Summer Food Course Photos 2010

Summer Food Course Photos 2011

Summer Food Course Photos 2012

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

The postings most appropriate for you have the label, "Resilient Farms."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello Local -- Good News for the New Year

Carolyn makes a seasonal egg nog latte, Book Fare at Village Books,
in Bellingham's historic Fairhaven.
Locavore Chef Charles Claassen celebrates one month of providing mostly FLOSSY-food (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, and/or sustainable) with his new restaurant, Book Fare at Village Books in Bellingham. Here, Carolyn is making one fabulous egg nog latte (heavy on the cream and eggs, light on the sugar) to celebrate the New Year.

Happy New Year: Old Ideas, New Ideas – Weight Control the Easy Way

Personally speaking, it looks like researchers Stephanie Seneff and Robert Lustig (see Gigi’s Top Science pics at this website) as well as Mindless Eating’s Brian Wansink ( might be right in terms of weight management. These science giants and, to this I humbly add my current work on Cook More, Eat Less, all weigh in on the side of excess carbs (for Wansink) or just carbs (for the others) as the cause of fat gain. Indeed, for Seneff, fat is the ultimate metabolic organ and eating carbs (incessantly, according to Wansink) is the surefire way to keep harmful weight, and more importantly, dead fat (again, back to Stephanie) high, high, high. This suggests that “fat” people are fat-deficient. Read Stephanie’s work, for more.

When a young biologist, Loyola Marymount University’s Stephen Scheck (now, Western Oregon University dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), tried to convince his departmental colleague (me) that sugar/carbohydrates was the real culprit in weight gain, I gave the whole idea short shrift in my then current writing project, Finding Balance. Times have changed, as all the material on this website addresses (as well as the second edition of Finding Balance).

So, what’s the personal part? Well, in an empirical/case study, I’ve noticed that in three weeks, over the holidays, my weight has barely fluctuated by more than an ounce or two. What’s the secret, especially with holiday eating?  Whenever I feel like something utterly sugary/ “starchy” – I eat saturated fat. Often, it’s coconut oil in hot water, or it’s cheese, or any number of nourishing fats. 

Party food -- Mozarella in olive oil

Fructose-rich, but mitigated by the fat-rich
 and/or cholesterol rich cream and eggs

For more, see:
Stephanie Seneff (on fat as a metabolic organ, obesity and fat deficits, cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamin deficits and weight gain/neurological dysfunction).
Robert Lustig (the bitter truth on sugar, especially fructose)
Brain Wansink (mindless eating).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Washington state dairy featured in my guest blog at

See my new guest blog at........

Pacific Northwest Holiday Foods

Late fall in the Pacific Northwest still brings seasonal bounty -- greens, tubers, fresh-pressed cider, plus dried beans (here, scarlet runner beans just shelled). 
Our Christmas was roasted chicken (below, slowly-cooked chicken broth, with parsley added in the last few minutes of cooking) and roasted vegetables, bean soup, fried cauliflower and steamed beets, pumpkin (biodynamic) pie with sprouted-flour crust.
Chicken broth
Holiday breakfast (pressed salad, homemade
applesauce, pancakes -- in our house, both
gluten-free and sprouted flour options).
Bean-Cabbage-Bacon soup

Cauliflower, rolled in eggs (pasture-raised
hens) and
sprouted flour-cumin-salt mix.

Pumpkin (biodynamic) with
sprouted-flour crust.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fresh-Local-Organic-Seasonal-Sustainable -- for 100 kids at a symphony camp? Bellingham's Ciao Thyme Works Wonders

As we approach the new year, I think of all the wonderful food events I've experienced. One of the top has to be Ciao Thyme's catering of the Mount Baker Youth Symphony summer camp. This year (and it looks like, next year as well), we were able to work with Slow Food- and FLOSS- (Fresh-Local-Organic-Seasonal-Sustainable) chefs extraordinaire Jessica and Mataio of Ciao Thyme ( -- even entering its website, much less tasting the extraordinary food, is a marvel).
Ciao Thyme Owner-Chefs Jessica and Mataio
The effort required extraordinary volunteer effort, good will and cheer on the part of the teachers and students, and a group ambiance of healthy experimentation with varied foods tastes. It also required Ciao Thyme's commitment to serving nourishing and delectable foods by underwriting and sponsoring the week-long gastronomy adventure. The pictures are evidence of the success of the venture. The venue? Camp Casey, Washington, in August.

Students eager to eat, and help

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cultivating Regional Food Security and S 510

One doesn’t need to look very far to find good information on Food Security. For example, the "Cultivating Regional Food Security" conference at the University of Washington last weekend offered emerging research and lively discussion among the several hundred participants there. I spoke on the topic of our farm resilience work [see ]. What we’re finding is that time is an ultimate limiting factor for all the field tasks, regulations, experimenting, researching, hosting, and legal work farmers need to accomplish in any given day. Labor, too, is a vulnerability (we’re looking at that now). Stay posted. Until then, do follow what’s going on with S 510.
It seems that Amendment SA 4715 was agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent on November 30, 2010. In this amendment to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510), there is the following language:
Small Entity Compliance Policy Guide.--Not later than 180 days after the issuance of the regulations promulgated under subsection (n) of section 418 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by subsection (a)), the Secretary shall issue a small entity compliance policy guide setting forth in plain language the requirements of such section 418 and this section to assist small entities in complying with the hazard analysis and other activities required under such section 418 and this section.
This Act may be cited as the ``Small Business Paperwork Relief Act''…….
Also, SMALL ENTITY COMPLIANCE POLICY GUIDE.--Not later than 180 days after the issuance of the regulations promulgated under section 415(b)(5) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by this section), the Secretary shall issue a small entity compliance policy guide setting forth in plain language the requirements of such regulations to assist small entities in complying with registration requirements and other activities required under such section.
The Amendment also contains language about “small businesses” and “very small businesses” and about providing “sufficient flexibility to be practicable for all sizes and types of facilities, including small businesses such as a small food processing facility co-located on a farm” and about …. “….special attention to minimizing the burden (as defined in section 3502(2) of such Act) on the facility, and collection of information (as defined in section 3502(3) of such Act), associated with such regulations;…”
Also, that the Secretary … "shall exempt certain facilities from the requirements in section 418 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (as added by this section), including hazard analysis and preventive controls, and the mandatory inspection frequency in section 421 of such Act (as added by section 201), or modify the requirements in such sections 418 or 421, as the Secretary determines appropriate, if such facilities are engaged only in specific types of on-farm manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding activities that the Secretary determines to be low risk involving specific foods the Secretary determines to be low risk.
Action remaining: The bill now goes on to be voted on in the House, although the debate may be taking place on a companion bill in the House. See:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

S 510 -- And, a thought for Riley Detweiler

One of the main threats to farm resilience is the lack of time farmers have – as noted in an earlier essay here. Time is actually an abstract concept, but, for farmers, it literally means time to meet, comply with, experiment, host, test, read, litigate – especially for limited resource farms. And so, a serious threat to small farms and locally-produced food has emerged in the form of S 510, (the “Food Safety” bill).

We’ve been watching closely what’s been happening to S 510. The Senate passed the Bill with its Tester amendment mostly in tact (which provides exemptions from costly food safety plans and more). Now, the House (which did not include this critical amendment) and Senate bills must be reconciled during a brief session. Supporters hold up the recent recall of a half-billion eggs after a Salmonella outbreak, as well as other outbreaks of contamination and disease, as reasons to bolster up food safety legislation.

Personally, it was fall 1995, in my first class at Western, that I encountered what such tragedy looks like. Just two years prior, in 1993, 16-month old Riley Detweiler had died of food poisoning; his father was taking my class. Often times, Mr. Detweiler would be away, having lunch with Al Gore or being interviewed on network television – fighting hard for food safety. Mr. Detweiler was busy, and he was angry. On the first day of class, he had told me, “I can’t read your textbook” (which was entitled Meat). Rather, on the last day of class, he gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Geography of Industrialized Meat. The presentation to my 450 students concluded with a picture of his baby son (leaving not one dry eye in the lecture room) – the endpoint of 300 different possible sources of meat inputs. But, therein lies the problem – in both engineering process and unforgiving geography/untraceability of that industrialized meat.

S 510 may be a solution – but not necessarily to the problem of unhealthy meat and eggs. It seeks controls that easily undermine the kind of farming that is the key to reducing risk in the American food system. For more, see Monsanto Expose and Farm To Consumer.

Dedicated to Riley Detweiler and small- and medium-sized farms everywhere trying to produce the most health-ful and nutritious foods possible.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local -- the end of an era for Pastazza's in Bellingham

The day-long farewell at Pastazza's yesterday was certainly an event of mixed emotions. After almost three decades of the Bermans restauranteering local foods (and most astoundingly, in the case of their Innisfree restaurant, with its offering of owner-grown nourishing foods), the uncompromising and tasty kitchen is finally closed. Business was booming in the past month (leading up to the closing) as loyal customers scrambled for their last chance at the hand-made pastas and pizzas and other fabulous dishes.

If Fred and Lynn had seen just 25% of the business this past month, over the past year, Pastazza's would still be open. For sure, there were some loyal customers and utterly loyal staff -- Anne, the faithful pasta maker, 25 years; Sue,  pastry chef and office manager, 19 years; Andy, lead dinner chef, 14 years; Mike, lead lunch chef and chief of ordering, 14 years; Ken, 7 years; Ambyr &  Melissa, 6 years; Brendan & Rachel, 4 years,  as well as the remainder of our staff, Carrie, Caitlin, Lexee, Walter, Travis, Sam, Ginny and Oleg serving from 2 years to several months. What other restaurant can boast such long-time staff -- truly committed to local fare and business?

Please, let's remember:  Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local 
(an expression that Fred himself coined, during his long tenure with Bellingham's Sustainable Connections).

From an earlier e-mail notice sent by Lynn and Fred Berman: It is with with very mixed emotions that we announce our retirement on November 28th. Beginning with Innisfree in Glacier, followed with Pastázza in Barkley Village, and Pizzázza & Book Fare in Fairhaven, we've been privileged to serve you and to be a part of the local restaurant community. Pastázza has been an integral part of our lives with you, our customers, who are like family that we look forward to welcoming into our 'home'.                                                                                

Fred continues his hard work with WSDA, ensuring that farms of all scales have a chance to prosper. Were that only true for homegrown restaurants as well.

Manures, Biodynamic Composts, and Fertility Management

At the farmstead. Following our snowy Thanksgiving, and in a narrow window of warm weather, I was able to build a fall biodynamic compost, as well as check on how well previously-applied manure had decomposed on the fields. Below, sulfur rich manure ready for application (see MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff's essay on the importance of such fertility inputs at Also see and
Below, ash minerals, "green" organic matter, "brown" organic matter, nitrogen-rich cut grass/hay, manures, peat moss (as per Steiner's first recommendations in Agriculture). All mise-en-place -- ready to build the compost. Note that the peat moss is to be used sparingly -- as it was in Steiner's time. The compost was to be made, almost to homeopathic-scale recommendations, so as to conserve resources. For this compost, we used some peat moss from material remaining after establishing an acid-loving blueberry stand. Organic substitutes for the peat moss are possible -- and depending on relative availablity, certainly desirable.

One view of the completed compost pile after BD preps have been applied.

Thanksgiving at Inspiration Farm -- the 100 meter diet

Whatcom county resilient foodsheds include global, local, glocal (a combination of the previous two), and the very local, as in the 100 meter diet we experienced this Thanksgiving. Living in the Pacific Northwest is literally, a garden of Eatin.' Here, young farmer Rosie Kerkvliet carves the homegrown turkey.

Taste testing -- two homegrown turkeys; heritage breed, in the foreground. 
Also, homegrown portobellos (from inoculated woods at Inspiration Farm in Whatcom County) with on-farm eggplant.

Butter with sprouted-flour breads.
Rabbit stew (traditional German style -- Hasenpfeffer) 
Cornbread -- homegrown and pan-cooked.
 Squash pie.
 Our own raspberries and rhubarb.
Local cream and raspberries -- a nutrient-dense delicious dessert.
Making gravy with freshly-ground oat flour.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bountiful Thanksgiving

Time is indeed a limiting factor, as our farm resilience studies show-- although it need not be a wasteful one. It is easy to prepare nourishing foods, especially as we take a few days now with family and friends to celebrate a new gastronomy of co-production (producer-consumer networking) and nutrient-rich tastes.

Olive Oil Promotion

Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards -- in January, freshly-pressed olive oil can be available in Bellingham in 12 hours.

Bountiful harvest at Stoney Ridge Farm, one of the farms in our Resilience Institute study (Whatcom County) -- Happy Thanksgiving!

Fast Dance, Fast Food, and Slow Food Thanksgivings

Today, I braved snow (something we should be used to, in this, one of the coldest counties in the continental U.S. – looking at average annual temperatures), to attend a jazzercise class. Jazzercise is, arguably, the fast food of dance – corporate dance at its best BUT it holds a huge allure to many folks; an allure I appreciate. The class is fast-paced and economical (costing a dollar-something a class, depending on how many weekly classes you take), completely without guilt (you can stroll in late without anyone making a peep), replete with current tunes and themes, and loaded with people trying to take care of themselves – the good energy and hormones pulsate through the room – in an utterly positive environment. The amount of energy that can be expended with just a deepening of a knee-bend or placement of the arms is astounding (for some of the science behind this, see work at or my own book, Finding Balance). Yet, I also enjoy my $15 ballet classes and do appreciate their value!

Somehow, I think here there also is an analogy to fast food. We might ask: What, if any, place is there for fast food – something to think about especially as we busily prepare for a “Slow Food,” nutrient-dense Thanksgiving. In the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging on the topic of saturated fat’s seemingly unlikely role in health and weight loss. Until then, look at MIT researcher Stephanie Seneff’s diet-related essays at: If Seneff is right, then perhaps Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try and change the low-fat, low fat-soluble-vitamin diet that is the menu de jour for millions in this country. For more provocative ideas, also see: Fat Head (the movie). Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Beginning in the 1930s, and through 1945, the “First Kitchen,” led by First lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her house staff, was a plain and simple one (“dreary,” but perhaps appropriate for Depression-era fare) writes Laura Shapiro in the New Yorker this week. Lunches were stuffed eggs, fried liver, carrot relish or maybe broiled kidneys or braised sweetbreads, creamed beef. Mrs. Roosevelt was devoted to Cornell University home economists and their “science” – eschewing the art of cooking for a more “scientific” homemaking approach. Shapiro writes that as homemakers were embracing “canned soup, cottony white bread, and American cheese,” Mrs. Roosevelt was focusing on efficient (and seasonal) cuisine – unfortunately, she did little to advance the idea that such food indeed could be very tasty. Today, we know that seasonal- and nutrient-rich foods can be delicious; we, ourselves, our preparing one such this Thanksgiving. See the definitive missive on the topic – NOURISHING TRADITIONS by Sally Fallon and any of the featured blogs at