Sunday, October 31, 2010

Save Friendly Haven Rise Farm!

Jacqueline and Joseph Freeman are currently in danger of losing their farm and their home due to a poorly managed federal mortgage aid program. Their lender, Wells Fargo (recipient of billions of TARP bailout dollars), has sent them a notice of foreclosure. The Freeman's are pioneers in the sustainable agriculture/homesteading movement here in Clark County. They freely share their knowledge and experience, organize the annual Venersborg Heirloom Apple Tasting and offer numerous educational opportunities via classes at their farm, Friendly Haven Rise. Please contact Senator Patty Murray & Rep Craig Pridemore and let them know that their federal aid program is failing their constituents. And if you are a customer of Wells Fargo, it couldn't hurt to let them know how you feel about their actions as well. 

Let's help the Freeman's save their farm!.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seasonal Feast - Local Food & Social Mixer - 11.12.2010

Celebrate the completion of Urban Abundance's first year harvesting the Urban Orchard with a 3-course Seasonal Feast created by Jo Foody Catering and prepared with local farm goods. The farmers will be introduced during the feast, making it a true "farm to table" experience. LOCALS will be adding a social mixer to the evening that will help us not only deepen our connection to locally grown food, but also help us to get to know our neighbors.

The evenings program will include an intro by Jo Foody and local farmers on "connecting the dots within our local food system", a brief introduction to the estates from which Paper Tiger sources its coffee from and a digital storytelling session by Emily Jameson about Urban Abundance's first year harvesting the Urban Orchard.

The menu prepared for the evening will have both a Carnivore and Vegetarian options and will be developed between the farmers and Jo Foody based on the freshest available produce that week.

Tickets are available for purchase online:

5:30 and 7:30 seating

Join us for this lovely evening sponsored by 3 great local nonprofits:
Slow Foods SWWA
and Urban Abundance

Niche - A Wine Bar

Welcome to the new Vancouver. Wine bars, art galleries, convenience stores stocked with locally produced/grown food...and Niche is leading the way as one of the vanguards of this movement. 

Great food, a small, well-considered wine selection and numerous pours by the glass. The shop is operated by Leah (Angst Gallery owner & cycling aficionado ) & Lynn (wine maven) and the two ladies are very fine hosts who eagerly share their respective passions and expertise. 

Niche offers an "exclusive" club membership in which participants purchase one of the many niche located in the shop. Each month you'll find wine and treat(s) selected especially for you and your tastes. Your yearly membership will culminate with a wine maker's dinner attended by all niche club members. It sounds like our cup of tea and so my wife and I purchased a niche. Feel free to leave gifts and/or love notes whenever you're in the shop...

You'll be hard pressed to find a better place to entertain company and clients or unwind after a long day. Head on down to Uptown and have a sip or three at Niche!

The Niche web site isn't quite up and running yet. In the meantime, you can follow Niche on Facebook:

Niche @ Facebook





Wed - Thurs:

4:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Fri - Sat:

4:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Opening Day @ Neighbors Markets

The girls and I stopped by Vancouver's latest addition to our rapidly growing alternative, sustainable, organic, etc food movement, Neighbors Markets. Neighbors Markets is not a grocery store. It's more like a "Plaid Pantry" for foodies and folks who want to keep their food dollars local. Despite the curerntly spartan interior and limited initial offerings, the store radiates with promises of great things to come. I even ran into one of my favorite farmers, Summer from Dee Creek Farm there...and if the farmers are hanging out there, you know it's going to be good. And what they are currently stocking is shaping up to be some of the best of what SW Washington and our nearby neighbors have to offer. Pippin apples, Bosch pears and beets from Joe's Place. Garlic, shallots and winter squash from NW Organic Farm. Beer from Laurelhurst Brewing and Hopworks Urban Brewing. Bread from Je T'aime and Russell's Bread. Over the coming weeks you'll find more good stuff on the shelves and I'm sure Lynn, the proprietor, is happy to entertain requests.

I'll be doing an interview with Lynn soon so we can get a little deeper into the business of Neighbors Markets and find out more about Lynn too! In the meantime, stop on into the market, pick up some tasty treats and show your support for the coolest thing to hit Main Street since Niche Restaurant & Wine Bar opened earlier this month.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Neighbors Markets Opens Monday!

Don't forget about the grand opening of Neighbors Markets next week! Stop in, buy some fixins for dinner and say "Hi" to Lynn.

Here's a brief Q&A with Lynn Krogseng (the proprietor) via the good folks at the Vancouver Business Journal.

Meet Your Neighbors - Neighbors Market from Vancouver Business Journal on Vimeo.

Monday, October 18, 2010

King Arthur Flour Fall 2010 Traveling Baking Demo - FREE - Jantzen Beach Red Lion - 10.21.2010

Featuring  tips and tricks for baking festive Perfect Pies & Tarts and Sweet Yeast Bread. No registration is required for these FREE demonstrations. For more information, call 800.827.6836. 

Demo times 
Noon to 2 pm: Perfect Pies & Tarts
7 pm to 9 pm: Sweet Yeast Bread 
Each 2-hour demonstration includes free recipes, and time to “talk baking” with the talented King Arthur staff – plus a chance to win some great baking-related door prizes! 

Thursday, October 21
Red Lion Hotel On The River 
909 N. Hayden Island Dr.
Portland, OR 97217

Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Rise Farm on Colony Collapse Disorder

Jacqueline Freeman is the author of an upcoming book "Bees, the OTHER Way" and runs Friendly Haven Rise Farm with her family here in Clark County. In this video and her upcoming book release, she points out the different strategies that conventional bee keepers might try to save their hives from colony collapse disorder. 

Permaculture and biodynamics DO exist in Clark County. You can learn much more from the folks at Friendly Haven Rise Farm by attending one of their many classes or an overnight farm stay. The next class offered by the Freemans will be:

Sat. Oct. 30 from 10-4... $50 
Learn to be a friend to bees. Beekeepers, novices and backyard bee afficionados all welcome. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chuck's Produce & Street Market Recon Mission

So I went to Chuck's on opening day and here are my thoughts.

On the plus side, Chuck's is indeed carrying a larger variety of "locally" grown and produced products than any grocery store I know of in Clark County. I do think the term "local" being used liberally by the folks at Chuck's.

Local = anything grown in Oregon or Washington or anything processed and sold by a company located in either state.

The produce selection is of very good quality and variety and the organic section is a bit better than that found at many Fred Meyer stores, but be aware that probably 80% of their produce is conventionally grown.

The grocery section is filled with a cornucopia of more unusual, exotic, and gourmet type products. Some organic, most not. It reminds me quite a bit of Zupan's.

The bakery/deli/ice cream shop almost seemed like an afterthought. The employees did not seem terribly knowledgeable or well-trained. The deli selection was very mid-range and there was no sign of anything produced in an artisan or sustainable manner. The bakery offered mostly white wheat flour products and the selection was small. I suggest walking across the parking lot to the venerable and much more experienced folks at Larson's for your baked goods. The cheese counter wasn't any better than that offered at most Fred Meyer stores and besides the gratuitous inclusion of the commonly found Beecher's and Rogue Creamery items, the only other "locally" produced cheese I saw was some River's Edge goat cheese. Finally, don't expect to load up on ANY pork products. That's right. No ham, no liverwurst, no salami. We'll talk more about that in a minute.

The prepared deli foods looked unappetizing and were somewhat less than imaginative. There are custom made sandwiches available, just like you find at most grocery stores these days. A salad bar and soup kiosk are well stocked for light lunches. And there is an ice cream shop located in the same area of the store, serving gelato and soft serve ice cream. Pizzas were being baked in an impressively large "wood-fired" oven. However, it was a model that utilizes gas, infrared and wood fire options...and I saw no evidence of wood actually being burned in the oven while I was there.

A small and, in my opinion, tragically understocked beer & wine section is located near the ice cream shop & gift store. Although I was pleased to find brews offered by Hopworks Urban Brewing and Laurelwood Brewing on sale for a very nice price.

My biggest surprise came when I visited the meat counter. I asked one of the butchers if they carried pork belly so I could cure another batch of bacon. I was informed that the store would carry no pork or shellfish products due to the religious beliefs of the store ownership group. So no bacon, no sausage, no baby back ribs, no oysters, no scallops, no clams. This was a deal killer for me, but perhaps there are more people than I imagine in Clark County who don't mind either eliminating those items from their pantry or shopping for them elsewhere. The beef selection was Country Natural Beef (the same suppliers of beef for Burgerville). Fewer cuts available than I'd like (no bone-in rib eye, brisket or 7 bone roasts) and many of the cuts appeared to be low to mid range "Choice" grade. It was also unfortunate to note that although they had a decent selection of lamb, they weren't using any of Southwest Washington's several lamb producers for their supply. They also carry a small amount of pre-packaged organic chicken, a larger selection of "free-range" chicken, and a plethora of "natural" and Tyson brand poultry products.

So there you have it. Chuck's occupies a very interesting niche in our community food system. This store is being billed as a "prototype" store, so that leads me to believe that things may very well change and that the store ownership group might be interested in your feedback. I personally think the present incarnation of Chuck's is little more than a watered down version of Zupan's market. When you visit Chuck's you won't find the store to fulfill your foodie dreams. And if you are a passionate proponent of locally produced food, you won't find a store that bridges that gap between the farmers' market and Whole Foods. But you will find our small town charm when dealing the store staff and you will find numerous items to impress your Winco patronizing friends and neighbors.

I hope that they make a greater effort to help our local farmers with shelf space for their products and that our local food community takes advantage of that door if it opens for them.

And I would like to say "Thank you, Chuck's." for reusing an existing empty retail space rather than building another strip mall and for employing over one hundred members of our community.

Here's a link to a photo album of my visit to Chuck's Produce & Street Market.

P.S. - Don't plan any shopping forays to Chuck's on a Saturday. Saturday closure is also another of Chuck's ownership group's religious based decisions.

Warren Neth & Urban Abundance @ the 2010 Community Food Security Conference

Jump on board and be a participant in one of the coolest and one of the most important social media experiences to ever involve our community. Warren Neth will be bringing us podcasts from the 2010 Community Food Security Conference in New Orleans, LA. He would like your input on the workshops he attends. Check out his first installment:

Link to the Urban Abundance YouTube channel

Urban Abundance on Facebook

Thank you so much for your efforts, Warren!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Food Preservation Workshop with Dee Creek Farm & Gertrude Snickelgrove - 10.15.2010

Here's the scoop from Dee Creek & Gertrude:

Hey Folks!

This may be the last preservation workshop for the season.  That said, we have some good herbal and gluten-free workshops coming up - keep your eyes peeled!

If you plan to join us, please RSVP via email and I will send class details.  Since there is not enough time to pay prior to this class, I'll give the following note:  Please attend if you RSVP.  There is an allotted amount of space and these classes fill fast, so no shows are painful and expensive, and a real bummer for others who may have wanted your spot.

Look forward to learning with you all!  This class is a very popular one, because it's CHALK full of incredible knowledge and information - I love it!

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to attend in the past (or those who want a refresher!), I'd encourage you to join us!  You'll learn about preserving by drying, and with oil, alcohol, salt, vinegar, and whey / lacto-fermentation!  That may not be all - some come prepared to learn new things, smell interesting smells, taste interesting tastes, and get your hands dirty!  ~Summer

You're invited!

Friday, October 15th, 2pm-5pm

Preserving the Harvest
Vancouver (Orchards), WA
Hosted by Gertrude & Dee Creek Farm
$35/person - RSVP Required

"Preserving the Harvest is a fun, hands on class devoted to the understanding of traditional food storage techniques that use the basic gifts of earth, air, water and salt to put up food in a creative and individual way, to best enhance the flavor, nutrition, over-all health and pure excitement of fresh, local whole food and garden harvests. This class is poetry in motion and participants are encouraged to bring their ideas, questions and recipes, every class is unique!" ~ Gertrude

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up to the instructors Google group, where there is continued shared interaction and bulk food buying opportunities. We also will have some herbs available for sale (and/or sharing - so please bring anything you have extra of) at class.

This instructor is a wealth of information, and could answer nearly any question, I'm certain (tho' won't hold her to it). She's easy to understand, and makes all of these things so simple & normal and encouraging.  She has been a long-time customer of DCF, and a committed Locavore in our community, with two boys needing maximum nutrition to keep their health maintained.

To register for the class, email me your interest,
And confirm with your admission fees (at deliveries or by mail)
Class space is limited
Bring snacks - for yourself, or to share!

I think there is no better time than now, when the economy is struggling, 
to learn old-fashioned ways of living!

Farm Phone: 360-225-9711
Cell Phone: 360-903-6956 (no service at the Farm)

Heirloom Apple Tasting & Apple Tree Variety Identification - 10.17.2010

This is a really great event and wonderful opportunity to tour some of the lesser known areas of Clark County...not to mention a chance to rub elbows with Jacqueline & Joseph of Friendly Haven Rise Farm.  

Sunday Oct 17th from 11-4
Venersborg One-Room Schoolhouse
24317 NE 209th St., Battle Ground, WA

Clark County used to be a fruit growing area, well known for abundant and gorgeous apple trees. There's a good chance some of the old apple trees that are languishing in backyards and old farm fields may be the last of their varieties. That's what happened with us -- three years ago we identified one of our ancient apple trees as, until we re-found it, "thought to be extinct." Help us find more before the old trees die out.

First, the apple tasting:
We have over 200 different kinds of apples to taste. Yes, indeed, come hungry because 200 tastes of each and every apple will be like eating who knows how many single apples -- a lot! And every one of them is different. We've got apples that taste sweet, tart, juicy, bake up well, smell like bananas - roses - honey - cinnamon. We have some that have been grown continuously for 400 years and others that were just brought out to the public in the past decade. Some have flesh white as snow, others are striped pink inside, or golden yellow, and some are even deep red INSIDE. They're all so unusual and nearly all of them are uniquely delicious, or uniquely shaped, or uniquely colored inside and out.

And you get to taste them all. How cool is that?

The apple tasting is at the historic Venersborg one-room Schoolhouse at the corner of Risto Rd (also called 209th Ave) and 242nd Ave right across from the Venersborg Store. Lovely country drive, right near our farm and about 35 minutes north of PDX. Come on out.

24317 NE 209th St., Battle Ground, WA
Admission is $5, kids under 16 are free.

What's going on that day?
* Taste as many apples as you like. Try them all!
* Pie making demos
* Make your own pie to take home and bake
* Homemade yummy apple goodies to eat
* Hotdogs, apple turnovers, apple scones, hot cider
* Tour the schoolhouse and hear its history
    at 1pm and 3pm
* Raffle tickets for the handmade quilt the elder
    ladies in Venersborg made this year
* Taste an apple you really like? We can graft one
    for you when they go dormant this winter and
    we'll have it ready for a February planting

* Apple Identification
If you have an old apple tree in your yard (or know someone who does) bring a half dozen of them
(unwashed, unpolished, just as they are when you pick them) in a paper bag and we'll have our experts from the Home Orchard Society tell you what they are. These people are really good. The old tree we have is called a GIDEON SWEET, a type that had, for 50 years, been thought to be extinct. If you come to the apple fest you can taste it, knowing that nobody but our cows had been eating them for many years. (didn't we feel silly, giving such an incredible apple to our herd!)

More info on our website

Drum roll please ... due to the massive success of our fundraising for the old schoolhouse over the past
two years, this is the FIRST TIME we have a real flush toilet instead of the outhouse. Aren't we proud?

Jacqueline & Joseph Freeman
Friendly Haven Rise Farm

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Columbia Springs Benefit Wine Tasting @ Confluence Vineyard & Winery - 10.09.2010

After a cool/wet day of birds & bluegrass in Ridgefield, head on out to the Columbia Springs Wine Tasting @ Confluence Vineyards & Winery this Saturday and warm up with wine, appetizers and the feeling in your heart that your helping some folks who are doing great work for our community.

Confluence Vineyard & Winery Tour
Sat, October 9, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Enjoy wine tastings, appetizers, winery tour and barrel tastings while supporting Columbia Springs.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chuck's Produce & Street Market Opens!

Despite no update to their website, Chuck's Produce and Street Market has put our local fish wrapper on notice re. an opening date of.... drum roll please...TOMORROW!

Here's a link to the article in the Columbian:

Look for a gigantic produce section, deli with seating for patrons eating in house, bakery, ice cream shop, flowers, a meat department featuring locally produced meats and at least one vintage automobile. I'll be back with my first impression and more information tomorrow and I'll be looking forward to hearing from you folks who make it out to Chuck's as well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oregon Mycological Society Fall Mushroom Show

OMS 2010 Fall Mushroom Show
Date:  Oct 17 2010
Time:  12:00 noon - 5:00 pm

Location:  Cheatham Hall, World Forestry Center, Portland, OR

Description: Annual Fall mushroom show open to public: General admisssion $5.00, Students and Seniors $3.00