lummi island wine tasting mar 17 ’23

Winter Hours: 4-6 pm Fridays only


Friday Bread Pickup This Week

Pear Buckwheat – Begins with an overnight poolish preferment mixed the next day with bread flour and fresh milled buckwheat; the preferment allows the dough to begin to develop before the addition of toasted walnuts and dried pears soaked in white wine. – $5/loaf

French Country Bread  – A a rustic country loaf made with bread flour, fresh milled whole wheat, and and a bit of toasted wheat germ. After building the levain with a sourdough culture and mixing the final dough it gets a long cool overnight ferment in the refrigerator. This really allows the flavor to develop in this bread.   – $5/loaf

and pastry this week…

Chocolate Babka Rolls – A sweet pastry dough full of eggs, butter and sugar, rolled and spread with a chocolate filling, rolled up and cut into individual rolls that are placed in baking forms for baking and then brushed with sugar syrup after baking. – 2/$5

To get on the bread order list, click on the “Contact Us” link above and fill out the form. Each week’s bread menu is sent to the list each Sunday, for ordering by Tuesday, for pickup on Friday. Simple, right..? If you will be visiting the island and would like to order bread for your visit, at least a week’s notice is recommended for pickup the following Friday.


This Week’s $10 Wine Tasting:

Charles Krug Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ’20     Napa      $15
Cold-soaked before pressing and cold-fermented on the skins to develop rich and nuanced aromas and flavors of grassy lime, tropical fruits, and lychee, with a crisp, lingering finish.

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserve ’18        Uruguay        $15
Opaque deep, dark red; opens with enticing, delicious aromas of very ripe, dark fruit and berries stewed in their own liqueur, with lingering notes of spice, herb, and licorice on the seamless finish.

Pomum Red ’16     Washington    $18
Carefully made Bordeaux blend of cab, cab franc, malbec, petite verdot, and merlot; aromas of red fruit-leather and exotic spices; flavors of black cherry, cranberry, and garrigue.


Economics of the Heart: Lies, Damned lies, and ‘Regular and Routine’

photo courtesy

The classic phrase was made famous by Mark Twain, though for which he credited Disraeli; but the actual coining of the phrase is lost in the mists and myths of history. Mr. Twain’s version was ‘There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.(link). This story is told at some point in just about every statistics class everywhere for its suggestion that one can “massage” any statistical analysis to make it “prove” anything you want. Nowadays Fox News hosts don’t even bother with analysis, they just make it up as they go along. But politics aside, statistical analysis provides extremely useful information about groups of observations of any sort.

On our island front burner for some weeks now has been the recent ferry fare increase proposal unveiled at the January County Council Meeting by Public Works, and which is being rushed into law as quickly as possible with limited opportunity for input or reflective discussion. A central bone of contention between County officials and Island residents is that a primary reason for the fare increase is that Public Works has charged 55% of the $800,000 cost of a major infrastructure repair to ferry fare receipts as “regular and routine maintenance.” This practice is blatantly contrary to several elements of State and County law.

A few of us have been challenging this illegal assignment of $.8 million to the fare burden on the grounds that said repairs  should properly be considered capital expenses because they add value and years of service  to the structures in question. Indeed, the County has an annual contract with the State Dept of Transportation which specifically excludes such expenses from being classified as “ordinary maintenance.”

Many public and private entities have rules of thumb such as dollar limits to easily decide whether to account for a specific expense as capital improvement (adds value and service life) or as operations/maintenance expenses. The limit may vary depending on the size of the firm or agency, but around $10k is a common boundary.  Under this standard definition, the $400k being charged to the fare box as “ordinary maintenance” is way, way, way out of line with convention.

Whatcom County has specific rules for ferry accounting laid out in County Code Chapter 10.34  In particular, 10.34.005B states:

B. “Operating cost” means all actual daily running expenses and all actual regular and routine maintenance and administrative expenses associated with the use and operation of all physical elements of the ferry system”

Curiously, this definition makes no mention of capital costs. Rather the central focus of the statute is on the intent of the words “regular and routine” to qualify an expense as a valid “operating cost.” So let’s take a look at common synonyms and antonyms of these words to get a bead on the main intention of this carefully chosen wording.

The feeling here is of calm waters, constancy, and predictability.

In contrast, here are the common antonyms/opposites of each word:

The feeling here is of choppy waters, tension, and stress.

The takeaway is that great care was taken in the wording of the statute to ensure stability and predictability. Think about it: You want to be able to set fares that will likely stay the same for some years at a time. You want both the expenses and the revenue to be predictable and consistent from year to year. The goal of this wording is to ensure system stability, with fares covering the day to day expenses of the system, and for out of the ordinary expenses to be absorbed the same way as road washouts, bridge failures, and fires: from general taxation.

Let’s be clear: the statute as currently written limits the annual fare burden to paying “regular and routine” administrative and operating costs to maintain the same transportation options here as everywhere else in the County. If the new Public Works Director is successful in changing the rules to allow charging the fare box for major capital upgrades  — a clear violation of both State and County laws– rising fares will continue to push frequent commuters to the mainland to be replaced by retirees and telecommuters. Not a pretty picture, and not a sustainable model because it forces its best customers to move away. So there’s a lot at stake for our community.

Along those lines, for those of you who have not seen Janice’s very thorough posting to the County Council on these challenges, it is highly recommended reading for all Islanders, and you can read it here.



Wine Tasting

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