The North Olympic Land Trust
An Epicurean Local Meal!
This weekend, the North Olympic Land Trust is holding their big fundraiser, the 2014 Harvest Dinner. What makes this dinner unique is that 95% of the ingredients come from the North Olympic Peninsula. The only ones that do not come from here are things like olive oil, coffee, salt and pepper.
The dinner sold out at the beginning of September, in large part because it is a reflection of the incredible place where we live. On this Peninsula, we truly can create a high-class, gourmet meal that is almost completely local.
Even some of the nonlocal ingredients chef Arran Stark requested could have come from here if the general public could have accepted local substitutes. For instance, we grow an abundance of mustard seed in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and mustard seed is about 35% high-quality oil. However, its flavor is very different from olive oil, and people are accustomed to olive oil in their salad dressing. Butter made from local cream could be a substitute for cooking oil, but for 200 guests, it was prohibitively expensive. The point is, it could have been a completely local meal, had it not been for cost and expectations in flavor.
Even some rather unusual items can be produced in greenhouses on the Peninsula, such as bell peppers, hot peppers and even saffron, a spice featured at the dinner and grown in Joyce. But even though we don’t grow most spices here, we do have many wonderful herbs.
Local agriculture can supply all the basics, plus some extras, to feed us. Whether or not there would be enough to feed everyone is another issue. That depends on how much land we can save to grow food, and where we would find young people who are willing to farm. Raising funds to save local farmland is the purpose of the Harvest Dinner.
We heartily recommend the Harvest Dinner in 2015, where you will be able to enjoy a great meal that literally radiates the terroir of the North Olympic Peninsula and benefits the preservation of farmland here. But next year, get your tickets early! The word’s out—it’s the best dinner around, and it’s