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Spring Bloom 2018 – Farm to Table at Morningstar Farm

Teri Williams, T WIlliams RealtyBy Teri Williams

This event was island born! It was about community. It was about family. It was about local food and farmers. It was about wine and connecting. 

Here is an email I received from Kika Westoff, event coordinator, describing the unique details of the experience:

We’re all getting super excited for our upcoming farm dinner on Orcas! Nate and I were up on the island this past weekend tasting wine with Stephanie and Cole Sisson, meeting with farmers and fishermen who will be providing all the food for the meal and taking final measurements of the beautiful barn with Steve and Mimi who own Morning Star Farm.

Needless to say, Orcas is magical and we’re beyond excited to share this experience with you all!

An additional bonus is that Cole and Stephanie (Doe Bay Wine Co.) were able to connect with seven Chilean winemakers who will attend the event and showcase their wines. The group is visiting the U.S. as part of a tour with their importer, and will serendipitously be in the San Juan’s after stops in New York and San Francisco. Many of these wines have never been sold in the states, so this will be quite the introduction!

Again, we are SO very excited to share this unique dinner with you all and thank you in advance for making your way to the Island!

And, here is the email blast from Doe Wine Company (Let me just say I was sooooo honored and excited to get 2 tickets for the event!):

Farm to Farm Table dinner featuring Orcas Native Chef Nate Simmons and Chilean Winemakers at Morningstar Farm, Saturday, June 16th – The winemakers are visiting the San Juan Islands as part of a US tour to introduce their wines. These wines are brand new to the US market, many are not even available for sale yet. Chef Nate Simmons went to school on Orcas, ran the kitchens of renowned Seattle restaurants Serafina & Cicchetti and now helps develop and manager the culinary program for Facebook. His events are legendary and always sell out quickly. $135 per person and 30 of the 40 seats for this event were pre-sold to his list.  Only 10 seats remaining. RSVP to reserve your seat.

This was also about island raised generations coming back to Orcas to showcase and share what they have learned in the world. Both Cole Sisson and Nate Simmons went to school and grew up on Orcas. Nate’s dad, Eric Simmons (good to see ya again!) was the Spanish teacher for Orcas Island High School. The barn was located on Mimi and Steve’s Morningstar Farm where they have raised a family and mentored many interns of farming.

The dinner was so tasty and engaging … this is the only picture I took of the food.

The fresh menu was simple and tempting:

SEA – Dungeness crab, manila clams, seaweed, salmon skin and nori puff. The appetizers displayed on a wood tray at our table built anticipation around the menu and the wine pairings. I sipped a Jose’-Ignacio Sauvignon Blanc 2015.

GARDEN – coal roasted baby root vegetables, local mushrooms, raw milk ricotta & whey. Baby greens, peas, peavines & hen yolk, sourdough bread, farm butter with $ sea salt. A juicy Jose’-Ignacio Maturana: Camermenere 2014 was poured.

LAND – Buried lamb leg and lamb jus, smoked baby carrots, radish, honey and spruce, new potatoes, butter, herbs and garlic. Enjoyed a  Jose’-Ignacio Maturana: Cabernet/Syrah 2013.

There were SWEETS served of raw milk panna cotta and strawberries, fresh chocolate cookies. We were so full by this time we had to take a pass on the last course. However, we did go down to the lower level of the barn where all the magic was happening with the food, thanked our food crew, caught a glimpse of the plating of the delicate dessert and wondered what the pairing would be for the finale.

I made many new friends from Orcas, Seattle and Chile and renewed connections with old (and younger) Orcas friends. 

I definitely came home full.

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Proof of Life

By Teri Williams

Orcas Island offers many surprises in the season of Winter. And yes, by the end of January you begin to wonder if Spring will ever get here. But … if you pay attention and look around you will see proof of the life that Spring will bring to us.

Here’s a peek at life on Orcas. Spring bulbs with the promise of  color. A new gate for the orchard. A surprise head of broccoli from last year’s plantings. New leaf buds on the blueberry bush. Blue sky reflected in a pond. Rhubarb nudging out of the soil. Hellebore in pink, yellow primroses. Greenhouse supply of last years Swiss chard. A trip to Driftwood Nursery. Last years onions and leeks still offer up taste. Green garlic. Brussels sprouts waiting to be plucked. Beds looking to be turned. Greenhouse storing of plants and seeds for this years garden. New garden gloves. Sprouting ginger. Lettuce growing in Mary Ann’s green house. Compost piles. Flowering trees in Island Market’s parking lot.

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I am always on high alert for life in the garden and in the landscaping around me. Something is growing and producing life always. Stay tuned for the first of the harvest season in May.

 

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Orcasong Farm

By Teri Williams

Now this is the way to welcome Fall – by celebrating with our community at Orcasong.

So honored to receive the invite and have a chance to check out this new and exciting farm I’ve been watching for many months. I live just around the corner and have been watching the transformation, the newest being the lavender fields.

You can feel the energy coming from the farmers tending the land. Fencing was erected, the ground was tilled, materials and farm hands showed up and then the planting. What could it be? Lavender … and the promise of color and sweet fragrance to come!

But lavender is not all this farm is producing.

Orcasong’s mission is to restore the land they steward on Orcas Island using ecologically regenerative practices. Guided by the wisdom of nature, they are committed to local resilience and social change and to advance through holistic education, arts and event programming, environmental advocacy and interwoven farm-based enterprises.

You can feel the mission statement when you arrive. On this day, farmers were working in the gardens and offer big smiles encouraging me to come help harvest fresh vegetables, wander and dream in the flower-filled overgrown garden laid out with purpose and standing proud in the soil. I love the mix, feeding the soul and the body.

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Walking around the grounds, you can see the love and intention given to every detail. These farmers really walk the talk, collaborating with a team that searches for solutions to keep them connected to the land, the people and this community.

Standing among them, I can’t help but feel how life can keep us spinning in our own worlds, keeping us from slowing down and taking in the gifts right in front of us.

Food, friends, song, sharing, dreaming – it just doesn’t get any closer to “island life” than this experience.

In Gratitude.

www.orcasongfarm.org

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Pizza Camp

Sharing life, love and lunch.

I love Pizza – Who Doesn’t!

By Teri Williams

 

 

 

 

Ok, so I don’t need to eat more carbs, and yes we have Hogstone Pizza in town. So why, you ask, do I crave to create the best ever pizza??? Last time I was in Darville’s Bookstore I found a book about pizza titled Pizza Camp by Joe Beddin. I love to read cookbooks, especially when they have humorous commentary and throw in common sense. After reading Joe’s recipe and constitution on how and what to use to make the best-ever pie I started planning and dreaming. So let the fun begin!

I have never had any luck with yeast. So the fact that Joe’s recipe for the dough does not include warm water and is put in the fridge for 24 hours gave me even more skepticism. However, I jumped in and made the first steps towards my crusty cheesy tomato dreams. Joe’s policy for making dough: “Turn your phone off and don’t speak, this is a time to listen, for new ideas, it’s not busy, be present. Making dough should be calming, meditative and a great time to think of new ideas about pizza and life.” I spent the time to enjoy the moment and think about what my garden would provide as toppings.

Book in hand, tools in place. This is the beginning, bring on the yeast.

Love it when your work looks like it does in the book!

After the dough was in a ball and had to rest for 30 minutes, I wandered through my garden and gave thanks for being here now on Orcas Island. Second round of kneading left the yeasty ball in the fridge for 24 hours. Until tomorrow …

Garlic drying in the sun. Going to learn to braid this summer!

Basil love

The sauce. I always thought you cooked up a batch of grandma’s secret tomato sauce and let it simmer for hours on the cooktop. No, Joe says they never cook the sauce in Naples. He recommends a nice fresh and bright tomato sauce, which comes with using the right tomatoes. So I read on. Joe uses Jersey Fresh crushed tomatoes in a can. A CAN!!! Ok, I can do this, FYI- I did go to Maple Rock Farm stand down the road and purchased fresh island grown tomatoes. Just in case. Continuing to read more from Pizza Camp, I learn the canned tomatoes, garlic and salt need to sit for a few hours in the fridge to meld flavors. I found canned tomatoes at Island Market from Italy – yes in a can.

Cheese will include fresh mozzarella and a hard cheese purchased at Roses Bakery. I think I will search for some local fresh goat cheese for the next time – Wendy Thomas, I’m headed out your way soon, girl.

Now what will I choose for toppings? Well I think a simple marguerita is a must. Just cheese and fresh basil – I can do this, and get a chance to go thank my garden once again for providing me with peace of mind and room for dreaming and creating good food. I wanted something a bit more for the second disc of saucy goodness, so I pulled some local pork out of the freezer. Pizza Camp shares many styles and types of toppings, one being Pizzeria Beddin’s Sausage – perfect!

Anticipation is a wonderful thing. I could not enjoy this pizza experience by myself so made a short last minute call to Cory, Monee and Eleanor to come to Gramma T’s back yard bbq pizza oven. I believe this can work with my cast-iron flat pan. Yes, why not. Too early in the game to order a wood fired pizza oven to be constructed in my patio (save these dreams for when I am making dough).

Ju DE VIE from tasting at Doe Bay Wine Company

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This was the hardest part and I have to say, I cheated and used my Grandma’s rolling pin. Need to do some recon on what is the trick to pushing, pulling and stretching the dough.

After Notes:

You need a pizza peel. I’ll save you the details on this, just believe me. And, do not grease your pan with olive oil. Avocado oil will stand the heat much better.

The two days of planning was a tasty success. I still love pizza and am already dreaming up the next PIZZA CAMP!

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Dandelion … Friend or Foe?

mandy-on-brick

 

 

 

 

 
By Mandy Randolph

Oh the wondrous dandelion!

Colleen dandelion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has sprung on Orcas Island and so have the dandelions! When I look out across the lush green spring grass and see it polka-dotted with the yellow flowers of the dandelion, I smile. Others see this scene and they shudder, and then make plans for attack.

Dandy kid

The dandelion is a flower! However,  with its rapid growth and  invasive nature, some people are hesitant to admit this and instead call them weeds.

Dandy Garden

I can understand why gardeners want to keep dandelions from growing in their sacred plots. The root grows strong and deep which makes it particularly difficult to remove. The seeds have the most amazing system for disbursement and can actually travel up to five miles!

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But did you know that every part of the dandelion is edible? Yes! It is true! The root can be chopped and roasted and made into a delicious, earthy tasting tea. The leaves can eaten fresh in salads or served sautéed. Dandelion pesto is another delicious way to enjoy this yummy plant. The yellow flowers can be used to brighten up your meal or battered and fried and served as fritters!

 

Dandelions are good for you too!

health benefits

Dandelions are fun!

How many of you picked your mother a bouquet straight from the yard as a young child?

dandy Johnny

Do you remember holding a dandelion under a friend’s chin to determine if they loved butter or not?

do you like butter?

 

Have you watched a child decorate their skin with the yellow pollen from a dandelion?

Ada

Ever make a dandelion chain to wear in your hair?

dandy-chain

 

Did you ever just lay in the sunny yellow spotted grass watching the bees happily move from flower to flower?

Finn dandy

Can you recall the hopefulness you felt wishing on a dandelion gone to seed?

Johnny wish

When you really stop to think about it, you will see that the dandelion is our friend, not a foe. So the next time you see a grassy patch full of yellow spots of sunshine, remember all the children and bees and how happy those flowers make them. And if you happen to be hungry… go ahead a have a snack!

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4 year old Mandy holding a bouquet of dandelions!

If you are looking to buy some land on Orcas Island where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of growing your own dandelions, give me a call. I’d be happy to show you some great dandelion patches.

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Orcas Island Snow Daze…

mandy-on-brick By Mandy Randolph

The sun rises over Eastsound Village on a snowy February morning.

Visitors to Orcas are always asking me if it ever snows here. The answer is, YES! Orcas snow is FUN snow! It doesn’t usually stick around very long, melting long before it loses it’s beauty.

What I love most about a snowy Orcas Island day is how it brings our small community even closer together. We all share in the wonder, the excitement, the worry, and usually the FUN of a snow day. An undeniable shared experience does wonders to make you feel connected to those around you.

Maybe my opinion is skewed. You see, teaching is my other other career. I’m sure everyone remembers the excitement of the announcement that school is closed for a snow day! I am one of the lucky ones that never has to go to work on a snow day. Maybe that explains why I love them so much.

The snow started early Friday morning. A snow day is fun, but a snow day at school with all of your friends is really fun! Shortly after lunch the snow started falling in flakes that were bigger than a child’s hand. We had to stop our lesson in Farm to Classroom and rush to the window to watch.

snow-at-school

The weekend brought more snow on Sunday night. This time there was enough snow for the Orcas Island Public School to call an official snow day! With more snow falling on Monday night the students received a second snow day on Tuesday. You could hear the cheers across the island.

My youngest son Johnny enjoyed the snow with his friends on Monday. Toddlers and snow make for a fun combination. We have had mild winters with no real memorable snow since these kiddos were born,  this was their first real Orcas snow day experience.

 

The big kids also know how to enjoy the snow. On Tuesday afternoon the sun was shining bright and the steep hills at Buck Park were calling. My son Jordan and his girlfriend Bethany had fun sledding the hills above the play fields where they will begin playing softball and baseball in just about a month!

Enough about my family. You are probably reading this to learn more about living on Orcas Island. Remember how I said the snow brings the community together with the shared experience? I loved seeing the pictures my fellow islanders were posting on social media during the snow days. I’ll share some of my favorites here.

Tom Tillman posted these pictures from his farm in Doe Bay. I think this driver may have been caught in the storm of ’87.

 

whalestooth-farmold-driver

 

Alexis Beckley captured this scene of the snow meeting the sea at West Beach on Monday morning. Her hashtag was #snowatsealevel #magical #pnw #luckytoliveonorcas.

sea-level-snow-wb

Lynn Cunningham shared this beautiful view of Rosario Resort from her living room on Monday morning.

rosario-view

Cindy Ceteras captured this image from her dining room window in Eastsound. Cindy is enjoying her first winter on Orcas.

cindys-window

Mary Ann Sircely uploaded this beautiful evening snow picture along with this hashtag #itneversnowsonorcasisland.

snowfall-at-night-in-the-valley

The snow gives us clues as to what the local wildlife is up too. These bird prints were left outside my sliding glass door. It was fun to follow them and imagine the path of the little birdie that left them.bird-tracks

Deborah Jones posted this picture of the Raccoon tracks with this comment. “Raccoons circling the henhouse busted by the snow.”

raccoon-bandits-busted

Tuesday morning brought this beautiful sunrise on the East side of the island. Teacher Anne Ford McGrath shared this picture along with every teacher’s favorite winter morning announcement, “Snow Day, No School!”

snow-sunrise-facing-se

Islander Camille Fleming was commuting off the island for work on Tuesday. Thankfully the Washington State Ferries still run on snow days. Her husband posted this comment, “Second snow day in a row. School cancelled. Flights cancelled. Roads are questionable. Glad the ocean isn’t frozen.”

snow-ferry

Southern transplant Liz Guerry posted this picture Tuesday morning with this comment, “Sun bathing in the PNW!

sun-bathing-in-the-pnw

Tuesday afternoon, islander and fellow teacher Nancy Walstrom captured this stunning snow scene from her deck at Buoy Bay. That is Mount Baker in the distance.

snow-beach-in-sun

Vicki Bartram, my mother,  posted this interesting shot of the sun rising in Olga, causing the trees to cast shadows over the snow covered yard.

olga-snow-shadows

My partner in real estate, Beth Holmes, shared this photo of the sun setting on the west side of Orcas Tuesday night. These chairs demonstrate nicely the optimism of most islanders, winter is short so why put away the outdoor furniture!

beth-yard-sunset

So there is the answer to the frequently asked question. Yes, Orcas Island gets snow and it is a WONDERFUL experience to have!

 

holleyrandolphmini-10 Mandy is an Associate Broker at T Williams Realty. She enjoys living with her family and friends on Orcas Island, Washington.

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Happy New Year

By Beth HolmesBeth Holmes, T. Williams Realty

Breathe deep in 2015.

There are so many mental and physical benefits to deep, intentional breathing yet we forget. At any given moment, stop and notice your breath. Likely, you’ll catch yourself taking short, shallow breaths or maybe holding your breath; happens to me all the time. Something as simple as one deep inhale makes such a profound difference for me and I just wanted to share.

Be excellent to everyone and don’t forget to breathe.

Cheers,

Beth

Georgia practicing breath focus

Georgia practicing breath focus

 

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