Entry 21: Your Fall Table Made Hyper-Local
Back in the day, Martha Stewart terrorized women with her standard of perfection. How could we hold jobs, raise children, AND set a table worthy of having the Queen over. For example, when serving tarts, which flowers set in pretty milk pitchers completed the table? Tarts that took hours to prepare. Flowers that took forever to wilt under her smiling, yet stern, tutelage. In those days, raising two kids and running a consulting firm which took me on the road for a week every three weeks, I was lucky to have my socks match.
But I thought of Martha this past weekend at the Farmer’s Market, when the idea of a Bellingham-style, hyper-local challenge popped into my mind. What would happen if I challenged myself—and you—to make a fall meal and set a fall table using as many local elements as possible?
See my results below. Wouldn’t Martha be proud!
1. Crockery from One Heron Pond Studio: Deming: The spark of inspiration for my Fall Table Hyper-Local Challenge was an unusual magenta and yellow mixing bowl on a rainy Saturday Market day. Imagine how happy I was when I saw it was 50% off! In addition to taking home the prize, Alicia, co-owner of One Heron Pond—Andy is the artist and Alicia describes herself as “the bragger”—gave me her recipe for her squash soufflé. I could bake my soufflé right inside my new bowl. I wandered the market, bowl in hand, thinking how I could piece together a locally-inspired meal beyond the bowl… One Heron Pond Studio: 4800 Mt Baker Hwy, Deming, and at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market.
2. Accessories from local batik artist Margot Bianca Every table setting needs a napkin, and Costco paper towels wouldn’t meet the challenge. Margot Bianca’s table at the market, spread with luscious colored batik napkins, caught my eye. A walking buddy had told me about them. She used her batik tea towels to blow her nose as we hiked. Okay, sounds gross, but after a few washes, they truly are so soft. And so beautiful on the table. Even Margot’s website is a happy place. So the next gloomy fall day, go there: MargotBianca.patternbyetsy.com.
3. Delicata Squash from the Farmers Market
- Now with bowl and napkins in hand, I went on a hunt for local ingredients, which blessedly at the market are easy to find. I bought 3 medium sized Delicata squash, the ones that are cream colored with green stripes running top to bottom. With my market bag overflowing between crockery, napkins, and squash, I was ready to go home and see what local ingredients I had in my pantry.
4. Farm fresh eggs from Annie’s Egg Shack on Mt. Baker Hwy
I had gotten eggs the week before from Annie’s Egg Shack, a farm stand on Mt. Baker Hwy that offers eggs and blown glass for your garden. We stopped for the eggs, which I’ve been saving for the right dish, and left with a blue-green glass flame. Some guy who’d also stopped for eggs shared with us that the glass artist was a protégé of Chihuly. All the beauty at a fraction of the price? I’ll take it, and my eggs. Annie’s Egg Shack, 2499 Mt Baker Hwy.
In the end, my soufflé was delicious and oh-so-pretty in its colorful, locally made bowl, with local catch and a locally crafted table setting, including leaves from our garden and a vase our daughter made in her ceramics class at Bellingham High. Our friend and client, Bob Goldman, grew the decorative gourd. If anyone else decides to take the Fall Table Hyper-Local Challenge, I sure hope you shoot me a photo. And if you want the squash soufflé recipe, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.