Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whatcom County Farm Tour Weekend

I'm hungry for a sweet treat made with apples and I'm sure I'll find plenty at Bellewood Acres near Lynden, Washington this coming Saturday, September 11.

I'll be at Bellewood Acres for the Whatcom County Farm Tour (10 to 6pm), and unofficially as an apple buyer. I've never been on the Whatcom County Farm Tour. We lived at the south end of Lake Whatcom until 1982, and farm tours weren't offered then; and for a number of years, King County hosted farm tours. But I got a rude shock this year when Wade Bennett of Rockridge Orchards told me farm tours in King County were cancelled due to budget cuts. (Isn't that like cancelling the 4th of July? Where is Tom Douglas to keep this one going? And why isn't this on the local news channels?) Anyway, I'm heading up to Whatcom County to participate. Check out some of the farms if you're in the area.

Eleven farms are in the loop this year with tons of things to see, taste, and do. You can pet goats, tour a winery, exlore an orchards, and enjoy a berry sundae. I'll be there signing copies of my book and sharing recipes.

Get directions for bike or car and stop at Bellewood Acres because it's exciting to see how much Dorie and John Belisle have added and changed. One year it was the cider barn, another the kitchen and pastries were added to the line up. Life is never dull at this farm.

The Belisle's moved to Whatcom County from Florida and have been farming near Lynden since the early 1990s. I discovered their farm through the Bellingham Community Food Co-op after my first book was published. Then, I added Belisle's farming story to a profile I titled "Why Local Matters: Northwest Apples and Pears" for The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook. Dorie also contributed some amazing photos for the book and many people who look at the book, turn it over, gaze at the photos of Bellewood Acres and ask, "Did you take these photos?" Dorie saved the day by contributing photos of their farm so I'd have enough photos for the book. The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook had lots of help from the farming community that the book celebrates. Check out more pictures of Bellewood Acres on this blog post. Or check out the Web site for Bellewood Acres and get a list of their apple varieties.

Besides watching the apples get sorted and juice being presed, I like hanging out learning about the farm, but my favorite part is selecting apples to take home.

My kitchen assistant claims he likes all varieties. He and his cohorts dispose of apple cores eagerly, but I love to savor apple slices slowly, plain or spread with almond butter. I let each variety parade across my taste buds, some types make my mouth pucker and others are dazzling and complex. I also like to add sliced or diced apples to sautes, soups, stews or stirred into in breads. Then of course there are the sweet desserts like apple pie, crisp or cobbler.

I got a very cool recipe for pear clafouti donated for my book from Jeanette Herman of Cliffside Orchards. Check it out. I think I'll try apple clafouti this year with cardamom and apples from Bellewood Acres, of course.


Kathy said...

The Whatcom County Farm Tour sounds like a great opportunity to visit farms, get fresh fruit and enjoy the harvest. Apples make a healthy and delicious snack. When apples are fresh from the orchard, they are the best - crips, juicy, full of favor. Have fun!


ddzeller said...

Thanks Kathy, there is so much going on this weekend, it's amazing. I love fall.