Celebrate Fall with Local Food Events

Technically, we still have a few weeks left in summer, but for many of us, Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer fun. No need to be melancholy, though, as fall (official or not) brings with it the delicious bounty of the autumn harvest (and attendant harvest celebrations).

As noted in our last post on neighbor chapter events, we’re working to finalize our Slow Food Seattle fall programs. We should have those for you in the next week or so!

In the meantime, there are many excellent events happening around our area; here’s a quick round-up of those. They include events focused on fall produce like apples, several free community activities (including a free fermenting class, and a nature walk with beer brewers!), opportunities to learn more about native food systems and sites, celebrations of locally-made products like cider and cheese, and more!

Of special note for Slow Food Seattle members: check out this weekend’s Seattle Tilth Harvest Fest. Local authors Kim O’Donnel and Becky Selengut will be signing at the Readers to Eaters pop-up bookstore. Tell Philip at Readers to Eaters you’re a member when buying one of their books, and he will give 10% of those proceeds to Slow Food Seattle!

And don’t forget to check our last post for some additional events from our neighboring chapters.

Thu, Sep 4, 11am-1pm: FREE! Seattle Public Library Presents Seattle Cooks at South Lake Union Pike Place Express Market. “Watch Seattle Culinary Academy students demonstrate various recipes, then taste the results and get answers to your questions. The Seattle Public Library will have a range of books, available for check out right in the market, to inspire both novice and experienced cooks.” (Repeats weekly through at least Sep 18. Keep an eye on the SPL calendar for more dates as they are added.)

Thu, Sep 4 through Sun, Sep 14: Washington Cider Week. Check out the site at the link for the full calendar of events to celebrate local cider.

applesFri, Sep 5, 7:30-8:45pmRowan Jacobsen and Clare Barboza with Langdon Cook: “The Apples You Never Knew About” at Town Hall. Our book club read American Terroir by Jacobsen, and as part of our meeting, sampled some apple jelly made with apples from Harmony Orchards, the Tieton orchard Jacobsen mentions in Terroir. Based on how good those apples are, we suspect he is a good person to listen to when it comes to this fruit. Sure to be a fascinating talk!

Sat, Sep 6, 10am-4pm: FREE! Seattle Tilth Harvest Fair at Meridian Park.  “Participate in this fun, lively hands-on community festival with workshops, cooking demonstrations and fun activities for all ages. Eat tasty food and enjoy live music with friends and family. Harvest season is a time to celebrate! Bring your friends and family for a seed swap, cider pressing and DIY herb crowns. Kids can participate in crafts in the children’s garden, see a puppet show and take part in the parade at noon (arrive by 11 am) with a marching band!” Below are the times for the Readers to Eaters signings mentioned above!

  • 12-1pm: Becky Selengut (SHROOM: Mind-bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms)

Sun, Sep 7

beers made by walkingWed, Sep 10, 2-5pm: FREE! Beers Made By Walking Hike at Cougar Mountain. “Beers Made By Walking invites brewers to make new beer inspired by plants found on nature walks. We are partnering with the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed for a public hike at Cougar Mountain. Hikers will learn about water issues in the region, and about the edible and medicinal plants that grow along the trail. These plants will later inspire a series of beers that will serve as drinkable, landscape portraits of the trails that we walk. The walk will be attended by brewers from Big Al Brewing, Schilling Cider, and Hi-Fi Brewing.”

Sat, Sep 13, 3-7pm: Farm Faire and Pig Roast at Jubilee Farm. “Join us for fun farm games, face painting, and an authentic barbecue with all the trimmings. Sip a glass of wine or a cold beer, take a tractor-pulled wagon ride to tour the farm, and sit back and enjoy live music!”

fermentsThu, Sep 18, 5-6:30pm: FREE! Easy Fermenting: Why, How & Where to Begin at the Lake City Library. “Fermented foods are pungent, probiotic powerhouses, and are quick and easy to prepare. A Seattle Tilth-certified instructor, Ellie Cohan will demonstrate how immensely fun, satisfying and safe it is to create fermented veggies in your own kitchen.”

Tue, Sep 23, 6:30-8pm: Puget Sound Food Hub: Entrepreneurial Connections in the Local Food World at 21 Acres. “We will be talking about local food systems — the challenges and opportunities of sourcing food from local, sustainable producers. The benefits of doing so for the local economy, farm land preservation and for the environment.  As part of our efforts to foster stronger relationships between small food businesses and farmers who are using the best practices as stewards of the land, we’ll explore ways to remove barriers for buyers related to logistics and costs of Organic Food.  If you are interested in purchasing local, sustainably produced food for yourself or a business or know others who might be, this Tuesday at 21 is for you.”

Sat & Sun, Sep 26 & 27: “The Living Breath of Wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ: Indigenous Ways of Knowing Cultural Food Practices and Ecological Knowledge” at Center for Urban Horticulture. “The University of Washington’s American Indian Studies Department invites you to their second annual two-day symposium…[it] will bring together individuals to share their knowledge and expertise on topics such as tribal food sovereignty initiatives, food justice and security, traditional foods and health, indigenous foods systems and global climate change, and treaty water and fishing rights. Sessions include a plant walk with Valerie Segrest, traditional foods from a chef’s perspective with Ramon Shiloh, creating a traditional foods cookbook with Clarita Begay, living off the grid with Nitanis Desjarlais.”

TOMMESat, Sep 27 1-5pm: Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival. “The Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival showcases a wide array of artisan and farmstead cheeses made in Washington. We invite you to meet the cheesemakers, learn about their products and philosophy, and sample some of the finest cheeses made in Washington. The festival also features other artisan foods and beverages from local producers. Washington State is home to nearly 60 artisan cheesemakers. Download the Washington Artisan Cheese Map and explore the thriving Washington artisan cheese industry.”

Sun, Oct 5, 6-9pm: An Incredible Feast Benefiting Seattle Farmers Markets at Swansons Nursery. “Hobnob with two dozen of Seattle’s best chefs – plus two dozen amazing local farmers – and enjoy a cornucopia of local and seasonal flavors.  Each chef creates a signature dish for the event, with raw ingredients supplied by local farmers and fishers.  All proceeds support the Good Farmer Fund and the Neighborhood Farmers Markets.”

Slow Food Neighbors: Upcoming Events

may valley trail-010The board of Slow Food Seattle met this week to discuss our upcoming fall events, and we have some fun and delicious things in store for the harvest season! We will be announcing more details soon, but in the meantime, check out some of these upcoming events (including one this Sunday) from some of our Slow Food neighbors!

Sunday, August 24, 1-4pm: Slow Food Bastyr: Italian Picnic & Bastyr Gardens Tour. Slow Food Bastyr University still has places available at the table for their program Italian “Scampagnata” (picnic) to be held this coming Sun, Aug 24th  on the grounds of the Bastyr campus. A series of traditional Italian dishes made by a young apprentice chef from Italy will be the treat. A tour of the BU Botanical Gardens precedes the dinner. The brief presentation topics following the dinner will be the young chef’s perspective of his high school culinary arts program and a presentation by the BU team covering the basics re: the nutritional aspects of cheese (several types will be offered in the program). The menu, registration info, and directions to the BU campus are available at http://www.slowfoodsunday.org.

Friday, September 19, 6-8pm: Tutti a Tavola – Come to the Table. Slow Food Whidbey invites you to “come to the table”  Join us in the newly renovated barn at Dancing Fish Farm for a celebration of the food we produce on Whidbey. Dancing Fish Farm is located at 1953 Newman Rd in Freeland, WA. Please bring a dish with the recipe that includes at least one locally produced ingredient.  Dancing Fish Farm will give us a review of how their vineyard if coming along.  We will share recipes, watch a Whidbey TV video highlighting the produce and farmers on Whidbey island and hear about winter CSAs from Deep Harvest Farm.  We will also give you a sneak peak at the upcoming 2014 Taste of Whidbey on Sept. 28th.  RSVP Glo Sherman onespiritgarden@whidbey.net or 360-341-4217 by Sept. 12th.

 Sunday, September 28, 1-4pm: 5th Annual Taste of Whidbey. Join Slow Food Whidbey Island to celebrate unique Whidbey Island food traditions featuring the best of local, seasonal food and beverage. Experience the tastes of over 15 local chefs, vintners and brewers.   The event will be held at the Greenbank Farm, 765 Wonn Rd., Greenbank, WA 98253.  Tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at door), admit one and include 10 tastes (extras: $2 per taste, at event), available now at www.brownpapertickets.com.  More info is available from taste@whidbey.com

For more info on our neighboring chapters:

Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah’s: Slow Food’s visit to Kurtwood Farms

GROWING FC final.inddIn July, Slow Food Seattle visited Kurtwood Farms on Vashon Island. Here’s board member Eileen Lambert’s report back from the day!

On a gorgeous Sunday morning, 20 Seattleites rose early to make their way aboard the Fauntleroy ferry to Vashon, where the cool oasis of Kurtwood Farms awaited. Resisting the World Cup final fever the rest of Seattle had seemingly fallen victim to, they anticipated a taste of the farm life Kurt Timmermeister had depicted in his two celebrated books: Growing a Farmer, and his most recent release: Growing a Feast.

Once the caravan of 20 convened at the farm and the dust settled in the adjacent lot, Kurt stepped out for a quick greeting and then led us through the hedged walkway into a long, airy, stonewalled farmhouse kitchen, the scene for many of his feasts and more recent culinary adventures. (More on that later).

The Cookhouse

The Cookhouse

Kurt opened with a brief introduction on his background as both chef and owner of the former Septieme; an acclaimed Capitol Hill restaurant he ran for 18 years before shuttering in the early 90’s, as the pace of island began to beckon him to Vashon. He shared how he came to find the farmstead which he, along with several extra hands, lovingly restored and built to become Kurtwood Farms. A true story of love at first sight, Kurt didn’t even get out of the car before he announced to his realtor “This is it.”

That certainty is undoubtedly what drove Kurt to devote countless hours of hard work over the ensuing years, and inspired him to endeavor on some initially lucrative, yet ultimately unsustainable pursuits, such as beekeeping, a CSA and a raw milk franchise, all of which he detailed to us as cautionary tale on the pitfalls of going into farming with idealistic notions.

KURTKurt spoke to our Slow Food Seattle group for about an hour, giving us an intimate look at his life leading up to his days as a dairy owner, farmer, chef, and author, while also giving us a glimpse of what we would be encountering on our tour.

He then took us through the back of the kitchen, and walked us around the farm. We started with the milking parlor, a wall-less wooden structure that the farm’s seven Jersey cows are led into twice a day (usually 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) to be milked. These seven cows each produce roughly 5 gallons a day, resulting in 35 gallons of pure, creamy milk.

IMG_4775Next door from the milking parlor, we ventured into the small cheesemaking facility, but due to contamination concerns (after all, cheesemaking is a sensitive process!) we just peeked our heads into the window of the room where the actual cheesemaking takes place. To maintain a safe environment, the cheesemaker herself dons a separate set of clothes, apron, and shoes before entering the cheesemaking room.

One of the most anticipated tour stops came next: the bovine stars themselves! Many of the group went up to meet and snap photos of some of the herd, half of whom were resting, while the other half was grazing and drinking from the trough near the fence.

We next walked up the gravel road towards the cheese cave, which resembled a Hobbit home and was constructed in a grassy hillside, with a charming handcrafted door in the front and an air vent in the rear. Kurt mentioned that on warm days he liked to enter and walk the cave’s earthen floors just to savor its subterranean coolness beneath his feet. I bet some of us wished we could do the same –the day was a scorcher.

BABY COWSOn the way back towards the farmhouse, we walked through another dairy barn, one housing a couple of 2-month old calves who shyly stayed back from the viewing area, but whose doe-eyed sweetness captured the attention of all who cooed back at them.

Once back at the kitchen, we finally got down to the business of sampling the end product of this operation: Kurt’s famous cheeses! Kurt had earlier set out a wheel of his staple, Dinah’s Cheese, (named after one of his first cows, Dinah) which he shared, “pays the mortgage, pays the electricity bill.” He sliced the oozy Camembert style cheese and passed the plate around for our first sample of the day. All agreed it was rich, creamy, and delicious.

TOMMENext up was the LogHouse, a semi-hard tomme-style cheese that is aged for four months. We enjoyed each sample plain and unadorned to better taste the nuanced flavors of each cheese.

Afterward, as a special treat, Kurt shared his latest project: ice cream! With the caveat that some of the samples would contain chunks of butter, due to some processing challenges he was working through, Kurt brought out three flavors – helado de queso, chocolate mint, and tomato jam – all made with ingredients grown on his farm. He scooped up samples of all three into cones, which were passed around and savored, drips lapped up quickly by the eager farmhouse dog.

IMG_4770Following our final day’s tasting, Kurt opened his “store” for cheese and book sales, and many of the attendees queued up with coolers at the ready to take home a Dinah’s, LogHouse or both –fresh from the farm -as well as have their books autographed or purchase a new one for their collection.

Slow Food Seattle’s visit to a working island dairy farm on a gorgeous summer day was made even better by being some of the first to sample Kurtwood Farm’s new frozen offerings.

We look forward to revisiting this culinary experience closer to home while picking up some of his wares (cheeses, books, and other products) at the new micro-sized Chophouse Row retail space near 11th and Pike on Capitol Hill opening in Fall 2014.

Thank you, Kurt and friends, for the wonderful visit and glimpse into a day on the farm, and, with your incredible artisan cheeses, for bringing that experience from your table to ours.






Slideshow: Urban Edible Plant Walk with Melany Vorass

Check out the slideshow of our May 24th Urban Edible Plant Walk with Melany Vorass! Click on the image to see the description.

Vote for the “July 5th” in the Slow Food Speakeasy Contest

ImageSlow Food USA is running a “Slow Food Speakeasy” contest, which asked entrants to create a cocktail focusing on Ark of Taste products and local ingredients.

And some of our Slow Food neighbors here in Seattle – Christa and Shaun over at Booze Nerds – have made it to the finals! They are one of twelve contests in the final running to win a trip to the Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto world meeting in Turin, Italy.

Please check out their recipe and vote for their “July 5th” cocktail that features Sound Spirits Ebb & Flow Gin, Dr. Pickett’s shrub, and more. Click here and scroll down to the bottom left to vote.

Check out their site for more details on the creation of this cocktail and for their other posts with other delicious-sounding drink ideas.

We asked them to tell us a little more about themselves and this drink and learned more about our fellow Slow Food enthusiasts. Check that out below and don’t forget to vote!

Good luck to the Booze Nerds! Voting is open until June 19.

1. How did you hear about the contest?

We saw a mention of it in the 4/3 Slow Food USA newsletter.

2. What has been your relationship to Slow Food, both the actual organization and the concept itself?

We have a membership and occasionally go to local Slow Food events. We’re very supportive of the ideals and goals of the organization, in terms of preserving local/heritage species, emphasizing fair practices for people involved in all stages of food production, and really enjoying time spent with friends and family preparing and eating good food.

3. Were you familiar with the Ark of Taste prior to the contest, or did the contest introduce you to that program?

Shaun was. Christa wasn’t, so it was a great introduction. We’ll have to make sure to mention it to the vendors at the U District farmers market that we usually go to, many of them raise great heritage fruits/vegetables/livestock that might be eligible.

4. Did this contest introduce you to any new-to-you ingredients you are curious about trying?

We were familiar with the spirits/liqueurs we used and had tried other Dr. Pickett’s shrubs, but we hadn’t tried the watermelon-violet one we ended up using.

5. Were there any of the Pacific Northwest region-specific Ark of Taste products that you played around with in the creation process?

No. We did play with rye, but that’s nation-wide. We had thought about trying the birch syrup but hadn’t gotten around to picking any up. We would have loved to use Black Republican cherries, which we’ve had before and are very fond of, but unfortunately they aren’t in season yet.

6. Are there other general Pacific Northwest products (Ark or non-Ark) that you might not have included in this particular cocktail but that you love and would recommend to Slow Food folks?

Black Republican and Northstar cherries. Egremont russett apples (I think they are originally a British varietal, but the ones raised around here are phenomenal). On the non-cocktail front, pork and guinea hens from Seabreeze Farm and bacon from Skagit Valley Ranch. Anything from Blue Valley meats. Cherries, apples & stone fruits from Grouse Mountain farm.

7. What is the thing you would most look forward to if you won the trip to Terra Madre?

Introducing people to some great Pacific Northwest cocktail ingredients would be great. We think the Presidia and international marketplace would both be incredible chances to learn about and try artisanal foods from other regions. Also, being in Turin in October, hopefully we’d find our way to some Barolo and white truffles :)

8. Anything else you’d like to include?

If you like a good cocktail, we highly recommend that you check out the craft cocktail and distilling scene in the PNW. We have a lot of great products here that we just love.

Thanks, Christa and Shaun!

SFS July Book Club: “Growing a Feast” by Kurt Timmermeister

Kurt BookPlease join us for our July SFS Book Club! We are reading Growing a Feast by Kurt Timmermeister in anticipation of our farm visit to Kurtwood Farms.

We’ll be meeting at 6:30pm on Thursday, July 10th, at the home of board member Leslie Seaton in the Bryant neighborhood. We’ll enjoy the (fingers crossed) sunshine in the large backyard.

Our book club is free to attend, open to members and non-members, and low commitment! We’re a welcoming, fun group and there will be some tasty food (and Kurtwood Farm cheese!) to enjoy.

To sign up, please RSVP on Facebook and send an email to membership@slowfoodseattle.org for address specifics. (No Facebook account? Feel free to just send an email.)

And please consider also joining us at our farm tour the following Sunday. Details here!