Sidebar: how you can help

The restoration effort is being led by a group of driven individuals, but it's up to all of us to pitch in and help preserve this important part of our heritage and ecosystem. Eat Olympia oysters. Order them in restaurants, buy them at farmers markets, join a shellfish CSA, and keep small shellfish farms in business. Public demand ensures their survival. Donate money and/or time. The Puget Sound Restoration Fund estimates it will cost $5 million over ten years to reach their goal, and need extra hands on every project they embark on. Learn more at www.restorationfund.org. Report remnant oyster beds. Have you come across beds of Olys recently or in your childhood? It's important to know where beds have been historically to...

A God Among Oysters

The tiny bivalve with a huge local impact BY ANNA ROTH Like your first kiss or first drink, you remember your first oyster. The slippery sliminess, the unmistakeable taste of the sea, the thrill of eating something alive. If you hated it, you remember the revulsion. If you loved it, you remember the revelation. Either way, the oyster belongs to that rarified school of sensations that defy imagination; they must be experienced to be understood. The Olympia was Washington State’s first oyster. It is the only oyster native to the Pacific west coast, the food that sustained native tribes for millennia, the briny treat that delighted the first pioneers. But the plentiful Olympia population that once blanketed the coast from British Columbia to...

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Bittersweet

Coming Out As A Diabetic STORY AND PHOTOS BY ABRA BENNETT I could start this story by saying that it’s a sad and difficult one to tell. Or I could begin by saying that by most measures it’s the story of a fantastic and improbable success. Both would be true. Raise your hand if, like me, you’re diabetic. If you are, you’re part of the 18.8 million Americans currently diagnosed with the disease. If your hand is resting quietly in your lap, contemplate the fact that the American Diabetes Association estimates that an additional 7 million Americans are diabetic but haven’t yet been diagnosed, and that another 79 million are pre-diabetic. Scary, isn’t it? Just as you’re probably thinking “that could never happen...

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KIDDING AROUND

At my university, “The Bible as Literature” was a required class for English majors. One day my professor walked into the room, set a stack of graded essays on his desk, and began writing on the blackboard with noticeable irritation. When he turned around the board read “child = young human; kid = young goat.”...

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Confessions of a Kale Eater

Seattleites are a hearty lot. Music and coffee and technology capture the world’s attention but it’s the mold-proof exterior and love of farmers markets that caught my eye when I moved here from the East Coast....

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Brennon Leighton, winemaker

From bus boy to punk rocker to one of Washington’s top winemakers, Brennon Leighton’s path has been a winding one. Equal parts passionate, outspoken, and honest, Leighton is poised to make a large impression on the Washington wine industry. Ironically, he is doing it by trying to leave as little impression on his wines as possible....

Binge: Dried Fruit

BY JESS THOMSON Here’s the irony of fruit preservation: When fresh fruits are no longer available, but Seattle-area markets are bursting with naturally dried varieties, we may be too ornery about the weather to be happy munching dried fruit out of hand. We took bags and bags of the region’s best dried fruit home with us to make something more warming. After lots of experimentation, here are our favorites. Boozy Asian Pears Find some of Rockridge Orchards’ dried Asian pears, whose sluggish appearance belies their sweet taste, and do what owner Wade Bennett does: Soak them in pear brandy for about 2 weeks. When they’re ready, you’ll have the essence of 10,000 pear trees in every boozy bite. Pile them on ice cream....

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Sequim’s Resident Idealist

The road that leads from Sequim to Nash Huber and Patty McManus-Huber’s farm tells the story of the Dungeness Valley. On one side you pass lush green farmland, on the other a sign advertising newly built model homes, each on their own small plot of what used to be pastureland. It’s a trend Huber has been trying to buck since the late ’60s....

Cooking Fresh: Sure Things

BY JESS THOMSON In general, it’s probably not wise to compare a winter vegetable to a successful date, but if there’s one way to describe an onion, my friend Hannah had it right: an onion is a sure thing. Ditto for kale and potatoes, whose dependability never wavers, even as the weather ricochets across the barometer. They’re the three musketeers of our region’s winter kitchen. Yet more often than not, come January, we’re already out of ideas. Here are four new inspirations for Seattle’s stalwart winter staples: a simple vegetable pan roast, tart with melted lemon and crunchy with crisp kale; a gratin layered with goat cheese; simple homemade gnocchi with kale pesto and onions cooked slowly into submission; and an easy,...

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High Class Lowbrow

Hand-Picked Cows and Potato Chips at Local 360 STORY AND PHOTOS BY ADRIANA GRANT Local 360 is a one-year old Belltown restaurant that serves locally sourced comfort food, offering familiar favorites like burgers, steak frites, and fried chicken. Sited in Flying Fish’s former spot at First Avenue and Bell Street, that restaurant’s 90s-era sleekness has been undone. With tall windows, high ceilings, and rough-hewn wood on the walls, booths, and entranceway, the venue possesses a rustic feel reminiscent of a barn—a barn surrounded by high rises. Napkins are dishtowels, folded none-too neatly. The restaurant’s mission is more formal. Local 360 serves farm-to-table cuisine, supports local farmers and neighborhood artisans, and is interested in community, environmental stewardship, and the humane treatment of animals. If...

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Deluxe Foods

Rebecca Staffel can't contain her glee. "These are so pretty!" she declares, surveying simmering kettles of fleshy pink fruit. Deluxe Foods inaugural batch of Fig Preserves with Star Anise is off to a fragrant, promising start....

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OUR AVAs- Yakima Valley

Even before modern agriculture, the Yakima Valley was a bountiful land. In one of the many Native American dialects of central Washington, the word E-ya-ki-ma means “well-fed people.”...

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Urban Foraging

Pampeana Empanadas  There are times when even a dedicated locavore just wants an instant meal, and occasionally devoted bakers appreciate someone else making the effort. Look no further than the mom-and-daughter baking team behind Pampeana. Their crust is delectable—crisp and flaky to a fault, with a fine buttery flavor. Fillings range from traditionally Argentine (ground beef with raisins and hard-boiled egg; roasted corn) to fairly American (broccoli mushroom; mixed berry) and while every taster had a different favorite, the savory caramelized onion and nicely spiced sweet potato won the overall popularity contest. These little pies fit the bill for tasty party snacks—or for a locally-made version of a Hot Pocket that’s actually worth eating. All varieties are available in two sizes, which...

Editor’s Letter

I can’t help feeling a bit bad for kale. I like it just fine—it’s a regular part of the menu all year ‘round—but I also remember a meeting I had with Jess Thomson last summer, as we sipped coffee and laughed about the limitations of January’s locavore diet. She threatened to get snarky about kale, potatoes and onions, but as it turned out, her Cooking Fresh (page TK) offers far more genuine appreciation than mean-spirited humor. As always, the recipes are delicious and creative, which is much appreciated as we stare into the face of three more months of a kale-centric diet. Somebody should make a t-shirt: Kale is the 99%. While kale might be funnier to me than it is...

Carrot Jam Sweet & Spicy Carrots

Winter is a great time of year to tackle a kitchen project that will both add to the pantry shelves and bring a little color to the gray days. While there isn't much local produce available over winter, carrots are a cold-weather standout, and a fabulously flexible vegetable—equally tasty in both sweet and savory dishes....