Monday, September 08, 2008

Looking Through the Eyes of Out-of-Town Visitors and a Dog: The Walla Walla Farmer's Market

If you have not taken the time to consume the sights, the sounds and the delicious smells of the Walla Walla Farmer's Market you have until the weekend of October 25-26 to do so. Now - - don't expect to find a bottle of Walla Walla wine for sale at the market, located on Main & 4th, but you will find many other items that make perfect accents for wine: from fresh produce to decorated wine glasses.

During the month of June, I had the pleasure of long time family friends from Seattle stay with me for a weekend. I had to work that particular Saturday morning, but I told my guests if they were looking for something to do until I returned, not to miss the Walla Walla Saturday Market downtown. Sometimes those of us who have been living in Walla Walla for many years, and especially before the wine-influence, often take for granted the many things that Walla Walla has to offer. I know I've been guilty. Unfortunately, at that time, I hadn't taken the opportunity to get to the market this season, so it was a great surprise (and reminder) to see the market from fresh eyes and the added benefit of enjoying their Saturday Market “harvest” which included: Monteillet Fromagerie cheese, food-to-go vendors, cookies, baguettes, local produce and fresh herbs. My guests were so impresssed with the assortment, the quality, the fresh flowers, chattered up the bake goods, the Monteillet cheese and of course, being from Seattle, my guests said if only the market had fresh caught fish and seafood from the docks of the Walla Walla Bay (ahem...), it would be even better!

And since my friends visit, I have made several trips back and with different reasons. Here are a few: looking for a morning adventure and in hopes of running into friends and acquaintances, to pick up local fresh produce for cucumber and onion salad, in search of the fresh green bean to fill the needful crave of Grandma's recipe of simmering green beans and Walla Walla Sweets, only fresh basil would do for the evening's spaghettini, finding fresh ingredients to make sofrito to spread on crostinis - - and when toasting crostini, I needed bread from Hidden Valley Bakery and John’s Wheatland Bakery (and at either bakery, I could not resist the fresh fruit Danish and croissants) and one last reason - - to socialize Chloe.

Chloe? Who's Chloe, you ask? She's a beige/white 8-month-old Yorki-Poo, with one blue eye and one brown. She is all but 7 lbs wet and I'm told won't get much bigger. "Chloe-Bird" was the ultimate birthday gift to myself, when a previously planned gift/event had failed. I had known about this little four-legged bundle of energy for awhile and it has been almost two years since I've been without a four legged companion and always having one in the last 25 years. Well, once I saw her - - well - - we needed each other. The Walla Walla Farmer’s Market has been a wonderful outlet to visit with other dog owners and for my little Chloe-Bird to "visit" with other dogs. She especially loves the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market when the “dog treat lady” is there to give out samples. Chloe lines up with the rest of the tail-waggin' customers and samples the delectable hand-made natural treats. Looking at the Walla Walla Farmer's Market from Chloe's view, she keeps so busy that she has to nap on the way home, which is rare for her to stay settled in the car.

When you first enter the market on Main Street, you immediately hear the tunes of local musicians and smell the food from the many vendors. Trust me - you will want to arrive hungry. During one of my last visits, even Washington State Representative Maureen Walsh was grilling up the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion sausages from Onion World, her family’s business. Graze Catering is also at the market and everytime I walk by the booth to say hi to John, it's busy! At the other end of the market is often my friend Paul Freeman with "The Grill." Paul and his assistants serve up some of the most tender and flavorful Santa Maria-style Tri-tips. At my house, we've enjoyed some of The Grill's specialities and if you're a Cougar fan, you may have already tasted The Grill's BBQ at the WSU Field House during football season (and Paul has recently purchased the historic old town bank building on Main Street in Milton-Freewater, OR).

If you want "fresh," you will find a great selection of local veggies, fruits and herbs from various vendors. I have enjoyed tomatoes, cukes, peppers, green beans, onions, fresh herbs, and even blackberries from vendors such as R & R Produce, Ideal Organics, and Locati Farms, to name a few. And with an armful of bags filled with veggies, herbs, berries, focaccia, baguettes and morning pastries, it's a pleasure, and comfort, knowing the Blue Mt. Humane Society is also in attendance. They are not only featuring their non-profit programs, but guiding pet owners how to care for their furry companions during "the dog days of summer. "

Calling out to Aimee, Bud, Skip and everyone else on the board, including vendors and volunteers: Congratulations on another successful year!

7 comments:

Sue said...

Catie
Great "shout out" for the WW Farmer's Market. I totally agree that Paul Freeman has the best Tri Tips around this place. My friend lived in Moscow and commuted and would bring a Tri Tip for dinner frequently. We were thrilled when he showed up to the WW Farmer's Market this year. For all those that pass that smell up they should stop and take one home.

jthogg said...

The Downtown Walla Walla Foundation has done a great job this year. This is my fifth year living here and the events get better each season. Way to go, guys!

samuraicindy said...

Dog socialization and other info sharing: wallawalladogs.ning.com

Betsy said...

FYI ~ The Walla Walla Farmer's Market is running independently from the WWDT Foundation now, as it was last year. So, that has made even MORE events to choose from. The Market continues to increase in variety and size. It's great fun every Saturday and is a smaller version at the same location on Sunday.
Betsy

Jeff said...

Betsy,

My bad!

Jeff

Ashley V. Routson said...

Oooooh la la. I want to be YOUR out of town visitor!!! I will visit with Vinquire and we can go get some of those infamous Tri Tips for dinner ... mmmm. AND BACON!

And Chloe is SUPER cute. I am totally a dog person!

Catie said...

Hey Beer Wench!

It's good to see you in this "neck of the woods." Would love to have you and Vinnie drop by and we can find a good Walla Walla wine to pair with... BACON!

Cheers,
C~

PS: To fans of beer out there, Ashley aka as Beer Wench has a great beer blog. Check it out:
http://drinkwiththewench.com/