By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We have become an incubator for several small food businesses,” said Jefferson County Farmers Market Director Will O'Donnell.
“We want to showcase some of these food producers and connect them to the public.”
The mostly free event takes place Saturday and Sunday with a series of classes, demonstrations and tours.
O'Donnell defines artisan food as food made by an individual by hand.
This is a contrast to the mass-produced food served in restaurants and available in markets.
O'Donnell said artisan food can eventually be manufactured but needs to start small, in someone's kitchen or a small restaurant.
“At first, they need to take time to learn their craft,” O'Donnell said.
“And they can also spend time at the farmers market finding out what people want and getting to know their customers.”
Jefferson Healthcare hospital chef and festival presenter Arran Stark calls Jefferson County “a culinary mecca” that harkens back to simpler times.
“We all want to see the face of the farmer, the face of the producer,” Stark said.
“It goes back to the old days when the farmer would come around and pull back a tarp and say, 'These are your only vegetable options,' and your fishmonger would come by and say, 'These are the fish that I have.'
“To be able to connect menus to what's happening locally is a pretty cool thing.”
Some local examples of artisan food producers are the Pane d'Amore bakery, the Mount Townsend Creamery, Propolis Brewing and Bob's Bagels.
The area also has several high-quality cider- and winemakers, O'Donnell said.
Local distillers, wine-, cider- and beer-makers will be on hand throughout the weekend.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the Port Townsend Farmers Market will feature more than 75 vendors.
It also will add an extra location for special guest vendors from Hama Hama Seafood, Wild Sage Teas, Chocolate Serenade and CB's Nuts.
They will be in front of the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St.
Inside the community center, the Cedar Root Folk School will offer a daylong list of artisan food-making classes taught by some of the market's vendors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Outside, Stark will host cooking demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Special guests will be on the market's music stage.
The festival's only paid event will be a local dinner reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ravenscroft Inn, 533 Quincy St., catered by Hadley Nye.
It will feature a reception and readings by Kurt Timmermeister, who wrote Growing a Farmer and Growing a Feast, and Leora Bloom, author of Washington Food Artisans.
Tickets are $50 and are available on the website www.porttownsendartisanfoodfest.com.
An artisan cocktail-tasting, courtesy of the mixologists at Cellar Door, 940 Water St., will cap Saturday's events from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
On Sunday, the Artisan Food Tour, a free self-guided tour of several of East Jefferson County's food and wine facilities, is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tour of yum
Visitors can start anywhere on the tour, which includes:
■ Port Townsend Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend.
■ Mount Townsend Creamery, 338 Sherman St., Port Townsend. Tours are available only at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. on the hour.
■ Alpenfire Cider, 220 Pocket Lane off Cape George Road, Port Townsend.
■ Whiskey Hill Goat Dairy, 2333 Cape George Road, Port Townsend.
■ Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 62 Barn Swallow Road, Chimacum.
■ Marrowstone Vineyards, 423 Meade Road, Marrowstone Island.
■ Mystery Bay Farm, 72 Beveridge Lane, Nordland. Tours available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. only.
■ Eaglemount Wine and Cider, 2350 Eaglemount Road, Chimacum.
■ Hama Hama Seafood, 35846 N. U.S. Highway 101.
“Food is becoming part of culture. People are approaching food in the same way they used to approach music and art,” O'Donnell said.
“Tourists used to go to places like Santa Fe [N.M.] to enjoy and purchase art. Now, they are traveling to different regions in order to sample the unique local food.”
Port Townsend, he said, is a worthy food destination, and the festival will help spread that message.
For more information and tickets to the evening events, visit www.porttownsendartisanfoodfest.com.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.