Farmer Akio Suyematsu left an
indelible mark on Bainbridge Island’s agricultural community.
The Japanese-American berry grower passed
away last year at age 90, but his legacy lives on through the
generation of farmers he mentored in his Day Road fields.
The city declared Aug. 19 “Akio Suyematsu Day” following his
passing. Islanders will mark the occasion Monday with a celebration
at Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farms on Day Road East (the
driveway by the farm stand).
The event will include a walking tour, live music, locally-grown
food and refreshments, and a memorial display. The celebration
is scheduled for 6-9 p.m.
Above, Akio Suyematsu in 2007. Photo by Carolyn J.
First there was
the yurt fire. Then there was a
run in with the city’s code compliance office.
But after a rough first year, the Barclay brothers are carrying
on with their dream of opening a goat creamery on Bainbridge
Island. The brothers launched a
capital campaign this week on Kickstarter.com, aiming to raise
$32,000 to cover startup costs for their new dairy.
According to the campaign description, Coyote Farm Creamery will
produce Grade A raw goat milk and serve as a teaching farm for
families and school groups. Money raised from the campaign will
help the Barclays buy milking supplies, purchase commercial
refrigerators and upgrade outbuildings on the farm to meet city
code. If they can raise an additional $17,000, the Barclays
will purchase a small pasteurizer to produce yogurt and cheese.
It doesn’t hurt that this is kidding season and the Barclays
have plenty of adorable baby goat photos (see above) to aid their
cause. The first 50 donors of $100 or more get to name a newborn
goat. The campaign ends March 14.
Steve Romein and his wife Ty Cramer earned a special
commendation from the
Bainbridge Historic Preservation Commission for their work
rehabilitating the Lynwood Center building and preserving two south
“Steve and Ty have set an excellent example for other developers
to follow and made our community a better place in which to live,”
the city commission said in a statement after awarding the couple
the commission’s first Blakely Award for preservation leadership.
The commission plans to give the award on an annual basis.
The commission also recognized the Bainbridge park district with
a Blakely Award in the “project of excellence” category for its
restore the cabin at Camp Yeomalt Park.
In 2007, Romein and Cramer began pouring money into
fixing up and expanding the decaying Lynwood Center building in
a manner that fit its 1930s-era Tudor style.
“In their renovation efforts, Ty and Steve chose to do so in a
way that it would retain its original historic integrity,” the
commission said. “The Lynwood Center neighborhood has been
revitalized by their efforts.”
Early this year, Romein and Cramer
purchased an Old Mill Road farm with the goal of preserving it
as farmland and to develop a trail connecting to other public
pathways. They also plan to rehabilitate two 19th-century
farmhouses on the property.
The pair then purchased an even larger farm that island
preservation groups have had their eye on for years. Romein and
Cramer plan to put farmers to work on the land, develop a farming
education program with nearby Blakely Elementary and set aside a
portion as preserved open space.
You can read my profile of Steve Romein
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
HERE for the latest.
HERE for the earlier chapters in the saga.
In case you missed it, click
here for my story on the donation of
cutting-edge prefabs to house Bainbridge Island farmers.
Called “Ikea meets iPod” by Building
Design + Construction magazine shortly after they were
unveiled in 2007, the small factory-built units were aimed at
creating inexpensive workforce housing in Seattle while challenging
the common perceptions about manufactured homes. With vegetated
roofs, computer controlled lighting and heating and a sleek,
ultra-modern design, the units were created with Seattle’s young
urban professionals in mind.
Instead, the project’s two prototype units are headed to an old
Bainbridge farm to house the island’s young rural farmers.
The Housing Resources
Board has until mid-October to move the units. Until
then, you can still see them at their current location atop Rainier
Square in downtown Seattle (right below the Rainier
I’ll try and cover the move, which will involve cranes, flatbeds
and a ferry trip across the sound.
The Bainbridge Farmers Market
kicks off another season this Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the
park between City Hall and Bainbridge Performing Arts.
Local farmers say crops are taking a little longer to grow
because of unpredictable weather. Many are waiting for temperatures
to warm up before they can offer their usual spring bounty.
“It’s a slower growing season this year, even slower than last
year,” Jackie Aitchison, executive director of the Washington
Farmers Market Association, told Sun reporter Brynn Grimley for
a story this week on the county’s markets.
Despite this season’s weather challenges, the Bainbridge
market’s growers told Sound Food’s Carolyn Goodwin that customers
can expect some popular offerings on Saturday.
Here’s what Goodwin had to say on a recent
Early offerings will be mostly in the hardy greens
category. But a fresh local salad tastes amazingly good after a
winter of grocery greens. Crumble some creamy Port Madison Farm
goat cheese over the top and you’ll finally get a taste of
Butler Green Farm also has spinach, bok choy, leeks and
carrots. Our favorite Island food blog, Small Potatoes, recently
posted a tasty recipe for Spinach Pie that would be a perfect way
to celebrate your first bag of local spinach. Brian’s bok choy is
fabulous, this week I steamed it with some shiitake mushrooms and
cod fillets in a super-simple recipe that is wonderful over some
brown basmati rice. It will be even better with some of the fresh
halibut that just hit T&C this week.
Betsey Wittick of Laughing Crow Farm will bring some
overwintered potatoes and cabbage (I’m working through the box of
German Butterball potatoes I bought from her at the end of last
season, and they still make great eating). Rebecca Slattery of
Persephone Farm always has some interesting early-season crops like
cardoons, which are at their best in the late winter.
Read the rest of Goodwin’s post, as well as several recipes
using local ingredients, at Sound Food’s Web
Well, I guess I need to check BITV more often.
I just ran into the station’s B News Thanksgiving special. It’s
a combination of cooking show and tour of local farms all pulled
under the theme of how to craft a gourmet feast using only
Lots of familiar faces and foods make their way onto the screen:
Betsey Wittick and her garlic, Gerard Bentryn and his wine, and Max
from Tani Creek Farm dropping off some of his heirloom greens.
IslandWood chef Jeff White cooks it all up before the
Much of the food is still available, even during these seemingly
lifeless winter days, so the show is worth a watch, especially if
you need help dreaming up a Christmas spread.
See the show online here.
An archive of B News shows can be found here.
And check out the Bainbridge Farmers Market, which lasts until
Dec. 20, here.
With the island’s farms still bursting with abundance, the
Bainbridge Farmers Market is adding one extra day to its regular
The market will run until Oct. 25 before taking a break and
moving indoors starting in late November.
Yesterday, the market was bustling with customers and
The guys from Tanni Creek Farm had quite a few varieties of
squash, and even more ways to describe their flavors (“nutty and
sweet”…”savory and buttery”) and ways to cook them, including a few
recipes for squash-based baby food.
Island fisherman Paul Svornich was offering his canned tuna
after returning recently from another ocean adventure, and
Farmhouse Organics had just a touch of honey left until next year’s
The market will reopen at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church on
Nov. 22 and close in late December.
For more on the market, visit bainbridgefarmersmarket.com
Ferry commuter Chris Hanacek has found a new fast food stop on
his way home from work.
“It’s awesome,” the island resident said, holding sacks of fresh
snap peas and broccoli. “This stuff was picked today and I’m going
to take it home and eat it in 10 minutes. And the whole thing took
Faster than a supermarket stop and healthier than the offerings
on a drive thru menu, the new Wednesday evening ferry farm stand at
the Winslow ferry terminal furnished hundreds of commuters with the
makings of a locally grown dinner.
“We want to get more people introduced to the idea of what’s
growing right here, right now,” said Sallie Maron, who wore a
yellow apron and hawked vegetables along with a half dozen other
volunteers from Sound Food, a Bainbridge group promoting local
farms. “The more we connect people to the local economy and farms,
the more we connect them to the Bainbridge story, which is about
people who care about the land and living sustainability.”
The stand features a different farm each week, with every dollar
going directly to the growers. On Wednesday, vegetables from
Poulsbo’s Farmhouse Organics were on display, along with purple
garlic and strawberries from island growers.
“This works great for us,” said Farmhouse’s owner Anne Webber as
she watched the action at the stand. “This is such a good
community, and to have people volunteering to do this…the concept
is amazing. Honestly, only on Bainbridge.”
Yesterday I covered a workshop in South Kitsap featuring
sustainable farming guru Joel Salatin. He
challenged Kitsapers to spend half their food budgets at local
farms and farmers markets.
Reaching that goal, he said, would fire up the local economy to
the tune of $1.3 million….per day.
Of course, the county’s far (far, as in really far)
from reaching that goal. The county spends less than $1 million a
year on food at local farmers markets.
But Bainbridge Island can pat its back for spending more at its
farmers market than other six market communities spend at their
The island can’t claim the biggest market (that honor goes to
Port Orchard) or the cheapest (also Port Orchard…the secret is that
the farther south you go, the cheaper the goods get) but it draws
in the lion’s share of the $670,000 spent last year on edible
(Special note: total spending at farmers markets was over $1
million if you include all the hemp hats, dream catchers, lavender
foot creams, etc.)
If you’re interested in Salatin’s food spending math, here’s how
it works: Each American spends an average of $10 per day on food.
Cut that amount in half, multiply it by the county’s population
(250,000), and you end up with about $1.3 million.
Spreading that kind of spending over a year would generate about
$450 million for local food producers. And then consider a local
market manager’s estimate that every dollar spent at a farmers
market typically circulates three more times before leaving the
For my story on Salatin’s Kitsap visit, go