Reflections on the Changing Seasons, Terra Madre and the Quillisascut Farm

By Amy Grondin

Walking my dog each morning through the fields near my home gives me a chance observe the changes that turning seasons bring. Today there was a definite nip in the air signaling for me that autumn was seriously taking hold and the summer that many say wasn’t had passed. If you are a farmer, you see the changes in your own fields as crops come in and out of season. For shoppers, the offerings displayed in Farmers Market stalls act as indicators of the changing seasons. Summer sweet berries give way to crisp apples, thin skinned summer squash are replaced by their hearty, thick fleshed winter cousins and delicate greens and shoots fall back for chard, kale and collards that cascade in green-purple waves on market tables, awaiting their turn in a sauté pan.

For me the coming of fall also finds me planning ahead for winter yet remembering the experiences and tastes of the past summer. One of the finest experiences, loaded with sun ripe flavor and hands on experience, was my week spent in early August at the Quillisascut Farm School for the Domestic Arts in Rice, Washington for the Second Annual Slow Food Youth Workshop.

The first Slow Food Youth Workshop was proposed in October 2008 by Quillisascut Farm owner Lora Lea Misterly while attending the third Terra Madre gathering in Torino, Italy. Terra Madre is an international celebration of sustainable small scale food producers. It is hosted biannually by Slow Food International. At Terra Madre, religion, language barriers and debates are all set aside, not because the organizers ask that these differences be checked at the door, but because what is shared in common by the multicultural participants is so very powerful. All that attend Terra Madre are striving to preserve, foster and share their own unique way of producing sustainable food that is good, clean and fair.

During Terra Madre’s proceedings a challenge was issued by Slow Food USA Leader Josh Viertel for all in the room to bring Terra Madre home. Folks were asked to bottle up the energy and inspiration that was generated by the 5,000 people who were brought together from far reaching corners of the world. Once back home, how would each attending continue their work to produce good, clean and fair food while inspiring other to become a part of the sustainable food network?

The Slow Food Youth Workshop would be Lora Lea Misterly’s way to bring Terra Madre home. People between the ages of 18 and 29 would come to Quillisascut Farm for a week of learning first hand where their food comes from and how to embrace the seasonality of local goods. How lucky were Kim Bast and I to be standing next to Lora Lea at Terra Madre when she hatched the idea to host a workshop on her farm! While our status as youth had been officially dropped a while back, our role would be to assist at Quillisascut while learning with others through shared agricultural and culinary tasks.

Back home in Washington, with two Slow Food Youth Workshops completed, I happily report that a total of 22 Slow Food Youth representatives have visited the Quillisascut Farm. They have willingly taken on the duties of caring for goats and poultry, learned about organic gardening and had first lessons in making cheese with farm fresh goat milk. They have cooked meals together using the fruit, vegetables and meat raised on the farm, and have been overheard expressing their pleasure that the sustainably grown food they had followed from the field to the plate actually tasted better! Energized and relaxed at the same time by the rhythm of life on the farm, all shared increased awareness that our differences are our strengths and that respect, sustainable, biodiversity, community and enough are more than words – they are concepts to live a life by.

Much more than sustainable food was cultivated during the time spent on the Quillisascut Farm. And we have much to share! This past August four of the people attending the second annual Slow Food Youth Workshop were from Seattle. Two attending the workshop were sponsored by Slow Food Seattle – Andrew Heimburger from Seattle Culinary Academy and Erica Carre from FareStart – and two were sponsored by their workplaces – Ryan Stoy from Rainier Club and Anna Bazzi from TASTE at SAM.

 

These four exceptional individuals have agreed to work together with me to plan an event that will allow Slow Food Seattle members to meet them, hear their stories from the Quillisascut Farm and raise funds to send others from the Seattle area out to the Quillisascut Farm School for Domestic Arts in Rice, WA for the third annual Slow Food Youth Workshop in 2011! Stand by for updates and event details in November…But until then, please enjoy this recipe created by Chef Karen Jurgensen while teaching at the Quillisascut Farm School for Domestic Arts:

Jacob’s Cattle Bean, Kale and Chèvre Soup
The goat cheese adds a delicious tang to this comforting soup. The heavy cream binds the beans together and makes the soup thicker, so resist the urge to substitute whole milk or half-and-half. Because of the high fat content, this soup freezes well. Note: Canned beans are not a suitable substitute as the beans make their own stock and sauce.

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) Jacob’s Cattle beans or other white beans, rinse and soak overnight (3 parts water to 1 part beans, soaking water reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ cup tomato purée
  • 1 cup chopped preserved roasted red peppers (store-bought is fine)
  • 1 bunch black kale (or other kale), about 8 to 10 leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups (about three-quarter pound) soft goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Put the beans and soaking water in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and skim foam from the beans. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the salt (the water should taste lightly of salt). Cook about 1 hour, until the beans are soft in texture and creamy in flavor.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the carrot, celery, yellow onion and garlic, until the mixture is soft but not brown. Stir in the tomato purée, red peppers and black kale. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and add salt to taste.

When the beans have finished cooking, stir in the vegetable mixture, bay leaves, thyme and chili flakes. Cook for about 20 minutes, then add the heavy cream, goat cheese and black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes more, then season to taste with salt.

Variations: In summertime use fresh tomatoes, peppers, and thyme. For a lighter minestrone-style soup, leave out the heavy cream and goat cheese.

— Recipe excerpted from Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School for the Domestic Arts by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly with recipes from Karen Jurgensen and photography by Harley Soltes (Skipstone).



Join the Slow Food movement for $25!

Join Slow Food USA

Slow Food USA wants to add 10,000 more voices to our powerful network of changemakers demanding a just and healthy food system. From now through October 22, 2010, your donation of $25 or more makes you a member of Slow Food USA. This opportunity will be offered for a limited time only.

CONNECT

  • Join Slow Food hereBecome a part of our active online community. 
Connect with people who care about slow food locally.
  • Join your local Slow Food USA chapter (that’s us, Slow Food Seattle!).
  • Get a Slow Food USA membership card.

GET INFORMED

  • Access information about important national and international food issues and quick updates with the latest food news.
  • Access exclusive online and offline content, including opportunities to communicate with leaders in the food movement.

ENGAGE

  • Help shape the direction of the slow food movement.
  • Receive invitations to attend local, national and international events and enjoy discounts where available.
  • Learn about opportunities to volunteer on local and national projects.
  • Receive email alerts that let you know when to take action.
  • Your contribution of $25 or more makes you a member of Slow Food USA.
  • Your contribution of $60 or more also gives you access to special offers just for Slow Food USA members.

SFS at the Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival

Eric Boutin & Hsiao-Ching Chou

Eric Boutin, Nutrition Director of Seattle Public Schools & Hsiao-Ching Chou of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Seattle talking good food in schools.

Philip & June Lee of Readers to Eaters, joined the Slow Food Seattle booth at the Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival.

Philip (& June, not pictured) Lee of Readers to Eaters, joined the Slow Food Seattle booth at the Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival.

Amy Pennington signing copies of her book, "Urban Pantry"

Amy Pennington signing copies of her book, "Urban Pantry"

Amy Pennington chatting with fans & signing copies of her book, "Urban Pantry"

Amy Pennington chatting with fans & signing copies of her book, "Urban Pantry"

Jon Rowley demonstrating how to use a refractometer to gauge the level of sugars in tomatoes.

Jon Rowley demonstrating how to use a refractometer to gauge the level of sugars in tomatoes.

Checking the refractometer at Jon Rowley's Brix demo

Checking the refractometer level of tomatoes at Jon Rowley's Brix demo.

Some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes fresh from the U-Distric Farmers Market - testing their Brix levels as part of Jon Rowley's quest for the 10-Brix tomato.

Some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes fresh from the U-Distric Farmers Market - testing their Brix levels as part of Jon Rowley's quest for the 10-Brix tomato.

Kathleen Flinn, author of "the Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry," talking about how to choose a knife that's right for you.

Kathleen Flinn, author of "the Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry," talking about how to choose a knife that's right for you.

Kathleen Flinn, author of "the Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry," showing the group basic knife skills.

Kathleen Flinn, author of "the Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry," showing the group basic knife skills.

June Lee (left) tries her hand at cutting an onion like a chef after Kathleen Flinn's (right) demonstration.

June Lee (left) tries her hand at cutting an onion like a chef after Kathleen Flinn's (right) demonstration.

Anthony Warner and Tiana Colovos came out to talk about the Orca K-8 School Garden

Anthony Warner and Tiana Colovos came out to talk about the Orca K-8 School Garden

Thanks to all of you who came out this weekend to listen to our speakers, watch the demos, pick up some books from our partners Readers to Eaters, who volunteered as part of the national Slow Food Dig In! day, and chatted with us about Slow Food. All of this was in support for the Pike Place Market Foundation’s Human Service Programs.

All images : Jennifer Johnson

Line-up for this weekend’s Artisan Food Festival

We’ve got the schedule confirmed for the Slow Food Seattle booth (look for us near the Chef Demo stage) at the Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival coming up this weekend on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26.

Readers to EatersOur friends at Readers to Eaters will be joining us with books and speakers on both days. Readers to Eaters promotes food literacy through community food events, education programs, book publishing, and a mobile bookstore.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Sunday, Sept. 26
Come by and learn more about what we do at Slow Food Seattle, our upcoming events, and how to get involved in the Slow Food movement.

Need a map of the festival? Right-click on the Adobe logo to download. Adobe Acrobat PDFLook for us near the Chef Demo stage.

The last quarter of the 20th Century has seen a craft food renaissance world wide. Slow Food, the powerful consumer movement founded in Italy as a counter to fast food, is said to be the biggest consumer based food movement in history. The U.S.-the country that invented the supermarket-now boasts almost 5,000 farmers markets. At the heart of it all is the famous Pike Place Market. On September 25th and 26th, Seattle will celebrate artisan food in the heart of our country’s oldest public market and a leading food trendsetter.

Pike Place Market FoundationThe Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival is produced by The Market Foundation and is a benefit for the Pike Place Market’s human service agencies: Pike Market Medical Clinic, Child Care & Preschool, Senior Center and the Downtown Food Bank. More info can be found at www.artisanfoodfestival.org.

Volunteer this weekend to support the Pike Place Market Foundation

VDig In! Slow Food USA's national day of action.olunteers are still needed for this weekend’s Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival on September 25th and 26th. Slow Food Seattle is volunteering as part of Slow Food USA’s “Dig In” initiative, to reach out to our local communities. All proceeds from this weekend’s festival benefit the programs of the Pike Place Market Foundation.

Roles include helping with festival load-in, set-up, stage assistance, tear down – the current areas of greatest need are:

  • Load In: Sat & Sun, 6:30–9:30am – bright & early!
  • Piggy Banks: Sat & Sun – volunteers ask for $1 donations to support the Market Foundation.
  • Money Collecting & Counting: Sat afternoon – just what it sounds like.
  • Mainstage: Sat morning & afternoon – helping bands set up and break down.
  • Chef Stage: Sun, 10am–1:30pm – one volunteer to assist the chefs doing demos.

Call or email Erika Sweet at the Pike Place Market Foundation to register and be sure to identify yourself as a Slow Food Seattle volunteer (to qualify for an apron)! erika.sweet@pikeplacemarket.org or 206.774.5254.

Recruit your friends and family and enjoy the day together. Make a difference and have some fun!

The first 50 volunteers registered will receive one of our new Slow Food Seattle aprons! Stop by the Slow Food Seattle booth (near the chef’s stage) to pick yours up!

A summer update

We’re deep in the throes of summertime picnics, road-trips, time on the water, gardening, canning, and easy days with friends and family! Below are some great events and opportunities on the horizon – join us!

Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival
Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival10am – 6pm, Saturday, Sept. 25
10am – 5pm, Sunday, Sept. 26

The last quarter of the 20th Century has seen a craft food renaissance world wide. Slow Food, the powerful consumer movement founded in Italy as a counter to fast food, is said to be the biggest consumer based food movement in history. The U.S.-the country that invented the supermarket-now boasts almost 5,000 farmers markets. At the heart of it all is the famous Pike Place Market. On September 25th and 26th, Seattle will celebrate artisan food in the heart of our country’s oldest public market and a leading food trendsetter.

Slow Food Seattle will be there with some special guests for Q&A’s, book signings, and more! Join the celebration!

The Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival is produced by The Market Foundation and is a benefit for the Pike Place Market’s human service agencies: Pike Market Medical Clinic, Child Care & Preschool, Senior Center and the Downtown Food Bank. More info can be found at www.artisanfoodfestival.org.

Dig In! Slow Food National Volunteer Day
Volunteers needed!

Slow Food Seattle is working with the Slow Food chapters locally and across the nation, to reach out to our communities and get some work done. This year we’ll be volunteering as part of the Pike Place Market Artisan Food Festival on September 25th and 26th (see next story for more on the festival). All proceeds from the festival benefit the programs of the Pike Place Market Foundation. Recruit your friends and family and enjoy the day together. Make a difference and have some fun!

Roles include helping with festival load-in, set-up, tear down, staffing the “Zucchini 500″ kids activity, and helping vendors as needed.

The first 50 people to register to volunteer will receive one of our spiffy new Slow Food Seattle aprons!

Contact Erika Sweet at the Pike Place Market Foundation to register and be sure to identify yourself as a Slow Food Seattle volunteer (to qualify for an apron)! erika.sweet@pikeplacemarket.org or 206.774.5254.

Seattle Chefs Collaborative
Urban Picnic 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eat it to save it!

Join Seattle Chefs Collaborative for a Sunday afternoon of fun and fantastic food on the rooftop deck at Rainier Square and help send local rising culinary stars to the Quillisascut Farm school in Rice, WA. Celebrated Seattle chefs will prepare another picnic to remember of culturally important Northwest foods from the Seattle Chefs Collaborative Urban Picnic 2010Renewing Americas Food Traditions (RAFT) list of endangered foods. As we like to say, ya gotta eat it to save it.

Participating chefs & restaurants include: John Sundstrom of Lark, Jason Franey of Canlis, Maria Hines of Tilth, Seth Caswell of emmer&rye, Ethan Stowell of Anchovies & Olives, Rachel Yang of Joule, Dan Braun of Oliver’s Twist, Karen Jurgensen of Quillisascut Farm, Riley Starks of Willows inn, Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes, and Tara Ayers of Ocho, one of the recipients of the 2010 Quillisascut scholarship.

Tickets $60 at Brown Paper Tickets
Children under 10 are free
www.brownpapertickets.com/event/121012

Urban Picnic is presented in partnership with Slow Food Seattle and Seattle CityClub. More info at Seattle Chefs Collaborative.

American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters and FieldsAn Edible Conversation with Rowan Jacobsen
author of American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters and Fields

September 21, 2010
7pm, The Palace Ballroom

2030 5th Ave. Seattle

Slow Food Seattle supporter discount – $10 off general admission
Promo code: slowterroir

James Beard award winning food writer Rowan Jacobsen discusses the role of the place in the taste of food in his new book American Terroir. He will be joined by Jill Lightner of Edible Seattle, Sharon Campbell of Tieton Cider Works and Harmony Orchard, Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms and Greg Atkinson, author of The Northwest Essentials Cookbooks to discuss why delicious food is all about location, location, location. $25 ticket price includes panel discussion, appetizers, Theo chocolate and guided tasting of NW cider, apples and oysters.

Tickets $15/$25 at Brown Paper Tickets. Includes panel discussion, appetizers, Theo chocolate and guided tasting of NW cider, apples and oysters.

Use the promo code “slowterroir” to receive the $10 discount. More info can be found at www.kimricketts.com.

Kim Ricketts Book Events Edible Seattle Slow Food Seattle