The Closer to Summer,
the Better the Eating

Copywriter Chris Allen

Longtime Town & Country Markets shoppers know that our Produce Markets are something special, and as we get closer and closer to summer the variety of choices and quality of eating skyrockets out of control. You gotta tell your taste buds to chill out!

Bunches of asparagus held together with rubberbands, standing upright, in our Product Market.

Washington asparagus is here!

I’m a little excited because Washington asparagus is officially here and it’s the crème de le crème of the season. Crisp but tender, it’s one of the first foods not seafood-related that really gets me excited to bust out the grill. The organic variety is available right for $5.98 lb. and conventional is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, Thursday, for just $3.98 lb.

With sweet and juicy champagne variety mangos peaking right now, too, this is the perfect time to bust out one of our favorite recipes, Cod with Mango-Chutney and Asparagus. Adding a jar of flavorful, but not overly sweet, chutney from our grocery aisles is a great way to bring out a different dimension of flavor to flaky-white cod. Add a few slices our fresh, ripe champagne mangos served with a beautiful row of asparagus spears and your weeknight meal just got interesting.

Cod with Mango Chutney and Asparagus

Cod with Mango Chutney and Asparagus

Cutting a mango can be, well, challenging. Why the giant pit? Jenny made a video to illustrate the least frustrating way to cut a mango.

You know what’s also great with Washington asparagus? Grilled rockfish! Our Big Board is always filled with awesome deals on our best foods every single week, but that doesn’t mean there’s no other pleasant surprises to be had. Our list of Market Buys is filled with little cost-cutters, too, and I’m definitely stoked to see that drag-caught rockfish fillet is only $5.99 lb. in our Seafood Markets this week.

Rockfish is mild, tender and sweet with a bolder, almost nuttier, finish than cod. It doesn’t always hold up super well on the grill — I’m no grill master so take that with a grain of salt — so throw some foil underneath the fillet first or stick with poaching, baking or frying. High-quality rockfish just doesn’t get any cheaper than this. Happy eating!

We’re Celebrating Women Winemakers

If you try a new bottle of wine from one of our markets now through May, there’s a good chance it was a made by a master vintner who’s also got an incredible story. Our Beer, Wine & Spirits folks are celebrating the impeccable taste and craft of women winemakers with a hand-selected group of wines for our Featured Wine of the Month program. But this isn’t just about coming up with clever ways to sell wine.

“It’s very inspiring to see yourself represented in the wine business,” said J’Nee DeLancey, Wine Manager at Ballard Market for the last four years and the woman behind the idea. “We’re spotlighting women because they’re traditionally underrepresented. Women were the first brewers in history and now we’re coming full circle. More and more women are getting the opportunity to make wine and it’s great to share their stories.”

About 71% of all wine purchases are made by women and yet only about 1% of the revenue goes to women-owned businesses, according to the Women of the Vine & Spirits trade organization.

In the 1960s, visionaries like winemaker Margrit Mondavi helped bring attention to the unique talents women brought to the industry, yet a wine manager would be hard-pressed to name a female owner even as recently as 2000. But that’s starting to change. The women highlighted across our markets are making wine all over world: France, Italy, Australia, Oregon and right here in Washington, and they’re all bringing their experience and vision to bear on their own creations.

J'Nee DeLancey of Ballard Market

J’Nee DeLancey of Ballard Market

J’Nee has more than 30 years of experience in the wine business — wholesale, retail, office work and more. “Just about everything but actually making it,” she said. She came up with the idea for the promotion back in 2016 and pitched it to the rest of the managers.

“At first, we were asking ourselves, ‘How do we promote this?’ said Don Thornton, our Beer, Wine & Spirits Specialist. “But she kept refining the idea and now, three years later, it’s really inspired our team to be more cohesive, consider different ways to connect with our customers, and free us up to be ourselves and get excited creatively.”

Each Featured Wine is a chance for managers to write about a particular woman winemaker and one of the excellent wines they produce. Last year, J’Nee noticed lots of women stopping and reading the signs in her display and, with more signage options and pictures of the actual makers, she expects even more attention this year.

“It’s a little radical,” J’Nee said. “They see themselves and that we we’re specifically promoting women in the wine business. You don’t see that a lot.”

Look for great deals from women winemakers in all of our markets over the next month or so and let us know what you think!

shauna-mug-a

Cheese Corner

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

TWIN SISTERS FARMHOUSE WHITE: Made by one of our favorite local partners right in Ferndale to our north. The Farmhouse White is cheesemaker Lindsay’s own recipe and it’s really something special.

Made with rich jersey cow’s milk from Twin Brooks farm in Lynden, this simple-pressed white cheese will melt in your mouth or on your burger. It looks so inauspicious and yet has a full mouth feel and a silky, creamy texture. It’s a perfect partner for sour cherry spread or a fig jam.

I love to crumble it in watermelon salad — it’s less salty than feta yet has a similar texture. Whichever way you chose to experience it, I’m positive you’ll love this simple, delicious, local cheese.

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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