Category Archives: Events

Bainbridge foraging class a reminder of ‘bounty of the land’

On a recent sunny weekday afternoon, noted Northwest forager and “Fat of the Land” author (and blogger) Langdon Cook stood in a clearing in the Gazzam Lake preserve shaking a clipping from a stinging nettle.

“I remember the first time I got stung by nettles as a kid .. and then years later I have a distinct and fresh memory of eating them, having my revenge,” he said.

And with that, he and 16 people from Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Tacoma and trekked through the woodlands, snipping at a seemingly endless supply of the weed. They filled baskets and paper sacks and in a Strawberry Hill Park kitchen, sauteed onions, potatoes, garlic, added stock and whirled in freshly washed (using tongs) nettles into a a nettle soup.

From the taste, this revenge was a dish best served … with a scrape of nutmeg. The nettles added a bright note to the soup, which was akin to a potato leek style. No blistered tongues were found (boiling or drying destroys many of the stinging compounds in the nettle hairs), though I did feel a slight and very likely psychosomatic tingle on my tongue.

In the search for new tastes and exotic foods, it can be easy to forget that a walk through the woods can offer an edible bounty. It’s a lesson I’ve often forgotten, and one I was gratefully reminded of this week as I shot video for Tristan Baurick’s story on nettles.

As a kid, my grandma used to come home from a friend’s Hood Canal beachfront house with strands of seaweed, occasional bunches of horsetail shoots or bags of woodsy mushrooms. Or she’d put a garden shovel in my hand and tell me to dig fast for those butter clams.

A renewed appreciation for the food around us — and a way to entice foodies outdoors — is one Bainbridge Metro Park and Recreation District’s Jeff Ozimek hopes to spark with a series of spring and summer classes called “Bounty of the Land.”

“One of my biggest passions is going to hike in the woods and being able to figure out what to eat,” he said.

The classes, which opened for registration this week, will be led by Cook and others and range from digging and cooking shellfish on the beach to picking berries for pies. Classes cost $30 to $75 for island residents, though for $5 extra, non-residents can take them too. They encourage you to sign up early; some classes fill fast while others may be cancelled if there aren’t enough people who sign up.

Here are a few of the classes coming up. Download the “Bounty of the Land pdf” to see them all and register at

Oyster gardening, April 11: Take a tour of the Taylor Shellfish Hatchery, learn aout the gear you need, when to harvest and sample a variety of oysters on the half shell. Cost: $29.

Shellfish Foraging and Cooking, May 1 (repeated May 18): Visit Taylor Shellfish Farms with Langdon Cook to learn about several species of Puget Sound shellfish, learn how to shcuk them and cook a batch with a champagne vinegar and white wine sauce. Cost: $49.

Geoduck Dig, June 15: Hunt for the difficult-to-get geoduck with Langdon Cook and learn how to cook the briny delicacy. Cost: $75.

I hope to take a couple more of BI Parks’ classes this year, and would love to hear from any of you who do the same.

Talk on world beers and food pairings in Port Orchard

For the beer (and food with beer) lovers out there, Bay Street Bistro chef and owner John Strasinger, who also worked for years at Pike Place Brewing, will talk about brewing styles from around the world as well as beer and food pairings from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 22 at the Port Orchard Library.

Afterward, Puget Sound Wine cellar John Ready will host a beer tasting and snacks until 9 p.m.

Room for foodies at upcoming small farms expo

While most of the classes and workshops at the West Sound Small Farms Expo are focused on food growers, a series of four are focus on food making and food systems. Other classes focus on marketing, livestock and horticulture.

The expo is Saturday March 5 and runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $55 and lunch is provided. More info is available on WSU Kitsap extension’s website. Even better, Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness are writing a multiple posts on the expo on the expo on the expo in the Kitsap Farm to Fork blog.

Kicking off the food system sessions is Amy Pennington, a Seattle woman who triple times as a gardner, cook and food writer, and is most recently noted for her book Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen. She’ll talk about keeping a well-stocked pantry for all-season sustainability. She’s also the lunchtime keynote speaker, when she’ll talk about urban farming, sustainability and resourcefulness. She’ll also be there with books to sign.

The second session is on the Kitsap Food Co-op. The fourth is on changes coming to Kitsap County’s codes to make the county more farm-friendly.

But it’s the third food-system session that most piques my interest: charcuterie. Olympic College culinary instructor chef Chris Plemmons will take on a whole hog, describing butchery and meat preservation.

As part of a video class about two years ago, I sat in on an OC culinary class. The chef stood in front of the class inside a dining room at a large, stainless steel table with one of those tilting overhead mirrors so students could watch him cut as he talked. Students were then randomly assigned cuts to perform.

The video I shot that day did not make it out of class because it wasn’t for the faint of heart, those of us who are far more used to seeing pork chops only on white Styrofoam trays covered in plastic wrap. Regardless, it was one of the more interesting food demonstrations I’ve seen. It also made me appreciate a wider variety of cuts and feel guilty about only buying bacon and pork loin from that pig.

Whether farmer or foodie, I’d love to hear your take on the expo if you go.

Class Teaches How to Forage for Stinging Nettles on Bainbridge Island

In some circles, it’s considered a painful annoyance when hiking in shorts. In others, stinging nettles are a superfood.

For the latter group, Bainbridge Parks and Recreation will offer a class on how to forage for nettles in local parks as well as how not to get stung and how to cook it with food foraging blogger and author Langdon Cook. Participants will leave both with knowledge and some stinging nettle soup.

The class comes during peak nettle-foraging season, early spring, when the plants are tender. The class runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 (unfortunately for the working class, that’s on a Wednesday). Cost is $35.

Beer Alert: A Little Brew and a Few Strange Folks Coming

I can get away with calling some people from Port Townsend strange. I mean, the unofficial town slogan is “We’re here because we’re not all there.” And I love that little city all the more for it.

I can find myriad reasons for going: to visit some pretty good people, fantastic consignment shops, good restaurants, a place to get vintage cookbooks and coming Jan. 28-30, the seventh annual Strange Brewfest.

In years past, it had been hosted at Water Street Brewing, which closed its doors in June. But people involved with Water Street are again involved in the Strange Brewfest, though this year it will be at the American Legion, which just happens to about double the space.

Thirty breweries will be there, as will food (the site hints at some kind of fresh fish tacos), and entertainment ranges from music to a costume contest Saturday. Cost is $25 cash.

Food Talk: Michael Pollan in Seattle

Food writer Michael Pollan will be in Seattle Saturday, Jan. 15 to give a talk on “what the industrialization of food and agriculture has meant for our health and happiness as eaters.” The talk, titled “In Defense of Food: The Omnivore’s Solution” starts at 8 p.m. unless you spring for the I’ve-go-money-to-burn seats.

He is the author of “Botany of Desire”, which looked at people’s relationships with domesticated plants, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” about politice and eating and and the most recent, “In Defense of Food”, “In Defense of Food,” which looked at our eating habits and the food industry and proposes that the solution to much of our food ails could be solved by following this simplistic advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

When last I checked this afternoon, there were a few dozen of the cheapest seats in the upper tiers and far back orchestra area and more than a hundred more in the higher-priced seats. Ticket costs are $25-$44 for general seating; seats that include a pre-talk wine reception are $100; and first-row dinner tickets are $250. You can buy tickets at

Artisanal Meat Preservation Class on Monday

If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at canning meat, making jerky or sausage, you could have a chance Monday.

That’s when instructors Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness with the Small Farms Team with Washington State University’s Kitsap County Extension will lead a class in meat preserving with a hands-on sausage making demonstration. Aprons suggested.

Cost is $35 per person or $60 per household. The class is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15 at the President’s Hall Kitchen. Pre-registration is suggested and payment can be made on-site.  For more information and to register,  contact Harkness at (360) 337-7157 or

Meat preserving is the latest upcoming food preservation class offered by WSU Kitsap Extension.

On Dec. 6, there’ll be a Boutique Jams and Marmalades class at Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Cafe.

Foragers: Langdon Cook on Bainbridge Island Sunday

Those of you who delight in the hunt for chanterelles, picking wild huckleberries or really anyone who find wild things on their dinner plates might want to clear your Sunday schedule.

Seattle forager, blogger and author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager
Langdon Cook will be on Bainbridge Island this weekend. If you want to know more about him, Seattle Times had a review of Langdon’s book as well as a recipe for chanterelle pasta (which I just might try tonight thanks to some generous mushroom-sharing co-workers).

Langdon will talk about his book and his adventures finding food in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Bloedell Reserve. Tickets are $35 to $40 and available at Brown Paper Tickets.

First Kitsap Oktoberfest: What Did You Think?

Nine breweries and wineries from Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties had offerings at the Oktoberfest.

With the sun shining and an empty stomach, we headed out to the first Kitsap Oktoberfest at the Kitsap Mall Saturday. We got there about 3 p.m., and there was quite a crowd. No official estimates on attendance yet, and I wasn’t there officially. I was there to eat food and drink beer with my husband.

But since I was there, I took a few photos to share and wanted to offer up a place for people to post their thoughts on the event. I thought the beer selection was great, and it was good to see local food vendors, though it’ll be nice to see a few more vendors as the event grows. I also think they really, really should have an adult version of the playland they had set up for kids. Beer and bouncing; how could that be bad? Don’t answer that.

(I know you’re not supposed to apologize for your work (a Julia Child lesson), but I’m not making any claims about the quality of these photos. They’re cell phone photos; they are what they are.)

Popcorn Chef's Hot Chocolate
Viking Feast Ice Cream

Along with beer and brats were local food makers. Among the foods I sampled was Popcorn Chef‘s Hot Chocolate, a dark chocolate with pepper that you don’t taste right away, but sneaks up on you and builds with each bite. As per Charles Keating’s suggestion (he’s the one in the background), it went really well with the Smoked Cherry Rye Ale (I’m not 100 percent sure on that name for the beer) from Valholl Brewing. I also tried some ice cream from Viking Feast Ice Cream, who will open a factory in Poulsbo soon. I’ll have more on that later. What caught my attention were two ice creams infused with Hales Ales, one with a cream ale and a chocolatey stout. I also tested a raspberry concoction made with berries from Suyematsu Farms. Apparently it’s not traditional ice cream, it’s closer to an Icelandic frozen yogurt. I’ll have more on them soon.

If you went, I’d love to hear what you tried …

Food, Wine and Beer Events Happening Soon

Ideally, I’d write a blog post and expand upon each of these, but with time ticking away, I feel I should at least make sure I let everyone know about these upcoming food-related events. If you go, take a few photos and send them to me (, and I’ll post them. I promise to do the same with the events I go to. If you know of more events, I’ll add ’em:

Saturday, September 18: Taste of Lynwood
The Taste of Lynwood celebrates the Bainbridge Island neighborhood. From noon to 8 p.m., the neighborhood will host food, live music and family activities.

Sunday, Sept. 19: KCCA Harvest Meal/Local Food chef Showoff
Foods from Kitsap farms are prepared by local chef and served buffet style. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bremer Student Center at Olympic College If you’re going, you should probably get tickets now. The Buy Local Food in Kitsap blog has more on the event at

Continue reading