Let the Grilling Begin:
Tools and Salmon Time!

Copywriter Chris Allen

Instead of spending your Memorial Day cooped up in a hot car, crawling along I-90, or fighting your way through security at SeaTac Airport like The Seattle Times says a whole lot of us will be doing this weekend, I hope you find time to gather around a grill with your loved ones and feast on some delicious early summer foods!

Before we get to the food, though, you better get your grill game up to speed. From spatulas to scrapers, our Housewares folks have brought in all the tools a grill master needs to create masterpieces.

Acaciaware Bowls

Sprucing up for your next backyard barbecue? Take 10% off our entire collection of beautiful wooden bowls and serving sets from Acaciaware through May 28. Each item is hand-made from a single piece of acacia hardwood and individually shaped on a lathe, meaning each finished bowl or tray is like a little work of art. It also means they’re more durable and won’t fall apart like other serving ware that’s pieced together with glue. Acaciaware is sustainably produced with wood from responsibly managed forests because they’re a company that really cares about environmental sustainability, which just happens to be one of Town & Country Markets core values!

With my 1-year-old running around throwing bowls of his food at the dog all the time, I’m always looking for ways to avoid extra clean up. That’s why I find our Flex Barbecue Grill Sheets from Charcoal Companion so interesting. You can throw these reusable little sheets directly on a grill and save yourself the hassle of scraping afterwards. They’re good at keeping your veggies from falling through the grates, too. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe, can withstand up to 600°F, and help keep your food from drying out on the grill. We even offer special mesh grill sheets if you want to keep those attractive little grill marks on your steaks and burgers!

A pizza on the barbecue on a Charcoal Companion grilling mat.

Charcoal Companion grilling mats can adapt to different sizes and shapes.

Once you’re got your grilling situation in order, stop in our Markets for the finest in grilling goodies. We’ve got so many options it’s hard to know where to start. Each variety of Our Own Pork Sausage is made fresh in our Meat Markets and only $5.99 lb., while Our Own Dungeness Crab Cakes are absolutely transcendent when served hot off the grill. Each crab cake is made with high-quality seafood and … you guessed it … the good folks in our Seafood Market make ‘em fresh, too. Our Bakeries have deals on all kinds of local Macrina Bakery buns, delicious Just Desserts Cakes and the delightfully chewy sausage buns from Pretzilla – which is a great name for a bun by the way.

Our Produce Markets are absolutely overflowing with the freshest, best-est fruits and veggies this time of year, including yellow, white and bi-color sweet corn (6/$5), Canadian hothouse-grown grilling peppers ($3.98 lb.) and tender Washington asparagus ($5.98 lb.), just to name a few.

Be sure to peek at our weekly Big Board Buys for even better deals on delicious backyard barbecue must-haves, like organic blueberries, fresh halibut and fresh-baked pies. Also try this week’s featured recipe, Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella, to help make your holiday weekend a fun celebration of Food, People and Love!

A crowd of people waiting at the airport for the first Copper River salmon to arrive - two of them are our fish guys - Mike Fodness and David Levy.

Those are our fish guys in the center of the crowd awaiting the arrival of the first Copper River salmon of the season – Mike Fodness, left, and David Levy, right (the one with the big smile, which we all appreciate!).

Copper River Arrives, but Supply Low

Our fishmongers have officially got their hands on the first run of Copper River salmon. These world-famous fillets are renowned for their decadent flavor, earned by swimming through 300 miles of frigid, mineral-rich Alaskan waters. “Copperheads” – as superfans of this fish are called – usually show up at our seafood counters on Day One to get their hands on the premium fish.

But the supply is low this year, especially for King salmon. Our Meat & Seafood Specialist Michael Fodness believes most markets will have Copper River sockeyes available, but be sure to check in with your closest Town & Country or Central Market Seafood counter for daily market availability. We take seafood sustainability seriously and only buy fish from people we trust (visit our extensive sustainability commitments to learn more).

Every year, dozens of people, including business leaders, wholesalers, and even camera crews, crowd around the first massive king salmon after it arrives, tracking its journey down from the plane and along the red carpet. Last year, the first fish found its way to a large white fillet table, and finally, the sizzling-hot grills and frying pans of award-winning executive chefs who sometimes compete at SeaTac Airport to prepare the tastiest five-star salmon entrées before the sun is even up.

Mike Fodness usually skips all hub-bub, though, and settles everything with a simple handshake with our friends and vendor partners Ocean Beauty. Once they’ve had a little friendly back-and-forth about price and pounds, they make the deal to secure a few dozen King salmon and sockeye from the very small first run and coordinate with our markets. The “Copperheads” are waiting!

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Cheese Corner

Our very own cheese whiz, Shauna Howell, offers up a cheese worth discovering.

Andanzas Manchego: Made at a creamery that operates a farmers’ cooperative in the Spanish La Mancha region, this Manchego is the real deal. Ours is aged six months — not too young so it has full flavor and not too aged to be overly piquant. Just like Goldilocks, we think this one is just right.

I find eating this thinly shaved with a smear of quince paste is a different experience than when it’s cubed and served on a cheese board with cured salami and olives. Extraordinarily versatile, this 100-percent sheep’s milk cheese might appeal to those looking for an alternative to cow’s milk.

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.

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