Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Local on Orcas Island

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The Orcas Island Farmers Market is all about local — food grown locally and the people who live and work there. The “locals,” as they are known, think of many creative ways to bring in extra income in an environment that is even more expensive than the Seattle area. Pristine beauty comes with a price increasingly few people can afford. Gas is over $5 a gallon on the island and the average price for property sold in San Juan County was $914,799 for the month of June.

When I lived on Orcas in the late 70’s, the gap between wealthy part-timers and struggling-to-make-ends-meet locals was already beginning to widen. Fortunately, necessity is the mother of invention. I was part of a group of artists and craftspeople that created the Orcas Island Artworks, a co-op selling only local arts & crafts that is still thriving today.

The Orcas Island Farmers Market reminded me that living locally is not just about food, it is also about acknowledging all the ways we can all bring our talents to the table…

orcasfamersmarket7 of 44 orcasfamersmarket8 of 44 Cupcakes are always a favorite and these looked especially scrumptious.

Fresh oysters dipped in panko and pan-fried on the spot were equally irresistible.

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Children are a big part of island life and participate alongside parents and friends.

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But the lemonade stand took hold of my entrepreneurial spirit and wouldn’t let go. I know lemons aren’t local but each glass was hand-squeezed, shaken with organic sugar, filtered water and garnished with lemon zest. A dash of sea salt was the perfect artisanal touch and made the $4-a-glass price completely worth it.

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My visit to a small community farmers market reminded me that “local” encompasses all that makes a place unique with food providing the common ground that brings us all together.

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1 Responses »

  1. Poppy, I love this photo essay and your accompanying reflections. Makes me wonder why some Seattle-area Farmers Markets have expanded vending and others haven’t, if it’s space, or a conscious decision made in certain communities. Something to check out.