“Eat It to Save It!” Bristol Bay Salmon Dinner on July 24th

Chef Robin Leventhal. Photo: Seattle WeeklyJoin Slow Food Seattle in supporting the great advocacy work of Save Bristol Bay on Tuesday, July 24th at Local 360 with SFS board member and Top Chef alum, Chef Robin Leventhal to cook up awareness and support with their Eat It to Save It Bristol Bay Salmon Dinner. Joining the ranks of more than 50 restaurants nationwide, the event promises to shine a light on a proposed Pebble mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska that threatens to change the landscape of our ecosystem and the very survival of the northwest’s most beloved fish – the sockeye salmon.

The Eat It to Save It Bristol Bay Salmon Dinner will feature a 3-course menu for $35, with salmon-safe wine pairings for an additional $15, in the main dining room from 3pm to 10pm. There will also be a special opportunity to enjoy a 6-course menu prepared by Chef Leventhal in Local 360’s private dining room at 7pm. Offered at $85 per guest, this exquisite meal will feature wine pairings by Novelty Hill • Januik, a salmon-safe winery. A portion of all proceeds for the evening will go to Save Bristol Bay.

Reservations can be made at reservations@local360.org or by calling 206.441.9360 – don’t delay as this event will sell out.

Eat It To Save It

Chef Robin Leventhal’s Menu – 3 Courses for $35
Paired with Novelty Hill • Januik salmon-safe local wines for $15

  • 1st Course: Smoked Salmon Rillette, Crostini
  • 2nd Course: Salmon Tartar, Fennel, Capers, Creme Fraiche
  • 3rd Course: Seared Salmon, Paprika Polenta, Spicy Orange Molasses BBQ

Private Dining Room Menu – 6 Courses for $85
Paired with Novelty Hill • Januik salmon-safe local wines
Prepared by Crave Chef, Robin Leventhal

  • 1st Course: Beet cured Gravlax, Ozette Purple Potato Lattke, Pickled Shallot, Fennel Pollen, Crème Fraiche
  • 2nd Course: Chilled Cucumber Avocado Shooter, Smoked Salmon Roe, Preserved Lemon Gremolata
  • 3rd Course: Salmon Rillette, Pickled Egg Gribiche, Pumpernickel,
  • 4th Course: Seared Salmon Belly, Sea Beans, Miso Ginger Emulsion, Black Sesame oil
  • 5th Course: Coriander Seared Salmon Fillet, Roasted Corn Pudding, Poblano Verde
  • 6th Course: Mascarpone Panna Cotta, Cardamom Blueberry compote, Candied Salmon Skin Crackling

Click below for more participating restaurants in Seattle and across the US.

Eat Wild Salmon. Save Wild Places.

Vote with your Fork! Dine out for Bristol Bay September 5-9

Slow Food Seattle, Trout Unlimited together again in a command performance!

By Amy Grondin

September 2011 will mark the 4th year that Slow Food Seattle and Trout Unlimited will partner to raise awareness of Bristol Bay, Alaska, its pristine environment, hardworking people and wild salmon. In celebration of Bristol Bay’s salmon fisheries, 17 Seattle-area restaurants will proudly serve wild Bristol Bay salmon from September 5th – 9th. Dining out at one of the supporting restaurants is a delicious and easy way to say the future of Bristol Bay matters. Directly invest your food dollars in Bristol Bay’s sustainable salmon fishery by ordering a meal featuring wild salmon and show that it’s a wild food source that you value. Join us in the fight to save our nation’s last great salmon fishery. See below for the list of restaurants.

Were you a Slow Food Seattle member four years ago when we first decided to partner with Trout Unlimited in their Savor Bristol Bay campaign? Then you are familiar with the background details of the Pebble Mine issue and we thank you for being a part of the on going efforts to protect Bristol Bay.

If you are a new Slow Food Seattle member you may be asking, “Why do we need to save Bristol Bay and from what?” A quick primer on the issues follows but this link will satisfy those of you who want more: www.savebristolbay.org/about-the-bay/about-pebble-mine.

Dine Out for Bristol BayMultinational foreign mining companies are proposing one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines (known as the “Pebble Mine”) in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s salmon-producing watershed. This is a wilderness gem that that contains some of the most productive wild salmon rivers left in the world. Thankfully the mine permitting process is years long and it has allowed for time for Trout Unlimited to inform the public on the issues.

If the Pebble Mine were to be permitted and allowed to open, the Bristol Bay watershed would be exposed to the persistent chemicals used to extract gold and copper from the mine site. These chemicals once used would be left behind as toxic liquid waste after the mine’s productive days are over, roughly in 50 years. Ten square miles of liquid waste in the resulting containment pond would be separated from Bristol Bay’s interconnected freshwater systems by earthen dams. A spill of the toxic waste or seepage from the containment ponds would irreparably harm the freshwater food web. Since everything returns to the ocean, the marine food web of Bristol Bay would suffer the same fate. Wild salmon play a central role as a keystone species that ties these two food webs together. There isn’t another fish to play this role if salmon don’t survive the good intentions of the Pebble Partnership.

Based on what we’re learned with recent environmental disasters, accidents are often not a matter of if, but instead when. Pick your disaster –a flood, maybe an earthquake? Both are a possibility in Alaska. Our best attempts to engineer our way around Mother Nature’s forces have not proven to be as successful as we had hoped in other parts of our nation. By the way, formal surveys show that 80% of the local population of Bristol Bay does NOT want the Pebble Mine for reasons such as these.

The loss of Bristol Bay’s sockeye would be truly disastrous for the dozens of Alaska Native communities that have caught wild salmon as part of a subsistence lifestyle in Bristol Bay for thousands of years. Bristol Bay Sockeye disappearing would also leave over 12,000 commercial fishermen and processors without work. The loss of Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery would also create ripples in the seafood marketplace as it is the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, contributing 40% of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. But there is still time to protect Bristol Bay before mining permits are issued.

This is where Slow Food Seattle members can help! It may seem insignificant to simply make a menu choice to battle a multinational corporation but trust me. It works. In the late 80’s tuna became “Dolphin Safe” because we didn’t eat tuna from un-dolphin friendly companies. Remember the Give Swordfish a Break campaign from the 90’s in which consumers successfully told the market place to change the way they sourced these mighty yet vulnerable fish? With your help in this new decade Trout Unlimited can do the same for the wild salmon of Bristol Bay.

So get out there next week and Vote with your Fork for Bristol Bay – smile and raise your glass to the table next to you that is eating wild salmon, too!

Seattle-Area Restaurants: September 5-9

Trout Unlimited Savor Bristol Bay

Wild Salmon Returns to Washington’s Coast, Streams and Dinner Plates

Salmon. Photo: Barrie Kovish

Salmon. Photo: Barrie Kovish

As the calendar turns to May 1st – hooks and lines will be deployed from the sterns of Washington’s salmon trollers as the commercial fishing season officially opens. Once again, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council with the input from fishermen and fisheries biologists have checked the numbers, done the math and deemed that Washington’s Chinook salmon runs were strong enough to support a commercial fishery in 2011. Though this will sound counter intuitive, a commercial fishery means a good thing for health of wild salmon.

The survival and restoration of wild salmon is the top priority for fisheries managers. If the salmon numbers are not at a sustainable level, not one hook is allowed to meet the surface of the ocean or the lip of a salmon and fishing boats stay tied to the dock. Fishermen have long recognized that not fishing is sometime a necessary hardship face in order to fulfill their roles as stewards of the natural resource known as wild salmon. But stewardship of wild salmon is not just something for commercial fishermen and fisheries biologist to be concerned about. Eaters of wild salmon can also do their part as stewards of wild salmon. And yes, eating them is one of those things! The action of eating salmon reminds us with each delicious bite why we need to be conscious of our actions away from the dinner table and in other parts of our lives that might directly or indirectly affect the survival of wild salmon.

Conservation Area at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Conservation Area at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Take the simple act of brushing your teeth. The habit of turning the water off while brushing can save a gallon of water each time you polish your pearly whites. One gallon, twice a day for 365 days…okay, 730 gallons of water! Why is this important? Salmon need fresh cold water in streams, not down drains, to complete their life-cycles. Same goes for washing your car. Using the car wash not only saves water but all the chemicals and oil that make your car dirty are filtered before they go down the drain and out to sea. Wash your car at home and the waste water washes into a gutter untreated or soaks in to your lawn on its way back to the ground water system. And lawns? Plant a rain garden or a drought tolerant variety of grass and limit the use of fertilizers and other chemicals.

If you would like to visit the streams that will be benefiting from your newly found water conscious ways, consider volunteering for an afternoon of habitat restoration with a local salmon conservation group such as Long Live the Kings, Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group or the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Or what about joining Slow Food Seattle, Edible Seattle and the Stewardship Partners on Saturday, May 28th on the banks of Griffin Creek and the Snoqualmie River at Full Circle Farm near Carnation, WA to do your part to save wild salmon by restoring a stretch of water essential to salmon spawning success? It is your choice whether wield a shovel or a camera. All levels of activity and support are welcome.

For more information and to register to participate please contact Stewardship Partnership’s Volunteer Coordinator, Alex Ko. Once you register you will receive complete details and directions.
Share on Facebook too: RSVP on Facebook too!

Should you decide to join us for the work day, here are a few things to bring and remember:

  • It is the Pacific NW so dress in layers, bring rain gear, gloves and wear sturdy shoes or boots.
  • Bring your own snacks and water.
  • You will be outside and ‘facilities’ may be limited.
  • Come ready to work but be mindful of your own limitations. Please don’t over do it!

To read more about wild salmon habitat, check out the story in the May/June edition of Edible Seattle.

See you down by the Creek!

- Amy Grondin, Slow Food Seattle Board Member

Flowers and Barn at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Flowers and Barn at Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA. Photo: Roddy Scheer

Fall updates: call for recipes, news on the Makah Ozette potato, and a wild salmon habitat volunteer opportunity

Do you have a recipe for fall?

apple basketAs the days get chillier, many of us naturally find ourselves warmed by the kitchen as a stew or sauce bubbles away on the stove top or a roast cooks in the oven. And if we are lucky, a friend, family member or neighbor will have shared their recipe for the perfect fall dish. We’re hoping to offer some inspirational dishes to our Slow Food Seattle community. For our upcoming newsletter, we would like to feature your recipe! We’re looking for savory and sweet harvest recipes to share with your fellow Slow Food Seattle members.

From the recipes submitted, we will choose two of them to feature on the next Slow Food Seattle newsletter. If you have a seasonal recipe or perhaps a Thanksgiving favorite you would like to share in our upcoming newsletter, please email it with your name, the neighborhood you live in, and how long you have been a member to us at info@slowfoodseattle.org.

Help the Mid Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group:
A volunteer opportunity to restore wild salmon habitat

Mid Sound Fisheries - Planting Project

Photo courtesy of Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

Most of us have enjoyed a piece of grilled wild salmon a time or two. Some of us have even had the excitement of hooking one while fishing in the waters of Puget Sound. Maybe you have stood on the side of a stream and marveled at the sight of wild salmon making their way upstream to spawn in the very place they began their lives years before.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to help these amazing animals in their efforts to complete their life cycle? Wonder no more, pull on some rubber boots and meet the Mid Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group on the river banks of one of the tributaries to Mill Creek in Auburn as we volunteer a few hour to restore its this vital salmon habitat.

It doesn’t look like much but this tributary supports juvenile salmon, providing important off-channel refuge during high stream flows. The Mid Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group will be planting nearly 2,000 trees and shrubs over the course of a few days and need help to do so. A few hours from Slow Food Seattle members will greatly speed this effort and assure that wild salmon are welcomed home to clean, cool water in a free flowing stream.

Mid Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group’s mission is to increase salmon populations to healthy and sustainable levels while working cooperatively with private landowners and others in the community to improve salmon habitat. They rely on volunteers and members to make habitat restoration a reality. Let’s help them make the project a success while being good stewards to our wild salmon populations!

Here are the details:

  • When: Saturday November 6th from 10am to 2pm
  • Where: Please meet at the corner of West Valley Highway and 15th Street NW. Parking is limited so car pool if possible. You will receive detailed directions once you sign up.
  • What to wear: Dress appropriately to plant young trees and be prepared for the day’s weather be it rain gear or sunglasses. Work gloves and sturdy shoes a must.
  • What to Bring: Mid Sound team will have warm drinks, some shovels and lots of small trees. Please bring your own shovel or basic garden tools (all clearly labeled) if they are handy. Remember to bring your our own drinking water, lunch and anything else that you need to make your day comfortable while digging in the dirt!

Sign up: Please put “Volunteer on November 6th” in the subject line when you email the Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group with your name and a phone number: info@midsoundfisheries.org. All volunteers must be 18 years or older.

If you’re on Facebook, you can also find the Mid Sound Fisheries page here. A great opportunity to feel good and do your part to preserve wild salmon and essential fish habitat. Thank you!

Update on the Makah Ozette Potato Presidium

Our Presidium has been in operation for almost four years (for background, see here as well as on the Makah Ozette Potato Presidium page). The objective of having  an abundant regional seed source was realized last year by our partner, Pure Potato.

We had finally reached the long awaited three years it takes to develop the available genetic material into a field of virus free seed potato. There was an abundance of seed available for the 2010 planting throughout the region and seed was even sold to a large potato grower in California.  Pure Potato sold all of its seed this spring and most of the 7 regional nurseries who stocked the seed sold out to home gardeners by mid spring.

A highlight of 2009 was Essential Baking Company‘s (EBC) adopting the potato, contracting with Full Circle Farm and making their seasonal potato bread using the Makah Ozette Potato (MOP). The management of EBC declared this to be the most flavorful potato bread they had ever produced. They are committed to continuing to use the MOP when it is available in the future.

2010 has been a disaster year for the MOP. Flooding destroyed the entire crop of seed at Pure Potato. This is a severe setback for the Presidium as it will take another three years to regenerate the seed stock to the 2009 levels. Pure Potato having experience the success with this potato is committed to carrying on with its development. Full Circle Farm has also experienced a significant loss of crop due to flooding and will not be able to supply EBC this fall for its potato bread. Unless MOP can be sourced from California this year, we may be eating plain potato bread this fall.

If you have grown MOP this year, you can try to save some seed from your harvest. Keep them in a mesh bag in your refrigerator till spring.

Savor Bristol Bay Week in Seattle: July 4-10

Bristol Bay fishing boat

Photo: Nick Hall

It’s almost summer time and with summer comes fresh wild salmon to restaurants, seafood markets and backyard BBQ’s! In the Pacific Northwest we are savvy to the fact that not all salmon taste the same. Depending on their species, what the fish were feeding on and the river run that the salmon are a part of each fish will vary slightly and have its own unique taste profile. This gives many reasons to serve a variety of sustainably caught wild salmon from the waters of Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

Slow Food Seattle is partnering with Trout Unlimited to celebrate our nation’s largest wild salmon fishery during Savor Bristol Bay Week: July 4-10.

Bristol Bay Salmon

Photo: Nick Hall

Bristol Bay’s salmon and story are coming back to the Northwest during the peak of the fishing season. Each day more chefs from our Slow Food Seattle Restaurants are saying “Yes” to featuring Bristol Bay salmon on their menus during Savor Bristol Bay Week. In the July Slow Food newsletter we’ll provide a list of places you can go to Vote with Your Fork” for Bristol Bay.

We are planning a number of events in the Seattle area so you can be a part of the celebration. Four events are planned for the Savor Bristol Bay week:

  • Tuesday, July 6 & Thursday, July 8 – Two free screenings of the award winning documentary RED GOLD at Roy Street Coffee, both showings will be at 7:30pm.
  • Wednesday, July 7 – Wild Salmon cooking class and dinner with Chef Becky Selengut at Edmonds PCC, 6:30pm to 9pm. Come Savor Bristol Bay and learn new ways to prepare Bristol Bay salmon at home as well as information about Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery and the things that make it so unique. (Tickets here; RSVP details on Facebook). On the menu: Quinoa cakes with wok-smoked king salmon and herbs; Bristol Bay salmon with watercress soup, chile oil and croutons; Slow cooked sockeye salmon with Columbia Valley red wine sauce and braised fennel.

Until July brings us the opening of Bristol Bay salmon season, you can learn more about this amazing place and wild salmon fishery from Trout Unlimited’s online sources:

  • WhyWild is part of Trout Unlimited’s Pacific Salmon Program with the purpose to educate and engage the salmon marketplace in Trout Unlimited’s wild salmon and steelhead conservation efforts from California through Alaska. From fish facts to what wine to serve when you “eat it to save it” you can find it all things wild salmon on this website!
  • Save Bristol Bay – This Trout Unlimited website will give you an overview of Bristol Bay – the place, the people, the environment and the issues – all presented with beautiful images that inspire and move you to learn more about the incredible Bristol Bay watershed and how to preserve it for future generation of both people and animals.

    Savor Bristol Bay
    BB Regional Seafood Development Association

    Trout Unlimited

Washington’s Wonderful Wild Chinook Dinner

On May 13, Slow Food Seattle, Ray’s Boathouse, Washington Trollers Association and Makah Tribal Nation hosted a reception and dinner  celebrating the first of the season’s Washington troll caught Chinook salmon.  The delicious and sustainable multi-course salmon dinner featured wine pairings carefully chosen by Kristen and James Michael of the Chinook Winery in Prosser, Washington. Chef Peter Birk complimented the meal with a seasonal selection of locally farmed, seasonal produce.

Chef Birk kicked off the evening with a warm welcome followed by introductory remarks from Slow Food Seattle’s Co-Chair, Lucy Norris.  The mission of Slow Food comes down to a very simple idea:  food should be good, clean and fair.  To bring this point home, guests enjoyed the evening learning and tasting how and why Washington troll caught Chinook is a fine example of good, clean and fair food.

Following the first course of grav lox, Slow Food Seattle board member and Sustainable Seafood Consultant, Amy Grondin led a discussion and Q&A with fishermen from the Makah Tribe and Washington Trollers Association. Fishing season for troll caught Chinook opened May 1st on the Washington coast.  In addition to catching salmon, fishermen are also stewards of this finned resource. We learned how fishermen are working with scientists to assure that Washington has healthy populations of wild salmon for decades to come. From habitat restoration to participating in wild salmon management with the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, sustainability is taken seriously by the fleet.

Physical and sensory characteristics revealed what the salmon ate and where the fish traveled through spawning.  Having fed almost exclusively on krill, the roasted Chinook had a lighter flesh and nuttier taste, while the grilled Chinook, which ate mostly very small forage fish, was a deep red hue with rich, silky fattiness.  There were other differences noted to where the fish was caught: originating from both Fraser and Columbia River tributaries.

At the end of the evening, Amy made an announcement that a deal had been negotiated with Seattle area Whole Foods Markets.  For the first time, select local markets are now carrying Washington troll caught Chinook in their stores until the end of the 2009 season.  We applaud Amy’s tireless efforts to advocate for sustainable salmon habitats as well as the fishing and coastal communities who depend on fishing for livelihoods.

A Word about the Slow Food Ark of Taste

Washington Marbled Chinook Salmon was added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste in 2006.  The Ark of Taste is an international program that seeks, first and foremost, to save an economic, social and cultural heritage of a diverse variety of animal breeds, seafood, fruit and vegetables, cured meats, cheeses, cereals, pastas, cakes and confectionery.

The mission of the Slow Food Ark of Taste is to preserve traditional tastes and to celebrate them, by introducing them to the Slow Food membership and then to the world.

All of the foods on the Ark of Taste are heritage products that have real economic viability and commercial potential for the communities that grow, produce or harvest them.