August 2, 2015

HARVEST The Bounty of Washington

Two of my foodblog photos are in a Washington State photo tour titled,  "HARVEST: The Bounty of Washington" kicking off at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle in time for the National Council of State Legistlators Legistlative Summit 2015.

The exhibition will remain in Seattle for six months, then travel to Spokane for six months, and Kennewick for six months.

Emmer Wheat Berries

Like the endless fields of grain in Eastern Washington, this photo of emmer wheat berries, one of the three wheats lovingly referred to as farro, represents the abundance of life-sustaining nourishment that we grow in Washington. Emmer originated in the wild in the fertile crescent and is one of the first wheats that humans ate. This batch of nutty, chewy Emmer was grown in the protective Methow Valley, cooked and gratefully consumed in my kitchen in Bellingham.

Boxed Beans

There is art in our agriculture. This box of beans had been picked and packed that morning by two women who have a farm up near the Canadian border. As I talked with them about their venture into farming, I realized, they’re growing more than beautiful produce, they’re growing life.

And the one that didn't get in . . .

Berries and Beans

This farmers market display seemed to celebrate the farmer’s blackberries and matching french beans with such reverence as if acknowledging a miracle. Growing life-sustaining food from unassuming tiny seeds buried in dirt containing invisible nutrients might be exactly that — a miracle. And the farmers who grow miracles are as important as the rain that falls from the sky and the air we breathe.

I think that is excuse enough for me to travel to each city and check out the local food. I can't wait to see the show. I hope you see the show too.


September 16, 2014

The Hug Behind Brown Bear Baking

Over the weekend, a friend and I stumbled into Brown Bear Baking in Eastsound on Orcas Island in Washington. We were welcomed with a smile so warm and genuine, it practically felt like a hug. But that's not the hug, read on.

My silky smooth cup of Victrola coffee brought us back the next morning for breakfast. The breakfast will be bringing me back to the Island forever.

We both ordered the Brown Bear's Salmon Chèvre Spring Onion Quiche baked light like a cloud with a locally-sourced wheat in the flaky crust. This is food fit for angels. The balance of the tangy goat cheese with the salmon sold even me, a sworn no-fish-for-breakfast gal. The strictest of instructors at any culinary school would give this combo an A+.

Our view.

The coffee was from the mainland, Victrola Coffee Roasters in Seattle. It was second in silkiness only to the masterful quiche, but a destination goodie that will be tempting me to drive to Seattle next weekend for another cup.  It was that good.

But the story only begins with this delicious bakery. Inspired by a story of a woman in the 1800s who used to walk around Eastsound with a brown bear cub on a leash, David Ellertsen and Lee Hilands Horswill had already picked the name for their bakery venture. Post architect and creative director, respectively, in another state, their location and name for this bakery has a mystical bent.

While they were preparing to open their new bakery in Eastsound, one Sunday morning on their drive home, their vehicle left the road and landed upside down in the water. The police reported David's heroic efforts to expel water out of Lee's lungs as a "bear hug." Click here to read a local account of the story. And here for another account.

I believe that there are no coincidences. This establishment was meant to be and these two men were meant to share their extraordinary talents beyond their previous careers.

Folks move fast behind the counter. We met, David, above on the right. I look forward to meeting them both next time.

Took my breath away.

Who could choose?

Thank you, David and Lee for your mystical and delicious new life on Orcas. We'll be back. See you soon.

September 11, 2014

Teach kids to grow food . . .

Teach kids to grow food and they will be able to feed themselves their whole lives.

Check out this short video. Teach Kids to Grow Food Find one near you. Start one.

September 4, 2014

Edible Drinkable Whatcom County

In September of 2013, my good friend and excellent photographer, Peg Murray, and I ventured out to Bellewood Acres AppleOrchard and Distillery and took pictures. I interviewed the owner-farmers, John and Dorie Belisle and wrote a feature article that I had pitched to the editor of Edible Seattle magazine. It was published a year later in the October 2014 issue. Read it online here.

The Fruit of Distilling by Gina Saettone

My story and her photographs illustrate two farmers in Whatcom County who we both adore and wanted to share with the world.

The Story and John and Dorie by one of their copper stills.

Their award winning spirits made from apples from their orchard, also known affectionately as orchard-to-glass.  And recipes from Brandon Wicklund of The Real McCoy and the Belisles.

Peg and I are out of our mind delighted with the culmination of this year-long project.

Thank you John and Dorie for letting us share your story.

August 10, 2014

Food Evocative Food

Food evokes emotions of farm life, raising animals, planting seeds.  I've always have been a bit barn hearted. 

So instead, I go to the Farmers Market . . . 

. . . and ogle the produce . . .

. . . and dream of farm life . . . 

and then dream of cooking it . . .

which always brings me back to the beauty of growing things . . .

so today,  I planted some winter crops in my kitchen garden . . .

into gorgeous black compost . . 

Just add the soaker hose and sunshine.

I planted spinach, cabbage which is friendly with beets so they are next to each other, and kale which is nearby, and swiss chard which is agreeable too . . . 55 days till harvest.

July 24, 2014

from cage-free to pastured-raised

Eggs might be my favorite food for any meal. Heck, every meal.

Remember cage-free? Free-range? Ever wonder why that's not good enough anymore? This video on PBS explains it beautifully.

I ate this egg for breakfast one morning in Italy last summer. I could tell by looking at it that the chickens probably get to go outside and eat grass and bugs and run free in the sunshine. At least I hoped.

This summer I have been subscribed out of all the local pasture-raised eggs I normally buy and came really close to building a hen house in my back yard when I saw this at my regular grocery store, Haggen. Thank you Haggen and thank you Vital Farms for bringing pasture-raised eggs to my regular grocery store that doesn't need a farm subscription. Easy.