• Make common cause with place

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    by Barbara Schaetti

    This is in part a story of procrastination! I borrowed a bowl last December, early in the borrowing season, and yet here it is September 3rd, with the auction almost upon us, and I am only now posting photos and the story of read more...

  • A Six Bowls Fellowship

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    by Liz Florkowski

    In March, a small group of four gathered to eat, drink, and be merry. The Bowl, from Coupeville’s Bayleaf, held an aromatic seafood curry. The meal filled our bellies and the fellowship filled our souls. read more...

  • The Bowl That Came to Visit

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    by Dinah Stinson

    I have been inquiring of this borrowed, gifting bowl for several days now. We are gazing partners. I am in relationship with it, and it stirs many things in me, like AWE – Awe of a community which continually dreams up new opportunities read more...

  • Step-by-step instructions for setting up your garden

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    by Pam Mitchell

    A step-by-step manual for setting up your own home food growing system. It’s not too late to start, even if it’s already summer!

    Gardening-Workshop-2014 (pdf)

  • Borrow A Bowl For A Bash

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    by Tom Trimbath 

    Borrow a bowl! Why yes, I’d be happy to because I had something to celebrate. I was going to keep my house. Well, really I was going to be in a trial period that may result in a mortgage modification that may have read more...



Trowbridge Thanksgiving

by Cynthia Trowbridge

The Trowbridge Family Thanksgiving, 2013.

The Trowbridge Family Thanksgiving, 2013.

Thanksgiving is one of our very favorite holidays. We share our gratitude and connection with an ever changing group of family and friends. We gathered a group of seventeen this year ranging in age from 1 to 70.We chose to use our bowl of beautiful, glittering glass for a vibrant fruit salad. Just as we gathered around the table to bless the food and fill our plates, we glanced up and saw that the setting sun was reflecting back to us the colors in our bowl.This year we had such a bountiful garden that we canned the fruits and vegetables of our labor. Realizing we could never use it all before we start eating out of next year’s garden, we filled baskets with jars of jams, jellies, chutneys, salsas, and pickles and offered them to our guests as a parting gift.

Spiced Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Kale



Ishii-Campbell Thanksgiving

by Jill Ishii-Campbell

Campbell-Ishii_Thanksgiving_IIILucky Bowl.  You got to spend a wonderful day with our family.  We filled you with a lovely Kale and Beet Salad, and you sat beside so many other pretty and delicious dishes while we all dug in and talked nonstop about all that is going on in our varied lives.  Aurelio and Benito, our grandchildren, loved having us all together and in time will look forward to Thanksgiving gatherings as we have always done.  Food is very important to us and we cherish the making and the sharing of it.  As an extended family of mostly vegans, we are bonded by not just the flavors of food, but the ideology as well.
One dish that we have every year is not necessarily a healthy one, but a favorite nonetheless.  Orange-glazed Yams Jill's-yam-recipefrom my grandmother’s Sunset Magazine cookbook.  1933.  I decrease the sugar a bit, but pretty much follow the original recipe.  I figure that at least it doesn’t have marshmallows!  (And nowadays, you can even buy VEGAN marshmallows.)  This year, I baked a Japanese-ish type stuffed Kabocha squash– fragrant with ginger and shiitakes.  Along with mashed potatoes, Fieldroast, corn pudding, three types of gravy,  and at least five other dishes, we had plenty to enjoy.  Pumpkin Roll Cake, Banana Cream Pie, Fruitcake and Roasted Beet & Winter Green Salad.

Elisha Ishii with a slice of vegan lemon meringue pie.

Our daughter Elisha even made a Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert.  Most everything was gluten free too, to accommodate a wheat allergy.  It’s so odd to always have people wonder what vegans eat, when there is such abundance……..


Feeding Writers at Hedgebrook Farm

by Cathy Bruemmer

P1230046fWith abundant sunshine and enough heat it has been a great year in the garden. I have the pleasure of tending the vegetable garden at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers. It’s a beautiful space with raised beds, flowers, fruit trees and vines. For twenty-five years produce for the kitchen and bouquets for the table have been grown here. Thousands of women from around the country and across the globe have come to Hedgebrook to focus on their work. Our garden helps nourish them, both body and soul, with that literal connection to the land.
P1220966fP1230041fAt this time of year it’s all about the fruit. Apples, pears, grapes and kiwi are abundant.Our food dehydrators are running daily and the freezer is full. The fruit flies are out of control. The change of seasons has been abrupt and it feels like time to hunker down with a good book.
P1230036fLike all of us the land needs rest. Most years we have a decent sized winter garden, so all the writers who come get some homegrown produce. This year, with the exception of two garlic beds, the entire garden is planted in cover crop. It was a difficult task, harvesting all that remained in the final days of September. Baby greens that could have been big salads in November became tiny salads. With the help of my good friend Anne, we cleared every bed and planted a mix of grains and legumes. Then the rains hit and this week the optimism that comes with emerging seeds is back. Sprouts are up and netting is going down to ensure the potential future fertility doesn’t become bird food today.The following recipes are by Hedgebrook’s chefs, Denise Barr and Julie Rosten:Carrot Ginger Orange Soup
Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad
Apple Raspberry CrispOrder the Hedgebrook cookbook here.

New Beginnings

W001By Penny Keala Bauer

Many years ago, I began photographing the hands of elders offering us symbolic gifts. This became The Gifts Project. The very first image/gift came in the form of these puffballs grown in the backyard of Nan in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This offering then and today remains a symbol for the seeds of new beginnings.

Imagine my delight when I first spoke to Annie at Deep Harvest Farm about the Six Bowls project… and she suggested the image of a bowl of seeds from the Deep Harvest gardens. Here she and Nathaniel offer seeds of other new beginnings. Thank you, Annie and Nathaniel!

Annie and Nathaniel - Deep Harvest Farm

Annie and Nathaniel – Deep Harvest Farm


Introducing: A Garden Emerges

Pam Mitchellby Pam Mitchell

Pam’s Place Produce is an amalgamation of a number of different garden sites on the South End of Whidbey Island, totaling an area of a half acre in raised beds, as well as three large polytunnels as season extenders, to grow vegetables year-round and sell them at the Bayview Farmers’ Market. Pam’s Place Plants provides vegetable starts for sale from spring until late summer to enable Islanders to grow some of their own vegetables, and both the produce and the plant starts are grown using organic techniques and supplies, ensuring safe and nutritious products for the local market.

This blog will hopefully give the reader an experience of growing food commercially, which can be resized in a backyard garden to provide food for a family or single person year round as climate change makes it possible for us to keep plants alive through the winter months. 

Bayview Garden 4After 5 years of growing on a quarter acre of shared garden space in Clinton, I gave up my portion to the new owners of the property. They’ve shown great promise managing their quarter acre. I have now opened a new garden with about 30 boarded raised beds and rebar hoops in Bayview. I began by covering the entire grassed area with black plastic (scrounged from the dumpster at a local lumberyard) and secured it with landscape staples (purchased from a local nursery) that stayed on the surface until I removed the pieces, starting in October.
Squash HarvestBut just to make good use of the area this year, I planted over 100 squash and pumpkin plants through holes in the plastic in early June, and they created a jungle of foliage that engulfed the space and produced many fruits, which became visible as the greenery died back over the next month.

Stay tuned for the next installment when the plastic comes off and the construction begins…

A Memory For Blue and White Porcelain

by Judith Walcutt
Bowl with dragon
Before we received our bowl for blessing, I didn’t know how it would look or what I might feel when I saw it.

The assorted bowls of our lives narrate time and space back to us, if we stop for a moment and think where each came from and when we’ve used it most or last. Is it Grandma Jo’s bowl for mashed potatoes on holidays or the big white one we were given at our wedding, serving us well for over 25 years at summertime potlucks? Some bowls at the back of my cabinet I’ve had since I was a single woman; they have their own dinner tales to tell.

A new bowl, with no history, is quite unique in the vocabulary of our table accoutrements. I wondered what it would be like to be part of the authorship of the story it will tell from now onwards.

Just before this unknown bowl arrived, it had been my birthday. A package from my oldest friend (we go back to Wee Folk Nursery School) arrived at my door. It contained a fragment of pottery with a dragon’s head on it, clearly from a very old Chinese vessel, possibly even a bowl, as it has a slightly curved surface. It is mounted in a silver bezel and made into a necklace so that it can be worn. The information that came with the piece is translated from the Chinese in the interesting way that sometimes happens when non-native speakers are in charge and a random, poetic strangeness crops up in the word choices. This time, the language not only explained the provenance of the fragment (the Kang Xi Reign of the Qing Dynasty, 1661-1722), but also spoke its accidental poem into my heart upon reading it. In the literature, the shard is called “A Memory for Blue and White Porcelain” and those very words together with the blue and white piece brought back one of the strongest memories I have—both of my childhood and of blue and white porcelain.

Though it was the reign of Barbie and Ken, my friend and I shared a secret passion for an older time in children’s play, when make-believe tea parties and fairyland picnics were more ubiquitous. For such occasions of our own conjuring, we had matching child-sized, blue and white Willowware tea sets. My mother gave us one each, so that we would have enough cups and saucers and plates to serve ourselves as well as our attending company of important bears and a few good dolls.

It was typical of my mother to make sure everyone had enough tiny teacups to go around. Like a fairy-godmother in a Rackham-illustrated children’s book, she also made sure we had provisions for the party: petit-four cakes with pink fondant icing, real tea in the small pot, little slices of lemon on a miniature plate, and the final touch—tiny, hand-decorated sugar cubes in a blue and white, matching sugar bowl.

Apart from the charming accoutrements, the best thing was that we were unabashed about enjoying this innocent, holy, and singular time allowed us for such transcendent, transient experiences as tea parties in a made-up world. They were some of the happiest of times in our shared memories—these particular ones of a vanished childhood’s bliss. I was very moved by the gift my friend gave me—the fragment, the metonymic symbol, the metaphor, the memory of and for blue and white porcelain, capturing the essence of those two little girls in a luminous, golden time together.

This story might seem tangential to the tale of the bowl at hand,

but no– it is further proof that all things are interdependent and interstitially connected. When Penny Bauer brought us the bowl for our formal written blessings—I was stunned to see it—the sudden, unexpected blue and white of it, sitting immediately alongside my blue and white dragon’s head, an interpretive evocation of something old and special, now new, in a friendly, grown-up iteration.

What better way to launch this new bowl into its lifelong journey than by planting its collective memory with this seed: Here is a bowl which speaks to me of beautiful childhood moments and a deep and lasting friendship. May it carry that blessing forward in its gathering of further memories with many happy times among new and old friends, beloved family, and hosts of kindred spirits.

Our many thanks to artist Sharon Warwick for the gift of her bowl in our life—and to all the contributing island artists for setting this beautiful gesture in motion.


Apple Tree Garden – Center of Diversity

Mara GreyP1220361fby Mara Grey

As the current volunteer caretaker for the Appletree Garden at Chinook, I feel like I’ve been given the freedom to create my ideal garden, a mix of roses, herbs, flowers and edibles.
P1220366fP1220365fThere are plants from all over the world; Russia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan…a true center of diversity.

Growing Food at City Hall


Bernita Sanstad


Janet Ploof

by Bernita Sanstad

One of the most fun things associated with planting and maintaining the gardens around City Hall and the Boy and the Dog Park are the many and varied conversations I have with all the people who are attracted by the inviting flowers and delicious edible plants. Some people are local and some are from Europe, Canada and locations far and wide in the Greater Pacific Northwest.

Janet Ploof and I had a fun time talking with a couple from Brussels who explained that people in Europe just don’t understand the American fascination with kale we have planted! We encourage people to help harvest the plants that interest them, always being mindful of saving the fruit and veggies for others to enjoy also.

Cathy Rooks and Val Easton designed the gardens around City Hall to combine edible plants with flowers and to plant them in a way that would provide interest year around for the people living in and visiting Langley. Artists Jean White Savage and Nick Lyle added the inventive and practical metal sculpture that adds dimension and beauty throughout the garden. This was all accomplished in small spaces in front and down the walkway on the west side of the building that we have dubbed the “Pollinating Promenade” for its ability to attract bees. We added evergreens and art to the changing landscape of vegetables, fruit and flowers. Log House Plants and Renee’s Seeds donated a variety of edible and flowering seeds and plants that we used to create an interesting tableau of nature for everybody to enjoy.

Some of the most popular plants have been the Indigo Kumquat Tomatoes which were created to contain as much antioxidants as blueberries, the Columnar Apples which produced delicious tasting apples for both human and deer consumption, the tiny but very sweet Alpine Strawberries and the Pink Porcelain Doll Pumpkins so named because of their shiny pink tinted exterior. It’s been really fun to watch children enjoy eating the strawberries and blueberries and while they gingerly walk through the plants!

I never anticipated how much fun it would actually turn out to be spending time in the garden while supporting activities for Langley and volunteering for the Langley Main Street Association. The purpose of Main Street is to provide assistance to the City of Langley in keeping the downtown core of our town vital and interesting for everyone to enjoy.

P1210971fI now feel like kind of an “Ambassador for Langley” because of the connections I’ve made with so many people who visit and live in Langley.
Please visit me in the garden when you are in town!


New Bees at Chinook

by Maggie Mahle

P1220466fThe mission and principles of care and connection that are the core of the Whidbey Institute are a distinctive fit. My deep commitment to land stewardship, and growing food in a healthy way for the community fueled our move to South South Whidbey Island.



Alexa and Maggie

Alexa and Maggie

The 1/2 acre Westgarden has been cultivated by staff, volunteers and interns since 1979. The garden includes chickens, bees, and vermiculture. We grow food for program participants, staff, and the Good Cheer Food Bank.

P1220433fP1220434fIt is a living classroom where Community Garden Leadership Apprentices, Waldorf students, and volunteers of all ages can work and learn.

All are welcome to our Thursday work parties that are held from March through October.



Simplicity – A Favorite Ingredient

P1210803by Wendy Dion and Dan Walker

We would like to share with you several of our favorite summer garden recipes. They are easy and beautiful. Simplicity is one of my favorite ingredients. I think we’re more likely to eat fresh veggies when we keep things simple and let the flavors and colors speak for themselves. I like to use different oils and herbs to help enhance natural flavors and balance the energy of the meal. When the meal is simple, it’s easier for the cook to infuse the food with joy and love, the most important ingredients.


Wild Rice Salad with Nettles
Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing
Broccoli, Avocado and Pistachios
Couscous Salad with Mint, Parsely and Tomatoes
Black Sesame Snow, Snap Peas or Green Beans


Child’s Coop