Grant County (Quincy)

15 02 2008

What do Microsoft , Yahoo!  and potatoes have in common? Quincy, Washington, population about 5,000. Quincy offers up wide open spaces, incentives, and cheap electricity rates. Microsoft and Yahoo! offer a couple hundred technical jobs (with mostly imported labor), a construction boomlet, and the prospects of an energized local economy. Hopefully, that doesn’t also mean a bunch of fast food franchises and a swipe of the great anonymizer turning this small farming community into another ugly modern boomtown with all the personality of a ruralized Lynnwood. Unfortunately, a quick peek at the real estate available already shows a plethora of cookie cutter boxes in the 2,500 s.f. range.

What to do? Well, I think it might be good to extol the virtues of some of the fine local options already available in Grant County! Maybe this influx will have the positive effect of making it possible for more new small businesses to open up in the area. Quincy would benefit from a few good restaurants. It’d be nice to not just drive through.

As it is, we end up visiting Quincy once a year. Sometimes it’s on the way to someplace else and sometimes we include it as part of The Harvest Loop. All the literature calls it The Cascade Loop, but we try to time it such that we can stock up on our wonderful Eastern Washington stone fruit (cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.), legumes and popcorn. Occasionally, we don’t make it all the way round the Loop opting to turn around in Cashmere, but then it’s home for a flurry of canning and freezing. One year we may jackpot on the cherries and some years we just catch the tail end of the nectarines, but if all the stars align correctly and harvests are plentiful, early August is a great time as you can usually get a little bit of everything. It takes a lot of will to head east of the mountains at that time of year, however. It’s hot here and it’s even hotter over there!

The rewards are worth it whenever we go.

White Trail Produce, Quincy

One of our first stops in Grant County is always White Trail Produce. The stand is along SR 28 before you get to Quincy proper. If nothing else, we need to restock our Japanese Hulless popcorn supply. We used to buy it a couple of pounds at a time, but this time we just went ahead and picked up the 12 pound tub. That should hold us until next time. White Trail also carries a great variety of fresh local produce, both organic and not, local wines, and other wonderful treats.

Quincy Valley legumes

Another item to stock up on while out there is legumes. We picked up brown lentils this time, but there are also beans of every color and stripe. If you’ve never had beans or lentils from our state, you’re in for a treat. They’re more tender and flavorful than any other. I’ve not had to soak them yet!

River View Farms WheatSnax

It’s not all corn and beans either. There’s also wheat! In this case, in the form of some darn tasty snack food. WheatSnax are a simple concept, fried wheat berries and salt, but it’s quite addictive. A bit like CornNuts, but with the additional bonus of being “mother-approved” and the business venture of a young man and his family in Quincy. You can read all about it at their display at White Trail Produce.

Jones of Washington Vineyards

Naturally, there’s wine as well. The area is thick with wineries so it’s always fun to go to tastings and chat with winemakers. This was a nice one from Jones of Washington Estate Vineyards.

If one of you newly planted Quincy techies have suggestions, please let me know. We’ll be coming over to drive The Harvest Loop when the time comes again.

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5 responses

17 02 2008
Sekhmet

Speaking of Quincy, a must read for anyone interested in where their food comes from, and how hard our government works to poison it, is a book called Fateful Harvest, written in 2001 by Duff Wilson, an investigative reporter for the Seattle Times.

From a book review, here
, The point of the book is that manufacturers were stuck with piles of toxic by-products containing heavy metals and dioxin, among other very nasty things, and needed a way to legally get rid of the junk. They found their solution in fertilizer companies who bought the hazardous waste and called it an ingredient (thus circumventing waste recycling rules) and then spread the waste material on farmers’ fields. The result was cheap fertilizer, but with the toxic consequence of soil buildup of heavy metals, plus the serious problems of poisons that migrated to plants, animals, and people.

Ironically, I was reading this book while waiting for my partner having knee surgery. I had brought snacks and bottled water, and for some reason felt compelled to look inside the Dasani cap. Imagine my surprise to see the company logo for Alcoa, a major aluminum producer. The link between the toxic waste produced by Alcoa nd other companies, and the water AND the bottle it comes in, was explored in Fateful Harvest along with the horrifying revelation that farmers are forced by banks and seed/agri-chemical dealers to use toxic sludge on their fields. The crops then grown take up heavy metals such as mercury, aresnic & lead, and we eat them.

The town of Quincy has had much higher than normal instances of strange cancers and mercury poisoning, especially in children. The former mayor of Quincy, who worked with the author to expose this madness has a website with some further info on the legality of this practice – here
.

17 02 2008
Sekhmet

Ooops! Curse my HTML ignorance! Link to the book review – http://www.moscowfood.coop/books/wilson.html

Link to the mayor’s site – http://www.safefoodandfertilizer.org/id10.html

17 02 2008
Saara

Thanks, J!

20 02 2008
Nate

Please do your best to help people realize how unique and important Quincy is, before it is turned into just another ‘burb.

4 03 2008
Jay

Honey, you are a wonder. Finding all these treasures like you do. I drive through Quincy on a regular basis and all I can ever think about is getting to the other end of town. Not once have I stopped…and its oviously a farm town. Next time, which will be next week, I’ll at least look around as I drive through.

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