSA for the week: Zucchini, crookneck squash, corn, leeks, beets, kale, collards, eggplant, strawberries, hamburger, 2 pounds long-fermented sourdough rye bread, and a dozen eggs. High school farm class (“Farm, Food, Sustainability”): on Monday, the class picked up rocks in the two-acre field to be planted to winter rye this coming week, and learned about the historical glaciers which covered all of the San Juan Islands some 10,000 years ago, leaving behind the rocky debris characteristic of our island soils; on Thursday, the class learned to use hand carders to prepare sheep fleece for the next step, which is spinning using drop spindles to be constructed by the students in the farm workshop. Bees: As we wrote last week, our bees are housed in a Top Bar Hive, which means that you can’t add a super on top when the hive seems crowded with a growing population. Watching the bees filling the entire hive with combs, and seeing a large cluster of bees at the entrance furiously fanning, we wondered whether lack of space might induce them to swarm this late in the season, but were assured by a beekeeper with more experience than we have that the massing of fanning bees at the entrance was merely the sign that they were ventilating the hive, and that comb construction would subside once the hive was completed filled. Whew! What a relief! PastedGraphic-2 The Grapes are ripening in the warm days of September, but will not reach mature flavor until the first nip of frost. We usually eat them fresh, but because the harvest is so plentiful this year, we will not only make grape jelly, but try to desiccate some into small raisins, and ferment a portion into grape juice. PastedGraphic-3 We harvested twenty pounds of Orcas and Rescue Pears from two small trees in their second year of fruiting. Both trees are heirloom varieties originating in the San Juan Islands. We are also in the process of harvesting several hundred pounds from a large Asian pear tree planted many years ago. To deal with the plenitude, we will dry a lot of the Asian pears in a dehydrator.

Our Jersey bullFreyr (named after the Nordic god of fertility), was injured in the act of mating, hurting his spine. We segregated the animal, hoping he might recover or else be slaughtered, but he died soon. We will remember him for his gentle beauty which survives in the calves he sired over the last two years.

henning 047

Until we can raise a replacement Jersey bull, Freyr’s duties were taken over by Sigurd, a bull from a line of Simmental-Angus crosses we have been breeding on the farm for some twenty-five years. Sigurd is only a little over a year old but quite eager to prove his mettle, as he did yesterday, when one of the dairy cows, a Jersey named Circe came into standing heat.

DSC_8473

“Sigurd” (photo by Summer Moon)

Elizabeth Simpson & Henning Sehmsdorf

S&S Homestead Farm

September 7-14, 2014 (Week 2)

Sunday: We attend Lutheran services at Center Church, but Judith, who comes from an evangelical congregation in Germany, prefers the Community Church, which has an active youth group, led by youth pastor, Isaac Berg. This Sunday evening, Isaac brought seven young men and women to the farm. Judith made German potato salad, and we cooked hamburgers on the grill (all ingredients, except the mustard and buns, from the farm). After dinner, the kids played ball in the pasture and then sang their hearts out around the fire. Monday: Friday through Wednesday, we enjoyed the visit of Dr. Anna Ritter, an immunologist from the University of Wisconsin, with whom we discussed a potential research project investigating place-specific immunities – human, animal, and ecological – in self-sufficient, closed, symbiotic farm organisms. The economic advantages of growing your own food have long been obvious to us, but over the years we have also observed an increase in the overall health and disease resistance of the people living here, as well as of the animals, plants and soils. Perhaps an immunological assessment of the whole farm system is a way to quantify that observation. –  On Monday, Judith and Anna followed an invitation to take part in a Harvest Moon Celebration on Swallow’s Ranch. Elizabeth and Henning took the opportunity to relax and eat out at the Bay Cafe. Tuesday: Slow-and-long-simmered meat broth made from left-over ham bone, carrots, celery, herbs and salt (all from the farm except the salt, bought from Blossom); farm-produced lima beans soaked overnight and cooked in the broth, served over organic white rice (Blossom). Dessert: pralines brought by Anna from Wisconsin. Wednesday: Dinner was cooked by the apprentices: sauteed hamburger and stir-fried broccoli, onion, egg plant, green and red peppers, corn, cabbage, kale, and herbs (all from the farm), served over organic white rice (Blossom). Dessert: Fresh strawberries just picked from the field. Thursday: Baking Day! Farm-grown rye, long-fermented to digest the gluten into harmless peptides easily digested in the human gut. Rye bread Even people with gluten intolerance can eat this bread without gastric discomfort! Henning just completed an article on the cultural failure behind the rising rates of gluten intolerance in the western world (to be published in Biodynamics: Rethinking Agriculture, this fall). For recipes of our rye and other breads, see our farm website at http://www.ChapterSeven: Bread-S&S Homestead. Dinner: Organ meat again, this time beef heart, lardooned with smoked bacon, placed in the Römertopf, cooked in the bread oven, and served over mashed potatoes and green salad (all ingredients from the farm). Friday: Pork chops, rice (Blossom) and mixed salad. Saturday: Dan Drahn and Henning went fishing at Hummel Lake hoping to catch some trout to fry in a little butter and serve with fried new fingerling potatoes, green salad, and a bottle of beer, but while Dan succeeded, Henning did not, and so we had meat loaf, baked potatoes and carrots instead. All ingredients from the farm. Other Food-Related Activities on the Farm The Whole-Diet CSA this week was comprised of kale, carrots, leeks, potatoes, green and red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, sourdough rye bread, hamburger, and eggs. Fall planting included setting out winter onion, leek, and fennel seedlings. We also stopped watering the trellised dry beans –  heirloom snow cap, lima and Scarlet Runner – the first two of which we got from the Lopez Seed Savers’ group years ago, the latter from a fellow farmer on Orcas Island.  Last year we produced nearly one hundred pounds of shelled dry beans in a 150 foot row and hope for the same bounty this year. Beans are a major winter food staple and chock-full of nutrients, rich in protein, iron, calcium and B vitamins, high in fiber and contain virtually no fat. The soluble fiber, also found in apples, barley, and oat bran, traps cholesterol-containing bile, removing it from the body before it’s absorbed. Eating a cup of cooked beans a day can lower total cholesterol about 10 percent in six weeks. As every year at this time, we are double-digging another 150’x5′ bed in the CSA field, with the goal of achieving the same levels of permanent fertility as in the homestead garden. Doubledigging The soils on S&S Homestead, as most soils on Lopez Island, are shallow, full of rocks, and slightly acidic. Double-digging means breaking through the hardpan below the thin organic top layer to a depth of 2-3 feet, removing all rocks and deep-rooted weeds – such as thistles, curly dock and quack grass –  and mixing in organic matter, manure or compost. Once a year the beds are aerated using a broadfork with 2-foot long tines. In our home garden which has not been rototilled in more than twenty years, organic matter in the soil now stands at 12%, and no fertilizer inputs other than farm-produced biodynamic sprays are required. (For details of the method, see John Jeavons: How to grow more vegetables…, 8th edition, 2012). Food processing this week included canning roasted tomatillo salsa, tomato chili sauce, bread-and-butter cucumber pickles, zucchini relish, peaches and apple sauce, as well as freezing strawberries and corn, and sorting the potatoes harvested last week for winter storage. Any damaged or flawed potatoes are cooked for our three pigs, two Hampshires and one Mangalitsa, an heirloom pig that originated in Hungary and is famous for its prodigious ability to put on fat (all three bought as weaner piglets from Horse Drawn Farm). With the ten students in our Farm-to-School class, Elizabeth picked nearly 200 pounds of Akane apples from a single tree, and she explained to them that apples (like potatoes) are heterozygotes, which means that every seed is genetically different (six different kind of apples in every fruit). This fact explains why apple trees typically are propagated by grafting rather than by seeding (and potatoes are cloned from chits cut from “mother” potatoes rather than by planting the true seed ripening from the flower).  The apples were layered between sheets of newspaper in crates for winter storage in a cool room and will supply us all winter long. Other winter storage apples – Shinseiki, Russet and Gravenstein – both of them grown from heirloom trees on Lopez Island, and an heirloom Orcas pear, as well as Asian pear,  will be harvested and stored in October and November. Other apples will be processed into apple juice and fermented into cider and delicious fruit vinegars. With the decline of green forage in the final days of a dry summer, milk production from our two Jersey cows has slowed to a trickle. We have stopped making butter and cheese, but are grateful that there is enough fresh milk for our table every day. Milk production will pick up dramatically when Abby, our senior cow, will freshen, that is, give birth to her next calf just in time when the fall rains produce a new flush of green grass in the pastures. Elizabeth & Loveday 090 In the meantime, we eat aged cheddar cheese made when the flow of fresh milk was ample earlier in spring and early summer. Another important food event this week was the successful license inspection of our newly refurbished cheese operation, including the milking parlor, where the cows are milked in a stanchion, the milk room, where the milk is decanted and chilled in a special tank, and the cheese room where the cheeses are made. We have worked on this project for the better part of this year. After milking Jersey cows and making butter, soft and hard cheese for some twenty years, we felt that as an education-based farm our dairy production should conform to legal standards for commercial dairies. Presumably ours is the first licensed dairy on Lopez Island since World War II! Next month we will slaughter the pigs, spring lambs, and beef cows. In the meantime, we process the wool harvested earlier this summer. We are fortunate to have an apprentice, Deanna Perlman, who takes a lively interest in carding and spinning the fleece into beautiful wool, and she teaches these skills to all of us here on the farm, as well as to the high school students in the Farm Class. Ed Sheridan and Becki Maxson have generously donated carding tools to the class, and we just purchased a second spinning wheel. Finally, our bees are still vigorously harvesting nectar and pollen from thistles, sunflowers, cosmos and calendula flowers, returning to the hive with their hind legs and bellies heavily laden with pollen dust. Bee & thistle 053 Through the side window in the hive, we can see how they fill combs with honey storage. Like us, they are getting ready for the cold winter months when the summer’s energies recede deep into the soil! Writing this blog makes us realize how fortunate we are to eat so well. All of us on the farm are happy to exchange our time and labor for the wonderful food we enjoy every day.

Elizabeth Simpson & Henning Sehmsdorf

S&S Homestead Farm

September 1-7, 2014

The Daily Table: The day begins with early morning coffee and conversation about the day’s activities. Elizabeth has coffee with cream, Henning a latte, with homestead milk or cream. The coffee, purchased at La Boheme, is roasted on Orcas Island. Breakfasts usually consist of either a cracked wheat or rolled oats porridge (both purchased from Blossom), with fruit from our orchard, milk from our Jersey cow, wheat germ, walnuts (Blossom), and unbleached, brown cane sugar (LVM); or, eggs from our chickens, long-fermented sourdough rye bread made from farm-grown rye and baked in a wood-fired cob oven, butter from our cow’s cream, and homemade jam. Lunches feature cold leftovers from the day before, or green and other vegetable salads from the garden, plus rye bread, cheddar and other homemade cheeses and summer sausage from our own beef and pork. Fresh fruit and a slice of zucchini and apple bread round out the meal. Dinner this week: Monday – tenderloin steak, potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary, carrots blanched and served with butter and parsley, all items except spices and olive oil grown on the homestead. Spices purchased at Blossom. Tuesday – Lamb burger served with pickles, lettuce and cucumber, fried potatoes (all from homestead), mustard, mayonnaise and potato buns from LVM. Wednesday –  Cross-rib roast, roasted potatoes and vegetables, fresh corn, cooked by the apprentices from homestead foods. Thursday – Veal liver (the rest of the animal sold as veal to The Bay Cafe), spiked with bacon, and cooked in a Römertopf (clay pot soaked in water for fifteen minutes prior to being put in the oven), together with carrots, onion, tomatoes, and red wine. Served with green salad, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, and Spätzle prepared by our German guest, Henning’s grandniece, Judith.  For dessert, apple and blackberry pie. All ingredients except white flour for the pasta and the pie crust, salt, pepper and olive oil, from the homestead. On Thursdays, as on Wednesdays, we share dinner with the apprentices. Friday –  Baked ham, potato salad, green salad, and the rest of the apple/blackberry pie for dessert. For all the dinners, we typically drink wines purchased from Blossom or traded for beef from Lopez Island Vineyards, or beer purchased at LVM. Other food activities on the farm: This is harvest time. Yesterday, we harvested more than 1,000 pounds of California White, Yukon Gold, Red and White Fingerling, and Red Ladoga potatoes, stored in a rodent-proof bin. We also harvested and threshed an acre’s worth of barley for animal feed, and will be planting winter rye for our bread this month. We have picked many pounds of summer and winter apples, peaches, several varieties of plums, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. The summer fruit is eaten fresh, or frozen, dried, sauced, pickled, and juiced. The apples are made into cider and vinegar, or stored for the winter in a cool room. Harvest from the garden is ongoing: root crops, leaf crops, summer and winter squash, several varieties of beans, tomatoes, sweet and Indian corn (for polenta and griddle cakes), basil (made into pesto) and other herbs, eggplant, sweet potatoes (the peas are long gone from the garden and now stored in the freezer). In the garden, we also maintain a top-bar hive of Russian-Carnolian bees, obtained from Eric Hall. They are busily laying in winter stores in beautiful combs from wax drawn from their own bodies (we can watch them work through a side window in the hive!) Bread baking, Dairy and Whole-Diet CSA: Once a week, we bake long-fermented sourdough rye bread, a process that begins on Mondays with renewing the starter and culminates on Thursdays when the loaves are baked in the outdoor, wood-fired oven, after which we cook the day’s meal in the residual heat, and sometimes splurge on pizza at noon. Making Pizza Also, all week, we milk two Jersey cows. We consume the milk fresh or in the form of butter and cheese, including cheddar, feta, cream cheese, Quark, mozzarella, and other soft cheeses. In the winter, when the change in forages reduces the flow of milk, we eat the milk in the form of fermented, aged cheese.

Cheddar fresh from the press 060Cheddar fresh from the press

The Whole-Diet CSA provides members weekly with fresh vegetables, stone fruit, apples, and berries; hamburger, cheese, bread, and a bouquet of flowers. _________________________________________________________________________ BFEP1 The Lopez Bounty Food Experiment is sponsored by Lopez Community Land Trust and Lopez Locavores. You’ll discover from your neighbors how to eat more locally on Lopez Island.  Participants have chosen a month (or more) to dedicate themselves to eating locally. The experiment starts September 1, 2014. Like any food system in any culture in any place on the planet, there are always items that must be traded or bought. During this experiment we’ll all learn of special ways of eating locally to help us expand our own journey into local foods. The participants of the month will report back on how their experiment is faring and what foods they have exempted from their experiment. Each week we’ll learn what challenges they have had to meet in order to put food on the table, what surprises, what new local food they have discovered, who they can turn to for help, and what they have had to can/freeze/dry in another season to make it through the season they are in. BFEP Henning and Elizabeth 2014 SEPTEMBER Henning Sehmsdorf and Elizabeth Simpson are starting us out on the Lopez Food Experiment for the month of September at their S&S Homestead Farm. S & S is a small family farm that they own and manage in accordance with biodynamic processes. Their farm is a place where plants and animals and people sustain each other. The farm’s closed system maintains a healthy environment and uses minimal resources from outside the farm. They believe that:

  • Everyone should be able to eat healthy foods produced on local farms
  • Our environment can be strengthened by sound agricultural practices
  • People should be aware of how and where the food they put into their bodies is raised
  • Young people should learn to produce food and live sustainably

Through the S&S Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Farm serves as a classroom, training ground and resource for educational programs, research, and public events for K-12 and college students, the local community, farmers and educators. The Farm also provides the community with a source of naturally grown meat and produce. Their mission is to produce fresh local organic seasonally and sustainable grown food while providing education in ecological farming and sustainable living for the community. Henning and Elizabeth let us look into their own table of plenty during this lush September. We await their first post at the end of the first week of September and each week throughout the month. El_-w_-veget_-2

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3 thoughts on “Bounty Food Experiment

  1. What an inviting introduction to the Experiment of eating locally…AND well! Bob & I look forward to your weekly reports. It’s comforting to have local experts willing to participate fully. We look forward to learning more from all those leading us.

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  2. Pingback: 10-Day Local Food Challenge – The experiment that inspired an island – and not Whidbey

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