The Allure of Local

Gus and I have a long-standing joke about a little something that makes me tick.  On a trip to Whidbey Island, early in our relationship, we stopped at a coffee shop in the town of Langley.   Our reason for stopping was that we were out of coffee beans.  As the barista listed off the various roast options to purchase, he threw in a final choice with the line that it was “roasted last night.”  My eyes lit up and obviously that is the one we took home.  My husband found this hilarious, because I didn’t even pay attention to the roast (or the price).  The idea being that if it was roasted last night, it must be better!  I was charmed and an easy sell for the barista’s (possibly) stock line.  Ever since then, and especially if we are on vacation, we relish those “roasted last night” moments.  To me, they are the kind of local flavor that makes a purchase different from my usual grocery store experience – it gives the item a story and makes it memorable.  To my husband, it is an opportunity to spend a few extra dollars for the same coffee beans, but he does appreciate that it makes his wife happy.  These moments make my day and they make my husband laugh.

We are on the Olympic Peninsula again this weekend and feel that fall is truly in the air.  The leaves are just beginning to drop and I am starting to crave foods like root vegetables, butternut squash, and apple anything.   As part of our trip we visited the renowned Port Townsend Farmer’s Market and enjoyed some local delicacies and street music.  The Pane D’Amore cheesy breadsticks are my personal favorite.

While in Port Townsend we also stopped off at Conservatory Coastal Home and were lucky enough to meet the store owners, Heather and Sam Pollock, and their handsome family.  Once again, I was entranced by this unique store.  It has been rearranged and looks fresh and inviting with lots of new items, including a large turquoise chandelier… (still wondering if I can come up with a place for this in my home?!?!)  I had to be dragged away with only a signature candle to take the place of their Heirloom Tomato candle that we were given a year plus ago.  As sad as I am that the Heirloom Tomato is finnito, the new one sports Conservatory’s new label and is Fig-scented.  I was reminded by Heather that all the candles are soy and made within the store, a detail I’m sure you understand that I’m quite keen on.  The kids also loved their new take-away gift of a few small sand dollars, you’ll remember we were originally wooed by small goldfish toys.  Such a lovely spot!


Next stop, Finnriver Farm & Cidery.  If you didn’t know, there is a spirited cider revival going on.  This cider is not the cider you remember drinking in high school.  This new style of cider tends to be a bit less sweet and drinks more like a beer.  There is enormous variety in the styles and it is taking on an artisan element.  Finnriver boasts a tasting room, as well as a cool little farm.  Let me say that if our kids could live on a farm versus the city, I believe they would – at least for a day.  We took a walk around the farm, visiting pigs, ducks, chickens, a dog and a cat.  The family enjoyed touching the dirt and feeling a connection to the land and animals.  I loved seeing all the apples waiting to become the next round of cider and all the neat cider-making gear.  The cider tasting room was staffed with a friendly attendant, whose family was out helping on the farm.  It was a family-friendly stop that I would highly recommend.  If you are in the area, check ahead of time, as they occasionally do u-pick days for their berries and other organic produce.  We’ll try for that next time.  We are now the proud owners of Finnriver’s Dry Hopped Cider and Sparkling Pear Cider that will allow us raise a toast to the new season… and maybe, just maybe, it was bottled last week!  Until next time, here’s a taste of some fall color.