About John and Patricia
Six years ago, when I moved up to Seattle, John and I started going to the University District Farmers Market for apples. Yes, apples. Tsugaru apples to be specific. They tend to show up in Seattle around my birthday (in late September) and they are the sweetest, crispest apples I’ve ever had. Apples turned into tomatoes. Tomatoes turned into peppers. Finally, apples, tomatoes, and peppers turned into sausage. Ok, not really. But Skagit River Ranch was sampling their sausage one day, Farmer George on the grill, little Nicole helping with the change. That was the first time we bought meat at the farmers market. From there, the rest was easy. Sea Breeze Farm sold cream. Wilson Fish handed out free smoked salmon samples. Alm Hill Gardens sold salad mix with edible flowers.
Fast forward five years. George still operates the grill from time to time, but Nicole’s all grown up. We’re on a first name basis with most everyone we buy our food from. We do 90% of our shopping at the Seattle area farmers markets. Our freezer is full with half of a grass-fed and finished cow from Olsen Farms. The chicken we buy from Sea Breeze, Stokesberry, or Skagit River Ranch is flavorful and completely hormone and antibiotic free.
Do you really cook local all the time?
Yep, pretty much. We cook local and we try to eat local when we’re not eating at home. We’re not as strict about the food we eat in restaurants, though we avoid industrial meat and favor restaurants on our list of sustainable/ethical sources. There are a few key things we buy that aren’t local. We don’t pretend that being a (relatively) strict locavore is easy, but it’s not all that difficult either. We have our short list of exceptions because having this list makes eating locally sustainable for us for the long haul. Knowing we can buy coffee, sugar, and chocolate help us get through those long winters where kale and root vegetables are the staples.
While many locavores limit themselves to 100 or 250 miles, we’ve chosen to limit ourselves primarily to items you can find at the Seattle Farmers Markets, regardless of mileage. Everything at the University District Farmers Market for example, is grown in the state of Washington. No out of state products are allowed, though some of the prepared foods don’t have to meet that bar. Ask the vendor to be sure. Here’s our short list of items we don’t buy local.
- Coffee: We do live in Seattle, after all.
- Some liquor: We favor Washington beer and wines, and we buy local liquor when possible. We love buying Washington produced liquor because the local distillery laws require all local distilleries to use at least 50% local ingredients!
- Salt and pepper: We’re growing our own pepper, but until it produces, we have no problem buying non-local pepper. Someday we plan on making and smoking our own salt as well, but that’s a project for the not-so-lazy days of summer.
- Spices: We minimize the use of non-local herbs and spices, but occasionally we do purchase some, particularly cinnamon, nutmeg, and chili powder, although when we can make our own chili powder from dried peppers, we’ll certainly do so.
- Oil: Local hazelnut oil and grapeseed oil are excellent, but out of our price range for everyday use. We always chose organic oils, usually Olive Oil.
- Balsamic vinegar: Local apple cider vinegar is plentiful, but there are very few wine vinegars locally and only one balsamic-style vinegar (from Rockridge Orchards and made from apples). We keep the Rockridge apple balsamic for special occasions and buy non-local balsamic for cooking.
- Citrus: We have a yuzu tree, but so far it hasn’t produced any fruit. We don’t buy a lot of lemons, but I make a fantastic Shaker Lemon Pie and once in a while, I break down and make it.
- Sugar: The only sugar that’s even close to local is Idaho Beet Sugar. While this would technically meet our requirements, most of the sugar beet seed supply is riddled with GMO sugar beets. There’s no guarantee that GMO products post any risk to health, but there’s no guarantee that they don’t either, so we err on the side of caution and buy organic sugar from Costco. Hey, at least the company started locally.
- Yeast, baking powder, and baking soda: We have a biga (a sourdough starter that uses yeast captured from the air). We use this for most of our bread baking, but occasionally we will still use yeast if we need a quick rise.
- Junk Food: The vast majority of our diet is all natural. But sometimes you just need a soda or some candy. We don’t buy it often, but we do buy some. In particular, Mexican Coke and Theo Chocolate (no, Theo Chocolate is in no way junk food).
- Running Fuel: We’re marathoners and I’m a triathlete and we’re almost always training for something. When you’re out on a 20 mile run, about the only fuel you can easily carry with you are things that come in little pouches from the running store. Gu, Sport Beans, and Accelerade are our products of choice.
What Sort of Recipes Will You Find Here?
We’re adventurous cooks and we love trying new things, but we’re not gourmets. While we love things like homemade creme brulee and oysters broiled with pancetta, and we’ve been known to make marshmallows from scratch (they’re incredibly easy), we’re just as happy with some fish and chips, a hastily assembled scramble of eggs and veggies, or even a plain ‘ole burger from one of Seattle’s ethically sourced restaurants. We don’t use fancy equipment and more than 90% of our recipes can be made with just a couple of pots or pans, a sharp knife, and a cutting board.
Sit down, stay a while, and make sure you email us if there’s anything we can do for you. Do you have a suggestion for the site? Are you wondering what to do with a particular ingredient? Do you need help finding a local source for a food item? Let us know! Are you in the Seattle area and have a local food event you’d like to promote? Tell us about it!
We hope you’ll also visit our sister site – Seasonal Cornucopia. This searchable database of seasonal foods can help you find out when peaches come into season and which seafood is and is not sustainable.
Every photo you see on this site, unless specifically attributed to someone else, was taken by us with a point and shoot digital camera or a Canon D60. The only post production editing we do on our photos is correcting for white balance and adding a watermark since we can’t always use natural light. Every dish photographed is eaten, usually minutes after the photo was snapped. When you follow one of our recipes, your finished dish can very easily look every bit as good as ours. It’s our policy to never show you a photo of a dish that’s not exactly what we plated and what we ate.
We are available for macro photo shoots in the state of Washington and are happy to help capture a meal in photos. See our post: Allium on Orcas for an example of our work. Those photos were captured in real world conditions (at sunset) and were only corrected for white balance.
All photos are copyright Cook Local. You are free to use our images or excerpts of our posts provided you do not edit the photos and attribute any photos and excerpts to Cook Local, with a link back to our site.
Using Our Content
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