It’s a thing here on Bainbridge Island, we love our gardens, whether the gardens are full of edibles or just gorgeous flowers and greenery, and more often than not, we grow more than we can possibly consume and enjoy individually. That’s where our wonderful farm and flower stands come in – offering locals and visitors fresh tomatoes, garlic, eggs, herbs, flowers and much more. However, finding all those farm stands isn’t always easy, until now.
For newbies, Caroline and Christopher, moving to Bainbridge Island wasn’t part of the plan. As avid travelers, they wanted to move to an area where they could enjoy sun and a more laid-back life. They travelled around California, Portugal and France, finally deciding on France, even going so far as to study French in France. They worked with estate agents abroad, did their homework to become Americans living in France, and figured out a place stateside so they could come back and forth each season to spend time with family and friends. Then the pandemic hit and all their plans went out the window.
They searched the west coast of the U.S. for a home. Made offers, almost made offers, but it was a house that was on the market last year that brought them to consider a life on Bainbridge Island. Many who came to the island during the pandemic have been faced with a tough real estate market, and they were very familiar with that. After a few rejected offers on island properties, they began to think it wasn’t going to happen. But, they were diligent and they got lucky.
As Caroline told me, “We love living on Bainbridge Island. The people are kind, they make eye contact (coming from Seattle, that’s actually a thing), they say ‘good morning’. The air is fresh and it smells/tastes so good to breathe here. We love the tall Evergreen trees and long glacial-carved roads. Being surrounded by nature and seeing wildlife is kinda life-affirming. Even our dog is happier here!”
Christopher loves to cook, and Caroline is his sous chef, together they thoroughly enjoy creating culinary delights in their kitchen. Although Christopher isn’t a professional chef (he’s actually in commercial construction and real estate) he’s always enjoyed good ingredients and cooking. He’s a bit of a renaissance man who appreciates fresh flowers in the house and harvesting fresh herbs from their garden. He loves to read, invent, sail and has never met a vegetable he doesn’t like.
Caroline, on the other hand was the opposite and said she was originally an “ew-no-vegetables-thank-you” kind of gal who wasn’t in love with cooking. She’s a painter (www.studiorousseau.com) working primarily in large scale oils, which exhibit on the west coast (e.g., Seattle, Edmonds, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Barbara). Christopher re-introduced her to vegetables and cooking, opening her eyes to a world of food that changed her life (and her palette).
A week into living in their new island home, they did what we all do, they spent countless hours driving around, exploring everything Bainbridge has to offer. When they noticed the signs advertising fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers, they thought, there must be a map or app showing where all the farm stands are, but there wasn’t.
Inspired by the desire to find more of these magical stands around the island they reached out to our neighbors through Nextdoor Bainbridge and we’re pleasantly surprised at the positive response they received. With thank you notes from over 60 people and a few people who shared where they knew of stands in their neighborhoods, Finding Fresh Bainbridge was born.
“Finding these fresh ingredients was so fun and it feels good to connect with and support local gardeners and farmers,” Caroline said. “It’s a personal side project for us that has been delicious and rewarding. We even had one Bainbridge Islander throw in her hat to help with coding a fancier map (she’s awesome). That’s still in the works.”
On Finding Fresh Bainbridge you can view the map of island farm stands, which they’ll be updating regularly to include newly discovered stands and follow their blog to learn what seasonal finds are out there. They also share the local restaurants who support our local farmers and gardeners that we can all appreciate and enjoy.
In parting, Caroline said, “So after all of this, why did we really want to make a map? Because we were hungry, we wanted to find and make good food – and hopefully help make a positive difference.” A sentiment I think we can all agree with!
To share a farm or flower stand, click here.
Click here to follow the blog.