Autumn is Coming

Over the last couple of weeks the weather has started to cool, the rains have come, days are shorter and the air feels crisp. Apples, which ripened early this year, continue to fall from the trees around Jefferson County. We are slowly making the transition from having an abundance of summer squash at the Port Townsend and Chimacum Farmers Markets to soon seeing winter squash in its place. Local corn has made its debut at market and strawberry harvests are wrapping up at our local farms. Each warm sweater dug from my closet is like the ticking hand of a clock, reminding me that we are approaching autumn this month.

This is a special time of year in Jefferson County where we have a lingering abundance of local summer crops and fall crops ripening simultaneously. In this temperate climate, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to preserve the summer harvest on these cooler days when rain and gray often inspire us to spend time inside. Now is the time to can beans, and make pickles, applesauce and salsa. Preserving local produce gives you the opportunity to save the foods you most love picked at the peak of their ripeness for the cold months ahead. When you can, dry or freeze local foods you control the ingredients and are able to ensure your food doesn’t include preservatives, extra salt or sugar.

If you are new to preserving food but want to give it a try, I recommend starting with a simple project such as applesauce or, my favorite, dilly beans. If you like dill pickles you will love dilly beans. Using a similar recipe to that used for pickling cucumbers, you can make delicious, crisp canned green beans. Dilly beans are a great addition to salad or sandwiches. They are also a yummy snack on their own. Here is a recipe to try at home.  

Upcoming Events and Music:

  • 9/7: Music by Free Radicals at the PT Wednesday Farmers Market, 2pm to 6pm, Polk Street
  • 9/10: Music by the Tremont Trio, PT Saturday Farmers Market, 10am to 1:45pm, Tyler Street
  • 9/11: Music by Selkie Girls, Chimacum Farmers Market, 10am to 2pm, Chimacum Corner Farmstand
  • 9/14: Closing Day of the PT Wednesday Farmers Market, 2pm to 6pm, Polk Street
  • 9/16: Farm Tour Kick Off Party
  • 9/17: Tomato Taste Off at the PT Saturday Farmers Market, 9am to 2pm, Tyler Street
  • 9/17-9/18: Farm Tour

Meet Amy and Roberto

The Silver Alchemist and Assistant Market Manager

This year marks the 12th Port Townsend Farmers Market season for Roberto Costa Ribeiro, Amy Costa Goetz and their children, Camilla and Micah. Roberto, the Silver Alchemist, vends hand-made silver jewelry at the PT Saturday Farmers Market. Most of you know Amy by face if not name. She is the PT Wednesday Farmers Market Manager and the Saturday Farmers Market Assistant Manager.

Roberto and Amy met about equal distances from their hometowns when traveling in Guatemala 20 years ago. Amy, originally from Marrowstone Island, and Roberto, from Brazil, were each traveling with friends when they met in a small bar in Panajachel, Guatemala. They were charmed by each other and from that point forward, Amy and Roberto wove their paths together. They lived for two years in Guatemala, where their daughter, Camilla, was born. From there they moved to Brazil for five years.

While traveling, Roberto worked as a jeweler and sculptor of gnomes.  They didn’t have much, but they had each other.  Amy remembers calling her mom to tell her about Roberto. When asked, Amy explained, “Of course he has a job, Mom. He makes gnomes and sells them on the street.” In Brazil, Roberto sold jewelry at a craft market. The large community of vendors soon became extended family for Amy, Roberto and young Camilla.

Amy and Roberto had $120 to their names when they moved from Brazil to Amy’s old stomping grounds in the US. It took them a while to integrate into their new home. Amy had lived out of the country while the Internet was established and took off. Roberto didn’t speak English. Their shared language for many years was Spanish, a second language for both of them. Over time, Roberto learned English, Amy got an email address and they slowly built a life for themselves in Port Townsend.  

In 2004, Roberto was accepted as a vendor at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market. Amy and Roberto see this as an important turning point for them. They found their niche. Once again they were in a community of artists. Today, Amy and Roberto are raising their second child, Micah, age three, with a similar extended family of entrepreneurs and artists as that which nurtured Camilla in Brazil. Micah is at home in the PT Farmers Market booth and playing among market stalls.

At the PT Saturday Farmers Market, Roberto sells jewelry, which he makes using simple hand tools he and Amy brought from Brazil. While many jewelers buy silver wire, Roberto starts each piece from scratch melting down small pure silver casting grains using a flame torch. He is very conservative and environmentally-minded with materials, saving and melting down small scraps of silver from one project for the next and using lemon juice to clean tarnished metal. He creates original designs through the labor-intensive process of melting, casting and stretching pure silver through a hand-crank press. Every clasp, hoop, post and bezel on each piece of jewelry is entirely hand made. It takes Roberto a whole week to make a dozen or so sets of earrings, each of witch is unique.

Amy was first a fixture at the Port Townsend Farmers Market in Roberto’s booth. In 2010, she joined the small Jefferson County Farmers Market team as an assistant at the Saturday and Wednesday Farmers Market booths. Today, Amy is a friendly face at our markets and a trusted resource for our vendors. She assists with market management and bookkeeping. Amy explains, “I am a vendor as much as I am a Market employee. I work for the vendors and their success.”

You can find jewelry made by Roberto at the Port Townsend Saturday Farmers Market and at Gallery 9 in downtown Port Townsend. Look for Roberto in the middle row of the market across from Propolis Brewing. Introduce yourself to Roberto this Saturday and see his most recent designs. Also, come by the market booth and say “Hi” to Amy.

From Our Vendors

Nash’s veggie of the week is fruit! They have crisp pears and green and red Gravenstein apples grown in beautiful Dungeness Valley. It’s September already and a great time to make apple and pear butter or to can apple or pear sauce. Maybe pie filling? For a ready to go pie filling, try prepping your apples, toss them with your other pie ingredients in a plastic bag, place the bag in a pie dish and then freeze. After frozen, remove the pie plate. When you need a quick filling, you'll find it ready to go in your freezer. Just place the frozen filling in your dough and add a few minutes to your bake time.

In addition to apples and pears, Nash’s has a full spread of carrots, including: bunched, 5lb bag and their 15lb bag of juice carrots. Along with carrots, they have kale, chard, arugula, spinach, beets, cucumbers, savoy cabbage, red and green cabbage, corn, leeks, red onions, parsley and tomatoes!!

Look for local corn at the Dharma Ridge and Onatrue Farm booths. Yum!

Mystery Bay Farm now has their Cajeta goat milk caramel sauce at the PT Saturday Farmers Market. Come by the Mystery Bay booth for a taste. It is delicious on apples and just about anything else.