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Food

Fall 2007

Behold the blackberry

Blackberry is a flavor of fall in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you sample blackberries straight from the bush, still warm from the sun, or bake it into a pie and top it with a cool scoop of ice cream, it’s a deep, sweet taste that conjures up those last days of sunshine.

Blackberries live in the rose family and are close relatives of red raspberries. Their commonly cultivated versions include the black and shiny marionberry and red-black hybrid Boysenberry. Both varieties are available mid-July through early August here in Washington. They are grown mostly on farms in the Puyallup and Mt. Vernon areas and sold … » More …

Winter 2007

Pears

There are few things finer than a perfectly ripened pear. We Washingtonians are thus among the luckiest people on earth, because after wide geographical and temporal wandering, the pear seems to have found its true home in our state.

That being so, is it not strange that the pear is not more popular? The question is hardly new. In fact, U.P. Hedrick, in the monumental and beautiful Pears of New York, spends three large pages exploring why, even in 1920, the pear was not more widely eaten.

Given that Washington grows more than 24,000 acres of pears, it would seem that many people do enjoy … » More …

Summer 2009

Spring is the season for chèvre

After a winter’s break, the goats at Rhonda Gothberg’s farm have kidded and their milk is rich and sweet. The soft French-style cheese she makes is delicious with just a nuance of that goat tang. Maybe it’s because the animals have added tender green grass to their diet, maybe it’s because it has been a long winter without fresh goat cheese, but “June chèvre is my favorite,” says Gothberg.

With a few acres in Skagit Valley, Gothberg is raising 29 milk goats for her farmstead cheese business. Early each the morning, just as the sun illuminates the shape of Chuckanut Mountain in the near distance … » More …

Spring 2009

Lentils

Local. Delicious.
Neglected.

Our first night in the Yucatan this past December, my wife ordered lentil soup. Flavored with bacon and garnished with plantain and lime, it was delicious. Odds are that it was made with Pardina lentils grown here on the Palouse. In fact, you may be more likely to eat Palouse lentils in Latin America, India, or Turkey than in Washington.

I may be exaggerating a little, but seriously, when is the last time you ate lentils? Given that Washington is one of the largest producers of lentils in the world, we are curiously unacquainted with this versatile and tasty legume. Lentils … » More …

Yucatecan lentil soup recipe (Tim’s interpretation)

lard

medium yellow onion, chopped fine

large clove garlic, minced (I actually use much more than this, but don’t want to scare people off)

2-3 slices of good thick bacon, chopped

a little Mexican oregano

1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce)

1 cup pardina lentils

large tomato, chopped, or 8 oz. canned chopped tomato

6 cups water

plantain

hardboiled egg

Melt a couple of tablespoons lard over medium heat in medium dutch oven. Cook onions and garlic until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Add tsp. or so of Mexican oregano and stir. Add mashed up pepper and cook for … » More …

Winter 2008

A Season for Seeds

STRANGE THINGS sprout in Skagit Valley’s fields: Monster plants with six-foot stalks covered with yellow flowers, delicate ferny-leaved things with round white heads holding hundreds of tiny blossoms, and unruly tangles of leaves, spears, and spikes.

John Roozen ’74, whose family’s name is synonymous with Skagit Valley tulips, keeps careful watch on these fields. He swings his pickup over to the side of the road and dives into a field, a curly, hairy mess of green. He plucks off the tip of a plant and hands it over. See that, he says, pointing at the dozens of small green nuggets clustered along the stem, those … » More …

Winter 2008

Rethinking the Fundamentals

Feeding the world may require us to use old knowledge in new ways. Although the prices of fuel and commodities have dropped since early summer, the volatility of their relationship will surely dog us for the foreseeable future. While stock prices may temporarily overshadow food prices in the public consciousness, some farmers and researchers are looking at different ways of doing business, perhaps moving the land-grant university back to its founding purpose. » More ...
Spring 2008

A taste of history

Methow Valley, best known for its miles of Nordic skiing and other outdoor recreation, has developed a new note, one that lands it in Seattle’s culinary scene. The rare heritage grains from Sam and Brooke Lucy’s Bluebird Grain farms have found their way onto the menus of some of the city’s eateries.

Two histories intertwine in this story—the history of farming in a secluded mountain valley, and that of a cereal that once fed both kings and common Roman soldiers.

The grain, called farro, or emmer, is a primitive wheat that retains its outer hull. One of the first cereals to be domesticated in the … » More …

Spring 2006

Cooking is its own reward

Betsy Rogers ’89 had her eureka moment while sitting in a cooking class.

It was 2000, and the Seattle-based public relations specialist had recently lost her job in a downsizing. Instead of jumping back into a new job, she decided to freelance and take her time in deciding what to do next.

“I did like being self-employed, but I didn’t like what I was doing,” she says. What she really enjoyed was food, though. With some extra time on her hands, the Washington State University public relations graduate signed up for a cooking class.

“So I was thinking about what things really get me … » More …