Archive for the ‘Processors’ Category

Apres Vin: Local Cooking Oil from Local Grapeseeds.

June 28, 2009
Just a sampling of the many flavors of grapeseed oils made by Prosser's Apres Vin. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Just a sampling of the many flavors of grapeseed oils made by Prosser's Apres Vin. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Welcome an exciting, new vendor this week to Ballard Farmers Market — Apres Vin. The name is French for “after wine,” and it fits what these folks do perfectly. Apres Vin makes grapeseed oil and flour from byproducts of the Washington wine industry in Prosser, in the Yakima Valley. You see, when wineries make wine, they crush a lot of grapes, and these grapes all have seeds. Well, as it turns out, these seeds make very high-grade cooking oils and flours. In fact, grapeseed oil is prized for its lusciousness, its high smoke point and its nutritional value, including beneficial fats and antioxidants. Grapeseed Flour also has these nutritional benefits, and it is gluten-free.

Grapeseed flour is as diverse as the wine grapes from which it comes. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Grapeseed flour is as diverse as the wine grapes from which it comes. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Apres Vin’s grapeseed oils and flours retain the distinct flavors of the wine grape varietals from which they come, and their oils come in a wide range of flavors. These are truly artisan products that will provide Market customers with two more items for their kitchens that they will no longer have to get at the grocery or specialty store. No need for exotic oils imported from faraway places. You can get it, made in Washington, right at your friendly neighborhood farmers market. Look for Apres Vin to be set up with Sound Bites Spreads, Sauces and Crackers, which, by the way, uses Apres Vin products in all of its own products.

Apres Vin owners, Eric & Lori, left, with Sound Bites owners Stephen & Rich at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Apres Vin owners, Eric & Lori, left, with Sound Bites owners Stephen & Rich at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Communi-Tea Kombucha

April 16, 2009

Kombucha is the Western name for sweetened tea or tisane that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a “kombucha colony”.

Communi-Tea Kombucha is sold in earth-friendly reusable bottles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Communi-Tea Kombucha is sold in earth-friendly reusable bottles. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

The recorded history of this drink dates back to the Qin Dynasty in China (around 250 BC). The Chinese called it the “Immortal Health Elixir,” because they believed Kombucha balanced the Middle Qi (Spleen and Stomach) and aided in digestion, allowing the body to focus on healing. Knowledge of kombucha eventually reached Russia and then Eastern Europe around the Early Modern Age, when tea first became affordable to the populace. (For more information on the history of kombucha and more, go to Wikipedia.)

Communi-Tea Kobucha comes to the Market by bicycle power. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Communi-Tea Kobucha comes to the Market by bicycle power. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Communi-Tea has Washington’s first WSDA-licensed kombucha facility. The reuse their bottles and use an electrically-assisted bicycle trailer for hauling and deliveries.

Support Your Local Dairy!

April 1, 2009

Golden Glen Creamery produces a broad line of cow's milk dairy products. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Golden Glen Creamery produces a broad line of cow's milk dairy products. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Golden Glen Creamery used to be one of those nameless, faceless dairy farms that sold to the local big dairy company. You know these companies well, as the big box grocery store near your house has a dairy cooler full of cartons of milk from them. You have no idea what farm’s milk is in that carton, or how they raised their cows. In fact, there may be the milk of dozens of farms in those cartons — certainly of thousands of cows.

Golden Glen got a better idea: it decided to market dairy products under its own farm name. Now it can control every aspect of its milk and dairy products production, and we reap the rewards. Milk from cows raised on real pasture, instead of a confinement barn, not only tastes different (and better), but it is also healthier, both for the cows and us. And if you compare milk from between local dairies, you can actually taste the difference in their pastures and in the breeds of their cows in the milk itself. 

Golden Glen produces cheese, sure, but it also produces butter, cream and milk, including chocolate milk. If you haven’t tried these market rarities, you don’t know what you’re missing. And perhaps one of the coolest things about Golden Glen is that it bottles its milk in returnable glass bottles! Glass better protects the integrity of the flavor of the milk, and it is much lighter on our environment, especially considering they reuse them.

Estrella Family Creamery

April 1, 2009
Estrella's Guapier & Old Apple Tree Tomme (?) cheeses at the Market.

Estrella's Guapier and Old Apple Tree Tomme (?) cheeses at the Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Estrella Family Creamery, from Montesano, Washington, not only makes some of the finest cheeses in our state, they make some of the finest in the world. Indeed, at the 2008 World Cheese Awards in Dublin, Ireland, Estrella won three gold medals and two silver. In fact, Estrella has won 14 national or international awards in just the past three years.

Anthony Estrella and crew serving the patient throngs of Estrella cheese fans at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Anthony Estrella and crew serving the patient throngs of Estrella cheese fans at Ballard Farmers Market. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Kelli Estrella has been making cheese for the better part of 25 years, but it wasn’t until 2001 when she and her husband Anthony Estrella decided to leave the business world and take over an abandoned dairy farm in Grays Harbor County in Southwest Washington that she decided to make a career of it. There, Kelli makes the cheese while Anthony tends to the goats and the cows and the rest of the farm.

Kelli is like a mad scientist of cheese making of sorts. The Estrella website lists 18 different varieties of cheese, many more than most cheese makers make, though any of Kelli’s cheese-loving fans at Ballard Farmers Market will tell you she makes many more. She may have these other varieties in limited production or various forms of develop, not ready to declare them as having reached perfection. And a perfectionists she is, having told me she continues to experiment and put ideas through trials with the constant quest of developing the world’s best cheeses.

 

Estrella Black Creek Buttery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

Estrella Black Creek Buttery. Photo copyright 2009 by Zachary D. Lyons

While she may not be comfortable offering these test-cheeses to many cheese mongers and chefs who demand absolute consistency, Kelli revels in unleashing them upon the farmers market public, where she embraces her fans and friends alike with the knowledge that they are open to trying whatever she brings, happy to participate in the grand experiment while invariably thrilled to sample whatever the Estrellas have to offer. And Kelli gets immediate feedback from them, meaning market shoppers are helping her craft her increasingly world renowned cheeses.


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