Make Like a Lamb and Spring Forward



Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, so set those clocks 1 hour ahead before going to bed. Along with the spring equinox next Sunday (March 20), longer days are just around the corner -- which means the 2016 market season is not far behind! Stay tuned for Opening Day details.

Now if we could just get the sun to come out…


Celebrating the Year of the Pulses

Orca beans from Growing Washington. Photo credit: Zachary D Lyons.

Orca beans from Growing Washington. Photo credit: Zachary D Lyons.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has declared 2016 as the International Year of the Pulses. In other words, the U.N. is celebrating dried legumes!

Translated once more: That means dried beans, lentils and peas.

Coast to coast, Washington state is legumes country.  The Palouse of eastern Washington is where lentils, garbanzos and peas dominate, and the central and western part of the state is home to a slew of dried beans – black, cannellini, fava, pinto, to name a few – plus heirloom varieties such as mayocoba, orca and scarlet runner. 

What this means for you is an amazing selection of locally grown beans at the farmers market. SFMA vendors who grow and sell dried beans at any of our three farmers markets include:

Alvarez Organic Farm, Growing Washington, Kirsop Farm, Nash’s Organic Produce and Stoney Plains. 

We plan to join the U.N. celebration and highlight Washington grown pulses throughout the year. To get this party started here are five things to know about pulses:

  • They’re good for the earth: As nitrogen fixers, dried legumes enrich soil, making it more fertile and productive for local farmland 
  • They're economically sustainable: For farmers, dried legumes present a twofer: Cash crop and source of livestock feed.
  • They're rich in both fiber and protein. By weight, dried legumes are about 20 to 25 percent protein. Just a half-cup of cooked black beans packs more than 7 grams of protein and fiber. (Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
  • They're a good non-dairy source of calcium, particularly from white beans. A half-cup of cooked white beans contains 131 mg of calcium, nearly double the amount in a half-cup of low-fat cottage cheese (69 mg).  
  • They're inexpensive sustenance: A pound of dried beans amounts to 4 to 6 cups of cooked beans, depending on the variety. This translates into 6 to 10 servings.  Even at $7 per pound (sometimes for heirloom beans), the cost per serving is 70 cents to $1.15.

Ready to get started? Here are the details for  how to cook up a basic pot of beans from last year's farmstand demos at Wallingford and Madrona. We plan on cooking up more market beans this year, so stay tuned! 

Calling All Cooks: Winter Recipes Wanted

WHAT: We're looking for recipes with a seasonal (winter) and/or local focus. Using the farmers market as your guide, that means what our vendors are either growing or processing. 

Examples of fresh produce currently at the farmers market: Apples, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, onions, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash.  So this means holding off from recipes that call for fresh strawberries -- submit those in the spring!

Examples of processed ingredients: Berry jam, farmstead cheese, dried porcini mushrooms, honey, kraut, Scarlet runner beans, smoked wild salmon, wheat berries

WHEN: Send us your recipe by January 28.

WHERE: E-mail your submission to: Oleana Perry, SFMA Operations Manager:

HOW: Send recipe text in the body of your e-mail. Photos of the finished dish are welcome! 

Include your name, city, and a few words about the recipe: How you learned it and/or why it's a personal favorite. 

We will respond to all submissions on a first-come basis and will give priority to those featuring Washington grown and raised ingredients that are available in the winter. 

Now let's get cooking!

Turkey Basic Training

Photo credit: Flickr/thirteensparrows

Photo credit: Flickr/thirteensparrows

Whether this is your first time cooking a turkey or your 29th, here's a little cheat sheet to make sure you've got all your bases covered -- before, during and after the bird is done, with food safety in mind. Happy cooking, turkey lovers!

Essential tools: Roasting pan and rack big enough to accommodate the turkey, instant read thermometer; sharp knife.

Second-tier but helpful tools: Extra cutting board just for the turkey, a ladle or silicone brush for basting. Backyard/farmers market-style baster: A few rosemary sprigs tied with twine. 

Frozen Bird? Make sure it's thawed in time. Estimate 24 hours/1 day of thaw time for every five pounds of bird. P.S. Thaw in the fridge. Not in a cooler on the back porch. IN THE FRIDGE.  If you buy a frozen bird the night before Thanksgiving, and it weighs more than five pounds, you're the one who's a turkey. 

Prepping the bird: Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water. Pat dry with towels.  Season inside and out with salt and pepper. A good rule of thumb: One teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for every 1.5 pounds

Stuffing in the bird or out? Cook's choice, but if you do, the stuffing must be as cold as the bird. Food safety first, always.

Cooking temps and times: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the turkey at that temperature for the first 30 minutes. Reduce to 325 or 350 degrees. Estimate 12 to 15 minutes per pound.  P.S. Do the math if you want a firm sit-down time.  But math alone will not give you the most accurate reading. Stick an instant read thermometer in the deep (inner) part of the leg; 165 to 170 degrees with clear juices is a done bird. 

A note on the drippings: If you want to take advantage of the drippings for gravy, make sure you keep the bottom of the pan hydrated. Add just enough water or stock to cover the surface of the pan, and add more as you need throughout cooking.

Turkey chillax/cool down: Remember, that thing has been in the oven for a few hours. It is HOT STUFF.  Cover with foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes before you even think of carving (which can take at least 15 minutes). So that 45-minute window is great for heating, rewarming, and any other last-minute tasks. 

One last thing: Have fun. Thanksgiving is after all, about giving thanks with the people you love. 

Making Room for Vegetables on the Thanksgiving Table

Remember this scene from the 1973 cartoon classic "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"? Buttered toast and jellybeans for everyone!  The strange twist of irony, If you remember, comes at the end of the film (not included in this clip), when Snoopy and Woodstock dine on turkey and pumpkin pie. In absence of the bird, did Charlie Brown and his pals have a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Carbo-tarian is more like it!

If you use the farmers market as your compass, you'll quickly see that a Thanksgiving without a meaty centerpiece is still one heckuva feast. After all, Thanksgiving historically is a harvest celebration, and with so much local, seasonal produce to choose from, it's one of the easiest meals to make meatless. 

There are two easy ways to turn a turkey-centric affair into one that's more plant-forward: 

Add a soup course and make a puree from the many fall vegetables on offer --  broccolicarrotscelery root and sweet potatoes, to name a few. Make ahead and freeze until the day before Thanksgiving, and you've got one dish ready to go.

Include a stand-alone meatless dish that can dazzle rather than ask your vegetarian guests to cobble together a meal of sides. Two ways to get there:  

Check out SFMA's Harvest Guide to help you plan your holiday feast.  The farmers market has everything you need!