• Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Double Recipe Edition

    What an abundance of good local food- I still have razor clams in the frig from the weekend digs, hard-boiled Easter eggs, and a ham bone. It’s time for some of my all time favorite foods!
    I have waited for months to indulge in some of my most favorite comfort foods. Number one in my hit list comes from my great grandmother’s tattered cookbook. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t give away all my other cookbooks and stay with this classic tome. 
    We have fresh tulips and daffodils arriving Thursday morning, Puyallup rhubarb came in this morning, and right now is the height of artichoke season, so guess what we have! Um-hm, great big luscious artichokes. A new crop of organic potatoes came in, both yellow and red, and the organic Kale is looking really fine.
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  • Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Plump Tuesday Edition

    Fat Tuesday?  Mardi Gras sounds so much more exotic. Why, you may be asking yourself, should an otherwise boring weekday in March be one of the major party days in the world?  Did someone just wake up one dreary winter morning and say 
    ‘ I think we need a party- right now!’ ?  Was it merely a spontaneous reaction to the bleary blues of boredom?  No, no my friends, the history of Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday is much more solemn than wild drunken parades with lots of bright flashy beads.  Fat Tuesday is supposed to be the final day of indulgence before the forty days of Lenten fasting begins.  Fasting, you say?  What fasting?  Let’s get back instead to the indulgence part. 

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  • Improved returns demonstrate Columbia salmon protection

    Surface passage improvements for fish now in place at all federal dams on the Lower Columbia and Snake rivers boosted the safe migration of juvenile salmon and steelhead, one of several key advances outlined in a new federal assessment of progress in protecting Columbia and Snake fish.

    The passage improvements such as spillway weirs, also called fish slides, help speed young fish downstream past dams by keeping them near the water surface, where they naturally migrate. Installation of a spillway weir at Little Goose Dam on the Snake River last year means all eight federal Snake and Lower Columbia dams now provide surface passage for fish. Tests at Little Goose found that 99.4 percent of yearling chinook, 99.8 percent of steelhead and 95.2 percent of sub-yearling chinook passed the dam safely.

    Salt Creek culvert
    An impassable culvert on Idaho’s Salt Creek, a tributary of the South Fork of the Salmon River, blocked about 3.6 miles of salmon habitat.
    SOURCE: 2009 Progress Report

    “Almost all of the fish are coming through the dam safely now and we’re on track to meet passage standards at all of the other projects,” said Witt Anderson, Director of Programs, Northwest Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    The results come from a new report describing the second year of progress by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Bonneville Power Administration in implementing NOAA-Fisheries’ biological opinion for the Federal Columbia River Power System. The biological opinion outlines protections for fish affected by federal dams, promoting positive trends in salmon survival and returns. For instance, in-river survival of juvenile Snake River steelhead migrating to the ocean in 2009 reached its highest level in 12 years, a sign the fish are benefiting from improved surface passage.

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  • Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Silver Turtle Edition

    I love the idea of starting the season with setting up camp in our own backyard. There are plenty of practical reasons for doing this; the bathroom is very nearby, dinner can be cooked on a real stove and eaten outside, and most of all- you have a test run for your camping equipment. A systems failure of your air mattress could be a disaster is you are set up miles from civilization without a patch kit. But really, the very best reason of all is that it’s so much fun! One of my prime objectives in life is to never ever forget the joys of childhood. On a regular basis I do things that serious adults who have put their childhood behind them would never do. If you have children or grandchildren to share a backyard camp-out with, then you are twice blessed, because they will help you to regain your inner silliness. 

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  • Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Whole Wheat Edition

          Nancy’s Bakery is now making Wheat Bread on Wednesdays!!!

    This is big news folks.  Nancy has had the same bread baking schedule for many a year, but now we do not have to wait for Friday to roll around before slicing into a fine loaf of her bread.  Made your day didn’t I?
    More great news;
                     Fresh in the Garden enclosure this week:
    Squash        Sage     Tarragon    Mint    Lavender   Blueberries  Lavatera
    Pansies      Garlic    Snapdragon      Petunia    Lettuce     Brussels  Sprouts
    Swiss Chard    Onions    Dill    Pumpkin    Broccoli   Parsley    Cilantro
    Snow Peas     Raspberries


    This week is time for another set of Razor Clam digs!  Oh joy!  Finally the north beaches are included for 3 days, and perhaps it will be a bit warmer than 2 weeks ago.  I can only hope.  No matter, even if we end up soaking wet and cold, the limits of clams are worth every shivering moment of effort!  We Harborites are pretty passionate about our razor clams!  Everyone has a particular method of cleaning, or a recipe that came from Grandma, not to mention the clothes that are worn only for clam digging.  Geez, I’d be embarrassed to wear my clam digging clothes working in the garden, but when it comes time to dig clams I stride to the beach, shoulders back, head held high, wearing the worst looking combination of rags you’ve ever seen!  Two weeks ago we spotted a fellow wearing a utilikilt and sandals!  Keep in mind that it was pouring rain and the wind was blowing the rain sideways.  Wearing any kilt in a high wind seems incredibly foolhardy to me.  The idea of this fellow out on the beach, bent over beating for clams in his outfit was more than I could bear to contemplate.  We decided that some things are best left to the imagination and went our merry way further down the beach.  But I still wonder…………..
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  • Winter Time Pet Care Tips From The Mason County Sheriff’s Department

    SHELTON, Wash. – Now that winter cold weather has come to Mason County, bitter cold and wetness can seriously affect your pets.  Mason County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Officer, Cindy Brewer urges pet owners to take extra precautions during winter weather to ensure the safety of their companion animals.
    "Pets rely almost exclusively on their human caregivers for safety and comfort.  That is particularly true during the cold winter months," said Brewer. "Our pets are particularly vulnerable during this frigid weather we are experiencing and with just a few extra precautions you can make sure that they stay safe, warm and healthy."

    According to Officer Brewer “Pet owners should keep your dog or cat inside with the family.  Owners should also remember the happiest dogs are those who are taken out for walks and exercise frequently, but kept inside the rest of the time.”
    Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.

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  • Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Comfort Food Edition

    Looking out my window at cold rain, I find myself desperately clinging to the memory of an Easter Sunday in 2003 when the temperature soared up to 96 degrees!  It happened once, it can happen again.  Plus, I totally believe in miracles.

         Cold weather requires hot comfort food.  One dish which always puts me in a zen-like state of acceptance is Baked Beans.  There are almost as many recipes for Baked Beans as there are beans, but this is my winter (Spring?!?)comfort food recipe, as opposed to the more zesty summertime baked bean recipe.

          A secret ingredient which adds both flavor and nutrients is homemade chicken stock.  Next time that you roast a chicken, toss the remains into a large pot, add a chopped onion, several peppercorns and a chopped carrot, fill with water, and let it simmer away for a few hours.  Strain the broth, pop it in the freezer, and you will have a superb flavor booster.  
    If you are really fond of roast chicken and have lots and lots of chicken stock on hand, you have the makings for the finest pasta anywhere.  Cook your spaghetti or any other type of noodle in the chicken broth!  Honestly, it transforms an otherwise dull basic into instant gourmet status.

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  • Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Peggy’s Stew Recipe Edition

    Brrrrrrr.  When I see the weather that all points east of Washington State are getting, I instinctively reach for a down vest.  Our normal winter weather looks like mid-summer in stark contrast!  It reminds me of my favorite line from the PBS documentary ‘Alone in the Wilderness’ , when Mr. Proenneke brags about his Alaskan cabin being ‘a toasty forty degrees’.  Ouch!  
    Here we have the very first early Rhododendrons in bloom, tiny Jonquils and Snowdrops uncurling their petals, and Pussy Willows ready to pop into a vase.   My idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day bouquet!

    The promise of Spring has me envisioning balmy days, when the reality is that I still have to bundle up in all of my cold weather gear in order to be comfortable spending several hours outside.  Once again I must remind myself to embrace the moment and not to wish away the chilly weather.  So last week I made Stew.  
    I love this basic old-fashioned meal.  Served with home-baked rolls, winter food doesn’t get any better than Stew.

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  • Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Berry or Fruit Cobbler Recipe Edition

    Blueberries and Raspberries have arrived!!! Also just in from Yakima; Apricots, Rainier Cherries, Yellow Squash, Pickling Cucumbers, Salad Cucumbers, and Green Beans!

    For those of us who love to forage for our berries, this is the season we have been waiting upon. The Little Wild Blackberries are finally beginning to appear. Thanks to our less than scorching early summer, they are late this year. The positive spin is that they will continue to grow more plump and delectable each day that the temperature stays in the cool zone. The LWB ( as we old-timers like to call them) are one of the secret joys of living here. Outsiders think that blackberries are those big, seedy and less flavorful Himalayan or Evergreen varieties, but we know better. Is there any secret more guarded and well- kept than the location of a good LWB picking patch? Honestly, we don’t let even a hint drop from our lips, even to the very best friends. I’m pretty sure that most pickers would not even tell their mothers!

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  • Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Potato Salad Edition

    Seasonal fresh produce is now on the Market tables. Abel Rios is making weekly trips to Yakima to bring us Asparagus, Snow Peas, & green Walla Walla onions. Judy has Kale from her garden now, and Rhubarb will be available soon.
    We do not import out of state or out of country produce- as soon as good local produce is ready, we’ll have it at the Farmers market!

    Pacific Northwesterners know how to make the most of the summer season! Probably because we know how brief the season can be. Yes, there have been summers of too much drizzle, not enough sunshine. We could have coined the ancient phrase ‘Seize the Day!’, for those rare, sparkling days are more precious to us than jewels.

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  • Grays Harbor Public Market News – Clam Chowder Edition

    Razor Clam diggers, also known as clam-heads, have reason to be hauling our gear out of the basement and doing a few preparatory leg exercises. Spring digging begins on Friday! Only on south beaches, however- north beaches are only open on Saturday and Sunday. I will be so ready- it’s been far too long since the plump Springtime clams landed on my dinner plate. Clam digging is one of the many reasons that I love living here in Grays Harbor. We have such an abundance of harvestable wild food available to us. My Uncle Alan used to say that we were a mecca for outlaws, in part because they could eat so well by living off the land. I’ll tell you more about Uncle Alan another time. It may require an entire book!

    The Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival takes place on Saturday from 10 until 6 at the Ocean Shores Convention Center, with entertainment galore! Given just a bit more free time, I would be sorely tempted to enter my very own Clam Chowder recipe in the amateur Chowder cook-off. But I haven’t the time, so have decided to share my secret and fantastically delicious recipe with you!

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