Annual Dungeness Crab Feast

Are you surprised I am telling you more things about food? Don’t be.

The Annual Dungeness Crab Feast is coming up at Around the Table on January 24.

The menu will include steamed dungeness crab, gorgonzola and camembert fondue with winter vegetables, clam chowder, organic greens with pears, apples and sweet curry dressing, and more. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. for $40 per person. Reservations required and can be made by contact Around the Table at 360-834-0171 or at

Thanks to Charity for great shopping news on Friday-


Meet the Farmers

Holy moly, it’s been a while. Well, I’m turning a new leaf. You are going to hear from me every single day that I am near a computer. There, I said it.

And here’s something great to know about:

The third annual annual Meet the Farmers event is coming up on January 21. Local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms are up to a whopping 18 in the Clark County area, and these events are a way for potential customers to find the farm that’s right for them.

The Vancouver Food Co-op and WSUV are sponsoring this one, and there will be a speaker from the WSUV Small Farms Team. It is from 7 to 8:30 p.m at the WSUV Firstenburg Student Commons, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. in Vancouver.

Another is coming up on Feb. 11 at Clark Public Utilities in DT Vancouver, sponsored by the Sierra Club.

Personally, I belong to Purple Rain Vineyard in Hockinson and it is exquisite.


River Maiden to return to DT Vancouver

Woohoo! Stumptown comes downtown.

River Maiden Artisan Coffee is getting close to opening its new shop at 701 Main St. in DT Vancouver in the old Ethiopian Deli.

River Maiden serves the aformentioned Stumptown Coffee — long a favorite of mine, served now at Mon Ami — plus tea, treats, etc. The shop also got much fanfare for obtaining a Clover for coffee brewing in ’07. I just love a shop that takes the brew seriously…


Mint Tea Open House

As many of you know, Mint Tea Imports moved into new digs on Main Street in Vancouver last year. They have completed the upstairs renovation, and it is beautiful. (You’re shocked, right?) I ate an incredibly delicious bowl of macaroni and cheese there on Tuesday. But I digress….

Mint Tea is having a grand opening this Sunday, Dec. 21. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a variety of offerings, including reflexology and Henna tattoos by Fatna. Music by Rob Lewis begins around 1 p.m., and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Middle Eastern percussion band Negara will play. (PS: There could be spontaneous belly dancing.)

We’ll probably be “snowed in,” so I’m going to walk there. How about you?


Hourglass Cold Brew Coffee

Okay, I know it’s no fun to make coffee at home, but in these economic times, we just can’t always justify the trip to the coffeehouse, can we? Okay, I can, but anyway… a new Vancouver company has released the Hourglass Cold Brew Coffee Maker and System.
Basically you “brew” coffee ground in cold water for several hours, depending on the strength you want your coffee to be, and then you can keep it up to two weeks. I love it because it’s portable and uses no electricity (similar to a hot-brew French press system). Also, cold brew coffee is low in acid, and with this system, apparently, you can brew your beans twice.
I haven’t tried this system, but when cold brew coffee is available (which is rare) I drink it because it’s delicious! I’m serious, way better than regular brew coffee.
The system is on sale at Portland-area Kitchen Kaboodles and online at And if someone gets one, call me — I’ll be right over.

Look at Marcell’s

Last month we admonished you to Go To Marcell’s. In case you haven’t been convinced yet, below are some shots of its lovely, lovely insides.

Marcell’s opened in October at 3100 Columbia St. in Vancouver and offers coffee, sandwiches, pastries from local bakers, a book exchange and natural and locally made clothing, art and gifts. A performance space is in the works too.
So, seriously, what are you waiting for? Go to Marcell’s!

Go to Marcell’s

I know, I know. A picture is worth a thousand words. But I can’t remember to bring my camera everywhere. So I will just tell you: Go to Marcell’s.

What a great new coffee shop at 3100 Columbia Street in Vancouver. Already it has a local/hemp/natural clothing boutique, a book barter system, a cozy fireplace room, sweet patio, treats made a block away and Bridgetown coffee and tea.

As soon as the New Year, there could be a performance space, a bona fide bookstore and a kids play area.

I even ran into an old friend in there this morning, making it feel like my neighborhood spot. I think, I think I’m in love.


New Thanksgiving Traditions

On Thursday, Nov. 6, Urban Farm School will be hosting a garden-to-table dinner party in Ridgefield. Titled and themed “New Thanksgiving Traditions,” the three-course dinner will feature chef Anna Petruolo’s take on three fall vegetables: pumpkin, apple and kale.

Reservations are $25 and may be made by calling 360-852-3728 or emailing Prepayment is required.

I hear these dinners are just lovely and sell out fast, so don’t wait.


Farm fresh feasts

I have been remiss to sooner blab about these two great events coming up.

Tomorrow, already, as you may have heard, is the Camas Farmer’s Market Farm to Table Gala with dinner prepared by chef Peter Echevario, using produce and ingredients from local farms. The event is Saturday, Sept. 6 at Farside Farms, 4510 NW McIntosh Rd, in Camas, and includes wine tasting and a multi-course dinner for $50. If you want to sneak in last minute on the goodness, email and visit for details.

On Sept. 19, at EB Hamilton Hall on the Historic Reserve, is the second annual Vancouver Food Co-op fall fundraiser, the Local Harvest Dinner and Auction. Chefs Anna Petruolo and Jodell Hinojosa will prepare a dinner feature locally farmed ingredients. Tickets are $50 through Brown Paper Tickets. If you want to support this event by putting a poster in your window, download it and tape it up.

The feasts are on-


New Mint Tea/Farm Direct Food

So anyone who reads this blog knows that my love for the wonderful Uptown Vancouver imports shop Mint Tea is eclipsed only by my love of food in general and farmer-direct food, specifically.

So my little mind was blown when I found out the new Mint Tea at 2014 Main Street is now the West Side host for Summer S.’s amazing farmer food share program. Basically Dee Creek Farm partners with other nearby farmers to drop food to folks who order it in advance. The best part is that often there is extra bonus food like blueberries, honey and feta cheese that you can impulse buy on the spot. I myself got 12 lovely eggs from Greyfields Farm on Puget Island. Aw yeah.

BTW, the new MT is absolutely gorgeous inside and should be open any minute, with drumming lessons and the monthly full moon drum circle this Saturday night starting the kick off. While still beautiful, proprietors Jenna and Abdul look positively exhausted, and I encourage folks to drop by and give them as many props as possible this weekend.


It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

When someone says to you, “You can be an official beer judge for the Clark County Fair,” there is no time for hesitation. These words are like gold to any overly judgmental beer lover, such as myself.
Unbeknownst to me, Vancouver’s Bader Beer and Wine Supply has hosted the official judging for the home brew and wine contests for many years, and you just show up on the designated night to be a judge. You just show up! No credentials required! But I have to warn you – it was intense.
I imagined a casual gathering of beerheads sipping delicious home brew and chatting. Instead, we were split into tables of four and each table had to have an experienced judge and we got a giant packet of official style guidelines for beer, mead and cider. A judge’s job is to put her or his personal preferences aside and evaluate the beer in question against what the guidelines say it should be like.

No “I like this!” or “This tastes like a Band-Aid.” Instead, you’re looking for nodes of horse blanket or fresh-cut grass if that’s what the style guidelines call for. Some were good, some were not. With every crack of a new bottle of beer, you just have to cross your fingers that it won’t taste like skunk.

– Megan

Local organic gardens

Woohoo! Thanks for sending along links to some great local and natural gardens. We got a couple responses from folks whose gardens were recently featured in the press.
Here are two from Rory Bowman’s great online step-by-step square foot gardening showcase. Go to Rory’s SFG page to see the whole process.

And here are a couple from a local unidentified garden, but I think it’s the garden in today’s Columbian Home and Garden section. These folks have a great garden journal that everyone can read. Below is a pic of one of their lasagna gardens, or sheet compost gardens. I have a few of those — and they really work! The pic below is just downright pretty.

Mmmm, lasagna….

Blue Key Coffee

A beautiful new coffeehouse is open on 13th and Jefferson on the west side of downtown Vancouver. Apparently BlueKey Coffee has been up and running in the old firehouse since Easter-ish, but was closed for a bit just recently.

To help keep it economically viable, in the next few weeks, Farmer’s Market stalwart Foody Blues will be moving a smoker onto the premises to offer their comfort food barbecue for lunch.
The space is gorgeous, having been occupied by manager Jamal Sanders for the last year as an art studio. The look and simple menu are modeled after a coffee shop he visited in Amsterdam and it reminds me of places I used to frequent in Minneapolis, with high exposed beams in the ceiling, exposed brick walls and a mismatch of used and new furniture. The patio areas are also lovely, and Forest Grove-based BJs coffee is in the espresso maker.
< When I popped in, it was like a convention of coffee connoisseurs, with the former owner of Bohemian Espresso and the new owner of Paradise Kafe both checking out the "new guy."
Open business hours and Saturdays, this is the perfect place to linger over a drink.

In other food news, I heard that the new Mint Tea, to open in a couple of weeks after issues with flooring are cleared up, will serve both breakfast and lunch. It will be a place where you can just get a little something (organic and local mainly), which is needed in Uptown. The best part — Anna Petruolo of A Dinner Together will be the head chef.


Harvest a Store

If two things are true about me, they are that I love food and public broadcasting. Harvest A Store, a 12-minute documentary about the Vancouver Food Co-op will air Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on FVTV Channel 11. The documentary was written and produced by John Anderson and it takes an abbreviated look at the organization’s history, culminating in its first annual meeting and first set of candidates to be elected to the board of directors.
I haven’t seen it, so I can’t vouch for the content or quality, but I’m hoping to get a video of it to post here after it airs. Anyone?



Putting up the photo of my new organic garden makes me want to see pics of YOUR organic gardens. Send them along — especially ones that make the best use of space on a small lot or patio or balcony — and we’ll post them. I know I will get jealous with everyone’s 3-foot-high tomatoes staring back at me, but hey I just started!

Let me know where you are gardening and how it’s going, too. For example, all my veggies wilted this weekend in the heat and I had to add a bunch of mulch and compost. Ugly work at 100 degrees.


Not exactly city news…

But I thought you might be interested to know that certified organic acreage farmed in Washington state increased by an estimated 27 percent between 2006 and 2007. Since 2004 the amount of certified acreage being farmed in the state has increased by 86 percent.

WSU sustainable agriculture specialist David Granatstein says the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources has been conservative with its analysis, so the annual report actually represents a low-end estimate of organically farmed land in the state.
The estimate of certified organic land statewide is 81,472 acres, up from 64,325 acres in 2006, a 27 percent increase. During 2007, 629 organic crop and livestock farms and 71 transitional farms in the state were certified.
Organic forage production showed the most growth again with an annual increase of 51 percent, now accounting for 35 percent of the state’s total organic acreage, which kind of surprised me. But considering the recent spike in demand for organic dairy, it makes sense that feed demands would be up.
Certified veggie acreage increased by 4,500 acres in both 2006 and 2007. Certified vegetable acreage now totals more than 20,000 acres with sweet corn, peas, potatoes, green beans and onions being the major crops grown. Washington is likely the leading U.S. producer of organic sweet corn and peas.
Always apple country, Washington leads the nation in organic apple, pear and cherry production. Apples are the state’s predominant organic tree fruit crop with apple orchards comprising 73 percent of the certified tree fruit acreage.
For a clearing house of info on local organic and sustainable agriculture, including this new profile, visit
And, just for fun, the above photo is a peak at my fledgling organic square foot gardens, complete with heavy duty trellises made from electrical conduit and trellis netting. I call them my “industrial food chains.”
Heh, heh.

Bread Class at Crippen Creek


The Inn at Crippen Creek Farm — in my favorite town of Skamokawa — is offering a Beginning Artisan Bread Baking class on April 12, starting at 11 a.m. Folks will learn to make a master dough for focaccia, pizza and baguettes. The cost is $50 per person and includes pizza for lunch. I’ve had Don and Kitty’s pizza — believe me, this alone is worth the price.
Other classes are available too. Check out the schedule and registration info.

Participants are sure to get a rise out of this experience. Heh heh.


Camas Fresh Produce

A Camas-dwelling coworker recently tipped me off to Camas Fresh Produce, and I’m so glad she did.

The shop is brimming with colorful fruits, vegetables, snacks, drinks and spices. At least 90 percent of the products come from the United States. It’s a small space, but it holds a good variety of produce and attracts a down-to-earth variety of locals. The store’s prices are more than reasonable – the 70-cent avocadoes were my first tip, but my $24 bill for three heavy bags of food proved it.

Owner Ali Alquraisha makes a point of keeping local flavor in his store because he believes it’s better for the local economy. He works with 20 local farmers from Southwest Washington, Hood River, Gresham and Troutdale after 17 years in produce with big grocers locally and farmers markets overseas. He wants to form an alliance to certify businesses that get at least 50 percent of their products from the U.S. And he predicts a revival of farmer’s markets and local produce shops is on its way. I say, “amen” to that good news.


A Dinner Together Around the Table


They say food combining is key to a healthy diet, so combining two items about food must be key to a healthy blog post.

Small Plates, Big Difference
On Saturday, March 15, Camas small plates bistro Around the Table is hosting a fundraising dinner for the Camas Farmer’s Market, scheduled to open in just two months. A la carte tapas include crab and mango empanadas, flatbread with figs, carmelized onions and blue cheese, pork chops with peach bourbon chutney and Guinness ice cream with chocolate covered caramel corn (presumably for those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day). Reservations are recommended.

A Dinner Club
Personal chefs Anna Petruolo and Lisa Robbins are adding a new service to their cook-at-your-home enterprise, A Dinner Together. Called A Dinner Club, members can order meals a month at a time from a selection of pre-chosen menu items, picking them up in downtown Vancouver each Monday throughout the month. The club starts April 7 and the menu items include homemade mushroom ravioli, chicken enchiladas, vegetable stuffed portobello mushrooms with angel hair, chicken cordon bleu and mac n cheese with meatballs. BTW, Anna Petruolo is a member of the Vancouver Food Cooperative, and the meals are made with locally grown foods from regional farmers.

Who’s hungry now?


Foodie altert: Farmers market in downtown Camas

I know this blog is somewhat Camas heavy so far, but hey, there’s a lot going on downtown.

The Camas Downtown Vision Coalition is launching a farmer’s market on May 17 that will run every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. between Birch and Cedar streets on Fifth Avenue until October. I don’t know much other that, except they expect to offer organic produce, plants, fresh flowers and prepared foods — standard farmer’s market fare.

I hope they do make good on the promise to use organic growers — that is one thing the otherwise lovely Vancouver Farmers Market is sorely lacking.

Farmers and foodmakers, check out Camas Farmer’s Market online to get a vendor application.
Kudos to the CDVC for this great step in the right direction.