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.)

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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Three years ago today: Cascade Head Trail by Leslie Seaton

Three years ago today, I was down in Lincoln City, OR, for a weekend planned around a seaweed foraging class. The class was on Sunday, so on Saturday, I decided to do a hike in the area. I lucked out with happening upon this Cascade Head Trail, a very beautiful Nature Conservancy hike.

As I note in the full gallery (click here for that), at that time, I usually specifically avoided hikes with any elevation gain, but this time, I think I forgot to check, and by the time I figured out what was happening, I was already sucked in by the beauty and trudged on. It's really not that much elevation gain, but for me it was a stretch.

This hike was perhaps the beginning of my Slug Awareness, and although it was another year and another hike (Bridal Veil Falls) that truly kicked off a desire to challenge myself more with hikes with elevation gains, I still look back at this as yet another turning point in my relationship with the outdoors. 

It was also the first in what has become an accidental annual tradition of doing a view hike on or near my birthday. Last year, once I realized I'd done a view hike for three years in a row, I decided this will be a new tradition, the Getting Up There Annual Birthday Hike. This week, it's my birthday again, and I've got a couple hikes planned Thursday and Friday of this week, and I'll report back on that trudging later.

Click here for the full gallery.