It's that time of year again when the Phinney Farmers Market is brimming with a wide-variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits.
In addition to a plethora of greens, lettuces and all kinds of vegetables, it's peak season for berries and stone fruits (peaches, apricots, pluots, etc). If you buy more than you can eat, berries are easy to freeze, as are most vegetables (quickly blanch or steam).
New this season is Sol to Seed Farm, bringing their fresh herbs and plenty of summer vegetables. The market also boasts a new vendor, Apres Vin, who makes flavored grape seed oils and grape seed flour from local vineyards. Quilbay Seafood brings a selection of oysters, clams and other locally-raised shellfish - they'll be there through the end of the market season.
The Ballard Food Bank has seen an 11 percent increase in clients compared to the first quarters of 2008 and 2009, and organizers there only expect that number to continue to climb.
Today they are serving just under 1,000 people each week and have distributed 478,485 pounds of food to 3,510 people who’ve been served 17,679 times.
“That’s a significant number,” Nancy McKinney, executive director of Ballard Food Bank said. “We’re seeing instead of the six to 700 people a week it’s just under 1,000. That’s a lot of people to get through in eight hours."
The Ballard Food Bank serves people from the Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods, along with some, mostly homeless, who are out of their coverage zip codes.
McKinney said their need in the area has definitely increased due to the recession. Currently, the clientele breaks down like this: one percent children 2 years and under; 14 percent children 3 to 18 years old; 62 percent 19 to 54 years old; and 24 percent 55 and over.
“We’re (also) delivering food to 85 to 90 homebound individuals and recovering groceries from all of the local grocery stores in Ballard and Magnolia,” McKinney said.
While Seattle is home to many local farmers markets, few have been as successful as West Seattle’s. Since it began 10 years ago the local market has become one of the most financially successful and largest in the state.
“Of all the markets, the farmers and managers like West Seattle the best, I think because of the community,” said Curtis, of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance. “They’re totally loyal. There’s a connection between merchants and buyers.”
Curtis remembers how popular the market was from the beginning.
The market always had the support of the junction’s merchants, said Curtis.
They wanted to activate the Alaska Junction on Sundays, and the Farmers Market did just that.
But to get the market up and running took a grant from the King County Agricultural Program as well as funding from Puget Sound Fresh and other farmers markets in the county.
All the support paid off on opening day. Curtis said nice weather brought 35 vendors and nearly 4,000 shoppers to the brand new market. In just a few hours, most vendors were sold out.
“There was a great deal of curiosity around the neighborhood,” said Curtis.
The Porterhouse Pub is moving into the former Blackbird restaurant and dubs itself a family-friendly pub owned by West Seattle resident Silas Reynolds.
Reynolds currently operates another Porterhouse restaurant in Mount Vernon, Wash. He said the West Seattle location will be similar, but catering more to the Seattle clientele.
The Porterhouse Pub will serve 25 beers on tap, including a rotating selection of West Coast ales. Still, it will not be a 21-and-over establishment, and Reynolds said he plans to make it "family-friendly."
"We're trying to get into the neighborhood pub feel," said Reynolds.
Then menu will be similar to the Mount Vernon restaurant which offers a variety of "pub foods" including seafood, steaks, pasta, soups and salads.
Inside the new restaurant, Reynolds wants to include new wood work and warmer colors to create a "cozy" environment. The West Seattle Herald will be posting pictures of the new decor soon.
While he has not set a specific date, Reynolds plans to open the Porthouse Pub in July.
The King County Food and Fitness Initiative is developing a community action plan that will determine specific tactics to support areas like Delridge and White Center. The Initiative aims to incorporate healthy living in schools, create safe spaces for activities and create healthy retail outlets in communities.
Strategy design teams are meeting to get more specific on tactics, activities and timeline and are looking for public input. Join the Food Education Empowerment and Sustainability Team (F.E.E.S.T.) for a Potluck on June 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way S.W.
Anyone interested in becoming more involved in the planning or design effort to influence policy and practice so that everyone can be active and have access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food or to help build thriving, safe communities, can contact email@example.com or call (206) 205-3186.
Snacks! Ballard Bodega made its grand opening this morning in a time when many local businesses are shuttering.
With shelves packed, soft serve ice cream ready to eat and the "to go" hot dog window open for the lunch rush, owner Dante Rivera is as ready as he can be.
“It’ll be a huge learning curve, I’m guessing for the first month,” Rivera said. “The idea is to keep people somewhat happy with free soft serve ice cream the first week.”
Rivera has been selling his Dante’s hot dogs as a street vendor for several years in Ballard and has now found a location at 5219 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballardites can find it at the end of the parking lot between Bop Street Records and King’s Hardware.
Snacks! will be offering everyday needs and staples in addition to bringing in Ballard market vendors and offering retail space to sell their items, Rivera said.
“Because of the refrigeration, it’s not so much produce, but we’ll have some fruits that aren’t quite as perishable (...) we’ll also have some of the finer pastas, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream and fresh flowers,” he said.
The South Seattle Community College's Northwest Wine Academy threw its first of two free tasting parties of their student-made wines on campus.
It took place Friday night, June 12. The wines included Riesling, Rose, Viognier and Barbera. Academy students choose one of three tracks, sale and marketings, wine production, or wine and food paring.
"Barbera is a jucier, dark color grape, purply black," explained Reggie Daigneault, the wine academy's program coordinator and fulltime faculty member. "This is the first time we vinified it. The grapes were given to us from Stan Baty of Alder Ridge Vineyard."
The vineyard is located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) within the Columbia Valley AVA. The grapes originated in Piedmont, Northwest Italy.
"Every bottle of wine has a story behind it," said Nancy Kedward, wine sales and marketing student at the academy. "What's neat about all our grapes is that they are donated to the college. Students pick the grapes we make wine right here."
The second tasting was Saturday, June 13, noon to 4 p.m.
7034 15th Ave. N.W., 784-5701
Daily 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Tucked away on 15th Avenue Northwest between a pho restaurant and a vacant fencing business, behind a parking lot, the Waterwheel Lounge sits frozen in time.
This no-nonsense tavern serves a steady clientele and welcomes newcomers, too. A funky little joint, it was recently made famous by its inclusion in the Top 10 in Mike Seely's guidebook, Seattle's Best Dive Bars.
The bar's been under new ownership for the last few years, but it's still the down-home place everyone loved. A new barbecue menu has also been added, but the Waterwheel's popular burgers and fried chicken dinners are not going away.
Served with massive bronzed chunks of poultry, the chicken dinners ($11.95) appear large enough to feed the entire clientele, although customers appear to have little difficulty polishing off the affair. Friendly-appearing ribs join the chicken on the entree list ($12.95).