The Wine Is Fine

Wine is happening in Washington in a big way! And this coming weekend is a primo opportunity to check out brand new wineries and varietals or old favorites. The Washington Wine Commission is sponsoring Taste Washington, including a Grand Wine Tasting at Qwest Field Event Center on Sunday, April 6 from 4-8 p.m.image of taste washington logo

Who knew there were nearly 500 wineries and nine distinct recognized wine growing regions in Washington? Over 200 wineries will be there at the tasting, along with 50 of the region’s top restaurants, to tempt your palate. You’re going to need to come up with a strategy and pace yourself to avoid overload.

There are guides available at the library and on the Web to help you plan your own wine tour to any of the wineries you discover at the tasting.

The Washington Wine Commission has produced a handy free booklet (complete with maps) called Touring Washington’s Wine Regions, that you can pick up either from the Commission itself or Continue reading “The Wine Is Fine”

Frances Moore Lappé and Local Food Policy

My local eating adventures have led me to think about issues such as who has access to local food, how housing developments are eclipsing nearby farmland and if another flood like the one in Lewis County is apt to destroy more farms and dairy herds anytime soon.  I’m certainly not the only one.

lappe.bmpFor decades Francis Moore Lappé has been an advocate for the hungry and has questioned food production politics with scarcity, inequity and sustainability in mind.  Building upon her first best-selling book Diet For a Small Planet (1971) she has written many more including Hope’s Edge: the next diet for a small planet with daughter Anna Lappé and most recently Getting a grip: clarity, creativity, and courage in a world gone mad.  

Francis Moore Lappé will be in Seattle on Friday, April 11 to talk about the importance of local food policy in conjunction with a City of Seattle Local Food Action Initiative that is represented by Resolution 31019.  She will speak at Seattle City Hall at noon and 5:00pm.  She will also be speaking, along with other local and national sustainability advocates, at the Seattle Green Festival on April 13th. 

Synchronicity in the Backyard

Even with the gardening season right around the corner, the thoughtful gardener will still always find time to read, dream of and ponder the natural world around us.

After reading about global warming via the lengthy series of New Yorker articles exfield_notes_from_a_catastrophe.jpgcerpted from Elizabeth Kolbert’s acclaimed recent book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, documenting the progress of Global Warming, this gardener sought out a course of personal action via Sara Stein’s Noah’s Garden: noahs_garden.jpgRestoring the Ecology of our Own Back Yards, a book about turning away from the formalities of trying to force your garden into a “template” of the perfect English garden and learning to look at your yard as a small portion of a larger wildlife habitat and natural ecosystem.

 Start looking at your fences as hedgerows and your lawn as meadowlands. Your tree planted near your neighbor’s tree, becomes a miniature woodland, all places with their own long evolved natural balances. Of course I lack the square footage on my little piece of the city to really do it up in style, but my small lot does have its advantages. Less real estate means less mowing, less raking up, and less earth to turn and plant. More time to enjoy.

Another advantage of the small will soon coming our way via a change in the way the city assesses wastewater usage fees. Seattle Councilmember Richard Conlin’s enewsletter explains how drainage rates are headed up, with the city Continue reading “Synchronicity in the Backyard”

Goats do roam…in Seattle

Why is our book Home Cheese Making : Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses so popular?  Perhaps because it’s authored by home cheese making superstar Ricki Carroll.  In Seattle,local artisan cheese is readily available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores.  Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival takes place each year, even though we are far from Wisconsin.  It’s highly likely that some Seattleites have chosen to take their adoration for cheese a step further and make it themselves, with milk from their own goats.  If you haven’t already heard, last September the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to allow miniature goats to be kept as pets. They are an urban sustainability dream: they can mow a lawn or eat a blackberry bush and produce milk without use of fossil fuels. So yes, Seattleites can now make cheese with milk straight from their own backyards!

~posted by Judy A.

Localvore Love

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverBarbara Kingsolver’s latest book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is account of her family’s commitment to growing and raising their own food and to purchase only local food. Those who love Kingsolver’s writing will also enjoy learning more about her localvore lifestyle. Her family’s passion for the subject is wonderfully brought forth in this deeply personal chronicle. As the book cycles through the seasons, Kingsolver conveys her appreciation for everything that grows in her garden and barn, from spring’s first asparagus stalk to Thanksgiving’s heirloom turkeys. She emphasizes how in-season foods taste the best and are nutritionally superior when harvested ripe. Daughter Camille and husband Steven make readers aware of political issues surrounding the local food movement and demonstrate how simple seasonal home cooking can be. This book will appeal to anyone concerned about where their food comes from. Even though the book addresses some political issues, readers will love this memoir for the passion Kingsolver brings to every bit of life on her farm.

I love nonfiction that keeps me interested in the topic long after I have finished the book. For me, the lasting effect of this book is a stronger commitment to eating locally. This past Thanksgiving, I made a pledge to eat local and I purchased only food grown in Washington State. I did most of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping at my Seattle neighborhood Farmer’s Market . Yum! Stay tuned for more on the local food movement.

~posted by Judy A.