Friday, June 26, 2009

Cascade Farmer's Market

It was a 1.25 mile bike ride from our Belltown apartment to the new Cascade Farmer's Market in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Not to bad of a commute to a Farmer's Market even if the route could use more consistent bike lanes and the location more bike racks. Once I did find a place to lock up my bike my first purchase was a container of raspberries that I munched as I browsed the various vendors.

There were a few produce farmers set up and several fruit sellers. I saw my first market zucchini of the year and managed to keep myself from buying any, knowing I had an over abundance of other vegetables from our CSA and our p-patch. But it was hard. I really wanted that zucchini. For fruit there were flats of strawberries, raspberries, cherries and even a few apricots. I didn't see any favas and I know I couldn't have past them up if I had. Fresh favas have such a short season you just have to grab them when you find them. I hope I still have a chance. There were plenty of greens and carrots and other beautiful earth bounty.

What I was happiest to see was the Samish Bay Cheese people were there because I was all out of cheese at home. I had been hoping that a local cheese maker would be at this market. Next came the tough job of deciding which cheeses to get. I tasted a few and finally went with two very different varieties, the raw milk Port Madison and a fresh farm cheese that I can't recall the name of at the moment. I wonder if anyone has ever thought to create a cheese and dairy CSA - I'd be all over it! The same farm also sells humanely raised organic meats and they had their meat stand set up right next to the cheese.

A little ways down I came across a local pasta maker, La Pasta. They had a good selection of pastas including several different raviolis. Ravioli is something I have been craving for a while now and just haven't been able to take the time to make, so I couldn't resist. I got a package of the mixed mushroom ravioli. I think I will be making that for dinner soon with the mushrooms and garlic scapes from the latest Full Circle CSA box we got.

There were flower vendors, a roasted nut vendor and few others to round out the market. I don't know if there are plans to bring more vendors in as the summer progresses or if this will be the main group, but for the most part you can get most of what you need for a good meal among those already there.

The Cascade Farmer's Market will be every Thursday from 3-7pm through September 24th.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Low Tide Program at Discovery Park

Today was the first time I lead a program on my own at the park and the Sea Slugs showed up to help me celebrate! We came across at least 20 Opalescent Nudibranchs and many patches of their eggs. I have never seen that many of those at once before and it was a wonderful treat. They're one of my very favorite sea creatures.

Another surprise was one decent sized orange Sea Pen. That was a first for me at the park, if I recall correctly, and I know I had never seen them on the north beach. These had all but disappeared from the park for quite a while according to long time staff members, so the fact that they are starting to show up again is great news. Hopefully that is a sign of increasing health for the Discovery Park beaches.

Squirting clams were a thrill for everyone. "Talking" barnicles were worth listening to. The quarter sized sunflower star was amazing to see - several of the kids had seen the full sized ones at the aquarium and it was fun to compare. The Sunflower Sea Stars can get well over a foot across.

We had a Great Blue Heron stick around on the beach even with the groups of people milling around. Normally, they take off squawking the moment you get even slightly near them. And one of the big highlights for several people was the galloping River Otter that crossed the beach and took off into the water.

I had a fun group of five kids between kindergarten and fourth grade, two moms, and two college age girls visiting from different parts of the country. This group had great beach etiquette and lots of enthusiasm - which made being out there that much more of a pleasure.

Cascade Farmer's Market Opens Tomorrow

Seattle has a new Farmer's Market in the South Lake Union Neighborhood. Starting tomorrow from 3-7 pm every Thursday the Cascade Farmer's Market will be happening across from the Cascade Playground. Here is their website.

I can't wait to check it out!

Center City Parks

Seattle Parks and Recreation recently sent out a brochure titled Center City Parks and I'm really glad they did. It is loaded with information on local parks and events in the greater downtown area. From live music and dancing, outdoor movies, drop-in Tai Chi and Bocce, various festivals, concerts, farmer's markets, art in the park, and urban gardening classes put on by Seattle Tilth. There are so many things happening in and around my neighborhood it is nearly overwhelming to chose what to check out. Here is the link to the Center City Parks website where much of the information is available.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Centennial's Urban Agriculture Project Goes Live

The planters were set up, filled and planted today. Here are a few pictures to start with.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fremont Solstice Festival

This event is definitely a Seattle Classic, this being its 38th consecutive year and it is always worth showing up for at least the parade! So much creativity and let's not forget all the body painted nude cyclists - this year there were more than ever! We hadn't been to the festival in several years and were looking forward to attending again ever sense we moved back to Seattle. We got there an hour before the parade and had second row seats. It was nice to just chill with our new neighbors and wait in anticipation for the entertainment to begin. And entertaining it was...

Here is a video, all be it a wobbly one, of the famous Fremont Solstice Cyclists. And yes, I realize it was polo not cricket - can you blame me for being distracted?!

After the parade we wandered through all the booths and found some really talented artists scattered among them. One woman made the most beautiful and colorful feather masks I have ever seen. There were a couple jewelry makers that Mark picked up cards from after seeing me admire their work - just in case we ever have spending money again? There were also several amazing potters showing their wares. There were a good number of informational booths including a healthy living area that was holding free yoga "classes" on the spot.

Eventually we had our fill of looking through the booths and headed for Gasworks Park where there was supposed to be music and dancing. Unfortunately there was only one band and only a few people moving to the music. This was disappointing to us. In years past we always enjoyed the huge drumming and dancing circles that went into the night and were sad to see not a one or anything that lead us to believe it would be happening at all. Without a good beat to revive us, we took our aching feet back to the bus stop and headed home. Which is probably for the best since tomorrow is going to be a long day of Beach Naturalist duty and family gathering for Father's Day. Still, I'm sad that I'm not out there right now, moving my hips to a good drum beat with a bunch of fun-loving fellow dancers...

P-Patch Update

The other evening we picked over 2 pounds of peas in one picking, as well as four large heads of lettuce! There is so much lettuce we can't possibly eat it all before it bolts and I am hoping to get some of it to a local food bank before that happens. The zucchini's and tomatoes are blossoming and the parsley is going crazy. The beans are up and the cucumber transplants are settling in. Which reminds me - I need to plant dill! The potatoes are flowering and looking incredibly healthy and we nibble on a few strawberries each time we're there, of course the slugs are nibbling on them when we aren't there. Sadly we seem to have an infestation of club root disease and the brassicas have done very poorly. I am hoping it won't effect the mustards, because I can't imagine my winter without fresh mizuna trimmed from under a cold frame. The peppers are the saddest little things I have ever seen. Even in the cruddiest of summers I have managed to get a few peppers of my pepper plants - but these ones seem to have never recovered form mid-Mays cold nastiness. I don't know if they will ever turn around. I gave them a little organic fertilizer and I talk to them nicely each time I see them - but I think they would rather have a mini sauna to live in - unfortunately I don't have the resources to give them what they want. I only hope they turn around eventually.

The garden really is doing very well over all and I am looking forward to that first zucchini like you wouldn't believe!

Urban Agriculture Pilot Project

Of several buildings in the Belltown area, my apartment building was chosen for the initial stage of a roof-top gardening pilot project. The project will study the feasibility of roof-top gardening as part of an urban agriculture policy for Seattle. Four large planters will be set up in various locations in the complex and are scheduled to be installed next week. I and another tenant will be tending the plantings and keeping track of data, with the hope of getting more tenants involved in the future. I'm especially happy that we have arranged for the food from the plantings to be donated to a local food bank. It's exciting to be a part of this team and I look forward to seeing Seattle move ahead in coming up with a policy that increases our local food security. Perhaps someday we'll see food growing on every roof around the city and every free space in between!
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