Wedding feast gleans from local fields
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Justine Raphael, left, purchases fresh onions from Eon Lee at the Port Angeles Farmers Market on Wednesday, amid a shopping trip focused on a wedding Raphael is catering almost entirely from locally produced foods. -- Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES -- Justine Raphael is hurriedly hunting and gathering for an unusual wedding tonight.

This journey began about six weeks ago, when Raphael's brother-in-law, Scott Weinert of Dallas, and his fiancee, Rowi David, decided they would have their evening nuptials at the Port Angeles Yacht Club.

Raphael, who is studying for a master's in health and nutrition, made a proposal of her own: How about if she created a wedding feast of local delicacies -- as in foods from the waters off the Port Angeles marina, where Raphael and her husband, Rick Weinert, live on their boat -- and from the Port Angeles Farmers Market?

"Scott thought it was a good idea," Raphael said, so off she went, shopping for a locavorious banquet.

Fortunately, this is no Chelsea Clinton extravaganza; the Weinert-David rite will be intimate, with 22 guests.

Menu

While buzzing around Wednesday's farmers market, Raphael rattled off the menu. Beware, because it's mouth-watering.

The meal will have roast lamb shoulder from Kol Simcha Farm, seasoned with garlic and lavender; mussels from Wild West Seafood; fresh-caught shrimp bought on the dock in Port Angeles; grilled vegetables from the Lazy J, Nash's and Johnston farms outside Sequim; and roasted garlic-spinach ravioli from Bell Street Bakery.

There also will be a salad of field greens and edible flowers from farms near Port Angeles; cheeses from Mt. Townsend Creamery; and for the wedding cake, a hazelnut sponge cake with lavender syrup and blackberry curd filling and Italian meringue-buttercream frosting.

"This is why I wish we had a little butter," Raphael admitted.

Not everything in Friday's wedding feast is local, since substances such as butter aren't yet available from Clallam County farmers.

For the toast to the bride and groom, though, there will be Blackberry Bliss from Harbinger Winery of Port Angeles.

"They said a local wine is preferable to a sparkling wine," Raphael said, adding that the Bliss fits the wedding color: purple.

Raphael, mind you, is no wedding planner. But she has baked professionally in San Francisco, worked in restaurants on and off for years, and she and Rick have nine children between them, so that's been a culinary adventure.

Doing tonight's dinner has been a challenge, with the six-week time frame; her budget of $2,000 isn't lavish, but she's working within it, shopping almost exclusively at the farmers market.

Raphael and her husband moved here from south Florida and are fully enjoying the "eat local" ethos.

"I used to drive all over Miami trying to get real food," she said.

"Here, I can go to Country Aire [on First Street], a mile from my boat, and get grass-fed milk" from the Jersey cows at Dungeness Valley Creamery.

Plentiful local fare

So while this corner of the world is remote -- Raphael is earning her nutrition degree online from Hawthorn University of Whitethorn, Calif. -- other resources, like local foods, are plentiful.

As for the wedding decorations, Raphael has gathered a few things from thrift stores, and "everyone's giving me flowers," she said.

Farmer Jane Vanderhoof, for example, provided not only horseradish for the shrimp cocktail sauce but also blossoms from her West Wind Farm in Joyce.

These include feverfew, which looks like a miniature daisy; blue borage, an edible flower; yellow sweet clover, which leads a double life as a cover crop and a fragrant adornment; and perhaps most appropriate, pale pink Nigella damascena -- better known as love-in-a-mist.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 09. 2010 11:27PM
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