Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale . Each week


Producing Poetry: A Salute to Cheese

Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale. Each week during market season, we'll run a poem from a local poet who's found inspiration in the region's bounty. And should you find yourself feeling similarly inspired after reading their odes to romaine lettuce, nectarines, pea vines and gooseberries, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance has provided us with recipes featuring each of the edible muses.

Seattle's markets are already flush with greens and rhubarb, but poet Christopher Jarmick decided to write about a local product that's sold throughout the year: Cheese. Yet as market shoppers know, May brings very different cheeses than December. Cows and goats are now feasting on the same young greens being sold for salads and side dishes, so their milk is especially floral and fragrant. Goat cheese, brimming with fresh flavors, is as much a signifier of spring as asparagus.

Jarmick curates and hosts monthly poetry readings in Kirkland and Seattle, and has published poems, articles, reviews, a spoken word CD, novel and poetry collection. He lives in Bellevue.

The Sexuality of Produce

by Christopher J. Jarmick

Amidst the cauliflower

I find intellectual truth

and pick out some garlic

just to make sure.

I have to laugh at the


And start to get turned on

by the


Hot-house Tomatoes

quickly adding a Pomegranate,

Rhubarb, and some Bananas

to my basket.

A woman glances over at me

I stop playing with the Romaine,

decide on some Green Onions

then Wild Mushrooms

(the rebel in me can't resist)

I feel practical as

Picking out some Spinach

And Carrots.

I fondle the Cantaloupe,

careful not to make eye

contact with anyone nearby

I have a craving for some

crunchy Celery

on a whim

I add baby vegetables

and then

the Potatoes

(starch is important!)

I remember 'tis the season for gourmet Cheese

and wonder who I might see

In the Dairy section.

Cheese Crackers

Appel Farms, Ferndale, Wash.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

8 ounces grated Appel Farms Cheddar or Gouda, any flavor

3 - 4 tbsp ice water

Place the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese a little at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.

Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Pulse between each addition and be careful not to add too much water.

Form the dough into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.

Using one dough ball at a time, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into small shapes, with whatever method you prefer (cookie cutter or knife) and transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them: After 10 minutes, they can overcook quickly.

When all the crackers are done, turn off the oven and pile the crackers onto a baking sheet. Put the crackers back into the warm oven for anywhere from an hour to overnight, this will make them crispy. The time it takes varies depending on the size and thickness of the crackers.

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