A week or so back I was lucky enough to attend the Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection, a business-to-business seminar organized and hosted by FORKS N.W. As well as featuring the best lunch ever – created by local chefs to showcase beautiful local ingredients - this industry meet-up allows chefs and caterers to connect with and source products from local fishers, farmers and food artisans. Here is a round-up of some fabulous new food products to look out for over the coming months in Seattle’s farmers’ markets, restaurants, supermarkets and specialty food stores.
Bow Hill Blueberries
Bow Hill Blueberries is the oldest family-run blueberry farm in the Skagit Valley, and home to a number of heirloom blueberry varietals. Since acquiring the farm in 2011, Harvey and Susan Soltes have transitioned it to certified organic status, and created a range of delectable blueberry-based pantry products including a jam, sauce, pickle, marinade and cold-pressed juice (which can be found at the Seahawks team smoothie bar!) They also partner with Lopez Island Ice Cream and Evolve Chocolate to produce blueberry ice cream and bonbons. Order their products direct online, buy them at Central Co-op or try them at Canlis.
Shen Zen Tea
Olympia-based tea importer Shen Zen Tea also uses its teas to create a range of amazing kombuchas. These kombuchas are flavorful and smooth and not as aggressively gassy and acidic as some others – the lemongrass in particular would be a delightful alternative to lemonade in summer. Find the kombucha on tap and fill a growler at the Fremont Sunday Market and other farmers’ markets; at the Herbalist, Craftworks Coffee and other coffee shops and kombucha bars; or bottled at Red Apples, Thriftways and other family-owned grocery stores.
Pure Eire Dairy
The milks, creams, cheeses and award-winning yogurts made at Othello-based Pure Eire Dairy taste like none you’ve ever tried before, probably because the farm is the only certified 100% grass-fed dairy in the whole of the U.S. Unlike many dairies, the calves in this herd of Jersey cows are not separated from their mothers at birth – and happy cows clearly make happy milk. Not only are Pure Eire’s products amazingly delicious, but feeding on grass means that they are bursting with beneficial fatty acids. Find their products in PCC and grocery stores throughout the state.
Starvation Alley Farms
In 2013 Longbeach Peninsula’s Starvation Alley Farms became Washington state’s first certified producers of organic cranberries and their bottles of cold-pressed, raw, unpasteurized and unsweetened cranberry juice now have legions of die-hard fans. This complex, tart juice is a favorite with Seattle bartenders or you can buy it at farmers’ markets and in specialty groceries including Whole Foods and PCC.
Cauldron Bone Broth
As the part-owner of a wholesale animal processing plant, Chef Gabriel Claygate found himself with plenty of bones on hand. Believing that we shouldn’t waste any part of the animal, he started making bone broths for restaurants, using the bones and ‘ugly’ vegetables that farmers couldn’t sell to retailers. He soon realized that, thanks to the paleo crowd and other proponents of clean eating, he had a trendy consumer product on his hands. Cauldron Broths can now be found at Met Market, Ken’s Market and other high quality grocers, and will soon be served in PCC. Claygate has also worked with nutritionist Angela Pifer to produce low FODMAP broths suitable for those with gut issues.
Vikas Taskar’s Bombay Bitez range of delectable southern Indian street food made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, is some of the best Indian food this curry maven has found in Seattle. Originally an engineer, Taskar’s desire to share the food and culture of India with the Pacific Northwest has led to extensive research learning from home cooks and street food vendors. His year-round catering business is located in Redmond and in the summer he hits the farmers’ markets. Check their Facebook page from the end of April for details of this summer’s farmers’ market schedule.
The Kitchen Imp
With the help of Melissa Aaron of the Kitchen Imp, you’ll soon be whipping up all manner of tasty curries, tagines and grills. Her thoughtfully crafted spice blends, rubs, sugars and salts are inspired by global cooking traditions and made in her backyard studio from the highest quality ingredients. Buy the blends at DeLaurenti or online at The Kitchen Imp or taste them at an increasing number of Seattle restaurants, including the Portage Bay Cafes.
Firefly Kitchen's award-winning sauerkrauts, kimchis and other ferments have been a fixture at the farmers’ markets since their inception, but in recent years they’ve been ramping up production, so that you can now find them at PCC, Ken’s Market and Whole Foods. Try their new probiotic drinks made from the fermented juices of their products.
Mustard & Co
Justin Hoffman and Bryan Mitchiner make their premium small-batch mustards, including such flavors as Honey Curry and Black Truffle, from simple ingredients such as organic olive oil and top-quality balsamic vinegar. Buy their condiments online at Mustard and Co, or find them in speciality food shops such as Rainshadow Meats, DeLaurenti and the Pantry at Delancey.
Jones Family Farms
We covered these singing pink scallops recently but I was lucky enough to sample these exquisitely pretty little creatures at the Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection and was blown away. Served raw, these rare gems are delicately sweet and bursting with ocean freshness. Find them on Lopez at the Jones Family Farm, at Pike Place Fish and in fine dining restaurants throughout Seattle, including the Herbfarm, Altura and the Dahlia Lounge.