Posted by: Jill | November 18, 2008

Eating Well in the Pacific Northwest

When I moved to Seattle, I made it a goal to eat as locally and seasonally as possible.  I am not 100% effective, limited by a combination of budget, time, and weak willpower (can I give up tea and rice? Um, no).  But I have a few simple food rules that make it easy to eat in a way that is healthy, varied, delicious, and easy on the planet

  • Purchase produce only from the farmer’s market — it’s the lazy way to make sure that I’m only eating seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Eat very little meat — I can’t afford to always eat the type of high quality, locally produced, grass-fed, free-range, etc. meat (I like to call this “meat from happy cows”), so I eat it only rarely, as a special treat.
  • Cook from scratch, using as many ingredients as possible from the bulk foods section of the grocery store.

Local, seasonal eating is getting a lot of press.  Is it an approach to food that’s only for the elite?  It doesn’t have to be.  For me, local and seasonal eating is about enjoying food and being good to the Earth.

My roommate and I just started receiving a box of vegetables and fruits from (mostly) local farms within a few hours of Seattle.  It’s not exactly the same thing as a CSA, but it is a really good, affordable, convenient source of excellent produce.  I’ve been looking forward to this all week!  My menu tonight centered around that bushel of chard and the delicious broccoli, with baked apples for dessert.

My First Veggie Box

My First Veggie Box

Before it was veggie box season for me, it was BLACKBERRY SEASON.  Himalayan blackberry, Rubus discolor, is an invasive plant in the Pacific northwest.  It grows well in high-sun environments, like the edges of forests, roads, bike paths, and neglected front yards.  It grows into dense thickets and outcompetes native plants.  It’s a pain to remove because it has mean thorns, thick stems, and huge rootballs that will regenerate unless they’re entirely removed from the soil.  I’ve spent many hours volunteering with local restoration groups to dig out and remove this unwanted weed.


I also LOVE wild blackberries.  They grow like weeds (haha! they are weeds), the berries get huge, and because they’re wild you can find them everywhere.  When blackberries fruit in late summer, it’s difficult for me to ride my bike anywhere because I want to stop every few minutes and pick berries.  YUM.

Pete returned from a day of hiking with several gallons of fresh berries and promptly turned them into a homemade-with-love-and-sugar blackberry pie.  Without a doubt, blackberries are my favorite invasive species, ever.

Blackberry pie



  1. YUM! What an appropriate Thanksgiving posting!

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