Land and how people use land is my passion. As I a pre-teen, I grew my first crop--green bush beans--during a sultry Connecticut summer. Eating food from my garden always puts a big smile on my face. Coming from an engineering lineage, my Dad suggested studying civil...
A friend told me she wants to buy a farm. She is a suburban gal with an undergraduate agricultural degree, so has the passion. Her career wasn't agriculture though, it was high tech. Now retired, she is ready to launch that Third Act, the next adventure, the next...
Pacific Northwest larders of winter veggies and fruits are close to empty. With the advent of spring and the annual growing season, refilling pantries will begin anew. The thoughts, smells and sounds of spring are everywhere. Migratory birds fly across the skies...
Bees, ladybugs, and other pollinators--the perpetuators of life--create the plethora of produce that nourishes, sustains, and makes life taste good! Seventy of the top 100 foods we eat are pollinated by bees. Without pollinators, no stone fruit-peaches, plums, and...
I was born before trucking in out-of-season foods was the norm. Most of the year our usual nightly dinner veggie was frozen (not canned) beans, peas, or vegetable medley with meat and potatoes and the iceberg lettuce wedge. Mid-winter fresh produce included a plethora...
The New Year is here and now I can say, "With 2020 hindsight, what can I do 2021?" Now, more so than ever before, I need to support small businesses and independent farmers to help create a more healthy local economy. Since the onslaught of the pandemic, I've paid...
To eat this autumn season, purchase local fruits, vegetables, and meat and dairy products directly from local farmers at a Farmers Market or through a Community Supported Agriculture ("CSA"). Buying directly from a family farm allows the farmer to earn a far better...
In this time of unending COVID and election stories, I ache for a sense of normalcy and certainty. Turning to comfort food satiates and satisfies. Creating a giant pot of minestrone soup with the last morsels of summer produce blended with the August canned tomato...
We live in uncomfortable, uncertain times. As November 3rd approaches, the stress meter increases daily. With COVID-19, racial injustice tension, economic uncertainty, and the most contested election in my lifetime, the need for calm and centering is so needed. Love...
Summer is my favorite food season. It's the season of fruits and vegetables I crave. We are at peak season right now. Freshly picked corn, luscious peaches dripping with sweetness, tomatoes-green stripes, dark chocolate, yellow pear and cherry red, and more-all juicy...
Food, after water, is the key to life. For most of us it's easy to get food by visiting our local grocery store, shopping at the Farmer's Market, perhaps doing an occasional COSTCO run or growing a garden of fresh herbs and tomatoes. We do not know what it is...
Summer is simmering outside my window, despite the onslaught of COVID-19, the necessity of social distancing and mask wearing, and the incredible awakening by the losses from the unwarranted deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Charleena...
“You know, I’m going to be 85 next month.” I shot Charles Sleicher an astonished look. Surprisedly and with a twinkle in his eye, he said, “Wait, no, I’m going to be 95 next month!” This is the Charles I know–the man that thinks he’s younger than he is. What keeps a 95-year old man […]
June 3rd, the expiration date on the Pepperidge Farm white, rectangular, pre-sliced, loaf of bread on the top shelf at the Washington State University’s (“WSU”) Bread Lab near Mt. Vernon, Washington. It’s my birthday dinner, two days before the bread’s expiration date. I am savoring a 4-course meal with 80 other attendees supporting the Mt. […]
What are the “must-haves” in life versus the “want-to-haves?” What are the most basic needs? “Must-haves” are something critical for survival. Without them, life would cease. Food and drinking water are “must-haves.” With no food or water, nothing else matters. Life isn’t even possible. Granted there are a few other things such as clothing and […]
“There is a shellfish farmer, sheep farmer and a vegetable farmer in a room of real estate development professionals.” It’s the start of the classic “groan” joke. And, Yes!, it really happened! The sunny last day of February was a great day of learning with ULI- Northwest’s Center for Leadership class. The Salish Sea was […]
Mt. Meru at almost 15,000 feet, the fifth highest mountain in Africa, capped in wispy clouds, towers over the Tanzanian village at the end of the paved road at the entrance to Arusha National Park. Meru’s taller and more well-known “mountain cousin”, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent, bursts from the African […]
Have you ever thought how a farmer decides what to grow? My guess is probably not. So many of us never think where our food comes from, so why would we spend any time asking this question. Wondering where our food comes from is a long standing blind spot in our United States culture. We […]
Spring grass was just poking its head through the crusty soil at Pure Eire Dairy when we visited earlier this year. Jill Smith, dairywoman extraordinaire, was expecting our visit at her family farm near Othello, Washington. My fellow adventurer Robbie and I had spent several days in eastern Washington exploring the hidden gems where Seattleites […]
Farming seems so idyllic. Old McDonald, the proverbial song, is my first recollection of the quintessential farming dream. A happy song with joyful animals. Seared in my memory are daytrips to my Grandmother’s house to find the choicest Halloween pumpkin; the tallest, greenest, Christmas tree, or to pick the most succulent, prized bucket of strawberries. […]
During the early days of autumn, for about three weeks, chestnut trees bear their fruit. Every October walking through Laurelhurst Park, I see about a half-dozen Asian-American elders standing below the majestic chestnut trees–waiting. It never appears to be the same elders, but there are usually about 6 and never more than 10. Some come […]
“I get no respect!” Are organics the Rodney Dangerfield of food? Organics should be celebrated and touted as the best food for all. Instead organics are like Rodney Dangerfield, the iconic stand-up comedian, who never got the recognition he deserved until he played the self-deprecating respect card. Do organic foods and growing methods get the […]
The inner world is in our mind. Our outer or human experience is where and how we exist, interact and observe others, gather news, spend our time, and be in the world. The mind is the harbinger of mental health. Can the environment we live in impact our mental health? The short answer is, “Yes, […]
I live in a great city-the Emerald City- Seattle, Washington. Living here 32 years is more than half my life. I started life as a New Englander, growing up in a Connecticut suburban town with a couple elementary school years in Buffalo, college in Schenectady, New York, and Massachusetts where I started my professional career […]
With anticipation I await rhubarb’s full bouquet–deep green dinner-plate sized leaves atop fibrous stalks ranging in color from bright chartreuse green to brilliant pink–spreading close to a yard across. Its arrival is evidence that spring is here. Even before there are blossoms on my plum tree, rhubarb is ready for its first harvest. My taste buds […]
Imagine every Wednesday, before the sun rises, a bag of baked goods is delivered to your front doorstep. With anticipation you open the front door to retrieve the large bag with a box and several smaller bags filled with delectable flavors. You first look for the breakfast treat: pastries, muffins, scones, or bagels. Taking your […]
In the 1990’s the rage in real estate development was both stand alone and master planned community golf course construction. The Golf Club at Newcastle repurposed an old construction landfill with 36 links, a stunning club house, and outstanding views to Puget Sound and beyond. A Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course was built at Snoqualmie […]
Being an infrastructure nerd, I remember public works catastrophes. Ten years ago the City of Tieton, Washington‘s water system failed. Multiple water lines broke throughout the city. The State of Washington funded emergency repairs. The calamity was my first introduction to Tieton. Last summer, University of Washington held an alumni event in Tieton. Despite not […]
As with most any topic, the best answer is, “It depends.” Flooding can be beneficial and also devastating. Throughout history and up to today, food is often grown on lands adjacent to the mightiest rivers, think the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Ganges, and Mississippi Rivers and on floodplains of the smallest creeks. Why grow food […]
As parents conversed over coffee and donuts early Saturday morning excitedly anticipating the outcome of sorority rush week, I chatted with a Dad about his daughter leaving sunny southern California to come north to the University of Washington. Of course, we started talking about how much it rains in Seattle. It’s just that west coast […]
My yard is brimming with food now always arriving in the hot, sultry, dog days of summer. I plant only what I can grow, nurture and produce successfully. I don’t want failure. Gardening takes a lot of persistent, dedicated, focused work. Preparing the soil, pulling weeds, watering regularly and picking the produce. But, it’s worth […]
I am a “fruit-aholic”. I love fruit. Even as a kid, I craved fruit– especially the summer fruits–strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums. The juiciness, the flavors, the short summer season so taste boredom never arrived–all reasons summer fruits satisfied immensely. As an adult, I still love fruit, but now I find sweetness in vegetables–carrots, Brussels sprouts, […]
From the Greatest Generation to Generation Z and the Baby Boomers and Millenials in between, we are all connected by one simple necessity–We All Eat! Some of us are Feeders–just putting food in our mouths to combat hunger, some of us are Eaters–being deliberate about what we eat, perhaps watching calories and sugar and fat […]
Western Washington along the Interstate 5 corridor are some of the world’s most prolific farmlands. Puget Sound is blessed with a maritime climate with warm summers, cool winters, and mountain snowpacks that provide ample irrigation water through most of the growing season thus generating hefty harvests. Despite an optimal growing climate farmers gross revenues are […]
The first and only time I visited Phoenix was twenty-five years ago. All I remembered from that trip were endless strip malls, six-lane arterials, lots of double left-turn lanes, roads filled with cars, and cascading water fountains. The bubbling fountains at the entrances to subdivisions and in front of office buildings perplexed me, because I […]
In the middle of Zanzibar are the spice farms, far from the bustle of coastal resorts and Stonetown, the island’s main commerce and tourist city. Departing Stonetown, we passed miles of roadside commerce tucked into open-air storefronts adjacent to the macadam road. Young and old alike walked from shop to shop picking up their daily […]
Our food system–the system of growing, harvesting, distributing, and selling food–is fragile! To most, it looks in good health. Stop in any grocery store, stroll through Pike Place Market, visit your local farmers market or drive through a McDonald’s and there is plenty of food! From an eater’s perspective, there is no problem. There seems […]
Fulton County, Georgia is best known as the home of Atlanta, the 9th most populous U.S. metropolian area and Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the most traveled U.S. airport. North of downtown Atlanta is continuous suburbs, countless dead-ends and endless strip malls. At the south end of Fulton County, no more than a 30-minute drive from […]
“I live next to a farm!” This can be said with enthusiasm and excitement or disappointment and disgust. Living next to a farm can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. City folks want to move to the country, as they see it as idyllic and bucolic. Farmers worry […]
Just after the I-5 Skagit River bridge collapsed 2-1/2 years ago, I wrote a blog entitled Food & Bridges on how food and bridges are vital to a highly functioning society and neither gets the respect they deserve. We take the basic necessities of daily living, food, water and infrastructure for granted. Consequently, we are […]
We are all foragers. We search, scavenge, and gather food habitually. My daughter comes home from school and automatically opens the refrigerator and says, “there is nothing to eat in here,” despite it being filled with loads of food. Going to the grocery store is dangerous when hungry, as food items astoundingly show up in […]
Summer brings my favorite foods. Succulent corn on the cob, pints upon pints of Hayton Farms strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, flame-roasted Hatch peppers, and lettuces all bigger than my head. My 5,000 square foot city lot just isn’t big enough to grow many foods, so I count on my local farmers markets for most everything […]
“I only talk to my uphill neighbor at the 4th of July parade. I wave to my neighbor across the street and the downhill lot is vacant,” divulged my work colleague. “My wife had a problem with the neighbors when she was growing up so says, ‘don’t talk to them’.” Hearing this, I was overcome […]
Summer is here. Saturday, May 23rd, I bought my first flat of Skagit Valley’s fresh Hayton Farms organic strawberries. I can’t remember ever buying local strawberries this early. Some seasons, I’ve had to wait until the first week of July! Symphonic Spring Typically, April and May were months where Seattleites would be tantalized by our symphonic spring. […]
Malting! As a kid, it meant malted milkshakes and Whoppers–malted milk covered in chocolate. Ugh! Whoppers were the rage in my Trick or Treat bag, but they tasted awful. Now I savor a malted drink–Hefeweizen–the German malted wheat beer of my heritage. I like Lagers, IPA’s, and whiskey–all malted. I even add a quarter cup […]
Growing up in Connecticut, tomatoes were “to die for.” From the end of April to the beginning of June, nature’s winter cloaks were summarily discarded and summer’s heat quickly arrived. May was a time of massive seasonal transition. The last vestiges of cold nights ended, trees seemed to go from bud to full leaf in […]
Bucolic fields of tulips wave in the breeze. Tilled fields are ready for spring planting. Raspberry brambles are tamed, trimmed, and prepped for summer production. Netting is checked, secured, and standing by to be stretched over blueberry acreage. Strawberries are poised for blooming and fertilization when bees buzz by. Potato barns are emptying getting ready […]
Food is special, as it fuels us to accomplish the mundane to the extraordinary. Without food, we are lackluster, lethargic, and lazy. But, eating just any old food calorie can starve us and even kill us, rather than nourish the body. Healthy food topics energize me in part because I have lost family members needlessly […]
Visualize fresh produce. Where do you see it? At the grocery store? On your plate? At your farmers market? At your local restaurant? At the farm? How do fresh fruits and vegetables leave the farm and show up on your plate? Food travels on average 1,500 miles from farm to fork. As an eating nation, […]
The answers are 91, 57, 7, 2, and less than 1. The questions are: What is the distance needed between seed crops? What percentage of the U.S. population are farmers? What is the average age of U.S. farmers? What percentage of U.S. production of fruits, nuts, and berries are grown adjacent to urban areas? What […]
Take the M train to the 36th Street station. Climb the stairs and exit the station and greeted by the six- story edifice built by Standard Motor Company in 1919. Enter the building. Push the elevator button and be whisked to the roof. Leave the city behind and enter a robust urban farm with views […]
My yard peaked in abundance in September. The last tomatoes were picked before the fall rains came. At the same time, ideas percolate about creating community where families thrive because children play, elders impart wisdom, Millenials connect and food is grown. Sustainable living at its best is where the most important aspects of life, nourishment in […]
I was wowed when visiting the newly opened Whole Foods store located on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York! The high-end, natural and organic foods market is strategically located in an up’n coming area of Brooklyn, despite the fact that the Gowanus Canal is a Superfund site and one of the nation’s most “extensively […]
“The Seahawks are fueled by the Stokesberry’s eggs and chickens!” Piquing my 16-year old daughter’s interest in organic, sustainable farming was impossible until the 2014 Super Bowl champs were involved. Jerry and Janelle Stokesberry are an unassuming farming couple providing superb meat and egg products for the Seattle Seahawks, and for discerning palettes at restaurants […]
Local produce heaven is now… asparagus, strawberries, cherries, snap peas; followed by string beans, cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, peaches; culminating with apples, corn, winter squash. What would make every food summer more perfect? Living in a community that grows, savors, entertains, and surrounds itself with good food. A weekly trip to a local farmers’ market or […]
Amy Moreno-Sills and her husband Agustin with more than 20 years of combined experience growing food are building their dream at Four Elements Farm, on land in Orting Valley. Amy knows it takes hard work to get a new business off the ground. She has successfully helped other farmers expand, change, and grow their businesses, […]
I was born before trucking in out-of-season foods was the norm and consequently grew up eating local foods. Granted we could get iceberg lettuce and citrus shipped in mid-winter from California or Florida, but our usual nightly dinner fare was frozen beans, peas, or vegetable medley with meat and potatoes. When summer abundance arrived our […]
I am not a farmer, but care where my food comes from. I read labels to avoid unknown, unintelligible ingredients. I cannot feed myself with my gardening skills. Farmers grow my food and I have the utmost respect for the work the work they do. Each season farmers start anew deciding what and how much […]
Located a half- hour west of Florida’s Magic Kingdome is Uncle Matt’s Organics, a 14-year old family business supplying discerning consumers with organic citrus and juice products. Spending a day with the business’ patriarch and story teller, Benny McLean was the highlight of my Floridian vacation. While my family enjoyed the thrill of Space Mountain® […]
What is a sustainable community? Currently, in real estate development lexicon, it is a transit-oriented project with sidewalks, bike paths, served by public transit with green/energy efficient buildings, and perhaps limited parking. But, there is a new aspect of sustainable development which integrates: Growing FOOD! Without food (and water), humans cannot survive, which is why […]
What is on your Thanksgiving table? Where did your food come from? For a dozen people my table is laden with parsley from my yard, oodles of vegetables and fruit from the farmer’s market, a pre-cooked naturally raised turkey from my neighborhood grocery store, and specialty treats and additions from miles and seas away. To provide […]
Despite a dry month, October 1st is the start of the regulated flood season in King County, Washington which ranks 13th out of 39 counties in agricultural revenue and is home to Seattle, the State’s largest city. From almost 1,800 farms, $127 million is earned growing food, fiber, and animal feed, even though the County […]
I sat next to Gabe on an Embraer on a two-hour late afternoon flight out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Gabe had the tell-tale wristband on. He was flying alone, leaving his Dad to go home to Mom. Gabe had tears in his eyes as he sat down. Immediately, my Mom instincts kicked in. I didn’t […]
Gather, forage, pick, harvest, collect, reap, dig, scoop, fish, and hunt are methods animals, whether mammal, bird, reptile, or other non-plant being use to accumulate food. Watching animals acquire food can be great entertainment, a lesson in perseverance, and a joy to watch. Grizzlies Dining Lake Clark National Park situated on the western shores of […]
C- is the report card grade for Washington State bridges given by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Seattle Section in the 2013 Report Card for Washington’s Infrastructure. Bridge vulnerability was confirmed on May 23, 2013 with Interstate 5 collapsing into the Skagit River in the 8th largest agricultural county by revenue in Washington. […]
Bread eaten as a sandwich, croutons in a salad, crumbs encasing a chicken leg, or slathered with pizza sauce. Bread is ubiquitous. Most Americans just eat bread with no thought of how it got to their plate. Someone has to grow, pick, clean, process, package, ship, and display each slice of bread we eat. Coming […]
Oysters on the half shell, the willingness to savor this gastronomic treat that I inherited from my parents. The slippery, mildly briny, sometimes sweet oyster, swallowed with a squeeze of lemon or a dollop of pungent, fresh horseradish is something I relish at the local shellfish bar. I have never eaten raw oysters with my […]
Foodies and agricultural preservationists reminisce the vast acres of lush agricultural soils now covered by asphalt, shopping malls, aerospace giants, and warehouses in western Washington’s Kent Valley. Historic Kent Valley For generations, the Kent Valley, with its meandering Green River, was home to a robust agricultural community feeding the burgeoning Seattle metropolitan area. What is […]
“I didn’t know food was so political,” was my Dad’s comment after reading Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food. Dad like the vast majority of people, ate when he was hungry. He was eating food long before the calories from fat or grams of sodium were found on food labels. Food for Dad was pure […]
What’s happening just north of Seattle in agriculture? Who is bucking the trend of urbanization in the Interstate 5 corridor in the Puget Sound region? What new agricultural innovations are being created? Skagit County, Washington, located one hour north of Seattle along the burgeoning Interstate 5 corridor is fighting the nationwide trend of converting prime […]
Food and water are necessities. If we don’t have food to eat, we go hungry. Hungry people are bad for society. We take food for granted. Setting the Stage: Puget Sound In Seattle we often live up to our reputation and it rains. This December, it’s been cold enough that the precipitation in the mountains […]
“I spoke to the soil recently, receiving wisdom from the earth.” Nash Huber–iconic organic farmer–was speaking from depth of his soul on soil and our human connection to it through the food we eat. My psyche was mesmerized by his words. Nash’s Journey I consider myself beyond fortunate to know Nash. Nash is of sauerkraut […]
When you farm land you don’t own, you must do your homework prior to getting on the land to ensure your business interests are protected. Spend the time needed to thoroughly understand the land. The landowner is not looking out for your interests. Ask good questions. All agreements must be in writing. Trust your gut. […]
I can, dry, and freeze some of the food I grow or purchase from the farmers’ market. I do not live a life like Barbara Kingsolver as described in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, where she purchased or grew (almost) all of her food locally and put much of it up for winter. My winter […]
Christi was in a terrible bike accident in July. She was biking in Montana, in rangeland in the middle of a bike posse drafting — the art of the first person in the posse breaking the wind for those cyclists behind — a tried and true method of going longer distances faster without getting tired. […]
I like to eat. I have to eat, as we all do. I want to know where my food comes from. I want my food to be whole good food, not highly processed food. It’s easy to find good food, but I have to be willing to spend a bit more and look a little further than the […]
Two different farmers and two different perspectives. Dale Young of Young Farms, Stanley Hayes of Hayes Dairy and Sweet Pea Cheese, and I grew up together going to church in Granby, Connecticut, a farm and Hartford bedroom community. As a kid, I didn’t know the significance of growing up with farmers, but now realize that […]
The plight of the farmer In Korea, as in the United States, the story is the same: aging farmers, expensive land, and not enough respect for the sustenance they provide. In April, I had the pleasure to meet with Farmer Cho, a 60-year-old strawberry, rice, and beef cattle farmer living about one-hour east of Seoul […]
When I was making my spring break Korea travel plans, I asked Beverlee Einsig of Korean Heritage Tours to help me find options to learn about Korean agriculture. Beverlee, a stellar guide with her Korean counterpart, Mr. Chae, had taken our family on a homeland tour in 2010. An agricultural tour was a request that they […]
In agriculture patience is a virtue, and producing luscious, sweet maple syrup is the embodiment of that patience. Growing up in Connecticut, I was lucky to be raised on 100% pure maple syrup and never had Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup until I was a teenager. Maple syrup comes predominantly from the sap generated by sugar […]
By Kathryn Gardow and Joanne Hedou Previously published in the Capital Press Washington state is losing farmland at a rate of about 21,600 acres per year. That’s the equivalent of 1.7 million bushels of Palouse wheat. One hundred thousand people are moving to Washington annually. Changing weather patterns have modified the seasonal distribution of water […]
I know that creating change in the world begins with me. As with many people, I want someone else to be the change. It’s easier to think that someone else needs to be educated or someone else will ride the bus. But, more often than not, I can help develop a more sustainable world, just […]