Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization. – Daniel Webster
saturday evening last, my husband, myself, and my brother ventured north to my adoptive grandparent’s home to celebrate my parent’s 28th wedding anniversary (belatedly). my father’s sister, and my parents joined us shortly after my husband seasoned a 7 lb roast and put it in the oven. we also prepared a cheese plate with sharp irish cheddar, smoked gouda, and a mild, locally produced blue cheese with crackers and smoked sausage. we snacked on these while waiting in rapture for the perfect roast to come out of the oven, while sipping on microbrewed beers.
my aunt arrived bearing the most delicious garden salad–tomatoes, lettuce, button mushrooms, red onion, carrots, and cucumbers grown at a farm down the street from her house. my grandparents garnished with their own grown tomatoes and with home made dinner rolls and plenty of butter! we served, with the roast, slightly steamed green beans from another local farmer’s market, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper with roasted garlic. we also roasted potatoes from my grandparent’s garden with peppers purchased from the farmer’s market, onions and garlic with olive oil.
we joked as we sat around eating and enjoying red wine, that everything was local, fresh, and wonderful.
my grandparents’s retirement home is located along the sound, and up on a hill. the view out of their living room is an amazing ocean view and unbelievable as the sun sets in the evening. living in the best of both worlds, they live by the ocean and near a number of fantastic farms, and after enjoying a delicious breakfast with my grandparents the next morning, we ventured out to sakuma brothers farms.
the farm dates back to before american japanese internment. the sakuma brothers’s neighbors farmed their lands while they were interned, and when they came back, all of their farmland was returned to them. they are primarily berry growers: blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. they were one of the first blueberry growers in washington state, and one of their philosophies is to be ahead of the food trends, and they are pretty open about diversifying their crops.
one of the coolest things, i learned, is that the are one of 2 american tea growers. they had been harvesting and treating their tea by hand, and have just, this year, purchased equipment from taiwan and china and produce white, green, and oolong teas. they are so fabulous! delicious and delicate. it was the first time i had seen tea plants up close, but are some of the best teas i have ever tried.
they are also well known for their award winning ice cream concoctions! their shakes and sundaes are both inspiring delicious. they use only vanilla ice cream and use fresh, self-grown berries to mix into their ice creams. perfect for a sunny autumn afternoon!
they also bake some serious shortcake. after tasting their freshly baked shortcake with fresh blackberry jam i had to purchase a few to take home with me. my husband and i have been enjoying these delicious treats all week with a batch of blackberry jam i made earlier this year and whipped creme!
we took a little tractor tour of their farm, all the tourists were instructed to grab a jonnagold apple out of a barrel (freshly picked!) to enjoy as the sun shined down on us while we putted around the farm, learning about how, and what they grow. that they have a budding viticulturist in the family and will soon be producing sakuma brothers wines as well! if only they grew cocoa beans, then i could just live on their farm and never leave! it was a delicious day for sure…wonderful local good, fresh fruits and vegetables, and amazing tea. what more could you ask for?
what would you like to farm?
images borrowed from sakuma brothers
check out the farm’s market website!