Cranberries are persnickety little berries. They refuse to grow in most places. Why, if you lived in Montana your chances of seeing a cranberry bog would be zip. The fresh cranberries in Montana and almost every other state are trucked in from 5 states that cranberries have deemed to be livable. Darned if I know why, but they actually are grown in New Jersey- who’d have thought?
Washington, in particular Grays Harbor County, is one of The Chosen Places. Beginning this weekend, the cranberry revelry begins, and Grayland is ready for the celebration! If you have never attended the Cranberry Harvest Festival, I urge you to trot out to Grayland and peruse every aspect of this amazing little fruit. The festival headquarters are at the Historic Grayland Community Hall. There will be signs on the highway directing you where to turn. Vendors will be tempting you with tantalizing food and crafts both inside and outside, the website will tell you of all the events; http://www.cranberrycoastcoc.com/festival/events.html
One thing you simply should not miss is the opportunity to take a cranberry bog tour. You will return home with interesting factoids which will astound and amaze your friends!
By now you are probably wondering just where one may buy locally grown cranberries, right? Well, it just so happens that your Hoquiam Farmers Market has them available right now, fresh from the bog! You do not have to wait until the week before Thanksgiving to buy and cook with cranberries! Use these ruby beauties in all sorts of foods; toss a handful of chopped fresh berries into your coleslaw to perk it up. Waldorf salad is so much better when you substitute craisins for raisins. My favorite salad is made with homegrown lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, a sliced pear, and a handfull of craisins. Any light dressing is yummy on it, I usually reach for the raspberry vinaigrette.
Here is a simple, quick cranberry dessert which tastes more complex that it actually is;
Easy Cranberry Pie (without any crust!)
Mix together in a 10 inch greased glass pie plate;
two cups of fresh cranberries
one half cup of chopped walnuts or pecans
sprinkle with one half cup of sugar
in a separate bowl mix together;
three fourths cup of butter
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2 beaten eggs
Spread this mixture over the berries and bake at 325 for 60 minutes
One of my other most favorite festivals also happens this weekend! The Schafer Meadows Fiber Festival. Only it no longer takes place at Schafer Meadows, it is now being held at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds in Elma. I can see you shaking you head in puzzlement, wondering just what the heck a Fiber Festival is. Trust me, it is not a bran fiber sort of event- think Wool! You know, the real stuff that comes directly from sheep. They usually have a few wooly sheep hanging around at the festival checking out what became of their fleecy wool. They (and you) can watch the wool being transformed as it is carded, spun, woven, felted, knitted, died, and made into exquisite things to wear, adorn, or decorate with. I always come home with a special treasure. In fact, I usually pounce on something and turn to my ever-patient husband to let him know that right here is the perfect Christmas present. I pretend to not see as he buys it, and it gets tucked away for later. Last year it was a fuzzy needle felted owl from the sisters of Saint Placid Priory.
There are classes all weekend long including the unexpected instruction in Fly Tying and Origami Paper Folding. Visit their website for a full schedule;
So much to do, so little time- stop by the Hoquiam Farmers Market for your homegrown pumpkins, cranberries, winter squash and yellow Finn potatoes!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager
Deidra’s Deli is open every weekday, the market is open Wed. Thru Sunday.
Give us a call, we can tell you what the soup of the day is! 538-9747
1958 Riverside in Hoquiam.