lummi island wine tasting april 9 ’21

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Bread This Week

Levain w/ Dried Cherries and Pecans – a levain is made the night before final mixing of the dough using a sourdough starter. This allows the fermentation process to start and the gluten to start developing. The final dough for this bread is made with the levain, bread flour and fresh milled whole wheat and then loaded up with dried cherries and toasted pecans. A nice rustic loaf that goes well with meats and cheese –– $5/loaf

Pan de Cioccolate – A delicious chocolate artisan bread without lots of eggs, butter and sugar. Rather this is a rich chocolate bread made with a levain, bread flour, fresh milled rye flour, honey, vanilla and plenty of dark chocolate. Makes fabulous toast, even better French toast! – $5/loaf

Morning Buns – Made popular by Tartine Bakery in San Francisco; these are my interpretation. Made with the same laminated dough as croissants. The dough is rolled out, spread with a filling of brown sugar, orange zest, butter and cinnamon. Rolled up and sliced before baking.  – 2/$5



Wine of the Week (Again!): Flying Trout Grenache   

A little over a month ago we brought in a case of this wine, and it has taken this long to get more (five more cases!). The wine was named by and for Ashley Trout, its youthful and daring first winemaker some fifteen years ago. It is made from 100% Columbia Valley grenache, a soft red varietal grown across much of southern France along with syrah and mourvedre, with which it is most often blended.  Single varietal grenache is in itself less commonly found.

In 2010 she merged her winery with Tero Estates in Oregon, which built new facilities in Walla Walla (where the border between Washington and Oregon is something of a blurred concept).  In 2016 Ms. Trout moved on to other pursuits, while her brand stayed with Tero. Having recently lost its longtime winemaker, Tero is in a gradual process of closing down and is closing out its remaining barrels of Flying Trout.

One can think of grenache as the feminine side of syrah; a little less forward, a little softer, a little more graceful, a little more enchanting. , as it is most often found in blends with syrah and e admit a soft spot for grenache in general, and this is a pretty good one, dark burgundy in color, with aromas and flavors of ripe dark plum and blackberry with lingering notes of clove and cinnamon. This wine offers a lot of value for its modest price of $15.


Finally! Partial Reopening April 16-17!!

We continue to be on track for a trial reopening on both Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17. from 4-6pm. For this initial opening we will limit attendance inside the wine shop to those who completed their Covid vaccine sequence before April 1.

We will offer a wine tasting selection of three wines for $5, with fee waived if you purchase wine.

Bread pickup will continue on Fridays from 4-5:30 outside the shop. You can take a minute to ooh and aah our new shelter (see photo, left), a definite upgrade in strength and functionality from the previous one we have used since last October.




The Economics of the Heart

We are all familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is usually shown as a pyramid with basic physiological needs for survival and safety at the bottom and higher up more complex social and hierarchical needs, like being seen and heard, appreciated and welcomed. And beyond these, human beings may seek more esoteric satisfactions like self-fulfillment or self-transcendence.

Another way of looking at these needs is contained in the acronym “SAAA,” which stands for Safety, Affection, Attention, and Approval. These represent the primary categories of nourishment that we humans need to thrive as social animals.

Safety is at minimum freedom from hunger, thirst, fear, and violence, becoming at best a state some call “the Ease of Well-being.” Without a sense of safety, there is no chance for rest and renewal, and it is difficult to achieve or even take in nourishment that comes our way.

Affection is a sense of belonging to a group that cares about each other. We crave a neighborhood, a tribe, a family, a community. We need to feel welcomed and accepted. We need to matter to others.

Attention is not just any attention. If all the other primates are jumping up and down and yelling at us, that’s going to hurt. Attention is more a matter of having a role in the community, a sense of value, maybe a kind of respect.

Approval in its most fundamental form is a sense of acceptance of us just as we are, a sort of unconditional love. Hard to imagine and hard to find. No one wants to screw up. Some part of us humans is always keeping score on ourselves and on others. Maybe the best we can do is to welcome and savor approval when it comes, and to give it wholeheartedly as often as possible.

We mention this things to remind us that these are things that everyone needs, over and over, just like food and water. We are all like little sponges, hungry to find these sources of nourishment, and sometimes challenged to be such sources.

In an early song, Leonard Cohen wrote,

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
who said to me, “you must not ask for so much;”
Then a pretty woman standing in her darkened door

cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”





Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting apr 2 ’21

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Bread This Week

Italian Breakfast Bread – A delicious and sweet (but not too sweet!) bread of flour, eggs, yogurt, a little sugar and vanilla as well as dried cranberries golden raisins and candied lemon peel. Perfect for breakfast toast or even better for French Toast – $5/loaf

Colomba di Pasqua  (“Easter Dove”) – A traditional Italian Easter bread similar to Christmas panettone. Made with a sweet italian levain as well as flour and plenty eggs, sugar, honey and butter plus vanilla bean and candied orange peel. Topped with a crunchy almond and hazelnut glaze and pearl sugar before baking in a dove-shaped baking form as a symbol of the Easter dove. $5/loaf

Hot Cross Buns – an enriched dough made with plenty of butter, sugar and eggs. Full of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, as well as plenty of currants, and candied lemon and orange peel. Topped with a flavorful paste and glazed these are a delicious treat to celebrate spring. 2/$5



Wine of the Week: Montinore Borealis

Montinore Estate is located in Oregon just east of Portland. It is one of the largest producers of both certified biodynamic and organic viticululture in the country. Grapes are grown on their 200-acre Organic vineyard where the focus is on producing superior Pinot Noirs, cool climate whites, and fascinating Italian varietals.

Owner Rudy Marchesi learned winemaking from his Italian immigrant parents while growing up in the northeastern U. S. He first heard about biodynamics while at Findhorn in Scotland in the 70’s, and took a year-long course in the method, which he started applying to the Montinore vineyards around 2003.     Read more

Biodynamic farming practices were first developed and promoted by Rudolf Steiner about 100 years ago. His ideas were based on “a recognition that the whole earth is a single, self-regulating, multi-dimensional ecosystem.” Biodynamic farming treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks. When visiting wineries it Europe, we have found that many grower-winemakers use some subset of biodynamic practices, the most common being to schedule bottling by the phase of the moon.

Montinore Borealis White NV        Oregon     $15
An ongoing inter-vintage blend of cool-climate German varietals Müller-Thurgau (35%), Gewürztraminer (29%), Riesling (24%) and Pinot Gris (12%).  Each year’s version consistently blends the unique qualities of each varietal into a wine with heady scents of orange blossom, ripe honeydew, guava and kiwi, and a vibrant palate that is sumptuous and round, bursting with stone fruit, Meyer lemon and juicy pear that yield to a clean, bright, and uplifting finish.


Partial Reopening April 16 !!

Current CDC guidelines permit gatherings of fully vaccinated people without masks, but continue to restrict gatherings among those who have not been vaccinated, especially if they have higher risk for Covid complications.

Since many of our members have now completed their vaccine protocols, we are currently planning a partial reopening the weekend of April 16-17, and limited to individuals who have completed an approved vaccine protocol. We plan to be open both days from 4-6 pm.

A wine tasting selection of four wines will be available for $5. We are all pretty rusty and maybe a little nervous about being too close to others after all these months of avoiding contact, so we’ll try it out and see how it goes. Feels weird even to think about it!




The Economics of the Heart

The dominant story in the news this week has been the trial of the Minneapolis policeman who killed George Floyd. Whatever the outcome of the trial, what happened that day will remain infamous in the public consciousness for a very long time, partially because the entire world saw the video of the murder the day it occurred, and many more times since. Since the dawn of cell phone cameras, the world has seen large numbers of American police officers over-react and kill people over what turned out to be simple misunderstandings.

One of the most powerful testimonies came from Donald Williams, one of the witnesses to the event, who can be heard pleading, with increasing passion, for the officer to release the deadly pressure on Floyd’s neck. When the defense attorney tried to characterize William’s passion as “anger,” Williams discounted that interpretation by saying simply, “I stayed in my body.”  William trained for many years in mixed martial arts, and developed the ability to stay present in a confrontation. He demonstrated the same discipline in court in his reply to the defense attorney: “No, my words weren’t getting angrier that awful day in May…they grew more and more pleading — for life.”

This story spotlights the importance of training and self-discipline under duress. In the replays of the ever-increasing number of homicides perpetrated by police officers across America in what should have been routine and courteous stops, we have often noted the increasing tension in their voices, the shallowness of breath, and the higher pitch of voice that betray that  they are NOT staying present in their bodies. And without this essential anchor, they become anxious and ungrounded, and inevitably make the situation worse. People who cannot develop these skills are not qualified to be placed in such demanding positions.

Whatever the particular outcome of this trial, the big takeaway is that police training should include the same compartmentalizing mental discipline as the martial arts that allows us to stay present in our bodies. Indeed, there are many testimonials of famous martial arts teachers of defusing real-life confrontations by responding with open compassion instead of defensive hostility.

famous Aikido story





Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting march 26 ’21

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Bread This Week

French Country Bread –A levain bread made with mostly bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat and and a bit of toasted wheat germ. A long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator allows the flavor to develop in this bread. Not a refined city baguette, more of a rustic loaf that you would find in the countryside. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Buckwheat with dried Pears & Walnuts – Made from a poolish preferment of bread flour, water, and yeast fermented overnight and mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat. Buckwheat is a grass, not a grain. It is actually closer to rhubarb in the plant family. It has an earthy flavor that is complemented by pears soaked in white wine and toasted walnuts. – $5/loaf

Brioche Almond Buns – Made with a delicious brioche dough of eggs, butter and sugar spread with an almond cream filling of almond flour and even more butter, sugar. Tres riche!– 2/$5



Wine of the Week: Olim Bauda Barbera D’Asti

Asti is the name of the province, the town and the wines from a small portion of the Piedmont wine region of Italy, bounded by the Mediterranan on the south and France to the west. The suffix “d’Asti” appears in the names of several wines from the Asti subregion, including Barbera, Dolcetto, and both still and sparkling versions of Moscato. Barbera is the region’s most widely planted red wine varietal.

Grapes for this wine are hand selected after harvest,  crushed the same evening, and immediately transferred into stainless steel tanks for  fermentation. The fermentation temperature is managed not to exceeds 28°C. The wine continues to age in these steel tanks until it is bottled, and then ages in the bottle for several months.

Janice, our baker, is in the habit of bringing a bottle of wine with her to the wine shop to sip during lulls in bread pickup, and several weeks ago she brought one of these. It turns out that one of our main suppliers carries the wine, so we ordered some. As with many barberas, it delivers enjoyment above its modest price, and is compatible with a broad range of dishes.

Olim Bauda Barbera D’Asti ’17       Italy    $13
Intensely fruity and fresh, with a distinct ripeness and vibrancy from first bouquet to the palate of fresh red cherries, dusty sweet spice, crushed stone, and wild herbal tones given lift and energy from brisk acidity and a long, zesty finish.


Partial Reopening Coming Soon!!

Given the increasing pace of Covid vaccinations, especially among our many retired wine club members, recommended precautionary behaviors have been loosening for several weeks. The CDC is now permitting those who are at least two weeks past their second doses to meet more or less normally without masks or distancing.

We just got back from three days in the trailer at Deception Pass State Park, our site adjacent to Mike and Diane’s. It was a savory taste of what used to pass as normal behavior– gathering with friends around a table or a fire for food, wine, and meandering conversation, things we have lived (and suffered) without for an entire year now. We were reminded of an old Star Trek episode which ends with Capt. Picard’s being rescued after being partially robotized by the Borg, with several electronic implants on his head and face. When Counselor Troi asks him how he feels, after a short pause he says, in a gravelly, somewhat electronic voice, “Almost…Human.”

We are now looking at offering limited wine tastings beginning in the next few weeks, so we can all feel a little more Human again…!


The Economics of the Heart  (see photo link)

For the past four years, this portion of our weekly blog was reserved as an ongoing lament on the ongoing deliberate deconstruction of our country by “the former guy” in collusion with a large percentage of Republican Representatives and Senators in Congress. Today we begin exploring a new theme which has been looking for expression for several decades now.

From an economics perspective, it includes things like sustainability, equity, distributive justice, stewardship, compassion, empathy, selflessness, personal responsibility…let’s just call them the long list of virtues humans have valued and sought to attain on most paths of moral development. So it’s a big topic.

The January insurrection at the Capitol has revealed a well-developed Authoritarian Movement in our country that is fully committed to the concentration of power in the hands of a radical coalition of religious extremists; angry, self-centered, and unfulfilled white men; and a cadre of soulless political grifters who make daily bargains with whatever Devil might keep their sorry butts in office for yet another day.

The final 2020 election results have brought the welcome reprieve of a little breathing room in our nation’s current existential struggle. We have the luxury of a little time to inhale and exhale fully from time to time, and it is very important that we develop that skill and practice it regularly. You can be sure that none of the assailants at the assault on the Capitol (or any other assault, for that matter) was exhaling fully, because anger just doesn’t work that way.

One technique for exhaling more fully is toning. You just pick a vowel, inhale, and sing it out its tone.  “Om” is a well-known example. As you repeat it, you gradually and quite naturally make the tone longer. You discover that the range between full inhalation and full exhalation is much larger than is familiar to most of us, though singers know it very well. Even a minute or two can be very calming.







Wine Tasting

lummi island wine tasting spring equinox ’21

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Bread This Week

Kamut Levain – Kamut, aka khorasan wheat, is an ancient, protein-rich grain discovered in a cave in Iran in the 70’s that many people who can’t tolerate wheat find more digestible. This bread is made with a levain that is fermented overnight before being mixed with with bread flour and fresh milled whole kamut flour. It has a nutty, rich flavor and makes a golden color loaf. A great all around bread – $5/loaf

Barley & Rye w/ Pumpkin Seeds – Also made with a levain that is fermented overnight before adding fresh milled rye, barley and whole wheat flours. Some buttermilk makes for a tender crumb, honey for sweetness and toasted pumpkin seeds for flavor and texture. – $5/loaf

Traditional Croissants – Made from two preferments by adding more flour, butter, milk and sugar and laminating with more butter before being cut and shaped into traditional French croissants.  2/$5


Wine of the Week: La Vielle Ferme Rosé ’19

Well, here we are only a few days away from Spring Equinox ’21, and so far March has been true to reputation, a tangle of winter-winter-spring-winter-spring-spring. We are just now transitioning from being stuck in the “lows in the high thirties, highs in the low forties” toward the more soothing “highs in low fifties” forecasts. Yep, this is the time of year our wine palates start thinking, hmmm, almost time for rosé…!

La Vielle Ferme (“the Old Farm”) is a typical Provençal Rosé blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah. It is one of few still produced using the Saignée (“bleeding”) method where the first juice is bled off to become rosé while the remainder stays on the skins through fermentation and becomes red wine.  Since 1967 La Vieille Ferme has been acknowledged as one of the best value wines in the world. The grapes are from high slopes, and provide a pleasing freshness and elegance. Fresh and aromatic nose with good balance between sweetness and acidity.

La Vielle Ferme Rosé ’19    France  $10
Classic and tasty blend of grenache, syrah, and cinsault from northern Provence;  fruity, dry, crisp, delicious, and smooth, at a bargain price!


Modest Reopening Coming Soon!!

Last week the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may safely gather with small groups from other households without wearing masks or physically distancing, even if some of those people have not yet had their shots! To which we can only say “Wow!” and “Really?”

Last week also coincided with the two-week anniversary of our having gotten the second Covid shot along lots of other Islanders. But before we can get too giddy about it we are surprised to encounter a part of ourselves that finds the whole concept of “social normalcy” puzzling, too vaguely remembered and abstract even to imagine. We tested it out last night at Mike and Diane’s, together with Anne and Jerry, (making average age in the group somewhere around 80!) for a great St. Patrick’s Day dinner, with great food and wine, and even hugs all around with a giddy sense of getting away with something naughty.


Things are changing fast and at the moment we are looking at limited reopening in April, indoors for those who have completed a Covid vaccine sequence, and (for starters, anyway) outdoors for those who have not. Looking forward to seeing you all again!


Economics Basics

However you look at it, social science in general and economics in particular are almost entirely constructed of metaphors. Last week we introduced a metaphor of the economy as a game in which players sitting at a table are all given an equal stake, and when the game begins they take in money from their right and pass it to the person on their left. At this first level we are interested in the motivations of the players, whose only decisions at this early stage as they take money coming from the right are to decide how much to keep, how much to pass on to the left, and how long to take about deciding.

Each player would try to maintain a balance based on perceived risk. What if the people upstream suddenly decide to stop passing money just after you, feeling light-hearted and generous, have just given everything away? The game could lock up at any time, so it is logical to want to maintain a little nest egg for insurance. Down the road, if enough players felt this way, it could create demand for someone to organize resources and know-how to make that happen. And you would think that would divert some of the finite flow of money passing from left to right, and the total flow rate would decrease, making everyone worse off.

Curiously, however, it is more as if the energy in the system is increased and the entire flow moves faster from hand to hand around the circle. Well-being is not measured by the quantity of stuff in the system but by the rate of flow in the system. This is the whole point of a Keynesian stimulus. By putting more money in everyone’s hands, the rate at which money goes from hand to hand, from buyer to seller, from seller to supplier, from supplier to manufacturer, from manufacturer to worker increases and multiplies in effect each time it changes hands.

It is therefore our Duty to spend any stimulus money that comes our way. Its social benefit is to increase demand for services and stuff, which then trickles UP to demand for all the labor and resources necessary to make that stuff happen. Clearly the patriotic thing to do if and when you get a stimulus payment is to create demand by spending it!





Wine Tasting