cooking.reading.living in Seattle

We really live in a global village, with friend and family scattering across the globe and placing down roots in different communities.  Social networks allow us to stay connected and reconnect with friends from all phases of our lives. Today, Local Sprouts is very excited to share an interview with a friend from my hometown in Maine, now living, and cooking, reading and blogging, in Seattle.

LS: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Sarah: I am Sarah! I started blogging about 16 months ago after gentle persuasion by friends and family—“I need that recipe! Can you teach me to make pickles? Can you explain GMOs to me (again)? I need a book recommendation.”—and so on. I LOVE blogging. I never thought of myself as a writer, but I enjoy having the outlet, and what’s better than writing about what I know, about what I love? I worked in bookstores for a dozen years and have been cooking since I was a tot, at my mother’s side or grandmother’s side or with my beloved Aunt Elaine. So, now, I read emotional novels and blood pressure-raising non-fiction and inspiring cookbooks and share them. I invent new twists on recipes or try Dorie Greenspan’s muffin recipe and share my experiments. I put beautiful fresh fruit with various herbs, spices or other fruits and share my jam recipes with others who may just want to make them. Most importantly, I connect with like-minded folks and learn, learn, learn. I love to learn.

LS: Where is your local community/neighbourhood and what do you love about it/how could you describe it?

Sarah: I live in Seattle, WA, a big city with many distinct neighborhoods; we live in the Magnolia neighborhood but spend a great deal of time in neighboring Ballard & Fremont. Seattle is generally labeled as a “green” city—we have so many parks and walking/hiking trails, like Magnolia’s grand Discovery Park; bike lanes everywhere to encourage alternate forms of commute & travel; an impressive recycling and yard waste program; a clean and safe Metro; incredible biodiversity; and farmers’ markets everywhere to share and promote that diversity.

Beach Trail at Discovery Park in Seattle

Beach Trail at Discovery Park in Seattle

Besides the famous Pike Place Market downtown, recent years have brought Melrose Market, a “foodie paradise” that houses my butcher (Rain Shadow Meats), a cheese shop, a wine shop, flower market and more, and outdoor markets in almost every neighborhood. Some of the latter are open only from June-October, but the nearby Ballard market runs year-round; every Sunday morning, I can go there for eggs, meat, flowers, fruit & veggies, home-brewed kombucha, artisan bread & jam, candy, baked goods and so much more. I am a passionate advocate of locavorism and the support of local farmers and growers; in the summer time, we go to the Ballard market Sunday morning, the Wallingford market on Wednesdays, sometimes Phinney Ridge on Friday, and Magnolia on Saturday. We eat locally grown, locally sourced milk from Fresh Breeze farms, grains from Bluebird Grain Farm, eggs and meat from Skagit River Ranch, berries from Jessie, honey from Tom and veggies from a variety of sources every day of the week. I am lucky, and take advantage of every possible occasion to know my farmers by name, thank the growers and keep my money in the western WA community.

A busy jamming weekend!

A busy jamming weekend!

LS: What does ‘local’ mean to you/your work/your family?

Sarah: Local to me means Seattle first, WA state whenever possible and responsibly-sourced from the US after that. That’s not to say that I’ve never eaten or bought anything imported, but my goal is to support the local economy—keep the WA farmers farming! Keep the WA growers growing! I am perhaps overly-conscious of issues like organic farming vs. conventional, GMO labeling, whole or “real” foods and food preservation. When I support my local farmers, I believe that I can have an impact, however small, on the health of my family, the land and local communities. I buy from, and advertise when possible for, growers who use sustainable farming practices and avoid pesticides and meat/milk/egg producers who use organic feed and no antibiotics. I advocate for the health of the system as a whole: the animals, the land, the workers who harvest crops, and consumers.  Personally, I eat seasonally, avoid most processed foods and cook from scratch almost every day. For the past few years, I have been making jam, pickles and similar canned goods (water bath processing only, so not as many veggies as I would like) for our own use and to use at swaps with my bartering group, Backyard Barter. I am now on the steering committee of BB, helping to expand our monthly events into new Seattle neighborhoods (we started with a focus on NW Seattle, esp. Ballard) and to reach out to new members who believe in sustainability and creating a local food community.

Home-cured (by Sarah!) corned beef, from Jones Family Farm via Rain Shadow Meats

Home-cured (by Sarah!) corned beef, from Jones Family Farm via Rain Shadow Meats

Be sure to check out Sarah’s blog cook.can.read for more local Seattle goodness! And check back here for Sarah’s guide to marketing and eating across Seattle!

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