Small farms, big bounty Honey is sweet, bees are sweeter From our garden to your table Fun with fungi
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Departments Outdoor Recreation 5 | Best running trails on the peninsula Food & Spirits 15 | The Dented Buoy’s mobile pizza oven Arts & Entertainment 18 | A look at the Sequim Community Orchestra and School-based Strings Program
Out & About 28 | Sequim prepares for Lavender Weekend festivities Now & Then 41 | Fort Worden’s military history The Living End 42 | Season of Light
In Focus Small farms, big bounty
9 | Fun with fungi Mushroom farmer enjoys fruits of his labor Vol. 10, Number 2 • Living on the Peninsula is a quarterly publication.
12 | Marrowstone Vineyards Nordland couple makes new varietals at their vineyard 16 | Honey is sweet, bees are sweeter Beekeeping can be an addictive hobby 24 | Farming small-scale style A fifth-generation family farm 34 | Mussell magic Waters off Quilcene perfect for mussels 36 | ‘From our garden to yours’ Johnston Farms produces a cornucopia of food 39 | Eat locally, eat well Farms, restaurants and stores give access to local foods 4 LOP Summer 2014
147 W. Washington St., Sequim WA 98382 © 2014 Sequim Gazette On our cover: A variety of produce ready for eating. Photo courtesy of Nash’s Organic Produce, Dungeness.
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Driftwood logs litter the Elwha River valley floor, one of the more spectacular views on the Humes Ranch Loop Trail.
runners, all shapes and speeds
Story and photos by Michael Dashiell
One of the great — and sometimes awkward — things about being a journalist is having the occasion to write a column, where one has the opportunity to pretend to be a kind of expert on a subject. Usually we’re the ones behind the notebook, translating expertise into something palatable, interesting and informative. But journalists themselves usually are proficient only in writing and/or editing. Case in point: This column is about running. I was not born a runner, nor do I have any particular attributes that lend myself to being a particularly proficient one. I’m slow. I have a short stride. I don’t train much. And I’m not getting better with age. I do, however, have a job that gives me a soapbox for my hobby of being an amateur-amateur runner. And the North Olympic Peninsula is a great place to be an amateur-amateur runner. Want long stretches of flat terrain to work on your pacing and speed? Got it. Want paved trails with moderate hills to give some variation? Got it. Want dirt trails with challenging terrain? Got that too. Want all this with picture postcard-perfect views of mountains and open water? You’re in luck. You don’t need to be Meb Keflezighi or Paula Radcliffe to enjoy the area’s paths and trails. In fact, maybe it’s better you don’t train at breakneck speed; you might miss the view. Here are a few favorite runs from a peninsula scribe, an amateur-amateur runner:
ROBIN HILL FARM COUNTY PARK
>> How long: 3.4 miles of foot trails and 2.5 miles of equestrian trails
Vautier Road, turn left then drive to Pinnell Road, turn right. Parking area is on the left. >> Runner’s high: Undulating running/biking and horse trails offer plenty of variation with many of the trails featuring soft soil under foot, giving the knees, back and joints a break from flat, hard surfaces. >> Runner’s low: Peace occasionally disturbed by nearby shooting range.
miles to Whiskey Bend Road. Turn left and follow Whiskey Bend Road 4.4 miles to the trailhead. Loop starts at Whiskey Bend Trailhead. >> Runner’s high: Breathtaking views of the Elwha River. One of my favorite true trail runs, this loop provides dozens of variations, with other trails heading off to Lillian Camp, Dodger Point and, for the adventurous hiker, a 7.9 steep trek up to Hurricane Ridge. Drop in on the Rica Canyon Trail just 1.2 miles in to get closer to the river and
OLYMPIC DISCOVERY TRAIL (BLYN)
>> How long: 7.2 miles (one way) of paved trail to Carrie Blake Park >> How hard: Moderate >> How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 to Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center southeast of Sequim. Turn left on Old Blyn Highway and park on the south side of the road in the parking lot. Pick up the ODT and start west toward Sequim. >> Runner’s high: Great for working on some hills without getting totally worn out. The trail starts at about 20 feet above sea level and rises to about 120 feet at Sequim Bay State Park, dips down, then back up to about 250 feet near the Simdars Road interchange before settling in at about 100 feet by the park. A roundtrip gives a good 14-mile jaunt with a steady decline on the back end. >> Runner’s low: Not much to complain about, though some may not appreciate some moderate highway traffic noise and the occasional touring bike group passing by.
HUMES RANCH LOOP TRAIL
>> How hard: Easy/moderate
>> How long: 5.6 miles (add 0.6 mile for steep roundtrip spur to Goblin’s Gate)
>> How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 to Dryke Road west of Sequim. Turn north on Dryke; the parking area is on the right, before the road’s first curve. Or, take Old Olympic Highway to
>> How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 to Elwha Valley/Olympic Hot Springs Road, 7.3 miles west of Port Angeles. Turn left and drive four
>> How hard: Moderate On the east end of the Olympic Discovery Trail, the Johnson Creek Trestle offers shade on a sunny day.
Summer 2014 LOP 5
take the path to Goblin’s Gate for a great view. There’s enough tree cover to give respite in rain or the rare hot and sunny day. Elevation gain/loss is 300 feet, so it’s not unbearable. >> Runner’s low: No amenities. Bring plenty of water with you if you plan a long run. And make sure you pay your $15 fee to enter Olympic National Park ($30 annual pass).
DUNGENESS RECREATION AREA
>> How long: 3 mile of foot/equestrian trails >> How hard: Easy >> How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 west and turn right on Kitchen-Dick Road. Turn right on Lotzgesell Road and nearly immediate left onto Voice of America Road. Park at one of several parking areas to the left (west) to pick up a trail to the bluffs. >> Runner’s high: A gorgeous, one-mile view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and quiet foot paths in the recreation area’s east and south sides. >> Runner’s low: Trails are small with little passing room. You’ll want to take it easy as in summer months there are plenty of campers, picnickers and walkers.
OLYMPIC DISCOVERY TRAIL (PORT ANGELES – HARBOR EDGE) >> How long: 5 miles (one way) >> How hard: Easy
dule a tour, ay!
>> How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 west toward Port Angeles. Turn right just before Morse Creek, on Strait View Drive. Take nearly immediate right into unpaved parking lot. >> Runner’s high: Cool breezes and great view of sea-bound ships and Victoria, B.C., on clear days. Cruise into Port Angeles and grab a bite to eat at one of several waterfront restaurants. >> Runner’s low: Can get quite chilly on windy days, even in the summer.
Sunlight spills through the trees along the Elwha River.
Reach Sequim Gazette editor Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.
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Blue cap mushrooms are Lowell Dietz’ favorite for their meaty flavor.
Mushroom farmer enjoys fruits of his labor
Story and photos by Patricia Morrison Coate Behold the mushroom, the fleshy, sporebearing fruiting body of a fungus with 14,000 species identified. Considered the “meat of vegetables,” mushrooms, both edible and toxic, come in a rainbow of colors, including red, green, blue, white, black, yellow, orange, brown, pink and purple. “It’s a hobby that got carried away,” Lowell Dietz said about his foray into mushroom cultivation. “If I weren’t doing finish carpentry work, I’d be really poor.” Still, between selling fresh mushrooms by the pound and mushroom growing kits at farmers markets, as well as selling grain spawn to other growers, he clears about $6,000 a year through his small mushroom farm in Sequim. “You can’t even grow radishes in 15 days and get $10 a pound for them,” he said. The mushroom kits to grow your own mushrooms come in full and half-size bags, the former producing 4-5 pounds and the latter producing about 2 pounds over several harvests. Dietz only grows oyster mushrooms, named for their clustering nature like the shellfish. Varieties and the number of days from inoculation to harvest are blue cap (24), tree (24), pink (14), also known as the “love mushroom,”
“The kingdom of mushrooms is as diverse as plants and animals and each species is unique.”
– Lowell Dietz
lemon cap (21), and Phoenix (15). “Blue cap oysters are my favorite because they are flavorful with high protein in the form of kinetin, a plant hormone,” Dietz said. “When cooked, they create a ‘umami’ flavor, Japanese for ‘pleasant savory taste.’ It’s associated with a fried meat taste. When you fry them in olive oil, you will salivate. They are the world’s best pizza mushroom!” They’re also high in potassium, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid and vitamins B, C and D and are nutritious and flavorful, Dietz said.
With the cost of meat going up, mushrooms are a great alternative, he said. Sauteed in olive oil, blue cap oyster mushrooms smell to some like sizzling meat — to others like seafood. It all started when Dietz’s altruistic nature wanted to help others. “My mission is to help people escape poverty through cultivating mushrooms,” he said. The process of growing the fungi is a complex and labor intensive one, but worthwhile Dietz noted. “The kingdom of fungi is as diverse as plants and animals and each species is unique,” he added. It begins with Dietz buying local straw, dried stalks of grain, and filling a 55-gallon barrel tightly with straw in a cage and a little water. To sterilize or pasteurize the straw, he uses either a top updraft loading furnace or a rocket stove, neither of which produces smoke and both of which he built in his backyard, to heat the straw to 160-180 degrees for up to two hours, killing the bacteria in it. Mostly he uses propane, though. The cooked straw has a pleasant barnyard aroma to it. After the straw has cooked, Dietz moves the
Summer 2014 LOP 9
Lowell Dietz holds a few of the tiny red wiggler worms he uses for composting and sells to other growers.
Above: Lowell Dietz holds a bag of blue cap mushrooms poking out of straw. Below: These bags, filled with straw, will grow mushrooms for farmers markets.
barrel over to a winch, raising the cage out of the barrel so the straw can drip dry and cool on a table. The next step is inoculation. “I clone mushrooms in my lab and grow the fungus on plates of agar agar,” a gelatinous sort of medium, usually used for cultivating bacteria in diseases. “Then I put that in a jar to grow and then inoculate the straw by weight with grain spawn. You have to have a couple — male and female — to make mushrooms — it’s the flower of the fungi,” Dietz said. “Mushrooms are backwards from everything else because they’re decomposers. They take carbon dioxide in and release it like humans.” The bags are punctured about 20 times so the mushrooms have space
“I’m trying to position myself as a supplier for the mushroom growing industry that does not yet exist on the peninsula to local mushroom cultivators.”
– Lowell Dietz
to grow and are stored on shelves in an unheated outbuilding. The half-size bag is 1.8 kilograms. Dietz will make up about 100 kits before big events and shows and probably has 20 bags in production rotating through for fresh mushrooms. “I can grow mushrooms any time of the year, even during the winter,” Dietz said. “The blue caps and tree oysters are cold tolerant in Sequim but the lemon cap, pink and Phoenix like it a little warmer. I just leave the door open and ventilate them.” He picks them when they are medium-sized. The kit bags aren’t punctured until customers get them home to grow their own. On his website, www.dietzfarm.com, Dietz provides full instructions on how to propagate mushrooms for your own use. Or you can call him at 360-477-4228 with questions. There’s a final caveat about oyster mushrooms — never eat them raw! Humans can’t digest the kinetin without it being cooked. Mushrooms can be steamed, boiled, deep fried or put in soups and white sauces. “If I have mushrooms in white sauce on noodles, I won’t miss the meat at that meal,” Dietz said.
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Right: Lowell Dietz removes a barrel of pasteurized straw from the propane flame. Lower right: A 55-gallon cage of straw drips after it’s been cooked in water to sterilize the mushroom growing material.
The other red ‘meat’
But mushrooms are only half of Dietz’s passion. “Sequim Terra Preta was totally accidental,” Dietz said. The term means “black earth” in Portuguese and was part of an ancient culture in Brazil, containing organic material, pottery shards and charcoal. After learning about it, Dietz was determined to try making his own. His recipe evolved to 20 percent charcoal, which he makes in his furnace and stove, 75 percent red wiggler worm leachate or castings (worm poo compost) and 5 percent sand. “I happened upon the red worms in my yard under spent bags of mushroom straw and learned they were really valuable from an organic gardener,” Dietz said. He doesn’t sell the Sequim Terra Preta, but uses it in a raised garden bed brimming with four types of lettuce, including endive, butter crunch, red sail and salad bowl, and his garden. “I didn’t set out to find or make organic fertilizer. The amount of blessings is disproportionate to the amount of effort I put in.” The process begins with spent mushroom straw, because the red wigglers love it, and kitchen scraps. He mixes the combination with several thousand worms in small, lidded bins, noting that the worms eat half their weight every day. The result is a rich black compost for about $1 a bag. The worms grow to about 2.5 inches. “The bins hold 1,000 to 1,500 worms each and they reproduce quickly because they’re hermaphrodites, each both male and female,” Dietz said. “I sell the red wiggler worms for 100 for $7 or 500 for $25 and I’ve sold over $1,000 worth since 2007, so they’re quite valuable,” Dietz said. “You can compost with red worms in your kitchen because the worms eat the (odorcausing) bacteria so fast it doesn’t get to stink.”
Hopes and dreams
“This may not be a a good business model, but I’m trying to position myself as a supplier for a mushroom growing industry that does not yet exist on the peninsula to local mushroom cultivators,” Dietz said. “When I first started, I had only a few growers but now I have 60 that are real close and 100 within 100 miles. I hope within a few years people in this area will be growing mushrooms and I’ll supply them with what they need — that would be fun!” n
Summer 2014 LOP 11
Marrowstone Vineyards a worthy vintage Story and photos by Viviann Kuehl Wine is a reflection of the growth of its ingredients and the art of the vintner. What has blossomed into Marrowstone Vineyards in Nordland grew out of a search for possibilities for the specific site by its owners, Judith and Ken Collins, and their desire to understand the soil. Now offering five varietals, four made with grapes procured elsewhere in the Northwest and one made from Marrowstone apples, they are looking forward to harvesting their first grape crop this year. The couple came to Marrowstone Island in 2006. They fell in love with a place overlooking the water, with a large and functional horse barn. “We bought it because we liked the property and it had possibilities,” recalled Ken. It took a bit of searching to narrow the possibilities into the actuality. Judith had loved horses as a teenager, but it quickly became apparent that the expertise and the money required were far beyond her to keep horses. Then the couple thought they might raise livestock of some kind, perhaps goats or alpaca, but they realized that wasn’t such a good idea, either, when they considered the constancy of care and the emotional impact of the inevitable losses. When they took a Master Gardener class they discovered through a neighbor, they learned that their soil was a sandy loam, people were growing grapes in Puget Sound, and their sunny slope was a good location for grapes. The idea of a vineyard took root.
Marrowstone Vineyards owners Judith and Ken Collins stand on a part of the deck at their small scale winery, while the grapes ripen under plastic tenting in the background.
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Lots of hands-on learning made the idea a reality. They talked to other winemakers, read books, took classes. “It’s a way to meet people and it’s fun,” said Ken. “It was supposed to be a hobby, but we had a whole field to fill up, so we did.” They went to work on transforming the pasture and the horse barn into a functioning vineyard and winery. “I hardly qualify as even an amateur woodworker, but we do take credit for the design, if not the actual reconfiguration, of the horse barn into a tasting room, gallery and work space,” said Ken. Putting stakes into the rocky soil was brutal, he recalled, grateful that work is done. They chose six varieties of grapes to grow to make into their own wine (Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine, Melon de Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Agria). “Our tastes run to dry wines, and when we started, we wanted to create a win-win situation where what we didn’t sell, we could enjoy drinking,” said Ken. Soon the couple was seeking out grape plants and using heating pads and humidifiers to nurse them in the office before setting them out at the proper times. Ken learned how to prune. The plants are shaped onto the training wires that keep them in a workable state and pruned for optimum leafiness and clusters. The ideal is dappled shade and just enough grape clusters to keep them large and tasty. They now have 1,300 plants, 6 feet apart in 25 rows, 10 feet apart. “It takes five to six years to be productive,” noted Ken. In the meantime, they traveled to vineyards throughout the Northwest to purchase grapes for their wines. They went to Lake Chelan for Riesling grapes, to the Willamette Valley for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and the foothills of Mount Baker for Madeleine and Siegerrebe. Ken reached back to his first two years of college, when he was a chemistry major, to brush up on the knowledge required for testing the wine at various points in its development and to shape the wine’s quality. “You have to be very meticulous in the process,” said Ken. “Cleanliness of equipment is vital.” Marrowstone Vineyards is small and they
that we had a lot of help from neighbors, friends intend to stay that way, with a maximum and family,” said Judith, “and we try to give back production of 500 cases a year. to the community.” Everything is done by hand, from pruning to It’s a work in progress and a commitment to labeling the bottles with a machine they cherish. They crush the grapes one bucket at a time and community and the art of vinting. The couple encourages various community appreciate help in the bottling, but learned wait to groups to make use of the property and they offer celebrate until after completion. the place for weddings and other events. “It’s wonderful to reward people with wine, but They show local art by Bill Toll, Kat Nichols, it just doesn’t work to do it during the process,” Diane Ainsworth, Paula Purcell, Marrowstone said Judith. The results have been varied. “If I like to Marrowstone Vineyards owner Ken Collins drink it, I don’t shows the oaken casks that help give his Pinot feel bad about Noir full-bodied flavor. putting it on the market,” said Ken. So far, their worst result has been a rhubarb wine. “It was just awful,” said Ken. “You could drink it but the odor was not appetizing.” Their best has been the Black Cat Pinot Noir 2012 and the Riesling made from the Lake Chelan grapes was very pleasant, noted Ken. “It has a Pottery, Kathy Constantine and the photography wonderful complexity and leaves a very pleasant of Ken himself. aftertaste,” he said. This year, they are introducing shirts, hats and They have enjoyed sharing their better vintages. cups with the Marrowstone Vineyards logo, done “It’s very satisfying to have people who know by neighbor Jeff Dale. something about wine come in and savor the tasting.” And the animals are there, in the names of Last year, they came heartbreakingly close the varietals in honor of their pets and in the to a first crop, when the grapes succumbed to 10 percent of the purchase price donated to the powdery mildew just before harvest. Humane Society of Jefferson County. “We are not certified organic, but we try to “For people who have not discovered follow organic and sustainable practices,” said Marrowstone, it’s nice to stop here, visit the Ken. “We don’t have treated posts.” Nordland store, Fort Flagler and Mystery Bay This year, they are spraying refined mineral oil Farm for its goat cheese,” said Judith. religiously to avoid that outcome. “One of the lovely things about the project is And of course there is the wine to savor as well. n
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Story and photos by Fred Obee
You go shoulder to shoulder through the crowd at the Port Townsend Farmers Market past booths featuring fresh vegetables, golden loaves of fresh artisan bread and delicious deserts when all of a sudden the smell of something hot and fresh wafts through the air. Following your nose, you find yourself standing in front of an unusual domed contraption sitting on a trailer. It looks like part steampunk igloo and part industrial throwback with a big red handle on the top. John Shelley, the grinning proprietor, shoves a big wooden paddle through a square opening in the front of the dome and out comes a glorious pie with a golden crust and bubbling cheese. It’s hot, wood-fired pizza from Dented Buoy Pizza and Catering. “We bake to have fun, to feed people and to bring new flavors to Old World baking styles,” Shelley says. Based in Quilcene, Shelley’s Dented Buoy Pizza is a mobile wood-fired oven. It is based on traditional clay and brick oven designs except that it is permanently welded to a frame and the frame has wheels. The Dented Buoy oven is constructed of two domes, Shelley explains. The inner dome is a former propane tank cut in half. The outer dome is a huge mooring buoy. Between the two domes is a thick layer of crushed basalt and high temperature mortar surrounded by temperature resistant insulation. The crushed basalt increases the oven’s mass so that once it gets hot, it stays that way. All of this rests on an insulated fire brick hearth. With the added insulation, the cooking temperature inside the dome can be 700 degrees Fahrenheit, while the outside of the dome stays pleasantly warm to the touch. There’s no need to worry about getting too close to this mobile wonder. The steaming hot pizzas Shelley pulls from his oven are spectacular, thin crust creations. The sauces are made from fresh, organic ingredients. The menu for toppings varies with the season and with what is available locally. In recent months, Shelley has partnered with Finnriver Farm in Chimacum, creating Dented Buoy II, a second oven in Finnriver’s new pavilion overlooking the Chimacum valley. Shelley also caters to private events at the farm. “We recently did a cider release,” Shelley said, “pairing unique flavors to go with the Finnriver cider. Smoked chicken breast, caramelized onions and our special herb olive oil sauce.” In addition to Finnriver Farm, you can find Shelley every Saturday at the Port Townsend Farmers Market and every Sunday from noon-5 p.m. at Finnriver Farm, with live music, hot pizza and cider on tap. For more information, visit finnriver.com or e-mail Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
The Dented Buoy oven on a trailer mimics the effect of brick, woodfired ovens.
John Shelley, owner of Dented Buoy Pizza, removes a freshly cooked wood-fire pizza from his buoyturned-oven at the Port Townsend Farmers Market. Photo by Nicholas Johnson
The menu for Dented Buoy Pizza shifts with the season. Locally produced, in season, organic ingredients always are preferred.
Summer 2014 LOP 15
Honey is sweet bees are sweeter Story and photos by Viviann Kuehl
Honeybees are fascinating, drawing all kinds of people to try their hand at beekeeping, for all kinds of reasons. Frank Neal has been making and selling wooden ware for beekeeping at Tarboo Valley Wooden Ware, for the past nine years. He reports lots of locals among his average of around 150 customers each year. There are nine apiaries within a mile of his home and business. Calvin Lomsdalen supplies people from all over the peninsula with pre-ordered bees on a day in spring. “I love bee day,” said Jen Patterson of Port Ludlow. She’s in her third year of beekeeping, with three hives. “It’s a little bit addictive,” she said. “They’re like pets and it’s fun collecting raw local honey.” Dan Walvotne of Port Townsend plans to make mead inspired him to get bees for the first time this year. Mike Marshall of Shelton, recently disabled and wanting something he can handle, is looking forward to learning about beekeeping. “I’ve always been interested and this year I bought bees. I have absolutely no experience and I expect to learn a whole bunch,” said Marshall. “My family and friends want honey and they tease me.” “It’s such a fascinating hobby,” said Christine Jacobsen of Port Townsend. Mites killed all her bees last year, in her first attempt at beekeeping, but she is going forward with new bees and new knowledge. (You have to spray the bees with powdered sugar, which prevents the mites from attaching.) East Jefferson Bee Club provides an opportunity for sharing and learning. Meetings take place monthly in the Jefferson County library. Matthew Rutter of Joyce, in his second year of beekeeping, said, “I’m not super passionate about it. It’s the results that get me. It’s made an amazing difference in my apples.” Rutter reported a quadrupling of his fruit tree crop, from almost nothing to a couple bushels per tree. Tyrone Tidwell of Port Angeles is getting into backyard beekeeping after seeing a movie that showed people hand pollinating in China after bees were gone. “I don’t want that,” he said. “There’s an issue with bees and I want to help where I can. Einstein said if bees were to die out, in four years, humans would die, too.” All bees pollinate, but honeybees are the only ones to produce honey. An acre of Dutch clover produces about a million blossoms, which translates into a pound of honey, said Lomsdalen.
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Calvin Lomsdalen of Tarboo Valley Bees shows two 3-pound boxes of bees ready for new hives. The boxes are made by Frank Neal of Tarboo Wooden Ware.
Gloria Neal, Calvin Lomsdalen and Christine Jacobson discuss the bees loaded and ready to go to Jacobson’s hive in Port Townsend.
Left: Hannah Seele, 11, points out the frames in the super section of her hive. She is proud to have become a true beekeeper after two years. Right: Virgil Lamont of Shelton receives his 3 pounds of new bees from Tarboo Valley Bees in a box made by Frank Neal of Tarboo Wooden Ware. This has been an extraordinary year for nectar, said Lomsdalen. Usually when the plums, cherries and maples are blooming, the bees can’t fly much because of wind or rain. This year it has been calm and dry during the blooming. “I’m always surprised at how gentle they are,” said Rutter. “There may be hundreds in the air and I’m not worried about my kids (ages 5 and 7) getting stung.” “They’re friendly little buggers. They don’t sting you or nothing. Unless you swat them or hit them, they don’t bother you at all,” reported Virgil Lamont of Shelton. “It’s the best thing ever sold, liquid gold,” said entrepreneur Blake Winn, 11, of Quilcene. “They are so fascinating to learn about. Yeah, they are.” The drones don’t have stingers and they kicked out every winter, he noted. A bee’s lifetime is 56 days and each has a specific role in maintaining the hive. A beehive is a complex society. In the box that is a modern beehive, about 50,000 to 60,000 bees make their honey and nurture their young in the lower section. There are wooden frames lined up
inside. The bees fill these in with the wax honeycombs that provide storage for both bee larvae and honey. Upper sections, called supers, contain frames where any excess honey is stored. An individual hive can have as many as four or five supers. A hive needs about 60 pounds of honey to sustain bees over the winter, said Lomsdalen. Anything over that amount is stored in the super and is available for harvest. A single hive can produce 40 to 50 pounds of honey for the beekeeper. Experienced beekeeper Gloria Neal kept 30 hives and found it was too many. “It was a two-day job every other week to take care of them,” she said. “Now you have to be an active beekeeper. There is no such thing as a wild swarm anymore.” Fern Stroble, also an experienced beekeeper, keeps 22 hives, of which 20 are strong hives. “Ten is all a sane person should try,” she said. “It’s a very, very satisfying hobby,” said Neal. “You never know enough. If I think I’m smarter than the bees, they’ll prove me wrong. You never stop learning, no matter how you may feel. You can read books, but until you get some
hands on, you don’t really know. The bees will teach you.” Still, there are as many ways of beekeeping as there are beekeepers, noted Neal. The honey varies, too, depending on what the bees have available in the way of blooms and on the amount of moisture. Bees are smart in knowing when nectar is flowing and when pollen is available, said Lomsdalen. Doctors recommend local honey for the specific pollens, said Neal. Raw local honey is believed to confer some protection against allergies and it differs from store honey in both taste and micronutrients. “Honey is such a natural product, it’s hard to believe,” said Neal, “but as good as raw honey is, it shouldn’t be fed to a child under a year old.” Pure raw honey is much different than the kind sold in grocery stores, said Neal, so much so that she didn’t really like it until her mother started keeping bees. As her label states, “How do you know it’s pure honey if you don’t know the beekeeper?” Local honey is available at the Quilcene Village Store, Chimacum Corner Farmstand, Quimper Mercantile and other outlets. n
Summer 2014 LOP 17
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The Sequim Community Orchestra and School-based Strings Program Story and photos by Christina Williams It’s late spring, and as the school day ends at Greywolf Elementary in Sequim, second- to fifthgraders file into the music room. The students that form the core of the school district’s first beginning strings class are a dedicated group and the success of their progress under veteran strings teacher Phil Morgan-Ellis is no small achievement. Perhaps nobody knows that better than Sequim Community Orchestra co-founder Lilias Green. The Sequim-based violist teaches strings students in Sequim and Port Angeles and she saw the need for the strings class early on. Green’s Sequim students include both schoolage musicians as well as older adults. “The Sequim students would come to their lesson and that was it,” she observes. “They’d never hear another violinist rehearse unless they came to a workshop, so I tried to make that happen. My Port Angeles students made such good progress
18 LOP Summer 2014
because Port Angeles’s school music program enabled them to play together.” Greywolf’s music teacher, Stephanie Clark, is glad to give over her music room for the newly minted strings class. She confides that she always thought Sequim should have a strings program and she’s well aware that “some kids want to express themselves through strings but they didn’t have that opportunity until this school year.” Her only real concern was: “How are we going to get this going?’” Meanwhile, Green knew that there were other musicians in the area, including older adults—who’d welcome an opportunity to play with a group. Green had a practical vision that addressed the needs of both the school age music students as well as other musicians in the area. She wanted to start a strings program in the schools, but she knew that the first step was to start a community orchestra.
Green was sure that right person to help start it was her eminently qualified colleague, Phil Morgan-Ellis. As luck would have it, he recently had returned from several years of teaching music in Costa Rica. The timing was perfect. She knew that he was looking to start something new, so she asked him, “If I can get an orchestra together, would you direct it?” Fortunately, his answer was “Yes!” As Morgan-Ellis recalls it, “Lili first approached me about the Sequim Community Orchestra around three years ago and then we started the strings program at the beginning of this school year.” While in Costa Rica, Morgan-Ellis taught in two distinctly different environments. As assistant director of the National Youth Symphony there, he ran strings sectionals. “For my taste,” he says, “there was a little too much pressure — especially when you’re working with kids. It’s not about creating professional
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Summer 2014 LOP 19
Music can really change your life. What this program offers is the social experience for strings. The nice thing about learning music in a group is that you’re performing together and you’re all supporting each other. It’s great to see how much the children learned in such a short time. That growth is inspiring! – Stephanie Clark, music teacher, Greywolf Elementary I volunteered to help with this class — they needed someone to help, and three of the students in here also are in my highly capable class. I’m helping with the violin because I love it and I’m also learning to play myself — violin is the first instrument I’ve ever learned. I love for kids to learn how to play an instrument. It’s good for their brains and for the development of all kinds of qualities that we like to see in children. – Margaret Whitley, co-coordinator, Highly Capable Program for Sequim School District My fifth-grade daughter wanted to try it, so I asked Phil if my son Cash — a second-grader— could try it, too. Phil agreed — as long as Cash behaved and kept up with the others. As it turned out, my daughter ended up dropping the class because she has so many other demands on her time, in addition to homework. Although Cash is definitely younger than the age group that was advertised for the class (third to fifth grade), he’s still here and loves it! He grabs his violin every Tuesday and Thursday. He’s happy to be in strings class, happy when he comes out the door and happy to do his homework. He knows people from school and he seems to keep up. We got lucky! – Lori Coleman, PTA president, Greywolf Elementary School and mother of Cash Coleman Kelli: Our son Logan studied violin before, but his teacher was a student herself and left for college. Back then, he was interested but not “into” it. When we attended the ice cream social the day before school started, we learned about the strings class and were very excited. When we got him into the strings program here, he’s enjoying violin much more. Playing with a group makes him feel less self-conscious. Troy: Logan started private lessons at 7 with a violin he got for Christmas. It was hard finding a teacher after his first teacher left for college. Logan’s confidence has grown since he’s learning among peers instead of one-on-one. Mr. Phil’s skills and years of experience allow Logan to feel comfortable in class. – Troy and Kelli Phipps, parents of Logan Phipps
After class, SCO co-founders Phil Morgan-Ellis and Lilias Green share a light-hearted moment with violin student Chloe Morton. musicians — at least that’s what I thought, but the program was very much like that.” This was in contrast to the private school where he taught firstgraders. “We met every other day,” he says. “I don’t think that they practiced other than the class that I taught — that was fine for that particular program.” Is there a difference in working with adults in the orchestra as compared with younger musicians? Morgan-Ellis doesn’t think so. “I feel that conducting an orchestra is conducting an orchestra — you tailor the music, you tailor the pace of the rehearsal to the people you have in front of you.” He smiles and adds this afterthought, “I’d say it’s just like working with kids, only the adults remember things ….” Several high school students have joined the orchestra and some of
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WHAT THE strings program students ARE SAYING It’s been a great experience getting to read a different type of language in the arts of music. All I’ve played so far is the cello and it’s been a good experience. I plan to continue. My favorite piece is “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.” – Miles Tadlock: Cello I wanted to play a string instrument and my mom wanted to find a place where I could get lessons. I’ve played the xylophone since about third grade and this year I played the recorder in music. I might move up to the bass, but until I get the cello down, I’ll just keep going from there. My advice to other students who are considering strings class is this: Once they figure it out they can move up to bigger instruments. If they know the scale, they can move up to different instruments. It’s really a great experience. Above: Under the guidance of SCO director/conductor Phil MorganEllis, the orchestra’s members rehearse for their upcoming annual concert on June 20. Below: SCO musicians gather at the beginning of their weekly rehearsal at the James Center for the Performing Arts in Sequim. While their ages, background and skill levels vary, they share the joy of playing music together. them have quite a bit of experience. One of them plays in the Port Angeles Symphony. “We usually have some crossover,” explains Green. There also are people who might want to join a symphony, but may lack the intermediary step of performing with a group. The orchestra gives them that opportunity. The orchestra practices weekly at the James Center for the Performing Arts in Sequim and gives one or two performances a year. For those members who love to play, the group’s ensemble players perform at various local venues such as retirement homes, the Lavender Festival and other local events. The Sequim Community Orchestra is primarily for those who want to play music together and its members come from a wide spectrum of skill levels and experience. Conductor Morgan-Ellis keeps things at a relaxed pace. His favorite thing about working with the group is their joy and enthusiasm.
– Henry Hughes: Cello This is my violin — it was signed by Alison Krauss when I was 8. I’m a big fan of hers and I started playing violin to grow up and be like her one day. My favorite types of music are classic and country. I’ve played since I was in the first grade. I’m in fifth now and I’ve had the same violin the whole time! – Chloe Morton: Violin This is my first year of violin. It was an exciting experience. It’s interesting when different people are playing and you’re playing something different (harmony). My favorite piece is “Pop Goes the Weasel!” – Cash Coleman: Violin A couple years ago I was playing with a different teacher and this is my first year here. I like practicing “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.” I think I’ll be practicing next year. I got my violin for Christmas. – Logan Phipps: Violin I play the piano, but this is my first year studying violin. Songs that I learn on the violin are pretty easy to play on the piano, too. My favorite thing about learning strings is that you can make a lot of noise! – Zoe Moore: Violin This is a good experience because I never played an instrument and it’s good to help me learn the notes and scale and other things about music. I listen to music differently now — more from a musician’s point of view. My favorite thing about class is that it helps me learn new things about the violin, like what you can do with it and how to improve as a player. – Damon Little: Violin
Contact Sequim Community Orchestra for more info regarding concerts, membership or school-based strings program: Website: sequimcommunityorchestra.org E-mail: email@example.com Phone: 360-775-9984 Summer 2014 LOP 21
WHAT THE members ARE SAYING I started violin when I was about 8. I played all the way through high school and I went to college — but not for music. I stopped playing because … what do you do if you have no one to play with? I was at work and someone came in with a flier. I thought it was awesome! There were music educators and people like me who hadn’t played since high school. I looked around and realized, “Wow, there’s a bunch of us!” I started with the group after the season was under way, playing second violin. But, once a first violin … it’s hard not to play the melody. I came from a school district in Oregon that had a very robust, wide-reaching strings program that is gone now due to budget cuts! As a member of the board, it was particularly exciting for me to see the strings program coming to fruition. How do you educate young people and keep them excited about things that aren’t necessarily “money-makers” but that are so culturally important if we adults won’t support it in their education? You cannot communicate both messages at the same time … – Beth Pratt: (board member) Violin I was playing with the Port Angeles Symphony for one season, and when they started the Sequim Community Orchestra, I realized that I needed a different level of playing. I was happy to come to Sequim and participate in this orchestra. I’m enjoying it because we’re totally amateur. It’s great for people like me who have enjoyed playing in the past, but may have lacked the advantages of learning an instrument in childhood. I started learning as an adult — I didn’t even play until I was 26 years old — and then I focused on my career for the next 30 years. Meanwhile, my violin mostly stayed in the closet. My involvement with the orchestra here offers me a chance to play at a fairly professional level without all of the 40 years of orchestra playing that some of us missed. – Christana Master: Violin I’m a home school high school student and I’ve been playing violin since I was 6 — so I’ve been playing for seven years. My brothers and sisters started playing violin, so I did too. I was going to join the Port Angeles Symphony, but it was too far to drive, so I joined the orchestra in Sequim. For other students who are thinking about joining an orchestra, I would say definitely that they should do it. If you have a question or you need help — or if you want to have fun — there are other people around. You’re not just in a room by yourself, practicing a solo piece. It’s more fun than playing by yourself — obviously! – Naomi Gish: Violin The story of how I became involved with the Sequim Community Orchestra is kind of unusual. Years ago, I was loosely affiliated with the youth orchestra that Phil Morgan-Ellis was conducting and I had the opportunity to listen to him as he was guiding the young student musicians through rehearsal. His manner of working with the students really impressed me and I thought how great it would be to play with a group that he was conducting. Joining the orchestra has given me that chance. – Kristen Larson: Flute/piccolo
22 LOP Summer 2014
Second-grader Cash Coleman is the youngest strings student. His mom Lori learned about the class through her work as Greywolf’s PTA president.
“These are people who enjoy playing music!” he says. Green expresses a similar observation. “What all of these musicians have in common is that they enjoy the experience of playing together with other musicians.” She feels that the orchestra offers her young students a valuable and rare opportunity to play with musicians of all ages and backgrounds. The Sequim Community Orchestra is self-funded and now wellestablished. As this first year of the school-based strings program nears completion, Green explains what’s in store for the coming school year. “This first beginning class will follow through to the next level, as we start another beginning class for incoming students. Each year, we’ll continue the core group that started and progress them up to the next level the following year.” Green hopes that soon the program will be able to accommodate two beginning classes per year. While the beginning class is technically for fourth grade, the program allows some flexibility to accommodate interested students who may be slightly older or younger. The strings program is funded through grants from organizations like the Norcliffe Foundation and contributions from individual donors. At present, the district isn’t able to contribute financially, but Green hopes that “as the strings program expands, they might hire a full-time strings teacher.” As she praises Sequim’s band and choral programs, she hopes that the strength of this first year’s strings class illustrates the community’s desire for muchneeded orchestral and strings education in Sequim. Through performance, the SCO organization entertains and shares information with the surrounding community. In addition to these two goals, the orchestra’s mission includes another: the creation of the strings education program in the Sequim School District. In keeping with its mission of entertainment, the Sequim Community Orchestra invites you to its free summer concert (donations gladly accepted) at 7 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., Sequim, for a short program of American works, followed by refreshments. n
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Since 1853, Clark Farms is the oldest continually owned operating farm since 1853 in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
Farming small-scale style A fifth-generation family farm continues to put meat on the table Story and photos by Mary Powell Many of us who have reached say the 50-andover mark probably have memories of childhood Sunday drives to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm out in the country, or perhaps spending summers with Aunt and Uncle So-and-So, where fields of strawberries, corn and carrots grew, chickens wandered about, their heads bobbing up and down scratching the ground, a dozen or so cows lazily grazing in a field not far from the farmhouse, and of course, a couple of dogs eager to greet visitors, barking and delighting in chasing one another round and round the house. I have those memories. My grandmother and grandfather owned a small farm near Saginaw, Mich., where I spent the better part of the first 12 years of my life. My father grew up on that farm; my brothers and I would love to hear him tell stories about gathering eggs, milking cows, harvesting vegetables and eventually selling to or swapping the goods to nearby stores or neighbors. It also was a treat to visit the farm, trying out the new tractor, playing with Susie, the cocker spaniel, or doing our darnedest to get even a drop of milk from the milk cows in the barn, and then having the best fried chicken dinner with fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert. Those visits were fun, peaceful and memorable, always filled with family and friends from nearby farms. To this day, early spring sounds and smells — I suppose of new-mown hay — bring back those days on the farm. I imagine if I were to visit today there would be no farm, maybe housing developments have taken over or possibly the smaller farms are now one huge conglomerate farm.
24 LOP Summer 2014
Like a large number of kids who grow up farming, neither my dad nor his four siblings were interested in farming as a career. Indeed, farming has changed significantly since the 1950s. Holly and Tom Clark are acutely aware of
farming practices of old and at the present. The Clarks manage Clark Farms, the oldest and continually owned farm in the SequimDungeness Valley since 1853. Born and raised in Sequim, Tom is a fifth-generation farmer, but it took him a while to return to his roots. Had to sow the wild oats — pardon the pun — first, but he says he always knew he would return to the family farm one day. In some ways, Holly and Tom typify what most of us have in mind when it comes to those who farm for a living and live on the farm. For one, Tom is a tall, sturdy kind of man, one who has no trouble with farm equipment, 1,500-pound cows or a 200-pound hog, or building a barn or house, all of which he has done. He also is doesn’t say much, unless there is something to say. That’s what Holly says about her husband of 25 years. Holly does like to talk and is at the ready with stories of the couple’s farm adventures during the past seven years. She is passionate about what she and Tom do, how they manage their farm and how that compares to larger agribusinesses. “I was on a really big learning curve when we started farming here,” Holly remembers. “We’re still learning, it’s an ongoing process.” Neither, by the way, wears suspenders or holds a pitchfork while posing in front of the barn.
The early years Holly and Tom Clark at their home and farm in Sequim. The couple have farmed Clark Farms for the past seven years.
Holly hails from St. Louis, Mo., and went into the teaching profession. Coincidentally, her grandfather owned land adjacent to Clark Farms. Periodically Holly would travel to Sequim to visit Grandpa and enjoy the country. She briefly met
The Clarks’ pigs have more than seven acres to roam through.
Tom a few times, but that what as far as it went. For a while. On one particular visit, Grandpa decided to play matchmaker. He arranged a trip to Victoria, B.C., but at the last minute said he “couldn’t” go, perhaps Holly would like to go with Tom. Which she did. Needless to stay, the matchmaking worked. The couple lived in the Tri-Cities area in Eastern Washington for several years, where Tom worked for Iowa Beef Processors in Wallula and Holly taught school. Tom tried the real estate business, which was not entirely successful due to the housing slump in the late 1990s, so the two decided it was time to return to the Sequim area, where Holly taught in the Port Angeles and Crescent school districts. Holly applied for a teaching job in Sequim, but when she didn’t get the job, that’s when Tom said, “Why not farm?” “I thought, what the hey,” Holly laughs, “and pardon the pun.” That was seven years ago and while life on the farm has been tough at times, neither is ready to give it up.
Farming, today and yesterday
When the Clarks decided to farm the 113 acres on Clark Farms, they had some specifics in mind, such as humane treatment of the animals, care for the consumer and being good stewards of the land and the environment. The two attended an Acres USA conference held in St. Louis and came away with “amazing information,” as Holly says, regarding sustainable plans and humane
treatment toward the herd. “We want fit, happy cows along with healthy, diverse soils and pastures,” is the Clarks’ mission statement. “Our animals are rotationally grazed through a variety of grasses and browse to maintain optimal vigor and bliss.” A walk-through of a portion of the farm tells the story. The cows indeed look “blissful,” not a care in the world, happily munching the grass in an open field. Some sidle up to Tom, hoping he has a tasty tidbit or two. Even the bull, which probably tips the scale at 2,500 pounds or more, was a bit friendly, although he did have a girlfriend right by his side. “He’s pretty interested in her,” Tom chuckles. “There’s no mob grazing on our acreage,” says Tom, referring to feedlots and large conglomerate farms. The herd now is right around 156 head of cattle, there is plenty of room for everyone. Over the past two decades or so, small- and medium-sized farms have given way to what is often referred to as factory farms, those that confine thousands of cows, hogs and chickens in tightly packed facilities. According to Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit organization that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water, the large agribusinesses are controlling what consumers get to eat, what they pay for groceries and what prices farmers receive for their livestock. Unfortunately, the livestock producers, i.e., the farmers, are squeezing by because the price of beef cattle, hogs and milk has been
falling for decades. Farming, it appears, has become somewhat political. Tom concurs. “Most people don’t understand the true cost of food,” he says. “It is difficult for those with a small farm to make it.” He goes on to say he charges $10.95 for bacon and “we still lose money.” True enough. Consider the cost of the land, the equipment, the buildings, the United States Department of Agriculture fees, slaughter fees and the expense of raising the cattle, pigs, chickens or whatnot. And for those not selling product to a large corporate agribusiness, the cost factor is indeed high. Will the meat sell, or won’t it, is always the question. Factory farms are defined by the number of cattle, hogs, dairy cows, or chickens, at least 500 for cattle, 1,000 for hogs. One of the biggest environmental problems with these huge farm is the millions of gallons of manure produced that can spill into waterways from leaking manure lagoons or fields where manure is over-applied as fertilizer. Feedlots are not an issue with farms such as the Clarks’. However, according to the USDA, open cattle feedlots continue to be the cheapest way to run a concentrated animal, but they come with several downfalls. Again, one of the most glaring drawbacks is the susceptibility of manure runoff into neighboring bodies of water. And, open feedlots are the least environmentally friendly way to raise cattle. Feedlots can have up to 100,000 cattle at a time, crowded on top of their own excrement into one square mile. Most of the beef consumed in the U.S. comes
Summer 2014 LOP 25
from feedlots, where cattle arrive after living for six months on pasture and grass to be finished for another six months or so on a diet of corn and other grains. Because a diet mainly made up of corn is hard on a cow’s digestive system, they are fed daily rations of antibiotics. Why feedlots? People want meat. The USDA shows we eat about 222 pounds per person, per year. That’s a lot of meat to produce. “Feedlots,” say the Clarks, “are stressful, horribly stressful.” Raising beef cattle on pasture is more challenging than fattening them on feedlots, but also a lot more expensive and takes a bit longer. But it’s worth the extra effort. Just ask the Clarks. “Yes, it is time intensive,” admits Holly. “But we are with our animals all the time and we use preventative, natural care for detoxification.” All of the meat produced at Clark Farms is free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids.
The Clark Farms Clark Farms sells to Nash’s Farm Store; Hardy’s Market; The Red Rooster Grocery; Nourish restaurant; Pacific Pantry; The Old Mill restaurant; Country Aire in Port Angeles; Joyce General Store; Sequim, Port Angeles and Poulsbo farmers markets; Agnew Feed and Grocery; Good to Go Grocery and the CrabHouse at the Red Lion Hotel. Whole or half cows are available, as are hogs. Other cuts of meat may be purchased at the farm on Tuesdays only. For more information, contact Tom and Holly Clark, 360-681-5499, 863 E. Anderson Road, Sequim, WA 98382.
On the farm
Calves roam the 113 acres at Clark Farms. The average life of a cow before it is harvested is about two years.
The Clarks’ farm is reminiscent of my grandparents’ farm I used to visit. Chickens wander freely, the turkeys are in a huge area with netting all around and over the top, “the eagles get them,” Tom explains, the cows are out yonder and a friend is helping build a rabbit hutch for future rabbit sales. The farm is a family affair; Holly and Tom have two children, one a student at Washington State University — Mom and Dad’s alma mater, as well — and a daughter who is a sophomore at Sequim High School. Tom’s parents manage a bed and breakfast a stone’s throw from the family’s house. The days are busy on the farm, what with calving, getting cows ready for slaughter, managing 30 or so pigs and getting them ready for slaughter, keeping the turkeys and chickens fed, and getting them ready for slaughter, and Holly’s new interest, making soap, using fats from the cows, filtered farm water and essential oils from lavender plants. Yes, all the animals eventually are slaughtered — with the exception of the family’s three dogs — and sold for their meat. But first things first. Most of the animals the Clarks own are born right there on the farm. At times, Tom does buy feeder calves, those weaned from their mothers. The goal, Tom says, is to eventually raise all their own calves.
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Left: It’s hog heaven for the pigs raised on the Clark Farms, where they are free to explore their “piggyness,” says Tom Clark. Right: Free-range chickens are one of the ways in which Holly and Tom Clark raise animals humanely on their farm. Photo courtesy of Clark Farms.
“Most people don’t understand the true cost of food.” — Tom Clark, Clark Farms There are between two and four bulls, so breeding is a year-round affair. Bulls are pricey. “You can spend up to $20,000 on a bull,” Tom points out. He calls the cattle a docile herd, which in the long run produces better meat. “The bottom line is we have to have a strong herd.” The average life of a cow raised for beef is two years. The Clarks process about 52 cows per year. Is it difficult to harvest their animals? “It is hard,” Holly admits. “We know the animals (they actually have named quite a few of them) and we have respect for the animals.” That’s why the Clarks send their animals to a farm in Port Orchard, a place that is very calm, no stress, explains Tom. “We take great lengths to stay humane,” says Tom, with Holly nodding in agreement. All of the cows and hogs must pass USDA inspection before being slaughtered. After the
animal has been killed and the carcass hung, the Clarks use Minder Meats in Bremerton for cutting and wrapping the meat for sale. The pigs are also a happy lot. Once weaned from Mom, they go into a 7-acre training area where hot wires teach them not to wander. Then it’s out to open acreage, where they are free to explore their “piggyness,” as Tom puts it, while a throng of pigs of all ages follows his every movement. At this point, Holly pulls out the May 2014 issue of National Geographic, which coincidentally features an in-depth article called the “New Food Revolution.” The picture she shows me is of a pig farm in Brazil whereby rows and rows of sows are enclosed in wire pens, all nursing dozens of piglets. The sows are confined to the pens so that the mother can’t roll over on the babies and crush them. Holly is adamant when she says, “We are not that.” Have they lost piglets by allowing sows
their freedom? “Yes,” Tom admits. “But it’s worth it. We would rather give them their freedom.” The Clarks are a delightful couple and truly enjoy what they do for a living, which is making sure the rest of us have food we can trust is tasty, healthful, is free from toxic pesticides and has been raised using sustainable agricultural practices that do not degrade the soil or water or animal welfare. “Our duty is to preserve our fields, to be good stewards to the land,” Holly affirms. “We are only as good as our ground.” Perhaps the best part of this pleasant farm story is the memories the Clarks will give to their children, so when they are reach the 50-and-over mark, they can tell stories about living on the farm, watching cows grazing in the pasture, enjoying the open spaces, and who knows, maybe continuing the long tradition of working the Clark Farms. n
The Landing Mall Presents
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(360)477-4333 | 10 am - 4 pm daily! • 115 E. Railroad Ave., Port Angeles Summer 2014 LOP 27
OUT & ABOUT
Lavender again and again
Tradition, new venues define 2014 Sequim Lavender Weekend A quail perches on the wheel of a tractor at a lavender farm in Sequim. Photo by Sequim Gazette.
Story and photos by Mary Powell In mid-July, when the imperious clouds at long last lift and summer pokes through, bringing warmth and sunshine to the North Olympic Peninsula, so too, are the celebrated lavender plants scattered throughout the SequimDungeness Valley ready to take center stage. Yes, it does take a bit of patience to wait for summer’s arrival, but the off-and-on sunshine, clouds and rain that grace the area throughout spring time are the ideal ingredients for abundant fields of aromatic lavender plants. With an annual rainfall of only 15 inches or so, and mild weather throughout the year, with no hint of severe snowstorms or heat waves, it’s the perfect microclimate for growing lavender. And growing lavender is a way of life for dozens of farmers in and around Sequim, who grow premium quality lavender that is sold to customers and businesses throughout the United States. These family owned farms are working toward preserving the region’s agricultural base, as well as continuing to make Sequim a destination for lavender lovers. This enthusiasm for lavender culminates in the annual Sequim Lavender Weekend, which has taken place the past 17 years in midJuly. This year marks the 18th for the popular
28 LOP Summer 2014
“The event is important to the entire Where the lavender farms were community, and certainly the lavender growers,” almost a retirement situation, now Hanna said. we have younger families buying the Two associations, one festival For the third year, the Sequim Lavender farms and it makes a big difference. Farmers Association and the Sequim Lavender Growers Association are working together to This is their life, their livelihood.” ensure the best experience for lavender lovers. – Vicki Oen The Sequim Lavender Farmers Association event, when upwards of 30,000 people will wander through rows and rows of lavender, eat at local restaurants, shop at independent and big box stores, stay at cozy bed-and-breakfast establishments or larger hotels and inns, spend lots of money at street fairs, learn how to cook with lavender, all making for a population boom in July. “People come here, they have a great experience and they come back,” said Barbara Hanna, communications and marketing director for the City of Sequim. Indeed, the Sequim Lavender Weekend is one of the largest tourism events on the North Olympic Peninsula, which translates into an economic boost for the area.
sponsors the Sequim Lavender Farm Fair while the Sequim Lavender Growers Association sponsors the Sequim Lavender Festival, the two components of the Sequim Lavender Weekend. If everything old is new again, then lavender weekend visitors will be delighted to find what they have loved about Sequim and its lavender is the same, yet, tweaked for perfection. Both associations have significant marketing tactics in place and are especially promoting the importance and impact of the lavender farms in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. “We are an association of farmers,” said Vicki Oen, president of SLFA. “It’s everyday life, not just a summer or weekend thing.” This year, Oen said, the emphasis is on the farms. Paul Jendrucko, media relations director for
Sequim Lavender Weekend July 18-20 Sequim Lavender Farm Fair Five farms on tour: $15 advance 3-day ticket, a $10 savings, provides souvenir button and admission to all participating farms. Active duty military and children 12 and under, free. 1-day ticket is available for $10. Lavender in the Park features booths lavender products, food, music, crafts and more. No admission fee to Lavender in the Park Sequim Lavender Festival Six farms open to the public. No admission. Downtown street fair featuring 170 crafts booths, food court, entertainment.
Above: It’s all lavender during the summer months in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. Photo by The Workshop of Seattle.
For more information regarding Sequim Lavender Weekend, visit: www.lavenderfestival.com www.sequimlavender.org www.sequimlavenderweekend.com
Lower right: Visitors to the Sequim Lavender Weekend cut bunches of lavender at Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim. SLGA, and also known as Dr. Lavender, has been a part of the lavender scene for years. He is a licensed nurseryman and enjoys growing, selling and “talking up” the plants. The lavender weekend, he maintains, is as popular as when it began. The vendor interest — the other piece of the three-day weekend — is unprecedented, Jendrucko said. “With 170 vendors on board, the venue is full, but there is a waiting list for last minute openings. That many independent private businesses converging on the small city of Sequim is incredible. They wouldn’t do it if this wasn’t one of the top festivals in the state.”
Sequim Lavender Weekend
In all, 11 farms will be open to tourists, as well as one commercial nursery. A street fair in downtown Sequim and Lavender in the Park at Carrie Blake Park ensures an endless amount of shopping, food and fun and entertainment. SLGA sponsors six of the farms and the nursery, as well as the downtown street fair and Boys & Girls Club sponsored activities for the younger set. There is no admission fee for SLGA farms or the street fair. “We like to say the fragrance and advice on cultivating lavender is free,” said Dr. Lavender. The farmers association has five farms ready to show its fields of lavender and Lavender in the Park at Carrie Blake Park, where vendors will have plenty of food, crafts and plants for sale. SLFA has hired event producer David Doxtater and his firm, The Workshop of Seattle, to work with the farmers and re-energize the farm tour
and fair. Doxtater lives on Bainbridge Island but has family in Sequim and has been involved in several regional events, such as The Northwest Folklife Festival and Bumbershoot, to name a few. Doxtater replaces Scott Nagel who served as executive director for the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association for the past three years, and prior to that, with the Sequim Lavender Growers Association. Paul Schiefen, owner of Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm in Sequim, said the change is exciting. “We are excited to have the fresh perspective and experience that Dox brings to the table as we improve and grow our annual event,” Schiefen said. What is particularly refreshing is the diversity in the ownership of some of the larger farms, Oen said. “Where the lavender farms were almost a retirement situation, now we have younger families buying the farms and it makes a big difference. This is their life, their livelihood.” In that vein, Oen said marketing strategies are targeting the 30-somethings, “the Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon crowd,” Oen said, those who don’t know that farming can be rather hip. “It’s a back-to-earth movement, which is huge now.” To be sure, there is something about lavender that attracts attention. Whether it’s the
heady scent that begins to permeate the air during the early summer months, the fields of blooming purple plants tucked into the folds of the North Olympic Peninsula or the burst of blue-violet blossoms at the end of spiked foliage whose essential oil is purported to have healing power, lavender beckons. All of that is what makes the Sequim Lavender Weekend a special time for those of us lucky enough to live here year-round or those who make the trek to the lavender fields and are surprised to find the air crisp and clean and experience a kind of calm only lavender can bring. n
Summer 2014 LOP 29
enjoy summer IN PORT TOWNSEND & JEFFERSON COUNTY
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30 LOP Summer 2014
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Summer 2014 LOP 31
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32 LOP Summer 2014
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Summer 2014 LOP 33
Mussel magic Story and photos by Viviann Kuehl
Penn Coves’ Quilcene farm manager Kyle Deerkopp stands by the elevator that lifts mussels out of the water and onto the processing boat.
Quilcene is famous for its oysters, but its pristine waters are yielding another tasty shellfish. Mussels are mild and tender, with a softer texture than a clam and an appealing apricot color in the Mediterranean species (Mytilus galloprovencialis) grown in Quilcene. Their dark, thin shells hold a bite-size morsel of flesh that can be steamed open or cooked in any of the ways clams are prepared. Not as rubbery as a clam, not as strong as an oyster, and cheaper than either, mussels have been surprisingly overlooked, said Kyle Deerkopp, Quilcene farm manager for Penn Cove Shellfish. “It’s kind of amazing; you can get them for the same price as a pound of hamburger at your local grocery store. They’re pretty affordable as far as seafood goes and they’re delicious.” said Deerkopp. “Cooking mussels in white wine garlic is always a great way and curry is really good if you can pull it off,” he noted. “It’s pretty amazing how good they can be.” “They’re great! They’re delicious!” affirms Jennifer Whipple of Taylor Shellfish, Inc. Recipes are available on its website, www. taylorshellfishfarms.com/mussel-recipes.aspx. Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch lists mussels as one of its best choices for responsible seafood. Mussels are grown on lines suspended from rafts in Quilcene Bay. Because they are grown on rafts suspended above the bottom there is not a trace of sand or grit in these mussels.
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34 LOP Summer 2014
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Above: The specially designed and manufactured Penn Coves mussel processing boat near the float it’s harvesting. Left: Penn Coves’ Quilcene farm manager Kyle Deerkopp shows the tote being filled with fresh Quilcene Bay mussels, bagged on the processing boat.
“The crew is a close knit team that really takes pride in their work and brings home a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.” – Kyle Deerkopp “Suspended culture is pretty unique in terms of Washington state shellfish,” said Deerkopp. “There are only about 60 acres of subtidal farmlands in the whole state and Penn Cove has more than half, with sites in Quilcene Bay and Penn Cove.” The 15 rafts on about 10 acres in Quilcene Bay are harvested year-round and can yield as much as 50,000 pounds per raft. Penn Cove is part owned by Coast Seafoods, which encourages cooperation between the two Quilcene Bay operations, said Deerkopp. “These mussels are straight out of the hatchery in Quilcene,” said Deerkopp. When shellfish complete their larval stage, they attach to an object to start growing into the shells that will be their mature form. Clinging to the growing line, the mussels grow without outside feeding. “They just takes the natural phytoplankton flows and convert that to food. Shellfish can’t
be listed as organic (because that designation applies only to land crops), but that’s about as organic as it gets,” said Deerkopp. “We rely on the sun and the nutrient-rich waters of the bay.” Those waters give the Quilcene mussels a unique flavor and they provide a positive ecosystem service by filtering the water, which improves water clarity, sequesters nutrients and provides a three-dimensional habitat for fish and other invertebrates. A Quilcene crew works on a processing boat specially designed and constructed for efficient harvest. It is a year-round job for a crew of 15-20 employees with work ranging from hanging to hatchery lines to transplant and harvest approximately 18 months later. According to Deerkopp, “The crew is a close knit team that really takes pride in their work and brings home a sense of accomplishment at the
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Summer 2014 LOP 35
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end of the day.” Penn Cove prides itself on the freshness of its seafood, with a slogan of “Fresh from the Water, not the Warehouse!” Mussels are not harvested until orders are placed and can be taken up until 10 a.m. for that day’s harvest. “They are fatter and in better condition, that’s how our small companies can compete,” said Deerkopp. The mussels are raised from the water, sorted, debearded, cleaned and packed into product bags and delivered to freight trucks in the same day. That means that a mussel that was in the water today can be on the dinner plate of a Seattle restaurant tomorrow. Penn Cove is a wholesaler, but you can sample Quilcene mussels through Key City Fish in Port Townsend or perhaps in the Fireside Restaurant in Port Ludlow or other Olympic Peninsula restaurants. n
Above: Farmer Christie Johnston stands in a field of garlic that will be harvested this summer. Right: Kelly Johnston uses a lot of muscle to dig in the broad fork in order to break up the clay soil on the farm.
‘From our garden to your table’ Small farmers produce a cornucopia of food Story and photos by Patricia Morrison Coate “I inherited that calm from my father, who was a farmer. You sow, you wait for good or bad weather, you harvest, but working is something you always need to do.” — Miguel Indurain That’s certainly true at Johnston Farms, 10 miles west of Sequim. Except for a break in December, Kelly and Christie Johnston toil yearround on their 7.5 acre property, planting and harvesting a wealth of vegetables from spring to autumn. In January, within their two large greenhouses, one nearly 100 feet long, Kelly begins planting thousands of vegetable seeds in dozens of flats and the seedlings are transplanted outside in May in several large fields. The final push to harvest some 40 varieties of potatoes comes in November. The small farm is a big operation for the couple who purchased the acreage in 2000 after looking 10 years for land. In 2001, they took a farming class through Washington State University Extension and have been learning farming every day since.
36 LOP Summer 2014
“I grew up in a farming area around Redmond and I’ve always been interested in plants and gardening,” said Kelly, 55. “I got a degree in horticulture from Bellevue Community College and I was in the landscape business for a while in Edmonds. I always had the dream of having a piece of land where I could grow food.” Unfortunately, the farm had been a hay field and the soil was mostly compacted clay. In the past 14 years the Johnstons have doggedly worked to improve the soil with amendments such as sawdust and compost. To expand their fields, every year Kelly takes to the broad fork, “which takes a human and turns him into a plow,” he quipped. “It lifts the soil up without a big machine and goes down about 14-18 inches.” He added, “The heavy clay is like concrete but I can break it up efficiently with the broad fork and a tiller. The soil does have a lot of potential but it needs to be amended with organic material to break it up. I’ve mixed in compost and sawdust and now it’s loamy black soil. A third of an acre took about 100 hours to broad fork and till. It’s
really a long process to build the land and it takes a lot of patience to get the weeds out and create a healthy environment. We’re not certified organic but we do use organic practices.” That means no chemicals, weeding by hand and no big tractors compacting the soil. The Johnstons either hand weed or cover weeds with plastic mulch to kill them. “We grow all vegetables from A-Z — artichokes to zucchini,” Christie said. “When you grow things, there’s a sense of satisfaction — ‘I grew that here.’” Kelly added, “We grow beautiful spinach and lettuce and even grow some watermelon, but I have to protect it from the cold. It’s tough to grow tomatoes so we grow several varieties, including bushing and trellising types, in the smaller greenhouse. We also grow lots of cherry and pear tomatoes.” The following is an abbreviated list of all the food grown on the small farm with the toil, knowledge and perseverance of two people: artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli,
Kelly and Christie Johnston strike an “American Gothic” pose in front of their farm store. cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, corn, eggplant, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, luffas, melons, mustard, okra, onions, peas, peppers, popcorn, pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, summer and winter squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes, watermelons and zucchini — quite a mouthful literally and figuratively. With many of the vegetables, multiple varieties of them are grown. The Johnstons also grow several types of berries and apples and sell organic eggs and bamboo. Where does all this bounty go? Johnston Farms has been a fixture at the Port Angeles Farmers Market for 13 years. “I’m in charge of marketing and sales,” Christie said. “I hope to come to the Sequim Farmers Market this year but it takes a lot to go to two places. I’ll start in Port Angeles with the Wednesday market in mid-June plus Saturdays. For every market, basically you have two days of pulling and processing — washing and packing in coolers. I love meeting people at the market. It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to see people excited with the produce we produce and they’re excited to cook it and eat it. The connection with my customers is very personal — it’s an awesome connection.” Christie also said she enjoys creating beautiful displays at the market with the farm’s produce. Johnston Farms keeps busy providing produce orders to these restaurants: First Street Haven, Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse, Oven Spoonful and Wine on the Waterfront in Port Angeles; Nourish and Alder Wood Bistro in Sequim, with a new possibility in the Pacific Pantry. The Johnstons’ produce also can be found at Country Aire, Jasmine’s Bistro, the Good to Go store and at an Olympic Medical Center mini-market in Port Angeles; The Red Rooster Grocery and Sunny Farms in Sequim and the Agnew Grocery, just a stone’s throw from the farm, and also to caterers and
customers who come to the farm. The Johnstons have a produce certificate program — customers pay ahead and save 10 percent with their certificate so they can pick up what they want when they want. They also have gift certificates. “We also grow sustainable food for our family,” Kelly said. “In this age we live in it’s comforting to know we have some control over our food source.” Although Johnston Farms is not in the news like Nash’s Organic Produce, the couple says it’s owners have been very helpful. “We really appreciate Nash’s because we cooperate together,” said Christie. “If they don’t have something, they look to us. Also Lazy J has been good. We’ve found a really great community in this whole area — great community spirit and that we’re all here to serve our communities with great healthy food together. We’re there to help each other out and support each other.” “Most of those farmers helped us, including the Adolphsen brothers Gene and Eric,” Kelly said. “Intensive gardening is what we do with raised beds and section areas, rotating things every year,” said Christie. “There’s so much to do — it’s hard, working to get our farm so it’s flowing. Watering is a big thing.” Johnston Farms has been on the Clallam County Harvest Tour three times and the couple was named the Farmers of the Year in 2012 by the North Olympic Land Trust. The Johnstons also are members of the National Farm to School program. Kelly mused about his livelihood. “I just want to enjoy the life. My goal is to grow good, healthy food and I’d like to keep doing farming as long as I live. I have a piece of land that’s productive and we put work in the front end and grow a little food. The land will provide what we need. We do all right.” n
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Above: Lisa Boulware gets an early start at The Red Rooster Grocery, baking cookies for customers wanting an extra special treat. Left: Nash Huber’s famous vegetables, all grown at his farm.
Eat locally, eat well Dozens of farms, restaurants and grocery stores give access to local foods Story and photos by Mary Powell If we are what we eat, then those of us who live on the North Olympic Peninsula are fortunate, indeed. There is a significant number of family run, small farms in this neck of the woods, growing everything from fruits and vegetables to raising beef, hogs and poultry. Seems as though whatever we want to eat, it’s available just outside our front door. Not only that, but more and more food stores and restaurants are buying and selling locally grown products. Not to mention farmers markets popping up in every nook and cranny. “Our primary goal is to provide a place where local food producers have their product for sale,” said Mark Ozias, who along with his wife Lisa Boulware, own The Red Rooster Grocery in downtown Sequim. “We have a cadre of suppliers so our customers can come buy local foods seven days a week.” The tiny store, tucked behind Seal Park in the heart of downtown Sequim, is stock full of
organic, locally raised meats, vegetables, jams and jellies, gluten-free flour, local wines and ciders and best of all, homemade — and if you get there earlier enough in the morning — hot out-ofthe-oven cookies in several varieties. The cookies are thanks to early riser Lisa, who Mark said is the reason the store is successful. He splits his time between the store and the Sequim Food Bank, where he is the director, which translates to a very busy lifestyle for the couple. Before they opened The Red Rooster four years ago, Mark and Lisa grew plants and produce on their property and sold at the Sequim Open Aire Market. They moved from West Seattle a few years ago with the specific purpose of being involved with the agricultural community in the area and to promote eating local, fresh products. In other words, eating well. “We recognized Sequim had a strong agricultural background, which fit our lifestyle,” Mark said. After a couple of years hearing from
customers at the market, “we put together The Red Rooster.” Like other independent grocers and growers, Mark and Lisa work with local farmers and producers whose ethics, farming and growing practices align with their beliefs. Most of the products they sell are certified organic and non-GMO verified, with a wide variety of glutenfree items. Way across town on Sequim-Dungeness Way is another well-stocked grocery store whose owner is almost an iconic individual on the agricultural scene, not only locally, but state- and nationwide, as well. Nash Huber, owner of Nash’s Farm Store, arrived in Sequim in the summer of 1968, after traveling to the West Coast from the Midwest, looking for a place that had mountains, ocean and a good climate. Voila, welcome to Sequim. In 1979, he rented a couple of vacant lots and started a small organic produce operation in Dungeness. In 1994, he married Patty McManus;
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Favorite Farms CLARK FARMS, DUNGENESS: Tom and Holly Clark, grass-fed beef and hormone and antibiotic beef, pork and poultry. Sells to Nash’s Farm Store, Hardy’s Market in Sequim, The Red Rooster Grocery, Nourish Sequim, Pacific Pantry and Old Mill Cafe restaurants, Sequim; and Port Angeles farmers markets, CrabHouse at the Red Lion Inn in Port Angeles. MT. TOWNSEND CREAMERY, PORT TOWNSEND: Makes a variety of award-winning cow’s milk cheeses. Sells to The Red Rooster Grocery. GRAYSMARSH FARM, SEQUIM: Grow lavender and a wide variety of berries on the 1,000-acre farm. U-pick berries seasonally. Store on site or products, including homemade jams and jellies online. JOHNSTON FARMS, PORT ANGELES: Christie and Kelly Johnston feature a wide variety of organically grown produce. DUNGENESS VALLEY CREAMERY, DUNGENESS: Sarah McCarthey and her husband Ryan own an operate one of the state’s premier raw milk dairies. MAPLE VIEW FARM, SEQUIM: Ben and Troy Smith operate this medium-sized dairy. Maple View Trucking transports the milk daily to the Darigold cheese factory in Chehalis. The farm also supplies landscaping customers with Sequim Gold, washed manure solids.
During peak season, 75 percent of the produce sold at Nash’s Farm Store comes from Nash’s farm, with the other 25 percent coming from nearby local growers.
BEKKEVAR FAMILY FARM, BLYN: The Bekkevar Family Farm recently celebrated 100 years of farming. Beef, hay.
they purchased 10 acres in Dungeness and built a packing shed. That’s when Nash’s Best! brand of carrots made its debut, carrots like no other, say those who buy them. Today, 45 people work for Nash, farming about 450 acres, growing vegetables, berries and orchard fruit, grain, organic seed and hay, with 50 acres devoted to pigs, poultry and compost. During peak season, nearly 75 percent of all products sold at Nash’s Farm Store come from the farm. Ninety-five percent of all the goodies at the store are local. “Local is a sustainable system,” said Patty McManus. “You get fresher, good, more nutritional food.”
CAMERON BERRY FARM, SEQUIM: Strawberries, U-pick in season. NASH’S ORGANIC PRODUCE AND NASH’S FARM STORE, DUNGENESS: Nash Huber and Patty McManus own and operate the 450-acre farm as well as Nash’s Farm Store, where fresh produce, vegetables and meats grown and raised on the farm are sold. Sells to seven local farmers markets, several restaurants and stores, and wholesale to PCC Natural Markets in Seattle, Organically Grown Company, Portland, Ore., and Discover Organics, Victoria, B.C.
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Sustainable food movement
Sustainable can be defined in many ways, at its core is an engagement in practices that keep the environment healthy and food production economically and socially viable. As environmental issues continue to dominate our conversation, both politically and socially, food and how it’s produced has become extremely relevant. Agricultural practices have very real consequences for people’s lives, include adverse impacts like food-borne illnesses, groundwater pollution and soil depletion. These consequences have helped to bolster the development of sustainable agriculture, which farmers and food producers on the North Olympic Peninsula practice. In its simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare. Whew, that’s quite a plateful of expectations. But consider the benefits of sustainable agriculture: Sustainable farms produce crops and raise animals without relying on chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified seeds, or practices that degrade soil, water or other natural resources. Most of the food we eat today bears about as much resemblance to its natural state as a chicken nugget does to a barnyard chicken. That difference has everything to do with with an often highly toxic industrial food system. For many years, the voices of protest were coming from the fringe, but now there’s a revolution going on — one that suggests passing up the french fries and nuggets and eating a locally grown organic carrot instead. Another important component of sustainable agriculture is its ability to remain economically viable, providing farmers, farmworkers, food processors and others employed in the food system with a livable wage and
safe, fair working conditions, as well as bolstering local and regional economies, creating good jobs and building strong communities. “Buying local means local jobs,” agreed Patty. “And there is an outward ripple.” For example, say you buy a slab of cheese at The Red Rooster. That in turn benefits three businesses: the Mt. Townsend Creamery, which purchases milk from the Olympic View Dairy and The Red Rooster. Or you order a hamburger at the Old Mill Cafe in Carlsborg made with meat from Clark Farms. That benefits the farm in Port Orchard where the animal was slaughtered, Minder Meats in Bremerton where the carcass is hung, cut and packaged, Clark Farms and the Old Mill Cafe. Plus, you get the satisfaction the meat came from a happy cow that was 100-percent grass-fed. According to the the USDA, 0.01 percent of all the food consumed in the U.S. is purchased locally. Almost 100 percent of us are eating food that is transported long distances using large quantities of fossil fuels, and not fresh enough for optimum nutrition, not to mention the herbicides and pesticides on the food. “On the North Olympic Peninsula we are doing quite a bit better,” Nash said. “Four percent of our population buys locally, but that means 96 percent don’t. We still have a long way to go.”
What’s out there
While the Sequim-Dungeness Valley is rich in farming heritage, there remains today quite a few farms of various degrees. Some are small
in nature, others larger; however, with the demographics of the North Olympic Peninsula, most of the farms are less than 1,000 acres. Another closely related advantage to having the farms so close to home is the choice of restaurants. To be sure, Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend have fast-food restaurants, but not nearly as many more populated cities where a hamburger joint is on every street corner. Here, the local growers and restaurant owners work hand in hand to feed the masses healthy, tasty food. John Pabst happens to be one of those restaurant owners. He recently opened Pacific Pantry deli, located on South Sequim Avenue. And Pabst happens to purchase nearly 100 percent of the food he serves from local farmers and businesses, including Nash’s, Spring Rain Farm, Clark Farms, Pane d’Amore bakery and Rainshadow Coffee. Originally from Wyoming, Pabst moved to Washington two years ago, after attending culinary school in South Carolina. A year ago he moved to the peninsula and on April 1, opened the restaurant. The food served is seasonal, so the menu changes every few months. “This is about community and creates a community circle,” Pabst, an enthusiastic foodie, said. “The quality of ingredients used to be important to people, now it’s coming back around.” A few other notable restaurants trading with local growers include Nourish Sequim, Alder Wood Bistro and the Old Mill Cafe in Carlsborg. Pane d’Amore Artisan Bakery in Sequim and Port
Townsend use wheat and rye grown on Nash’s farm to make a dense and chewy bread call Nash’s Miche. Back on the farm, many farms such as Nash’s Farm Store support a Farm Share Program, also know as a CSA, or community supported agriculture. Nash’s program connects community members with the land to the people who grow their food. CSA members receive a weekly box, from July to November, filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, flour, grain and fruit. The demand is growing for food that is organic, sustainable, fair trade and GMO-free, humane and healthy. In cities around the world, there are more and more farmers markets, even in bigger cities such as Seattle or New York, and, according to the latest USDA census, more young people are getting back into farming. Grocery stores, including big national chains, are selling local, natural and organic foods. There are so many people — especially young people — who don’t have a clue where their french fry, yogurt, milk, ice cream or hamburger comes from. Living in a farming community connects food to what it once was: plants, animals or minerals, and that someone had to cultivate the plants, animals and minerals. As Anna Lappé, co-founder of the Small Planet Institute, says, “You don’t have to hike in the mountains to commune with nature. You just have to eat.” We who live on the North Olympic Peninsula have the opportunity to do just that every single day. n
THEN Fort Worden’s military history Fort Worden in Port Townsend is a lot more peaceful today than was the case when the 68th Artillery division mustered there on the parade grounds at the beginning of the 20th century. In the early 1900s, the fort was brand new, built as part of the strategic defense of Puget Sound with two other forts, Flagler and Casey. This triangle of fire, from Port Townsend, Marrowstone Island and Whidbey Island, was built to thwart invasions by sea. While the big cannons rumbled from their concrete bunkers in practice, famously, the three forts never fired their guns in anger. Fort Worden was an active U.S. Army base from 19021953. After that, it was used by the state of Washington in 1957 to house a juvenile detention facility. Ultimately, the fort’s grounds became a recreation site and Fort Worden State Park was opened in 1973. The grounds today are remarkably well preserved. Many of the original buildings – the barracks, the officers’ row housing and other structures still stand and provide vacation accommodations for families and other groups. While the military history is well preserved, the buildings today are home to college classes, a woodworking school and art, music and writing classes. Historic photo courtesy of the Port Townsend Leader collection. Current photo by Fred Obee.
Summer 2014 LOP 41
Bountiful Light By Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith
Summer has arrived on the peninsula bringing with it long days filled with warm sunshine … from the early rays of morning light streaming across bountiful fields to the distant glow radiating from the north even as the cows nestle in for the night. This time of year has its own rhythm in the world … gardening, sailing, beach glass collecting and margaritas at Sirens. Local farms come alive with new lambs, baby chicks, organic vegetables, colorful fruit and fragrant lavender. The farmers markets everywhere offer up the rich and plentiful bounty brought forth by humanity in creative harmony with nature. It is a time of light and of Light … embracing all that lies before our eyes in this beautiful place we call the Olympic Peninsula. Light is essential to life. It is not by accident that the summer months invite us out into the world while the winter months find us cozied down by our hearths. Now is a time of light. The quantum physicist David Boehm tells us that, “All matter is frozen light.” This is in profound alignment with the ancient teachings of the world spiritual traditions. All around the world, celebrations of the outer light of the universe occur as the equinoxes and solstices cycle though seasons in a cosmic pattern that reflects the outer order of nature, our perceptions of time and space, and the individual soul unfoldment through changing light and eternal Light. In most spiritual traditions, the recognition of the inner Light of the human soul is deeply interwoven into concepts of the place of communion between humanity and divinity. The honoring of these cyclical processes and deeper truths adds a richness of understanding to life. From the most ancient traditions in Egypt, light has been synonymous with higher consciousness and the divine. It was taught that light appeared when the sun god Ra opened his eyes and darkness occurred when he shut them. To this day we say we need to “see the light” in a circumstance in our lives to have that higher understanding and we seek “enlightenment” to have spiritual connection with the divine by whatever name one may call it … Ra, God, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna or Godde. The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures begin in Genesis with the famous line … “Let There Be Light.” In the beautiful tradition of the Jewish Kabbalah, it is said that we have been sent to reunite the shards of Light that were scattered to the edges of our universe during
42 LOP Summer 2014
creation. The Cathars in 12th-century France believed that through a union of the Light generated by each act of kindness or prayer we would create Terra Lucita – a World of Light. In the tradition of the Sufis, the mystical branch of Islam, the experiences of light in the manifest world and in the inner world of spirituality are but one Light. The Hindu Chandogya Upanishad speaks to the same Truth, “There is a Light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the Light that shines in our heart.” In the Sukhavativyuha Sutra of the Buddhist scriptures, we encounter the Buddha of Measureless Life who is also called the Buddha of Boundless Light, Unimpeded Light, Ineffable Light, and Light that surpasses sun and moon. In ancient times, depth spiritual experiences and transformational work were done within the auspices of sacred spaces with their ritual framework. Novitiates progressed in perception and integrated new views of life as they moved toward discipleship and then mastery. In these times for us, something new has emerged … the initiatory process is experienced in our full outer world every day with all of its relationships, challenges and blessings. This is a time of seeing ourselves, our lives and our shared world as a place of transformation and Light. It is embracing the importance of our perceptions and then expanding them as we do like the ancients and “orient” ourselves, turning our faces toward the realm of the rising sun with its coming illumination at all levels of being. Energetically, we are living in a time of universal alchemy. We are in an age where we are shifting from working from the prior level of water which represents the inner, unconscious, emotional realm into one of working at the level of fire in which we engage powerful transformative energies. Fire is symbolic of Light. It is the warm, cozy hearth, it is the candle that illumines a room, it is the spark of creativity within, it is the purifier of impurities and it is the conflagration that reduces all to ashes. Its powerful creative, spiritual energies call each of us to be like a phoenix rising from the ashes, for even so does so our consciousness arise with enlightenment. From this true Light, we can truly transform alchemically at depth and at every level of being. Our world is born anew in summer’s Light.
Recently, some quantum physics particle researchers had something new and amazing “come to Light” with the discovery of the Higgs Boson subatomic particle, commonly being referred to by many as the “God Particle.” Its essence is the creative life spark in the energetic form of Light. I was fascinated when one interviewed scientist reflected upon his discomfort with the use of a spiritual term like God in relation to this scientific discovery. Then, with a quizzical look, he admitted that it was quite interesting even for him that the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures open with “Let there light,” and that it was essentially what he was saying as well. This blended model of the universe aligns perfectly with Lynn McTaggart when she wrote, “What quantum calculations show is that we and our universe live and breathe in a sea of motion … a quantum sea of light. Science for the first time was proving God’s existence.” The truth of the ancients is harmonizing in powerful ways with the truth of the modern age … the long overdue reconciliation of science and spirit into a united world view is finally emerging in our collective consciousness. We are called to action now to reintegrate spiritual perceptions established deeply and intrinsically within the perennial wisdom expressed within all our world spiritual traditions. The ancient wisdom is awakening anew and continues to “Light our way.” The Hopi Tradition envisions us now shifting to a higher level of spiritual and material understanding in the unfolding of the next great Spiral of Life. Their wisdom includes the wonderful reminder that, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” It is our time, it is our calling, it is our responsibility and it is our honor to exist at this time in human evolution and expanded consciousness. It is time for us to “Let there be Light” as we celebrate the wonder of summer on the peninsula and open to receive the bounty of all we have created together. The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith is minister to the Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center in Port Townsend, a presenter at conferences in the U.S., Italy, France and Great Britain, and spiritual tour guide for a Cathar and Magdalene Pilgrimage to France in September. She can be contacted at revpam@ unitypt.org.