Music, Food, and Chefs! Oh my!


(Top left) Jimmie Dale Gilmore, (top right) Moondoggies, (bottom left) Stilly River Band, and (bottom right) Clinton Fearon.

I’m just so excited! This weekend is the Slow Food Roots Music Festival. It’s a music festival unlike any you’ve ever attended. In addition to a veritable smorgasbord of tuneful delights, there will be chefs, art, a farmers market, wine & beer, and, oh yes, food! The concessions are all locally grown, farm-fresh, good-for-you eats. Take a peek:

  • Fifteen Hour Smoked Brisket & Pulled Pork – served on Bread Farm ciabatta with carrot cumin slaw & choice of bbq sauce
  • Del Fox Burgers & Sausages – served with choice of cheese, carmelized walla wallas, rhubarb ketchup, habanero relish, guinness roasted garlic or herb mustard
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob – basted with choice of brown sugar & coconut milk, cilantro & garlic butter, lime & chile butter, or herb butter & parmesan cheese
  • Raw Bar – Taylor Shellfish’ oysters and clams.  Served with choice of jalapeno mignonette, lemon oil mignonette, or lime and chile sorbet
  • Bacon Wrapped Enoki Mushrooms – served with ginger scallion sauce
  • A Taste for Plato – Mediterranean plate with hummus & baba ganoush served with pita and chick pea wraps
  • Dessert – Sweet chilled rice with a generous dollop of lemongrass yogurt and crushed berries

If you’re in the area (northern Snohomish County, Washington State) come join us for a fun, tasty, musical time. This shendig is a fund raiser for Slow Food Port Susan and many other local programs benefiting the lower Stillaguamish Valley.

Oh, and I’ll be pouring at the Slow Food Beer & Wine garden between 2 and 6pm. Stop on in!

Business is Business but Farming is Personal

Farming is not an occupation, it’s a calling. The farmers that I know are passionate about growing really good food. Additionally, they want to educate their customers and keep them informed, which, in turn, creates loyal customers.

Selling directly to customers creates some unique issues for farmers. Standard marketing methods don’t usually work that well for a couple of reasons: it’s too expensive and casts too wide a net. Farmers who sell directly to consumers need advertising methods that work on a personal basis. They also need to reach customers locally, which can be a challenge on the world wide web.

There are a number of online tools farmers can use to solve some of these issues and yet maintain steady relationships with customers. Blogs and social media are free, immediately accessible, and usually easier to understand and use than a website. What they take, however, is time and a certain amount of dedication to the relationships these tools create. Time is in short supply when weeds need pulling and there are goats to milk and cucumbers to harvest.

I believe the trick is to find and use the tools that best fit your business model and your personality. Let me give you an example: a blog is a great way to keep your CSA customers in touch with what is happening on the farm. If you hate to write, however, a blog is going to be agony to use. A better choice would be Twitter, which limits the size of your postings. You can announce, “Beets are here!” without having to spend lots of time putting together an entry. You can even Tweet from your phone.

Last fall, I explored a few ways you can use social media to improve your marketing ability. In truth, social media and blogs are so new, that there isn’t really a wrong way to use them. (Well, unless you use them illegally.) Any way that you can enhance your customer base using Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or Blogspot is valid. In fact, folks are quite encouraged to use social media in new and interesting ways.

I’m reserving a later posting to explore methods for reaching customers through social media, blogs, and other online tools. Stay tuned.


In my post on the Mother Earth News Fair, I quickly mentioned, which is a social network dedicated to sustainability. I want to mention it again, because I think that, as it grows, it’s going to become a valuable resource for those of us considering whole, healthy foods, local interdependence, community building, working with heirloom plants and animals, and saving our environment from further degradation.

There is a long video describing Earthineer in detail. For an overview of the latest features, see a shorter video. Both will give you a much better idea of how it works. There are also some tutorials on YouTube which can be found by searching for Earthineer.

In my opinion, this can be a good resource for everything from advice on raising chickens to forming crop mobs to trading goods and services locally. Check it out and see what you think.