Look at the incredible variety of squash and pumpkins at the Bellingham Farmers' Market in the picture. I used to frequent the Farmers' Market in Boulder, but of course I never saw such a variety. They had some different kinds of squash and I discovered spaghetti squash, along with several wonderful root vegetables not available in grocery stores. The growing season is different when you live at 5,000 feet elevation. The entire sustainable food and farming movement tries to help us get food that is grown or harvested within 100 miles of our homes. Here in Bellingham, this includes many wonderful farming communities and a wonderful organization, Growing Whatcom CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which allows a customer to purchase all kinds of foods directly from the local farmers. Whatcom is the name of our county, the northwestern-most county in the nation.
In researching this post, I learned that both the Bellingham and the Boulder Farmers' Markets were started by enterprising college students. Here, two Western Washington University students had a vision to have locally grown food for sale in a convenient area, and with their hard work and ability to draw others into their vision, it started in 1992. I cannot imagine a Saturday during the summer that doesn't include a trip to the incredibly vibrant market.
They also have buskers. Buskers are street performers, and you see them in various spots around the market. Each busker has to get a permit and sign up for one of the spots around the market. They are only allowed to be in a particular location for an hour, and then they move to another spot. Here's a lovely little busker from this summer, with her permit prominently displayed.
|Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge|
Although this post is getting a little longer than I intended, I also wanted to share with you another organization that I just learned about: the Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network, located in Mt. Vernon, just a few miles south of Bellingham. It is a grassroots organization dedicated to helping strengthen family farms here in Washington. I had been told about it and will be signing up in the spring.
After hunkering down for the winter months, you can bet I'll be there at opening day for the Market in April, heralding the new spring season and all the wonderful foods soon to be available to me.