Here’s food for thought from Rebecca, our market Manager.
I’m a farmer’s daughter who was born in the middle of harvest. That fact explains my fondness for this time of year.
Springtime is lovely, of course, with its implicit promise. Autumn is thrilling with its preternatural displays of color. Winter teases us with suggestions of time off for good behavior (hah!) But High Summer in August – Oh Baby! This is the big payday, the grand feast, a reason to scramble out of bed and squeal with excitement. I am nothing if not the fruit of my parents’ joyful planting!
Birthdays in our family have always felt akin to national holidays. All rules – well, the ordinary ones, not the capital crimes variety – are dispensed for the day. The birthday kid gets to loaf a little – which on the farm is something of a miracle. For me, the highlight growing up was the cake in the fields, always a dazzling work of art topped by a frilly doll – the ironic emblem of my life: femininity in the middle of dusty, hot stubble – served like the loaves and fishes to a crowd that far outnumbered its divisible geometry. At the foundation of everything was family, which meant not just brothers and sisters and parents, but hired men, the hired girl, the cousins, maybe the county extension agent who’d dropped by that day, possibly a couple of nuns up for a visit or the parish priest knowing when a good meal was in the offing.
This is the scene that defines both harvest and birthdays in my mind, the two events inextricably connected. A celebratory moment in a sunup to sundown, hot as blazes workday, surrounded by concentric ripples of love. It is a chance for me to see life through a more mature lens of imagining, and register an immense feeling of gratitude for the gift that is my family.
The Market has become another part of that family, and the wealth of offerings in the farm stalls this time of year brings me full circle to my childhood Augusts. The vendors hear me effuse each week over the kaleidoscopic bounty and I’m sure they think I’m just being a nice cheerleader. But that excitement burbles up from a real place, a spot deep in my soul from which I marvel at that miracle of nature known as harvest.
As I survey the island harvest, I am keenly grateful for each and every member of my Market Family: each farmer that toils in the fields to bring such honorable, nutritious food to our tables; each artisan that graces the Village Green with proof of their creative genius; each food and beverage vendor that spoils us with their gustatory prowess; each volunteer that rolls up their sleeves to help make the Market a wonder of logistical efficiency. I’m grateful for Lindsay Hart, who assembles and publishes the Fresh Sheet every week, and for Hunter Mask who steadfastly anchors the EBT booth; for Merrilee Runyan who patiently listens when I fret about little things, and Nan Wilson for riding herd on the Coop Booth. I’m grateful for Brigid Cummins who keeps the Market accounting on track! I’m grateful for every market patron who comes each week and takes home all that miraculous bounty. Happy High Summer to you all!
And yes, this is the weekend I celebrate my birthday – which means I get to loaf a little (I’ll be scooting out of the market at 1 on Saturday, to be with my visiting family.) There won’t be any cakes with frilly dolls, but I will be sharing something special with you while I’m there: my little brother’s amazing fiddling talents. His posse, know as JP and the OK Rhythm Boys, has agreed to come from Orcas Island and entertain us in the music tent. For that, I am grateful beyond words!
Here’s what on offer this week at YOUR fruitful Farmers Market:
Island Meadow Farm arrives with Bush Beans — Mixed Colors; Chard; Cucumbers — Slicing, Lemon and Pickling; Fava Beans, Kale, Mixed Flower Bouquets; Potatoes — Yellow and Red, Big and Beautiful; Summer Squash — Green Zucchini and Costada Romanesca; Sunflowers — If the sun fell and made flowers these would be them; and Sweet Onions — Fresh and Delicious!
Pacific Crest Farm is bringing lots of Tomatoes! Cherry, Red Slicing and Heirloom varieties. They will also have more Shiro plums and Yellow Transparent saucing apples, plus more salad, kale, chard, kohlrabi, fennel, beets, carrots, onions, favas, potatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, cucumbers and summer squash.
Hilltop Garden (Pictured at right)will come to the market this week with potatoes and carrots, beets, pole and bush beans, cabbages, kale and chard, shelling and snap peas.
East West Produce will have Peaches, Nectarines, the last pick of Apricots, the first pick of Apples and Blueberries. Plus a few of Noreen’s gigantic Lilies!
Plum Forest Farm will have luscious Blueberries, Basil, Green and Yellow Beans, Cilantro, Carrots, New Potatoes, Purslane, Swiss Chard, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Gourmet Salad Mix, Eggplant, Broccoli, Piracicaba, Beets, Arugula, Tomatoes, and Kale. Maybe something else too.
Calypso Garden is taking the week off as Zilla prepares flowers for an island wedding. But let’s all wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in absentia… (she and the manager are birthday twins!)
The Farm Coop Booth (picture below features Alistair and a happy Co-op customer) is always a place to find lots of surprises. This week, get your fix of colorful kale, monster cabbage, cherries, blueberries and plums and other delicious Vashon Grown produce, plus sunflowers and phlox, fragrant and gorgeous, and delicious farm fresh eggs!
Langley Fine Gardenswill feature produce from the farm, including four varieties of eggplant, sweet peppers, new potatoes, new garlic and even some tomatoes, in addition to Fall veggie starts.
Greenman Farm will have farm fresh eggs (get there early – they go fast!) tri-color mixed snap beans, broccoli, rainbow carrots, Asian cucumbers, chartreuse green and purple cauliflower, heirloom cabbage, mixed salad greens, summer squash, zucchini, new potatoes, mixed kale, rainbow chard, beets, spring onions, and plenty of recipes to go with them all. For farm crafts, Jasper and Will bring upcycled “feed” tote bags, adorable organic cotton produce bags, and beautiful veggie watercolour greeting cards. For those who want to enliven their walls with gorgeous art, check out Will’s beautiful veggie watercolour portraits.
Fieldstone Flowers is a riot of color, with beautiful summer flowers of many textures and varieties. Sunflowers and dahlias, and the market manager’s personal favorites, Rudbeckia.
Sun Island Farm will be coming with Broccoli, Beets, Strawberries, turnips, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, gourmet Zucchini, salad greens and head lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard.
Vashon Winery (which for all intents and purposes is also a FARMER, growing their own apples for cider and harvesting several acres of grapes for their wine) is sampling their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Merlot, Tramp Harbor Red, and also our popular hard apple cider: Irvine’s Vintage Cider is classic European-style cider, not too sweet, lightly carbonated, complex and refreshing. And a HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS to Ron Irvine, named by Seattle Weekly as the best Winemaker of 2012 in their Best of Seattle awards!
Midlife Crisis Farm will be bringing USDA lamb, grass fed ground beef, lean and healthful bison plus Swedish potato sausages for the grill, more of that delectable ginger pear pork sausage as well as brats and German sausages.
Quality Seafood will be there with tasty Columbia River salmon, Spot Prawns from nearby waters, Red Snapper and Alaska halibut, and delicious Smoked King Salmon for the best imaginable hors d’oeuvre.
Anu Rana’s Healthy Kitchen is a big hit with their gluten free, and guilt free, cookies, health bars and mini cakes – including Almond Apricot cookies, Quinoa Date Nutty Bars and Almond Blueberry Cakes. Try a sample! You’ll want a week’s supply!
LaBiondo Wood Fired Pizza (Shown at right) makes its Vashon Farmers Market debut this week, gracing the Village Green with the Taj Mahal of mosaic-tiled pizza ovens, and featuring Pizza Fresca, made with freshly harvested tomatoes and basil from island farms, and sausage pizza made with locally grown Italian sausage.
King Caramels redefines the candymaker’s art with Hedy’s latest connoisseur caramels. Choose from Sea Salt, Licorice, Ginger, Classic, Brown Rice and Agave. All amazing, all made on Vashon!
Cliff’s Beer is the coolest brew in town. Delicious handmade beers that always sell out early. Choose from equally popular Alder Smoked Porter and Bitter Ale. And Cliff has launched his American Pale Ale – think American Bitter, but hoppier. Hop off with a bottle of that!
Tease Chocolates is bringing three fabulous Chocolate Bars: Geishas Pleasure, Spicy Mayan and Salty Mermaid; Pistachio Buttercrunch; Honey Goat Truffles; Hand-dipped S’Mores; Assorted Truffles Box, including: Bee’s Knees, Lavender Butterflies, Summer Mint, Purple Sea Stars, Carol’s Little Black Dress, Hazelnut Praline, Blueberry Cordials, Giant Peach, Cardamom, Coffe and Dulce de Leche, and The Mandarin. World class chocolates, and made on Vashon Island.
Zamorana is with us as always, with more of their mouthwatering south-of-the-border cuisine.
The Luna Lavender Lemonade and Coffee Stand is your “rejuvenation station” after all that VIGArous market shopping
Rosie Bones will have many scrumptious treats for man’s best friend, including grass fed beef liver, organic sweet potato, and chicken feet, along with their regular bags of Rosie’s Choice and Chicken Livers and Gizzards.
Annika Fae returns to bring her elegant Henna designs to adorn our cheeks, arms, fingers, ankles, toes and…?
Rogue Poultry will be blowing bubbles in the sunshine, and featuring all things bubbly bubbly bubbly, in full celebration of Summer.
Mik Kulman – aka The Ball Girl - joins us this week to work her magic on the knots in our bodies.
Vickie Mercer (Shown at right) has been stitching all week, and joins us with lots of fragrant fancy lavender sachets. She also brings her famous teas, including the new Vashon Lavender Lemon Twist tea. And bulk culinary and lavender buds by the ounce or pound for those dog beds, to keep the fleas away!
Rainy Day Garden will have all natural patchouli shea butter soap made with fair trade unrefined shea butter and dark Indonesian patchouli (release your inner hippie). That, along with at least 15 varieties of olive oil based soap, scented with essential and fragrance oils, and including many vegan options, as well as unscented soap for those who are sensitive to fragrance.
Suzanna Leigh has the perfect accessory for Summer: enchanting handpainted silk scarves. Drape her elegant art around your shoulders and you become a walking gallery! And this week, Susanna features silk velvet ingigo dyed pillows!
Tahlequah Woodworks brings a bevy of marvelous new cutting boards and other woodworking magic Ralph conjures in his shop. This week Ralph will feature cutting boards with one of his favorite tropical hardwoods, African bloodwood, which has a lovely red color.
Bliss Organix brings, in addition to many elegant products for body and skin care, a new Bliss Spritz called Summer of Love with patchouli, orange and lavender. Earthy, spicy and sweet! Spray on body, bedsheets or use as a healthy, fragrant air-freshener. Carol is also featuring her Orange Hemp Mint Lip Balm for $9.
Reap-It Products (Shown at right) is featuring new product this week is a 2-beer tote specially designed for Cliff’s beer! This adds to the 4-beer totes already for sale. Both will be sold at Cliff’s stand. They are both practical and make great gifts! Jill will also have aprons, bibs, wallets, car trash bags and lunch bags – including one designed for people on the anti-inflammatory diet, with room for multiple containers.
Julie Anderson joins the Market as a new and very clever vendor. She transforms discarded spray paint cans into ever-colorful flowers for those corners of your garden that need a little year-round jazzing up! She’ll have single stem flowers, small garden fences with 3 flowers, 10-15 tea lights, 4 fences and a wreath of flowers.
Empty Nest Studio brings a one-of-a-kind, eclectic collection of gemstone and Vashon beach glass jewelry, including a new product line – Necklace Scarves. It’s a scarf that comes with jewels attached! Tres chic, mon ami!
David Earle(Shown at right) brings the most amazing turned bowls you’ll ever lay eyes on. Ask him how he gets them to change shape after he makes them. And have you ever spun one of his colorful little tops? Bring the kid in you to the market and play with David’s darling tops.
KB and Paula offer beautifully crafted gifts, including KB’s elegant stained glass feathers, Paula’s balancing wine bottle holders and rare wood letter openers, and those beautiful little vases that would be the perfect receptacle for a petite summer bouquet. Paula has a new array of colorful french rolling pins all made of food safe natural woods, including one exceptionally gorgeous redwood rolling pin that is from a redwood burl milled in the 60′s. This style of rolling pin is great for rolling out that flakey, melt in your mouth pie crust and is often preferred by bakers who want their hands closer to the dough or who want to drape dough over the length of the barrel.
Mariposa Gardens has a variety of journals upcycled from used books. Come by and turn the cranks on the paper automata. Be the first on your block to make your own automata with a Breaching Orca kit! and NEW: Lacy knit scarves.
Cosmic Cove conjures up the Age of Aquarius with their kaleidoscope of tie-dyed fashions. Rainbows aplenty, and something for every age in this colorful array.
Blake Clark will be bringing her signature jewelry pieces, always handmade with love.
AND THIS IS THE WEEK, IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET WEEK, WE WELCOME THE FOOD PRESERVATION FAIR, right next to the Village Green.
PRESENTERS and SPECIALITIES:
Lotus: Freezing and Solar Drying
Elizabeth Sullivan: Fermentation and Pickling
(10-noon) Jo Ann Bardeen: Jelly/Jam Making
(Noon-3pm) Judy Olson: Jelly/Jam Making
Ken Miller: Garlic Powder Making
Cathy Fulton: Pressure Canning and Cold/Hot pack canning
Sheila Brown and Jeannie Ernst: Display of FSWG Lending Library of Preservation Equipment
This week, tap your toes to JP and the OK Rhythm Boys features the fine fiddling of JP Wittman, backed up by Gordon Koenig and Anita Orne on guitar and bass (and sometimes a few other things, including musical saw). From swing and jazz standards to sizzling hoe downs and beautiful waltzes, polkas, rags, and more, JP and the “boys” play a wide range of tunes in their inimitable fiddle trio style. They even sing, a little. Samples from their two cds and links to plenty of YouTube videos can be found at their web site: jpandtheokrhythmboys.com or on their Facebook page.
August 18th - Mostly Water
August 25th – John Browne
Our SUN Sponsors, whose logos appear below, help underwrite the things that make the Market special each week: Live music, educational and outreach materials, SUNSHINE every Saturday…. You wondered how we were able to afford all those Sunny Day orders, didn’t you? Well, now you know. And that’s why we call them SUN sponsors.