Just over a week ago I returned from Washington State, after a four day excursion that saw me climb around orchards; tour an apple packing plant; get a preserving lesson from a pro - in Whole Foods no less (my first time there!); dine out in some of Washington's finest organic restaurants; hang out with some of this country's finest (and funnest!) food writers; and wander around Pike Place Market in awe and fascination, wishing I could take it all home with me. And in a way I have. I'm still tasting that organic Gala, picked off the tree, so sweet and crisp. I can still smell the sweet apple pie preserves, bubbling away on the stove. I'm still wishing I could find flowers here, like I saw there, with baby cabbages in them and everything. And the coffee. My God the coffee. So delicious. I have so much to tell you, but be warned! The post is HEAVY on photos and text. Like, I hope you don't get bored. Please come along for the ride - it was a good one.
So it felt like I was up in the air all day. My plane left early, like still dark early, and then I flew and waited and flew and waited and finally touched down in the small airport in Wenatchee, some 10 hours later. Even through the smoky veil I could see I was in beautiful country. There were forest fires, contained, but still burning in the area, hence a layer of smoke hovering over the city and surrounding hills. The other five food writers and I were met and whisked away to our hotel where we later met up for delicious nibbles and libations. It was so nice to be on the other end of a reception like that - I'm usually the one preparing the food for such an event. To kick back and relax and watch as someone else replenished the buffet was awesome. Thank you,Chef Richard. Chatting with the other writers and the organic fruit reps was very cool, and we got to know one another over crostini and cheese ball and grilled vegetables, all of it tremendously good. After a long travel day and a belly full of excellent food and booze I was happy to get back to my room, which incidentally was almost as big as my house here in Saskatoon.
Wenatchee countryside, looking down from Stemilt Hill.
Organic Gala apples.
The view through an SUV window.
Kyle Mathison and his organic Galas.
Check out them apples.
Light reflecting tarp underneath the apples trees, helps speed up the ripening of the apples on the lower half of the tree, so that all of the apples can be picked at the same time. Cool!
The interior of an Anjou pear.
Amy, of Family Feedbag fame, holds an Anjou for me.
Apples, in motion.
The box of goodness.
Whole Foods' kitchen.
Apples, in a copper pot I covet.
Apple Pie Preserves. Click here for the recipe.
Love sterilized rings and lids.
A sampling of Pear Chutney.
Someone doesn't care for brussel sprouts.
Apples for sale.
The Pike Place pig. I gave him a little pat on the head.
Where to go when you are in Seattle.
He played a mean clarinet.
The flowers for sale at Pike Place were incredibly gorgeous and inexpensive - this would have gone for $5.00!!! From now on I want all of my bouquets to contain a brassica.
Very special thanks to the Organic Trade Commission; Pear Bureau Northwest/USA Pears; Washington State Apple Commission; and Washington State Fruit Commission/ NW Cherry Growers for inviting me on such a wonderful tour. While this trip was sponsored by the above, I was under no obligation to write a post. I wrote this post because I had an absolutely awesome time in Washington and there is just so much good stuff happening there, I had to share it with you.