Category Archives: Agriculture

Yet another local food dining spot

Restaurants specializing in local foods are booming on Bainbridge. Two opened last month and a third is set to open this month.

While writing THIS story about the three restaurants, I checked in with chef Jeffrey McClelland, who cooks for the Harbour Public House and Pegasus Coffee. While both Waite family-owned dining spots don’t market themselves as local food specialists, the pub and Pegasus have had a growing commitment to meat and produce sourced close to home.

McClelland is planning a monthly showcase of local food he calls the “Locavore’s Dinner.” Hosted at Pegasus, the multi-course meal will be served family style and come at a base price of $60 or $85 with wine.

“I think a major reason we’re doing this is that it helps the local economy,” McClelland said.

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Bainbridge gains a city manager, three new ‘local food’ restaurants and loses one big fish farm

Here’s some reading material to keep you busy as we head into a three day weekend:

-The city has a new manager…at least for now. Here’s my story.

-Did you hear what the Sun said about the city of Bainbridge? I won’t say the Sun called the city “stupid” but it was sure close. Read the Sun’s take on the city’s policy of charging its road ends committee permit fees here.

-Bainbridge’s mywedding.com and Rep. Jay Inslee weighed in on the net neutrality issue.

-The island’s largest farm is leaving. American Gold Seafoods, which operates the salmon net pens near Fort Ward, is packing up and moving across the water to Manchester. Read about the move here.

-Speaking of farms, it looks like local growers are getting a boost from three (yes, three) new Winslow restaurants that specialize in local foods. They are Hitchcock (which we’ve discussed here before), Arbutus (in Mon Elisa’s old spot) and Local Harvest, which is set to open at Penelope’s former location by July. Look for my story in Monday’s paper.

-Also next week, look for my stories about City Hall’s effort to grow food for the grazing masses and the new teen sensation: Parkour.

Winemakers honored as business people of the year

Gerard and Jo Ann Bentryn have been named the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce couple of the year.

The Bentryns will be honored at a roast and toast celebration at 11:30 a.m. banquet May 19 at 11:30 a.m. at Wing Point Golf & Country Club. They also will serve as the Grand Marshals in the Chamber’s Grand Old Fourth of July Parade.

They’ve been farming for about 45 years, first in Europe and now on Bainbridge.

Over the years the Bentryns have donated more than $400,000 to island and Kitsap County causes, according to the chamber.

Bainbridge wine will flow on April 24

The growing number of Bainbridge winemakers will showcase the fruits of their labor during a tasting event on Saturday, April 24.

Bainbridge Uncorked! will feature seven Bainbridge wineries, including two that use island-grown grapes and berries.

“This is a great opportunity to meet the winemakers and try some of their new releases,” said the event’s organizer, Kim Hendrickson. “There are some wonderful new wines being made on this island that show how far we’ve come as a wine-making area.”

In recent years, the island has seen the rise of three tasting rooms within a short walk of the Winslow ferry terminal.

Bainbridge Uncorked! will be held at the plaza on the south end of Madison Avenue, next to Doc’s Marina Grill. It runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

The $30 advance tickets are available at Doc’s and through islandwineweekend.com. Tickets are $35 at the gate. Admission includes food and wine samples. Proceeds will benefit the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association.

Hendrickson said Bainbridge Uncorked! is aimed at whetting appetites for a larger, three-day event planned for October. The event will feature visits to island wineries as well as a dinner cooked-up with Kitsap County-grown ingredients.

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The Grange isn’t just for farmers anymore

While doing a story about the Bainbridge Grange last week, I was surprised to learn that none of the members in the newly-revived fraternal organization were farmers.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised because a) there aren’t many farmers left on Bainbridge and b) gardeners and local food fans are increasingly the bulwark of the region’s most active Grange halls.

With no honest-to-goodness, full-time farmers on the Grange’s roster, just who is today’s “Granger”?

According to the Grange’s new secretary, John Steiner, the Bainbridge membership (which has doubled in the last three months, by the way) is made up, in part, by a cabinet maker, a real estate manager, a software designer, advertising professional, a restaurant owner, a community college professor and a few retirees. Most are united by a love for home-grown food, rural know-how and old-timey community events, like potlucks and square dances.

A wider array of members means the Grange is destined to offer a wider array of services and host a wider array of events.

What events? Well, that’s really up to the members, whomever they may be, Steiner said.

The Grange’s biggest event in several years was Sunday’s garden fair, which was headlined by gardening book author and columnist Ann Lovejoy.

“I don’t know that it could have gone better,” Steiner said on Monday. “We made a good chunk in donations, got $500 by auctioning off a raised (garden) bed, and signed up several new members.”

A couple local groups also inquired about renting out the hall for meetings, he said.

If you’d like to get involved with the Bainbridge Grange, call (206) 659-7197.

They have a website (www.bainbridgegrange.org), but it’s not quite up and running yet. The national Grange’s website is HERE.

And if you haven’t seen my story, head over HERE. There’s also a nice photo gallery by Larry Steagall.

Farm-to-table restaurant opening in Winslow

Sound Food’s Carolyn Goodwin uncovered some exciting culinary news about a new “farm-to-table” restaurant opening in Winslow next month.

“My curiosity was piqued today by a new sign on the papered-over Winslow Way windows of what was Gibilaro’s, then Isabella’s, now closed. Mysteries always intrigue me, so I dashed home to do some sleuthing” Goodwin wrote in a recent Sound Food blog post.

She learned it’s name is Hitchock and its owner is chef Brendan McGill, who has worked in several high-end Seattle restaurants and studied the foody arts in Spain, Italy and France.

Goodwin also tracked down Hitchcock’s “help wanted” ad for some more info:

“So what does McGill have in mind for Bainbridge Island? His help-wanted ad on Craigslist (he’s looking for a cook, a bartender, and a server) offers some hints about his farm-to-table concept: ‘The centerpiece of the kitchen is an applewood-fired oven that we’ll use to roast fish, vegetables & meats to order. We’ll be making fresh pasta daily, working an in-house charcuterie program, butchering small animals procured from local farms and using them to their fullest extent. All desserts are made in-house.'”

Hitchcock already has a website, hitchcockrestaurant.com, where you can read more about the chef/owner and see a preliminary menu.

Green-built prototype prefabs finally find a home


Looks that that pair of ultra-modern prefab homes have finally found a home.

After getting the cold shoulder from farmers on Day Road and the neighborhood around the Johnson Farm, affordable housing advocates decided to tuck the stackable units behind some duplexes on a quiet Winslow street.

Read HERE for the latest.

And read HERE and HERE for the earlier chapters in the saga.

Bainbridge food blog applauded by Saveur magazine

Bainbridge is home to one of the nation’s best local food blogs, according to gourmet magazine Saveur.

Small Potatoes, Anne and Ryan Willhoit’s online exploration of good eats from close to home, is one of five blogs named in the local cuisine category.

Here’s the reaction over at Small Potatoes:

“Some evenings are more surprising than others. You sit down, check your email, glance at that the blog stats and… wait where did that massive spike in traffic come from? After a glance at the incoming referrers you discover you’ve been nominated for a “Best Food Blog” award by Saveur magazine. Really? That Saveur? Really?”

Small Potatoes is photo rich and has plenty of step-by-step tips on how to make use of seasonal and often island-grown ingredients. A few highlights: small batch ketchup, eating local foods while backcountry camping and how to eat local in winter.

A seventh winery takes shape on Bainbridge

For decades there was Bainbridge Island Vineyards & Winery.

Then, a few years ago, came Eleven. And then, starting in 2007, came Perennial Vintners, Eagle Harbor Wine Company, Victor Alexander, Rolling Bay Winery…and now Fletcher Bay Winery.

Here’s what Fletcher Bay has to say about itself:

“Fletcher Bay Winery specializes in producing quality, rich and full bodied red wines by using only the best quality grapes from the best vineyards in Walla Walla and the Yakima Valley. In 2009, the winery introduced a Pinot Grigio white wine made with late harvest grapes from the Yakima Valley. In addition, the winery produces a few fruit wines made from freshly picked berries and apples grown locally on the Island.”

The first batch of reds are scheduled to go on sale sometime this month.

A few of the island’s wineries are planning a package deal for Valentine’s Day that pairs chocolate with wines. Find out more about by clicking here.

By the way, if you’re thinking of starting your own winery, take note that the names of Bainbridge bodies of water are being trademarked fast. Eagle Harbor, Fletcher Bay and Rolling Bay are out. Manzanita Bay, Murden Cove, Madison Bay and Blakely Harbor are still up for grabs.

Winter farmers market opens tomorrow

The Bainbridge Farmers Market will re-open on Saturday at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church for a month-long winter stint.

The market’s growers are promising enough of a bounty for islanders to add a few locally-grown foods to Thanksgiving dishes.

Sound Food‘s Carolyn Goodwin says local farmers have had a good harvest this year.

“Island farms have been spared a hard frost so far, so there are still lots of veggies to harvest,” she said in Sound Food’s latest e-newsletter. “There are even a few tomatoes still on the vine!”

The winter market will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 19.

For a list of the produce available on Saturday, and recipes and lots of other stuff, check out Sound Food’s latest newsletter here.

Farm-bound prototype prefabs take a detour

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The idea seemed too strange, and maybe too good, to be true: take two prototype housing units built to usher in a new era of affordability and green living for Seattle’s young professionals, crane them down from the roof of a downtown building, load them on flatbeds, drive them to the Kitsap Peninsula and use them as affordable housing at a city-owned farm on Bainbridge Island.

Instead, the stackable, sustainably-designed homes — which made their cross-sound trek last Saturday — sit unoccupied near the island’s old dump.

Read more about the adventures of the prototype prefabs here.

Bainbridge winery wins big at state fair

Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery received several awards at the inaugural Western Washington Wine Competition at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe.

The winery was honored as Best in Show — Commercial for its 2006 Late Harvest Botrytised Siegerrebe; Best Muller-Thurgau for its 2006 Traditional Muller-Thurgau; Best Siegerrebe Gold for its 2008 Siegerrebe; and Best Other White for its NV Ferryboat White.

In addition, three of its wines earned the “Gold” distinction in the commercial division.