Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Roxbury Russets

November 25, 2013

Tags: apples, empanadas, Bainbridge Island, local farms, sustainable living, fruit trees, heritage, Secret Spring Farm, Sweetlife Farm.

Empanadas made with Roxbury Russet apple filling.
The Farmers Market decamped for the season, taking down their white pavilions and moving from colorful vegetables and squash to more sensible potatoes and other root vegetables. A few farmers continue to sell in the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church community room, and even fewer brave open tents in the parking lot.

Now is the time to buy homemade preserves and dolls, wood products, and other goods that are made by hand. Now is the time to be thankful for our harvest and lower our sunlight expectations, the hardest thing for me. (more…)

The Salish Sea II

February 3, 2013

Tags: Food, salmon, canoe people, Suquamish, Bainbridge, sustainable living, Salish Sea

Around the island.
We were about fifteen feet above the water, too high to see what canoe people see. A group of Bainbridge Islanders circumnavigated the island last summer in the Virginia V, an old ferry that has been restored and now serves as a tour boat. Our guide was Dennis Lewarch, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (more…)

Mora

August 11, 2011

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, blackberries, sustainable living, wildlife.

Just north of our neighborhood is a deep, wooded ravine that runs under the nearby highway to join a salmon stream. Just south are five acres of open land, privately owned. When I say open, I don’t mean empty. The land is dense with salal, wild blackberries, and scrub trees. Our neighborhood, on a dead-end street, serves as a wildlife corridor between the two areas, one of the reasons we love it. On the other hand, my cat disappeared about this time last year. (more…)

Laughing Crow Farm

July 20, 2011

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, chickens, potatoes, bell peppers, garlic, sustainable living

Betsey Wittick met me at a purple, open-sided shed on the eastern edge of Laughing Crow Farm. Her four acres are part of the Day Road Farmland Trust, an area protected by the City of Bainbridge from urban development. While waiting for Betsey to come out of the main farmhouse, I walked around and noted the garlic and potato beds near the house, the chickens in their coop making those low, rusty gate sounds that people find so comforting. (more…)

The Perfect Carrot

June 24, 2011

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, broccoli, carrots, sustainable living

Nasturtiums, carrots, and broccoli. My carrots are in the ground. Those are CSA carrots on top.
The summer of 2009 I lived in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico where I rented a small condominium with a kitchen. The furnishings were basic, and I ate simply when at home, mostly breakfasts and salads.

The stores are clustered by type along the narrow, cobble-stone streets of San Miguel – pharmacies on Insurgentes, clothing stores on El Reloj, and produce stores on Mesones. One day, I bought some carrots. I didn’t eat them for a couple of days. Then I washed and peeled them, although at home I probably would have left the peels on. Hungry, I cut one into rough junks and took a bite.
This was my Proustian moment, the madeleine of my vegetable experience. (more…)

Town & Country 2

June 1, 2011

Tags: Town & Country, Bainbridge Island, sustainable living, local food, produce

The Town & Country Signboard
Town & Country Market 2
A few days later, I met Vern and Rick Nakata in a small, upstairs board room across the parking lot from Town & Country, near the Bainbridge Post Office. Glen was late. All three cousins are in their mid to late 50s, and all wore some piece of clothing with the Town & (more…)

Broccoli Reset

May 20, 2011

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, broccoli, carrots, sustainable living

Broccoli and marigolds
Last week, something ate most of my broccoli sprouts. This was followed by 1 1/2 inches of rain in one day, washing away anything left. So I visited Bay Hay & Feed to purchase more substantial broccoli starts. I also added marigolds, remembering that I used to mix them with my vegetables to ward off bugs. I (more…)

First Light

May 3, 2011

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, broccoli, carrots, sustainable living

Tiny sprouts, just above center.
... for my broccoli sprouts! This year, the neighbors loaned me a planting bed, so I will attempt to grow a few vegetables. About two weeks ago, I planted broccoli and carrots. There are a couple of specks on the carrot rows, but I expect them to be more pronounced next week.

Town & Country

April 28, 2011

Tags: Town & Country, Bainbridge Island, sustainable living, local food, produce, Uwajimaya

How does getting food to market work on a larger scale? The truth is, most of the food at my house comes from Town & Country Market down the street. I make an appointment to see the store director, Rick Pedersen. He leads me from the front of the store to the back, then through (more…)

To Market, To Market

March 29, 2011

Tags: farmers market, sustainable living, local food, Bainbridge Island, marketing

I decided to follow up on one of the practical aspects of this lifestyle, the main influx of cash into small farm households.

One June morning I met Susan Vanderwey at the Bainbridge Island Farmers Market. It had been a late, cold season, and the market was only now really rolling. We sat next (more…)
With Cowichan Elder Hyamiciate, Della (Rice) Sylvester at the The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium

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Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
Fiction
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
Booklist
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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