Saturday, August 15, 2009
A Vashon Island Adventure
On Thursday I went with two girlfriends to Vashon Island, an island near Seattle in the Puget Sound. I hadn't been there in a dozen or more years-- I used to go to music camp there when I was in middle and high school. Today we had a very relaxed agenda. I met the girls at Theresa's house-- Theresa is one of my Bastyr friends. Our third group member, Nicole, is a first year student at Bastyr and a co-worker of Theresa's at Swedish hospital. We three got on swimmingly. We drove to West Seattle to catch a ferry, and after a quick 15 minute ride we were there.
Our first stop was a country store where we could pick blueberries. We got our paper bags from the cashier who proclaimed us ambitious for each wanting our own bag. Once we got to the blueberries we understood why-- there weren't enough berries to easily pick in volume-- many were small or not quite ripe. Nicole was more focused than Theresa and I and dutifully stayed at each bush picking the bush until there were none left. Theresa and I flitted from bush to bush, picking a few from each before losing interest and moving on to the next-- we chatted and snacked as we picked. In the end Nicole had picked four pounds to Theresa and my two. The weather was surprisingly Fall like-- after so many extraordinarily hot days, we seem to have used up our summer and have been plunged into Autumn-- it was in the 60s and raining. I wore a light sweater and jacket with Jeans.
After our berry picking we had lunch at a Restaurant called the Monkey Tree. The choices were limited for me, since even a promising salad had soy sauce in the dressing (which contains wheat). I settled on a black bean, corn and avocado salad, even though my digestion has not been terribly pleased with corn lately. The salad was good, although a little heavy in cilantro for my taste and I paid for the corn later. Theresa and Nicole shared an open face sandwich and black bean cakes which they proclaimed delicious, if rather rich (a lot of cheese was involved).
At the tiny restaurant we ate outside in a little courtyard lined with plants, many of which were edible. We picked peppermint to put in our water, and eucalyptus to sniff, while admiring the many other plants. Given the aforementioned fall-like weather and my cold lunch, I was freezing by the end of the meal. Nicole insisted I wear her jacket over mine when my lips started to turn purple (I told her she only really needed to worry when I started to turn blue but she said to wear the jacket anyway). We headed down the street to a little tea shop in a book store to warm up, where we delighted in the many kinds of tea with strange names. Our favorite names included Poodle Menage, and A Night in Missoula.
Tea in hand, we headed back to the car where we discovered sweet peas growing wild and stopped to eat a pea or two. We hopped in the car determined to find Sea Breeze farm, which is a staple at Seattle farmer's markets for milk, eggs and meat. When we arrived at the address it occurred to us that perhaps the farm is not open to the public, since it was down a road marked private, and no sign alerted us to the farm's presence. We saw a man astride a horse in the driveway and asked if we were in the right place and if it was okay to visit the farm. He said it was, so we drove down the drive where we were greeted by large pens of chickens, pigs and cows, along with two rogue chickens who seemed to have escaped their pen, and two happy dogs who wanted us to play fetch. We visited the animals a few minutes and prepared to leave when George, one of the owners, emerged from the farm house and welcomed us in. He told us he was in the midst of bottling wine and wondered if we'd like to come see. In the cellar George was bottling wine at a rapid rate, making room he told us, for a new lower priced blend they were planning soon. The wine he was bottling, a Shiraz, was scheduled to rest another 6 months before selling, but he offered to sell us bottles on the spot for $10 each-- we each bought a label-less bottle, which he told us could be consumed in the next two weeks, or else to wait 6 months since in the interim the wine would go into "bottle shock" and be less delicious.
We left the farm with just minutes to spare before the next ferry and drove aboard in the nick of time. We had a wonderful adventure full of delicious discoveries and fun conversation.
When I got home I made chicken breast, roasted yukon gold potatoes, and sauteed collard greens from my garden in garlic and olive oil. I haven't made cooked greens in months, ever since the warmer weather hit I have preferred salad, but on this cool day cooked greens seemed right. I poured myself a glass of the Sea Breeze wine, which turned out to be one of my favorite wines ever-- dry, sharp and complex it tasted slightly of chocolate (which I have read described on wine labels, but never really experienced before) and berries. I sat and ate dinner alone, since Marc was working late, and thoroughly enjoyed every bite. It was a great end to a lovely day.