I wrote off celery when I made the commitment to seasonal local eating, passing up the pale stringy stalks in the grocery store to make mirrepoix, the aromatic carrots-onions-celery base of many recipes, with just local carrots and onions. One September a Sequim farmer showed up to a farmer’s market with celery. I squealed gleefully, bought up his stock, and chopped and froze it for cooking all winter. The next September a Bainbridge farmer turned up with celery too. I said to myself, hey, you can grow that here? When tiny celery starts showed up at Valley Nursery the next spring I snapped them up. Since then I’ve dedicated half a bed in my garden to celery – in my shaded yard it turns out to be easy to grow, although it takes pretty much the whole growing season. Growing Celery This year I grew nasturtiums right next to the … Continue reading

Apple compote

When I went to process the wrinkled apples from the root cellar I was surprised I hadn’t yet posted the apple compote recipe I use. Here it is in all its simplicity. Apple Compote Peel, core, and rough-chop enough apples to make about four cups of apple chunks. Keep them in water with a bit of lemon juice in it until they’re ready to go in the kettle. Syrup: two cups of water, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add the apples to the syrup. Bring to a boil again, then simmer until the apples are soft and the liquid has thickened a bit. Pour into jars and keep refrigerated. I love this both as a topping and by itself. … Continue reading


I used up the last of the keeper onions this week. I had picked them up from Paul Gregory last October and stored them in the dark at the back of the closet pantry in the basement, which stays at about 58′, like most of the house. Just this week one of them took moldy, and I only had a few left, so I chopped them up and divided them into recipes. One of the onions I dried with the electric dehydrator to use as onion flakes in soup. I’m being chary with electric power these days, but I figure this is a reasonably efficient use of energy, as it takes considerably less than the oven would to dry the same food. And in the Northwest winter solar drying is really not an option. So I have to resort to the grocery stores for my onion supply. It’s a staple … Continue reading

Sharon Astyk

I’m in my Sharon Astyk period. She’s a former academic turned Northeast farmer, who in addition to raising vegetables and goats, is a mother rearing a batch of kids, and a farm teacher. She also spent a couple of years pounding out three really good books. I urged all my friends to read her first book, Depletion and Abundance, Life on the New Home Front. Most of the people writing about the effect of the industrial complex on the natural world are men, and they tend to be gloomily apocalyptic. Astyk is calm, sensible, and writing on the side of life. It’s important for us all to understand what is happening; this book will get you the main points as gently as possible. Astyk wrote A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil with Aaron Newton. In this book Astyk calls for one-third of our population to … Continue reading