Food and/or Beverage News

FUNKY FARMED FISH Results from a massive study of contaminants in seafood demonstrate what critics of fish farming have been saying all along: Farmed salmon contain up to eight times the PCBs and other long-lived organochlorines than wild salmon. Reason: Farmed fish are fed other fish, and each time a fish eats another fish exposed to pollutants, the poisons build up. The most toxic fish found in the study, paid for by the Pew Charitable Trust, are from Scotland; U.S.- and Canadian-farmed salmon are on average laced with less poison, but the study still says you have to keep your intake down to around 4 ounces a month to avoid a small but measurable increase in cancer risk. Not all scientists agree with this assessment; some say the health benefits of eating oily fish like salmon outweigh any risk from PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins. What we say is: We're in Washington; why eat farmed fish at all when we can get the wild variety? BUYING THE FARM For years, rancher Joel Huesby looked longingly across the fence from his sustainably managed Walla Walla Valley pastures at the old Bennington spread next door. For years, he tried to talk the owners into letting him buy or lease it, but no dice. "Their pesticides and herbicides used to blow over onto our place," says Joel. "It was very frustrating." Now Joel's frustration is over, thanks to the PCC Farmland Fund, which has just acquired the Bennington place and leased it to Huesby with the understanding that the land will stay farmland, free of agrichemical exploitation, and won't be developedever. The deal gives the Huesby family an option to buy the land for its Thundering Hooves Family Farm, so if things go well over the next 30 years, the fund may get its capital back to invest in more land. This is the first time the Farmland Fund, founded in 1999, has bought property east of the mountains. If people keep donating to the fund, it won't be the last. Nearly a million dollars has come in so far, most of it in small donations by individuals and families. If you'd like to do your bit toward saving endangered farmlandand the farmers who live on itcheck out PCC's Web site. Every nickel counts. WHERE THE GOOD BEEF IS Good news for people looking for local beef that's totally safe to eat: Pike Place Market has just been tipped off by the health department that farmers can now sell locally raised meat there, just as they already do at neighborhood farmers markets. First up to the plate is Beth Kearney of Whidbey Island's Natural Beef Company, who'll offer frozen ground round and steaks at the day stalls starting this Friday. Look for Market regulars Roger and Suzanne Wechsler to start selling organic meats alongside their Samish Bay cheeses, too. LOST IN MONTESANO To all you folks who've been trying to find an address or phone number for Pleasant Valley Dairy in Grays Harbor County: The reason you can't is it's not in Grays Harbor County but in Ferndale, up near Bellingham. Our screwup. Sorry. You can contact the prize-winning Pleasant Valley cheesemakers at 360-366-5398 or e-mail dolorestrain@msn.com. Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com.

 
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