Issaquah residents can learn to tackle noxious weeds

May 9, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 9, 2011

King County’s least-wanted offenders can be found in open spaces, and along roads and creeks. The invasive and noxious weeds can damage natural habitats and economic resources.

The county is offering a class and workshops throughout the spring and summer to help property owners find and control the rogue invaders.

The least-wanted list includes plants, such as garlic mustard.

Discoveries of large garlic mustard infestations in the Coal Creek Natural Area in Bellevue and along the Cedar River last year raised concerns. Before, garlic mustard had been primarily limited to a few Seattle parks.

The weed, a fast-spreading biennial introduced to North America from Europe, moves quickly into forests and out-competes native understory species.

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Find a niche at Issaquah Hobby & Volunteer Expo

May 3, 2011

Looking for a quilting club? How about a hiking group or a nonprofit that helps veterans?

Hobby hunters and volunteer enthusiasts need look no further than the 12th annual Hobby & Volunteer Expo, held at the same time as the Issaquah Farmers Market May 7 at Pickering Barn.

“It has just been a fantastic tradition, an annual event, in which community programs and hobby groups can get together and, one, network with each other, and two, put the word out that they exist and they are looking for members,” Issaquah Recreation Coordinator Cathy Jones said.

The expo targets a number of people: youths looking for volunteer opportunities; Issaquah newcomers looking for groups to join; empty nesters or recent retirees searching for new outlets; and just about anybody in need of a new venture.

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Feel like dissing the weather?

April 19, 2011

Disgusted? Disgruntled? Dismayed? When it comes to the weather, all of the above work for me.

The cold, the rain and, as of this writing in April, the snow make gardening seem like a remote consideration. I know the blackberries, shotweed and dirty Robert don’t even care; they are out there going at it no matter what. C’mon, gardeners. We have to rally the troops.

Before I can be optimistic I have to convince myself, so I looked in my trusty garden diary to see if there is any hope for decent weather in our future. Some years are just plain bad, but thinking that is not an option. So, I looked for a hopeful weather pattern, and I found a recent one.

In 2009, my forsythia by the garage was in full bloom the first week in April. In 2010, that same forsythia peaked at the end of February, nearly six weeks earlier. This year, it was full during the first week in April again, the same as 2009. It took six weeks from first blossom to peak bloom this year due to cold weather. I was astounded by the difference in bloom times from year to year and the impact of the weather, not the season, on the blossoms.

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What’s fresh at the market?

April 12, 2011

Issaquah market returns April 16, features updated lineup

Evangeline Flickinger, 2, of Snoqualmie, meets Maximus/Minimus, the pig-shaped sandwich truck, at last year's opening day for the Issaquah Farmers Market. By Greg Farrar

Expect a thoroughly modern market boasting artisan products and street snacks, plus the usual organic produce, as the Issaquah Farmers Market returns April 16.

Sellers and patrons descend on the bucolic Pickering Barn site from all directions. The bustling Costco across the street also attracts customers to the market.

The market is a boon. The historic barn can attract up to 4,500 people on a busy Saturday. Crowds build throughout the season as rain turns to sunshine, temperatures inch upward and sellers proliferate.

The historic Pickering Barn site nods to Issaquah’s agricultural roots. The local market predates other Eastside farmers markets by several years. The market opened in downtown Issaquah early on, and then settled at the barn more than a dozen years ago.

The market includes farmers from East King County and Eastern Washington, artists and craftspeople from throughout the Evergreen State, and a Seattle food truck sporting ears and a pig snout. Entertainers plan to roam the grounds throughout the season.

Longtime sellers include beekeepers, carpenters, farmers and jewelers, though the market changes from season to season. The eclectic lineup includes fresh offerings as the bazaar returns for a 21st season.

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Celtic band The Fire Inside makes simply complex tunes

April 5, 2011

Irish music lithely springs from its instruments during reels, jigs and pub songs.

The Fire Inside, a local Celtic band, entertains diners at Vino Bella in Issaquah on St. Patrick’s Day. Contributed

“I like it because it’s actually quite simplistic, but you can make it complex,” Issaquah violinist Tami Curtis said. “It’s just plain fun. It puts a smile on your face.”

Curtis and six other local musicians, living in an area stretching from Issaquah to the Snoqualmie Valley and up to Redmond, have formed a Celtic band named The Fire Inside.

The band is the brainchild of Carol Whitaker, of Fall City. Whitaker played for an informal group, and she knew several other people who played in bands about town. She wanted to play more challenging Celtic music, so she took her flute and penny whistle and formed a group of her own this past winter.

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Issaquah Farmers Market seeks vendors

March 15, 2011

The popular Issaquah Farmers Market returns April 16.

In the meantime, market organizers continue to attract vendors to the Pickering Barn market. The city is hosting a meeting for potential vendors from 9 a.m. to noon March 26 at the barn, 1730 10th Ave N.W.

Potential vendors should bring a product sample to be juried. Call 837-3311 to learn more.

The farmers market runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from mid-April to Oct. 28. The market features seasonal produce, crafts, food vendors, and demonstrations or live entertainment each week.

Is produce losing its punch?

January 18, 2011

A customer and a store worker share a conversation at a table of the early-season offerings during the 2009 opening day at Newcastle Fruit and Produce. By Greg Farrar

Eating the recommended two cups of fruits and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables may no longer be enough to get the nutrients that our bodies need in order to survive.

A little more than a decade ago, Anne-Marie Mayer conducted research on 20 United Kingdom-based crops from 1930-1980. What she found was that the mineral concentrations in fruits and vegetables were decreasing.

No longer is produce as healthy as once thought. Read more

Organizations offer tips to eat local wares during holiday feasts

December 17, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 17, 2010

Find cranberries for a Christmas treat, or hazelnuts to add a touch to a holiday dessert, from a local producer.

The countdown to Christmas is in the single-digit days, and as shoppers start to stock pantries for the holiday, King County, Puget Sound Fresh and the Cascade Harvest Coalition offer a guide to find local ingredients for the holiday feast and seasonal celebrations.

The guide includes a tip for holiday shoppers: Farmers can be great resources for recipes and the best practices on storing and preparing purchases.

Despite the cold temperatures, shoppers can still pick up many Evergreen State wares.

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Organizations offer tips to find local wares for Thanksgiving feasts

November 13, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 13, 2010

Find the perfect apples for a holiday pie at a local farmers market.

Thanksgiving is little more than a week distant, and as shoppers start to stock pantries for the holiday, King County, Puget Sound Fresh and the Cascade Harvest Coalition offer a guide to find local ingredients for the feast.

Though the Issaquah Farmers Market has ended for the year, other farmers markets in the region continue to offer a selection of local wares. The markets also help support local agriculture.

The guide also includes a tip for holiday shoppers: Farmers can be great resources for recipes and the best practices on storing and preparing purchases. Farmers can also answer questions about interesting items to add to the holiday meal.

Issaquah offers grants to arts organizations, programs

November 9, 2010

The city Arts Commission seeks cultural organizations and programs for the latest round of arts grants.

Each year, the city awards grants to organizations to present performances and programs in the city and local schools.

Organizations must apply for the grant dollars by Nov. 15. Download the application here.

For 2010, commissioners awarded $128,825 to 21 projects. The lineup included ArtWalk, Issaquah Farmers Market entertainment, Concerts on the Green, Shakespeare on the Green, performances at local schools and programs to help troubled youths.

The city generates money for the grants though a 5 percent admissions tax on movie theaters and special events.

Commissioners received 22 grant applications from 18 organizations for the 2010 grants. The commission recommended 21 grants to the City Council for approval.

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