As the earth tilts Seattle away from the sun, and the cool damp of autumn arrives, our farmers’ markets become calmer. The mad, heated rush of summer is over.
As the summer crops reach the ends of their seasons, some farmers are packing up their market tents for the year. The past couple of weeks, I’ve seen ‘last day’ signs in several stalls that I frequent. So I’ve stocked up, buying kabocha squashes and fragrant quinces from Mair Farm-taki, tomatoes and heirloom eggplant from Billy’s, and wishing the farmers a good winter.
Fortunately, a number of farmers in the area grow winter crops, which they sell at the couple of markets that remain open year-round. Today, I brought home eggs from Skagit River Ranch and Olsen Farms’ potatoes. I bought what may be my last tomatoes of the year, several pounds of brilliant, cherry-tomato-sized romas from Kittitas Valley Greenhouse. I’ll be tucking them into the oven soon for a slow overnight roasting.
Although I stopped by to taste the late varieties of apples from Booth Canyon Orchard (their Winesaps are lovely!), I resisted buying, as we still have several Spitzenburgs waiting to be eaten. I could not, however, resist the spectacular honey bosc pears from Rockridge Orchards. Boscs have never been a favorite of mine for eating out of hand, but with one juicy bite, this pear has changed my mind. I picked out half a dozen; their aroma kept me company on the drive home.
Tomorrow is the first day of the 2007 Eat Local Challenge, and I’m in. Or I will be, after we get home to Seattle Tuesday from a long weekend away. (I’ll try to eat locally as much as I can this weekend, too, but I’m not yet sure what that will look like. What will be available in the eastern Sierra? I’ll let you know.)
Much of the food we eat now comes from our local farmers’ markets, where we are able to buy not only fruits and vegetables, but eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, fish, shellfish, meat, honey, bread, grains, flours, herbs and vinegars. In September, I plan to increase the percentage of local foods in my diet to almost 100 percent. I say almost because there are some exceptions — foods not grown in Washington, the lack of which would negatively effect my quality of life.
What’s missing from our locally-grown larder? Coffee (not only my quality of life would be diminished by its absence!), chocolate, citrus, spices. I won’t give those up, but I will purchase them from local roasters, chocolatiers, and grocers.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you want to learn more about the Eat Local Challenge, visit the Locavores‘ website and the Eat Local Challenge website.
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