Shopping the farmers markets? Look for the hats and come say hi!

Shopping the farmers markets? Look for the hats and come say hi!

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.

Shopping at Sea Breeze Farm

Shopping at Sea Breeze Farm

  • 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.
More market shopping

More market shopping

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.

Our Photos

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

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo lately about copyright and content stealing. So to be clear, here’s our policy. Our recipes aren’t protected by copyright. No recipes are. However, our posts as a whole are. If you’d like to use one of our recipes, you’re free to do so. We would like to respectfully request that you provide a link back to our original post in your post. If you’d like to post an excerpt of one of our posts with a link back to the original, you’re free to do so. We do not allow or endorse the wholesale copying of our posts with our without linking. If you have any questions about this policy, or would like to use some of our content in a way not specifically described here, just e-mail us. We’re really very nice folks and we’re nearly always willing to help out another blogger who asks.

Commenting and Privacy Policy

We require a valid email address to leave a comment and all new commenters are moderated. We approve all comments that are not spam and are not attacking or vulgar. If you have a complaint about a recipe, feel free to post a comment and as long as you’re nice about it, we’ll be happy to post it. We’ll also respond to it and try to help you figure out what went wrong. If you disagree with us on an editorial piece, that’s great. Discussion and debate are wonderful things. Just keep it civil and we’ll have a lively discussion.

We do see every email address on every comment. Your email address isn’t public and we will never sell your name, email address, or any other information to anyone.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mark sabol July 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for the chickpea recipe! Trying it tomorrow (soaking tonight). I will make one change, which we always to now, which is avocado or rice bran oil. I believe these are healthier than olive oil for actual cooking (although nothing beats cold olive oil added after the fact), because they have high smoke points and don’t oxidize. The buzz lately is that olive oil cooked may actually be a net negative for health because of oxidation. FWIW. Thanks again!

Andy Karuza September 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Just wanted to make you aware of the mobile food rodeo and the movement behind local mobile food

The Mobile Food Rodeo is slated to be the premier showcase for mobile cuisine in the Pacific Northwest. On the heels of recent legislation passed in Seattle that will allow mobile food vendors to operate easier and more effectively, we’re excited to celebrate this wonderful culture with the largest street festival.

Following the success of current popular mobile food festivals such as the LA Street Food Fest and Portland’s Eat Mobile, we round up some of the best street food wagons in the Seattle and Portland city limits; giving the public the opportunity to sample some of the most unique international flavors from some of today’s top mobile food trucks in the Northwest.

In the past three years, the mobile food renaissance has led the way to next wave of top chefs; helping to open Seattle’s hottest new restaurants like Skillet Diner and Marination Station in the past year. The festival will offer your audience the chance to sample over 20 food trucks with some of the Northwest’s most refreshing menus, and help them experience the next wave of chefs and culinary prospects. It’s sure to be Seattle’s next big thing for foodies everywhere.

The Mobile Food Rodeo offers an audience a deliciously fun “one-stop-shop” that will continue to grow year after year from two of the nation’s emerging mobile food. The Mobile Food Rodeo aims to offer micro-businesses the support to find their audience, by bringing thousands of people into Seattle neighborhoods that support local businesses 365 days a year.

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