Monday, October 11, 2010

No Tricks: It's All About Cool Stores, Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches in Snohomish

I bought this cute sparkly cat mask for my Cooking Assistant on Saturday in Snohomish. I was there to see La Gourmet Depot, a new cosmopolitan specialty food store and to meet Laura Hall the manager who was busy ordering inventory for this great new store.

Le Gourmet Depot is way cool. It's a boutique ingredient store with a beautiful wooden bar with wooden stools and tall tables with tall chairs. There is a huge silver fork and spoon on one wall and the atmosphere is antique-chic, very classic. It fits perfectly with this town and all the fun unique shops here. Wine, balsamic vinegars, olive and truffle oils--this is a foodie's delight.

In addition to cooking classes, they're hosting "throwdowns," where locals post their best cooking specialities on a blackboard and other people are free to add their names to the list. As soon as there are two or more with the same specialties, they have a "throwdown," or a cooking competition where those attending judge decide who wins. There's a chili throwdown coming up early in November.

During the summer, the farmers' market is right outside Le Gourmet Depot. How cool is that? This is a store that is in a perfect position to connect with the community in many ways.

Laura says Le Gourmet Depot will also carry locally processed foods, and I'm excited about doing some events in her store. Look for one early in the new year. What shall I cook? I'm thinking about the local possiblities already.

As I drove home, I was amazed at how many pumpkin patches and corn mazes seem to define the farmland around Snohomish. And every open farm I passed had cars parked in dirt lots and lots of people meandering through mazes and pumpkin fields. What fun for the whole family.
Check out these pumpkin patches and corn mazes:
  • Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Patch--features free hayrides on Friday's, an amazing corn maze and of course more pumpkins than you know what to do with.
  • Carleton Farm--features a corn maze, pumpkin patch and new this year--a haunted swamp maze on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Craven Farm--boasts the county's first pumpkin patch, Craven Farm has been hosting pumpkin events for 27 years. Enjoy a tractor pulled hayride, tackle the 15 acre corn maze and don't forget to visit the gift shop before you leave.
  • Stocker Farms--hosts the famous Field of Screams with a Rock Star Zombie Contest. This maze looks truly spooky and brings me back to my childhood when I watched Boris Karlof's TV show Thriller on a grainy black and white TV.
  • The Farm at Swans Trail--features Washington's largest corn maze, and they don't offer any spooky mazes but you get a great farm experience with a hay maze, wagon rides and a farm animal petting area.

And if all that isn't enough to get you out to Snohomish, on October 23 Snohomish hosts The Great Pumpkin River Race and Celebration. From 11am to 5pm in Historic Downtown Snohomish activities include: children's crafts, face painting, pumpkin painting, a carved pumpkin contest and a costumed pet and owner sidewalk parade. Five dollars gets your pumpkin into the River Race. For more details check out The Festival of Pumpkins.

Odds and Ends or Other News of the Week--

Two taste-off contests were held at Seattle Farmers' Markets recently--apples and tomatoes. Kudos to the winning farmers!

Wade and Judy Bennett of Rockridge Orchards took top spot for the best tasting apple this year with their heirloom Jonathon apple. I'm such an apple snob these days and I must say, it rivals my very favorite golden delicious apples from Cliffside Orchards. Plus it probably has more antioxidants with it's rich red color.

Liz Eggers and Michael Hampel of Grouse Mountain Farm took top honors for the 2010 10 brix contest. Brix measures the sugar content in fruits and vegetable, and Rowley says there wasn't any 10.0 (because of our damp, cold spring) but he found an 8.5 in a German Red Strawberry. I was at their booth when Jon Rowley was snapping a photo of them for his blog, check it out and read Liz and Michael's farm's story and how they farm.

Blaze the farm dog is a bit bored by this news at the market, but she's a good sport for waiting patiently all day at the Saturday market.


Kathy said...

You kitchen assistant is so charming with the glasses. Will you be taking him out for trick or treating?

ddzeller said...

Under all his bravado, I suspect he's really a fraidy cat at heart. He'll do the meet and greet at the door.