Tag Archives: food

A tour of the island’s edible landscapes

There are no neat rows in Chuck Estin’s vegetable garden, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a complex system at work.

“It’s a big gimish, I know,” Estin said, pointing to the sprawling mass of green near his front door. Resembling a forest floor more than a vegetable garden, the dozen plants in the 30-square-foot plot were chosen for their ability to cooperate while producing food.

A Japanese fuki plant produces edible stems and broad leaves that fall, decay and enrich the soil for quince and pawpaw, a Kentucky transplant with a custard-like fruit. Strong-smelling mint repels unwanted insects and ground cover of alpine strawberries holds weeds at bay. Yellow calendula flowers dotting the plot attract pollinating bees that help the mini-ecosystem thrive.

The rest of Estin’s Lynwood Center yard, which amounts to about a fifth of an acre, is layered with 108 different kinds of food and flower-producers.

“We get pretty much all the vegetables and fruit we eat from right here,” he said.

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Salmon Canyon Cafe ‘family’ sticks together after tragedy

I’ve only eaten at the Salmon Canyon Cafe once, shortly after it opened just over a year ago. I could tell the place was already a fixture for south-enders wanting a no nonsense breakfast.

Talking to the restaurant’s regulars and writing this story (below) makes me wish I’d gone there more often, and that owner David Ortiz will make a speedy recovery and open Salmon Canyon’s doors again.

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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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Sawatdy cooks up ‘vivid, succulent’ Thai food


Former London Times and Chicago Daily News music critic Bernard Jacobson now writes restaurant reviews for the Kitsap Sun.

This week, Jacobson treks up to Bainbridge Island to try Sawatdy Thai Cuisine.


Steering clear of the wild disagreements I have seen in online reviews of this restaurant, and of the family feuds that are hinted to underlie the Thai restaurant scene on Bainbridge Island, I want simply to celebrate this place as one of the best restaurants — of any style of cuisine — that I have yet discovered on the island.

Approaching it from the outside, you will not be impressed: the Island Center location is in a rather tired-looking little strip of businesses, including a gas station. But once through the door, you will find a pleasant room decorated with some folksy artifacts, comfortable seating, and a very cordial and efficient wait staff. (The Poulsbo Thai restaurant I reviewed a year or so ago should take lessons from Sawatdy, not only in cooking but in charm.)

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The island’s wine flood


My favorite part of Steve Landau’s story on Kitsap County’s (but mostly Bainbridge’s) winery boom is island winemaker Hugh Remash’s comment comparing wine-making to cooking up a pot of stew. Kinda deflates the hoity toity-ness of it all.

By the way, this is the second storyin the Sun in less than a week that references the book “The Omnivores Dilemma.” Guess it’s time I study up.

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.