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Sunday, July 18, 2010

~Onion's Day Out~ Walla Walla Onion Festival Farmer's Market Extravaganza!

This last Saturday was the not only the Farmer's Market but the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival on downtown Main st.  Despite roaring Walla Walla valley July sun really rolling up its sleeves and getting down to business, it was drowned out by the roar of the crowds of local and visiting folks gathering for the festivities.  Live music, great food, hot sun, cold drinks and all kinds of fresh, local produce make for quite a day out!  Here are just a few of my favorites from my visit!

Gotta make mention of all the wonderful produce first and foremost!  Beautiful local rainbow chard at half price right when I arrived!  One of my favorite things from when I was small and the only way I would eat vegetables (according to my mom) was steamed chard with lots of onions and bacon!
Fresh local Oregon strawberries, blackberries, loganberries, sylvan berries, marionberries raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, black currants, red currants...  Only berries that I didn't really see this time (and sadly so) were black caps.  Win some, lose some I guess... but I'll count this week in the big win column!
Also picked up a seedless Hermiston-grown watermelon and a few little jewel sweet cantaloupes (from Bellinger Farms) for a little summer punch later on...  more on that later I promise.

You'll find no bigger fan of high quality apple cider than me any day of the week but I often shy away from flavored ciders natural or no.  They often take away from the apple too much but that isn't the case with Sheffield Cider's Cherry blend, heirloom apple cider!  
Subtle and fresh with a tangy "cherry pie" flavor tone (from tangy pie cherries of course!)  Sheffield's also makes an apply Classic Sweet, a slightly more tannic Vintage Dry, and a fresh harvest grape and apple cider called Harvest Crush.  Check it out and you'll be glad you did.


Another can't miss at the regular farmers market is Stone's Throw Farm's booth.  Located just a few miles out of town on Frog Hollow rd, Stone's Throw focuses on growing both their farm and all their produce using local, sustainable, honest practices and materials with heirloom and seed saver stock.
Just getting their orchard up and running, this year they're offering delicious raw juice for thirsty market goers.  With any combination you like of loads of apple, carrot, beets, and fresh ginger, raw juice lovers and folks just searching for a healthier alternative to soda or sugary lemon drinks will not have far to look!


Last but by far not least was a little trip to satiate my love of cheese!  I'm not gonna deny it...  Monteillet Fromagerie, the first true farmstead fromagerie in the Walla Walla area, creates artisan cheeses from a blend of high butter-fat, pasture-fed Freisan-Lacaune sheep and Alpine Goat milks, ensuring the creamiest, most flavorful and of course additive free end products.
While browsing and making my choice, I sampled 3 different cheeses from Monteillet including a paprika crusted subtle, tangy, tender-soft cheese; a Larzac nutty, semi-soft cheese divided by a layer of grape leaf ash; and (I think my favorite) a mild, earthy, soft, D'affinoise-like creamy Cardabelle Chevre!

These and so many other taste treats, along with as many skilled local musicians, potters, painters, and other craftsmen, all come together for a definite good time!  Summer inferno be damned!  If you're in Easter Washington and it's summer time, stop by.  I don't suspect you'll be disappointed!

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