Weekly Grange Food News

For the past year, I have been the happy recipient of the weekly Grange Food News email from Chris Williams, who is an officer of the Deer Lagoon GrangeChris’ official title is Pomona, and like her Roman Goddess namesake, she dispenses tantalizing tidbits of information about the gardens, fruits, vegetables and local foods of Whidbey Island. I marvel and admire how much effort she must put into staying informed about the farmers and foods of our island home. Thank you Chris for the wonderful job you do producing this email.

For me, Chris’ weekly email is a delightful reminder of how special our lives are here on Whidbey, and I am constantly amazed at the diversity, commitment and passion of our island farmers and food producers as well as others throughout the Pacific NW.  Here are just a few examples of the food “adventures” I have learned about from Chris’ email newsletter:

1) Sea Breeze Seafood – Many of you know that during the summer there is a seafood vendor in front of the Bayview shopping center (Sebo’s / The Goose).  Chris’ newsletter provides advanced notice from the vendor on specials, pricing, etc. You can also sign up directly for their newsletter, email seabreezeseafoods@hotmail.com.

2) Tuna Run – speaking of seafood, this is special.  Each year, the Grange arranges a delivery of fresh albacore tuna from Westport’s annual tuna run.  You have to pre-order, and the fish is available both whole and filleted.  We ordered a whole fish, and now have the most incredible tasting canned tuna in our pantry.

3) Making Whid-Bee Friendly – David Neel of Island Apiaries is developing a program starting in January 2012 to take people through the hands on process of getting started with honey bees. At the end of the series, all participants will own a functioning bee hive with an established queen, drones and workers. He also is working on flower seed distribution so that everybody can grow bee-friendly flowers. Choosing the right plants to get a long continuous flowering season will help both native bees and honey bees, which are important pollinators of our food producing plants.

4) Foraging for Seaweed – Slow Food of Whidbey Island is planning a major seaweed foraging event at Fort Ebey. You can only forage seaweed there from April 15 to May 15th only.   You will need a shellfish and seaweed license, which you can get from any hardware store. The hands-on foraging event will cost $35 to be followed by a cooking class and seafood meal at a kitchen venue to be arranged, for another $35.

This is very small sampling of the wonderful events and information available from the Grange.  Email Chris at cwilliam@whidbey.com to receive the newsletter, and of course, please consider becoming a member of the Deer Lagoon Grange.

Why You REALLY Should Use a Local Realtor

Recently Whidbey Island Realtors received an email from the Whidbey Island Board of Realtors alerting us to a new ordinance regarding Ebey’s ReserveHere’s an excerpt from a letter from Island County, the Town of Coupeville and the Manager of Ebey’s Reserve that was addressed to all “Whidbey Island Real Estate Professionals.”

On 10/3/2011 the Board of Island County Commissioners adopted the new Unified Code and Design Guidelines for all development within Ebey’s Reserve. The Code and Guidelines become effective 1/1/2012.

The code requirements include a new Disclosure Statement that applies to the sale, lease or offer to sell or lease any property within Ebey’s Reserve.

My first thought was “No problem, we will just add that to the list of seller disclosures we normally insure are available for our listings.”  So I decided to write down how many seller disclosures a homeowner might be required to prepare for a buyer of their property.  I stopped at 9, but am sure if I thought a bit longer I could come up with 1 or 2 more.

So you may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with using a local realtor?”  Well of the 9 legally required disclosures, 7 of them are based on local knowledge and information

Using the example above about Ebey’s Reserve, many off island agents would not even know a property is in Ebey’s Reserve, and even if they did, what is the likelihood they know of the upcoming requirement to disclosure that fact?  It is not that they are unskilled.  They are simply unaware.  Why? Because this is knowledge that local realtors learn from experience, from each other and from their managers and owners.  Real estate agents from out of the area do not have the benefit of those opportunities, nor will they.

Unfortunately what your broker/realtor does NOT know can impact you negatively. 

So do yourself a favor.  If you are going to buy or sell real estate, use a competent, experienced local realtor. It is the best insurance you can obtain to be sure you are well served and well protected.

10 great things to do on Whidbey Island

1. The Penn Cove Mussel Festival, March 4th through the 6th. A celebration of Coupeville’s signature seafood. Enjoy a weekend of chowder tasting, great music and take a boat tour of the largest mussel farm in the US.
2. Whidbey Island Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, April 10, 2011 Whidbey was named one of the top ten places to run a marathon in Best in Travel 2010. It is a gorgeous scenic course on back country roads and along the waterfront.
3. If you want to be entertained by Whidbey Islands Own Rural Characters, then enjoy this event at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley.  There is so much happening at WICA, I will need to write a whole post about it soon.
4. Choochokam in Langley, a full street fair of fun, music food and art. Usually the 2nd week of July so check their website for posting of this year’s festival.
5. Whidbey Island Race Week– What is an island without a sailboat race? This year see the boats on the water on the 17th through the 21st. [Read more…]

Whidbey Island – Langley event

Come to Langley this weekend!  It’s a Mystery Weekend, Feb. 26 & 27 – A Prescription for Murder. The town has hundreds of “would be Whidbey sleuths” looking for the clues to solve the mystery. Fun for all ages!  Look back here soon for March events!

Whidbey Island Vacation Home Tour – Great Success!

The Whidbey Island Affordable Vacation Home Tour was a great success!  If you were not able to make it to this tour you will be happy to know there will be another tour in early spring 2011.   Everyone enjoyed the diverse selection of affordable homes toured, from brand new condos in Langley, to some of the best vacation getaway homes on both the west and east sides of the island.  [Read more…]

A Tour of Affordable Vacation Homes on South Whidbey Island

Saturday November 13th, 2010  10 AM – 5PM


If you have dreamed of having a vacation home on Whidbey Island, you will want to take this tour.  Some of South Whidbey’s most affordable beach and waterview homes will be visited during this tour. Learn about the different beach communities on Whidbey, the community  history,  the amenities, and  the costs.


The tour starts in Langley,  and moves across the island to the west,  then the south and east.  Plenty of time will be spent  at each location to take in the salt air and the incredible views.  Refreshments will be provided and there will be a drawing for some special Whidbey Island prizes.   The tour ends at the Bayview Cash store’s wine tasting room, where you can try some of Whidbey’s own wines.

Reservations for this tour are limited, so sign up today.   Request a reservation at www.waterviewwhidbey.com.  Send your name, email, and a  telephone number  you can be reached at.   We will send you detailed information of the tour, and a reservation confirmation by email.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday  November 13th!


Chickens in your Garden

If you love gardening you won’t want to miss the Whidbey Gardening Workshop in Coupeville on March 20. It is an all day affair with an amazing group of workshops, and a keynote address by Valerie Easton. Valerie writes about gardens and houses for Garden Design, Metropolitan Home and the Seattle Times ,and lives and gardens in Langley. The cost of this incredible day is $35 for the workshop and $8 for lunch. There are over 50 classes to choose from, and yes, one of them is “Chickens in Your Garden.”
There are a wide range of classes to suit diverse interests, like the practical “From the Garden to Your Table” to the more complex “Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat”.  

[Read more…]

Come to Coupeville Mussel Festival March 5-7th

The Mussel Festival in Coupeville is March 5-7 2010  on the waterfront. Come enjoy briny mussels fresh from the sea in chowder and off the grill.  This is a fitting place to hold an event like this, as the famous Penn Cove mussels are farmed there. Cruise aboard the Mystic Sea and visit the Penn Cove Shellfish farm just a short distance from the Coupeville Wharf.   The vessel is equipped with an underwater camera and two large screens for viewing. Tours will be led by Penn Cove Shellfish staff and will leave the wharf every hour on the hour 11 AM to 4PM Saturday and Sunday. A fun way for adults and children to enjoy the day.



Surviving off the gifts of the sea was essential to the everyday lives of the natives and early settlers of the northwest islands.  Enjoying this natural bounty is a practice of many islanders today.  From algae to salmon, a balanced diet can be achieved from the sea.  Mussels can be pulled from rocks, or harvested from a chain on a dock. Their formal name is black bivalve mollusk and there are over 70 types.

If you buy your mussels fresh, make sure they’re alive, and that the shells are closed.  They can easily be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a container covered with a damp cloth. They can be frozen, but should be used within 3 months.  This recipe is one of the simplest and most delectable recipes I have tried. You will find yourself making this recipe again and again.

[Read more…]