Rhubarb Festival

May 17, 2012

Ingredients for Cafe Flora’s Chef Nat and his rhubarb cooking demonstration at the Columbia City Farmers Market

Seattle’s Columbia City Farmers Market held a Rhubarb Festival yesterday afternoon, and I headed down there on the Light Rail to check it out.  Part of the festivities included a cooking demonstration by Chef Nat of Cafe Flora, and he made a rhubarb compote served as an accompaniment to nettle ravioli with cashew cream sauce and sautéed vegetables.  He also made Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble and a cordial called Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz.  After his cooking demonstration, we got to sample all the recipes — I loved them all.

Jar of Rosemary-Rhubarb Chutney

There was also a Sweet vs. Savory Rhubarb Contest, and I entered a jar of Rosemary-Rhubarb Chutney using the recipe from one of my earliest blog posts.  (You can link back to it here.)  My entry won the Savory Division!  (I was awarded a subscription to Edible Seattle Magazine and a $15 farmers market gift certificate.)  Other contestants made rhubarb ceviche, rhubarb shortcake, rhubarb ice cream, tarts and quiche, pies, cakes, chutneys and compotes, etc.  The winner of the Sweet Division made rhubarb pop tarts, and the Best of Show was a rhubarb cardamom cake.  The staff at the Columbia City Farmers Market said that the winning recipes would be posted to their Facebook page.

Here are some photos from my day at the Columbia City Farmers Market:

The bell that opens the market at 3:00 p.m.

Flower vendor

This is a well-attended neighborhood market, one of several in Seattle.


Another shopper

Mushrooms for sale

Vendor arranging produce

Another shopper

Potatoes for sale

Cooking demo: rhubarb compote with homemade nettle ravioli, cashew cream sauce and sautéed vegetables

Rhubarb Contest entries

Contest judges Leslie Kelly (food writer) and Jill Lightner of Edible Seattle Magazine

Judge’s taste test

Another look at the contest table

Columbia City Farmers Market

Rural scene near Sequim -- barn with Olympic Mountains

Sequim is one of my favorite destinations on the Olympic Peninsula.  It lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, so the weather is often sunnier than in Seattle.  I love driving along the country roads surrounding the town.  It’s still peaceful and rural. Later in summer, the lavender fields will be in bloom.  I was there on a Saturday, when the local outdoor market opened for the season.

Weathered ruin just off Hwy 101 near Sequim

Empty windows softened by moss and blossoms

Meadow with Olympic Mountains on the horizon

Dandelion-filled meadow

Old Dungeness Schoolhouse near Sequim

Barbed wire on the side of a barn

Opening day festivities (free cake!) at the Sequim Open Aire Market

Bread stall at the Sequim Market

Tempting pastries at another bakery stall

Handmade crocheted items, Sequim Market

Saturday Farmers’ Market

February 26, 2011

Seattle’s University District Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays year-round.  Here is what the market is like on a winter Saturday in February.  I saw pattern and color everywhere.

“Elegance is natural when you follow the principle of repetition.”
     —  Susan Vreeland, Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Unusual mushrooms for sale

Jams colored like stained-glass windows

Handmade soaps

Carrots and cabbages

Rustic-looking beets

Root vegetables

Early spring daffodils and tulips

Most of Seattle’s neighborhood farmers’ markets have closed for the season, but the University Market goes year round.  I stopped by yesterday to see the seasonal produce.  I was especially taken with the large cabbage roses that were being made into bouquets with flowers.  The vendors were bundled in sweaters, caps, and gloves against the chill, but it still was a lively place.


Buckets full of cabbage roses ready to be made into bouquets


More rose cabbages


Finding the perfect pear


These green cauliflowers resembled seashells


Selecting a squash from the pile


Performer plucks the banjo

Peeling a Potato

November 9, 2009


The comfortable fit of a potato in my hand


Peeling a potato

Peeling a Potato
by Ted Kooser

Pablo Casals should see me now,
bowing this fat little cello,
peeling off long white chords.

I am not famous like Pablo,
not yet.  The amphitheater
of the kitchen sink is nearly empty.
As the notes reel out,
I hear only the hesitant clapping
of a few moist hands.

I am playing the solo variations
of J. S. Bach. Wonderfully,
I sweep with my peeler.  See me lean
into the work, tight lipped,
the light in my hair.  Inspiration
trickles over my handsome old hands.


Varieties of potatoes at a farmers' market

“Let the skies rain potatoes.”
     — William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor


Farmers’ Markets 2

August 30, 2009

Here are some more colorful pictures from a farmers’ market in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Peach vendor at the Wallingford Market

Peach vendor at the Wallingford Market

Multi-colored chard

Multi-colored chard

Vegetable stand at the Wallingford Farmers' Market

Vegetable stand at the Wallingford Farmers' Market

Vendor arranging tomatoes

Vendor arranging tomatoes


August 28, 2009

Multi-colored peppers at the Wallingford Farmers' Market

Multi-colored peppers at the Wallingford Farmers' Market

Peppers bring to mind the tongue-twisting rhyme:

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?”

There is something so sensuous about vegetables.  I love Edward Weston’s photograph of a single pepper.  You can see it and more of Weston’s photos at www.edward-weston.com.

Edward Weston's Pepper, 1930

Edward Weston's Pepper, 1930

The Pike Place Market is among the top tourist destinations in Seattle.  I love to wander through the market any time I am downtown.  Last week I met my daughter for a movie and dinner, and I took a bus a couple of hours early, just so that I could take pictures at the market.  It’s such a colorful and vibrant place.

Seattle's Pike Place Market

Seattle's Pike Place Market

The flower stalls seem to out-number the fish and vegetable stands

The flower stalls seem to out-number the fish and vegetable stands

Flower vendor making up a bouquet

Flower vendor making up a bouquet

One of the fish vendors at the market

One of the fish vendors at the market

The famous "flying fish" experience at the Pike Place Market

The famous "flying fish" experience at the Pike Place Market

Fruit and vegetalbe vendor at the Pike Place Market

Fruit and vegetable vendor at the Pike Place Market