Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance

Crossing the International Date Line and hemispheres have confused me. I think it’s spring in Seattle and I open the passenger door to get into the car. To drive. It’s opposite seasons but the weather is the same in Sydney and Seattle. Crisp mornings and cool evenings are moderated by hours of glorious sunshine. We’ve been blessed with a technicolour autumn where produce is ripe and bountiful. We celebrated the local harvest at An Incredible Feast last night. The Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance fundraiser was hosted by Swansons Nursery.

Recycled outdoor furniture on display.

Pots of asters and chrysanthemums.

An ice bucket of DRY Soda.

Silent auction items.

The North Greenhouse decorated by pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks.

Mountain Lodge Farm cheese.

Willie Greens Organic Farm and Renee Erickson of Boat Street Café: rainbow chard salad.

Let Us Farm and Matt Lewis of Where Ya At Matt: brown butter sage beignets with winter squash purée.

Loki Fish, Hama Hama Oyster Company and Taichi Kitamura of Sushi Kappo Tamura: blue pool oysters and salmon roe with momiji ponzu sauce.

Skagit River Ranch, Tahoma Farms and Jason Wilson of Crush: pork belly with onion and pepper conserve, and arugula walnut pesto.

Anthony Polozzi of Steelhead Diner: pork rillettes.

Olsen Farms, Hayton Farms and Zephyr Paquette of Skelly and the Bean: petit paquets.

Chester Gerl of Matt’s in the Market: txistorra sausage, fingerling potatoes and charred walla walla sweet onions.

Aamaranth Urban Farm, Dog Mountain Farm, and Wiley Frank and PK of Little Uncle: shaved ice with apples, pears and candied potatoes (nam keng sai).

Jerzy Boyz and Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery: butterscotch, apple cider and ginger (butter beer).

Pipitone Farms, Growing Things Farm and Lisa Nakamura of Allium: tomato and bean salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.

Local Roots Farm and Phillipe Thomelin of Olivar: spicy vegetarian empanadilla.

Kittitas Valley Greenhouse and Charles Walpole of Blind Pig Bistro: tomato panzanella with ricotta salata and charred eggplant sauce.

Tiny’s Organic and Jacky Lo of Wild Ginger: Vietnamese style stone fruit salad with chicken.

River Farm, Taylor Shellfish and Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata: Mediterranean mussels with garbanzo beans, sweet pepper cream and roasted pepper aioli.

Rents Due Ranch and Dezi Bonow of Palace Kitchen: wedge salad, celery root dressing, delicata squash marmalade, blue cheese, pumpkin seed and smoky red onion pickles.

Nashi pear sorbet with vanilla ice cream and Rockridge apple wood smoked salt.

Thanks to Kimberly and Leslie for the lovely company!

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I was lucky to attend the Seattle CityClub 2011 Gala Luncheon held last Friday at The Westin Seattle Grand Ballroom. The theme for this year was ‘Nourishing Community: The Business and Pleasure of Food in Washington‘.

The grand ballroom is enormous – rectangular tables are angled towards the stage, a motorised platform was used to change a light bulb in a chandelier and there were at least a dozen staff setting the table. I joined a group of volunteers to layout the table arrangements and place programmes on the chairs.

Sponsors had displays in the lobby area. The Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance had a shelf of flowering pot plants and sample produce.

Trays of fragrant strawberries lined the Hayton Farms table, enticing guests to admire the blushing beauties.

Full Circle is an organic produce delivery service. The baskets of radishes, parsnips and leafy green vegetables were seasonal and fresh.

I was seated late and one of the last to be served lunch so it was unfortunately cold. Despite the temperature, the herb-roasted free range chicken was moist and tender. I prefer the thigh part of chicken but the breast meat was not dry or chalky.

Accompanying the protein was a salad with Snohomish corn and cucumber, and an oil-cured panzanella with Kalamata olives, heirloom tomatoes and Pinot noir vinaigrette. The highlight was the heirloom tomatoes – delightfully sweet and fleshy. In contrast, the panzanella was soggy and bland.

There were many knowing glances and appreciative nods when dessert was announced. Tom Douglas remained on stage and told the story of the triple coconut cream pie from the lectern. The dessert was created for his first restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, to ‘convey a homespun-ness’ and ‘doesn’t taste like suntan lotion’.

The platters of Tom Douglas coconut pie bites were delivered with a flourish. We all looked left, then right, too polite to be the first to take one! I’ve already waxed lyrical about the signature triple coconut cream pie and I was lucky to take a couple of the leftovers home for Mr S.

While cutlery clinked on crockery and the bread and butter were passed around, the panel assembled on stage for the conversation part of the programme.

Moderated by Megan Karch, CEO of FareStart, it was an engaging discussion with:
* Chris Curtis, founder of Seattle’s first neighbourhood farmers market and the Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance;
* Tom Douglas, restaurateur, caterer and author;
* Michael Hebb, founder of One Pot; and
* Robin Pollard, executive director of Washington State Wine Commission.

Below are some comments that resonated with me.

Chris Curtis – director of Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance
* Farmers markets need space locally
* Passionate about how to activate and make the community thrive, and to recognise seasonality of food

Tom Douglas – restaurateur, caterer and author
* Pike Place Market is the heart and soul of the city
* The economics of the restaurant business is tough

Michael Hebb – founder of One Pot
* Challenged the audience to host a locally source dinner party, ‘fire, pot and table’
* Emphasised the importance of the dining table and what it symbolises

Megan Karch – CEO of FareStart
* Focus on educating youth so they can be informed consumers
* Encourage youth to pursue careers in the industry

Robin Pollard – executive director of Washington State Wine Commission
* Only 35% of Washingtonians drink local wines
* Need to invest in infrastructure in the region to make it world class

In her closing remarks, the president of the CityClub board of governors Olivia Lippens described CityClub as a bipartisan collective that nurture the community spirit and a convener of ideas that encourage diverse voices. And that encapsulated what ‘Nourishing Community: The Business and Pleasure of Food in Washington’ was all about!


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