Washington Growers Keep
our Produce Markets Flourishing
I’m back in the Food, People, Love blog saddle this week and I quickly see that the non-stop supply of Washington summer produce hasn’t subsided one bit. Seasonal eating is the best! This week our cup runneth over with fresh-picked organic blueberries and bunches of organic carrots from two of our favorite Washington farms — Hayton Farms and Dharma Ridge Farm.
We’ve got so many Hayton blueberries right now we have to sell them in pints AND two-pound flats: $4.98 and $9.98 each, respectively. The land has been generous. We sell them the same day they’re picked in the field, which is the next best thing to growing them yourself.
It’s kind of incredible to imagine, but the Hayton family has been growing or producing food on their Fir Island farm in Mount Vernon since 1876. That’s the cowboy days! We recently visited their farm and you could feel the history in their farm house, the tradition of land stewardship, and the five generations of knowledge passed down. Knowing the good work they do puts a little extra “oomph” in my step as I snag a pint of these delicious berries.
Meanwhile, the husband-and-wife team of Zach Wailand and Haley Olson have cultivated their 100 acre-stretch of land just north of Quilcene to create all kinds earthly treasures: green beans, beets, kale and much more. Last week, they provided us with beautiful bunches of red, green and Romaine lettuce, you know, the lush greens you dream of when planning the perfect summer salad.
This week, though, me and my little toddler will be crunching on their fresh organic carrots for just $2.98 a bunch. (He’ll probably dip them in red pepper hummus, which is a rookie mistake if you ask me.) As a Washington-state certified organic farm, Dharma Ridge is the site of all kind of cool farming techniques, like cover crops, crop rotations and soil amendment that all help to keep their soil healthy and vibrant.
Like we always say, it’s these kinds of relationships that get us excited about Food, People and Love, so we hope you support them just like they support our markets with amazing produce.
Celebrate Washington Wine Month
with Sales on our Favorite Wines
Winemaking has really come a long way in our state in the last 30 years. Not only has the number of winemakers blossomed to nearly 1,000, the state has also spent millions of dollars in research innovating pest control, irrigation and disease management throughout the industry. With nearly 70 varietals and some unique micro-climates, we’re crushing it on the international wine stage.
“If you don’t know about Washington wines, you just don’t know wine,” says Don Thornton, our Beer, Wine and Spirits Specialist. “In the last 10 or 15 years, Washington wines have definitely become recognized worldwide.” Wineries like Quilceda Creek, Cayuse and others were the first to score 100-point wines, but there’ve been so many since that it’s no longer a novelty.
Washington has a unique growing season because of how far north we are. Broadly speaking, our longer growing days, unique soils and wide shift in temperature between day and night lead to some unique varietals. There are exceptions, but Washington wines tend to be a little leaner and balanced then, say, many California wines, which can be “big, fat and flabby.” (Isn’t wine-speak fun?) “For example, if you taste a Cabernet from Walla Walla and another from Napa Valley, the Napa will be bolder, massive, with more alcohol, whereas the Walla Walla Cabernet will typically be a little more refined, with lower alcohol and better acid balance,” Don says. “That makes them a little bit better for food pairing.”
It must have been a real treat for our wine managers as they hand-picked our selection of Washington reds and whites now on sale in our Wine Shops! Keep an eye out for our red Featured Wine signs and explore the flavors that make our state special.
Our very own cheese whiz, Shauna Howell, offers up a cheese worth discovering.
MT. TOWNSEND CREAMERY CAMPFIRE: More creamy goodness from one of our favorite local cheese makers in Port Townsend. This young Jack cheese is lightly smoked with alder and applewood, just enough that the fresh milky taste still comes through while still tasting the smoky umami flavor at the finish. Melts well for burgers, nachos or just about anything you’d like to add some creamy, cheesy flavor to, and cubes up nicely for snacking with nuts and dried fruit.
Chris Allen is a copywriter and assistant marketer with Town & Country Markets. He’s a former contributing editor, radio anchor and producer, and an Air Force veteran. He’s also mastered the art of chopping red onions with one hand while sipping a dry Tempranillo in the other.