Tag Archives: farms

Bainbridge honors iconic farmer Monday

blog.suyematsuFarmer 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. Yaschur.


Singed and sanctioned, goat creamery carries on


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.

(Courtesy photo)

Farm preservationists earn first Blakely Award

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 Bainbridge farms.

“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 work to 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 here.

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.

“Ikea meets iPod,” and then meets Bainbridge farmers


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 Tower).

I’ll try and cover the move, which will involve cranes, flatbeds and a ferry trip across the sound.

Farmers market opens Saturday

farminternThe 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 post:

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 spring.

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 site.

Thanksgiving leftovers for Christmas

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 Bainbridge-grown ingredients.

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 cameras.

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.

A bountiful island harvest = an added day at the market

With the island’s farms still bursting with abundance, the Bainbridge Farmers Market is adding one extra day to its regular season.

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 vendors.

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 harvest.

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

Crops for commuters


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 20 seconds.”

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.”

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Bainbridge moves towards Salatin’s local foods goal


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 markets.

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 market produce.

(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 community.

For my story on Salatin’s Kitsap visit, go here.