Gallery: Honey Tasting by Leslie Seaton

I don't remember what got me started collecting honeys, but it turned out, I am saying immodestly, to be a great idea. Good job, Seaton.

Locally made honey makes a good souvenir. (That is, if, like me, you're either usually road tripping and/or you always check bags when you fly; if you're a carry-on bagger, this is probably less true.) It's truly a taste of a specific place, PLUS it's got a shelf life of nearly if not forever.

And, since they'll keep for a long time, you can collect many on your travels and then eventually (finally) taste them together.

That's what we did at a Slow Food Seattle picnic this past August and I have compiled all the tasting notes from that day. Click here or on the picture below to go to the gallery with the details about the 13 different honeys we tasted.

Click for the gallery

Click for the gallery

Buckwheat was definitely the one that inspired most description, whether loved or hated. Some notes were not surprising (maple tree honey tastes mapley, orange blossom honey tastes citrusy), but some were (saguaro tasted of coffee, Sonoran Desert wildflower honey tasted "almost savory" to one taster, but so sweet it "called me babydoll" to another).   

Lessons learned from this tasting:

  • A small condiment cup of honey will be more than enough for 10 or so people.
  • You only need about a tablespoon of each honey for that many people.
  • Put one spoon in the cup of honey that people can then use to transfer the honey to their own tasting spoon. (This might seem self-evident but it wasn't until fellow Slow Food board member Varin - who is a chef and therefore practices good spoon economy on a daily basis - made a comment that we realized we had just wasted an entire pile of tiny tasting spoons.)
  • You can provide toasts or cheeses, but honestly, I think just tasting them straight was the way to go.
  • I recommend a bubbly water or acidic something to go along with to refresh after all that sweetness.
  • Allow for some time; it was nice to taste a few and go do something else so as to have a chance to rest your palate. 

If you are in Seattle, for more events like this, please check out Slow Food Seattle. I'm happy to be on the board and we're all looking forward to putting on more creative and interesting events in 2015. (If you're not in Seattle, consider looking for your own local chapter and see what they've got going on.)

Swifts Night Out this Saturday, September 13, 2014 by Leslie Seaton

 And they came back! The sky was filled with them.

In the fall and spring, Monroe, WA, is the spot to observe some of nature's delightful weirdness. Small birds called Vaux's Swifts (pronounced "voxes") use a local chimney as a roosting spot during their migration. 

Not just some birds or a few birds but A LOT of birds. Last night's count was over 10,000, all descending at dusk within a few minutes into a single large chimney. 

The birds put on a group aerial display that is beautiful and strange and sort of even slightly magical even though it's just a completely explainable natural phenomenon. Taking a trip to Monroe to see the swifts is something I look forward to every year. 

You can see it any day at dusk during migration, but once during the fall season, Monroe makes a fun community event of it, with informative displays, a bird chat, spaghetti feed, crafts for kids, more. If you are free this Saturday, consider checking it out!

And if you can't make it this weekend, it's still worth a visit on a non-event day. See the Monroe Swifts site for the most recent count and to learn if the swifts are still flying. 

Highly recommend!

Click here for a full gallery of the swifts

Upcoming Seattle food events on Slow Food Seattle site by Leslie Seaton

A little Fresh-Picked-style post right now up on the Slow Food Seattle site. Some very cool events coming up in the Seattle area this month, including a free fermenting class, free nature walk with beer brewers, symposium on native food systems, talk on uncommon apples, cheese & cider celebrations and more. Check it on out.

Three years ago today: May Valley Trail by Leslie Seaton

 Slug. I am assuming banana.

Not every trip to the woods is a picturesque sylvan ramble. Sometimes one is instead grimly stepping around horseshit, mating slugs and corpse plants. Like this visit three years ago to the May Valley Trail. Preview below, full gallery here. NSFSW. (Not Safe for Slug Work due to graphic nature of some of the slug pictures. Probably safe for human work.) 

May Valley Trail, August 5, 2011

July encounters with flora and fauna by Leslie Seaton

I am about to post another "three years ago today..." post, and felt like I ought to just insert a quick "not three years ago" note just to break it up a little. I'll be posting more in-depth galleries of each of the below, but here are some highlights of the flora and fauna I met in July, including seals, raptors, chimps, a really aggressively affectionate elk, grizzlies (ok the bears were just via second-hand tales), peanut butter trees, berries, bees (of course).

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