All That Razz
A festival for fruit
What: Northwest Raspberry Festival
Where: Downtown Lynden
WHEN: 10am-8pm Fri., July 19, and 8am-5pm Sat., July 20
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Practically overnight, our backyard raspberry canes went from “I think the fruit is getting close to being ripe” to “oh my lord, what are we gonna do with all of these lovely red raspberries?”
Last weekend, my fella and I attempted to answer that question by throwing freshly picked handfuls in bowls of cereal, muddling them with a mortar and pestle to add to vodka spritzers, baking some in a pie along with strawberries and rhubarb, freezing them on top of parchment paper on a baking pan before transferring them to a plastic bag, and boiling a pound of the fruit with lemon juice and a little bit of sugar to make a simple raspberry sauce to add to future servings of vanilla ice cream (or on top of a cheesecake).
Turns out the conundrum was a good one to have, but due to the fact that our perennial crop continues to produce giant bowls of what has been called “nature’s candy,” I’m still searching for suggestions about how best to utilize the vitamin-rich fruit while it’s still in all its sunshine-infused glory.
Enter the Northwest Raspberry Festival. The annual celebration of the largest harvest of raspberries in North America takes over Lynden from July 19-20, and looks to be the perfect place to find edible inspiration.
According to the Washington Red Raspberry Commission—which is partnering with WECU to throw the family-friendly shindig—71 farmers in Whatcom County produced more than 72 million out of the nearly 75 million pounds of red raspberries grown in Washington state last year. It’s an astounding number, especially when you consider how many pounds go into pulling off the food-focused fete.
Among the drool-worthy offerings those visiting Lynden this weekend will discover are raspberry and ice cream sundaes, parfaits and pies made from local products, freshly picked flats of raspberries visitors can take home and get creative with, ice-cold raspberry beer that will be served at the “Timeout Razz Beer-y” Garden, BelleWood Acres’ raspberry infusion vodka, and Honey Moon Mead & Cider’s wine and hard ciders. Additionally, you can find additional produce at a “Berry Fair” Street Market, and fill up beforehand Saturday morning with all-you-can-eat pancakes—topped with raspberries, natch—at the Lynden Community Center.
When you’ve eaten your fill, step away from the food for a minute to listen and dance along to live music, get your face painted, watch basketball tournaments, do crafts, find activities for the kids, check out a “Razz & Shine” Cruise-In along Front Street, and generally enjoy a summer day with fellow community members.
If you’re among those bringing home flats of raspberries, it’s wise to give some thought as to what you want to do with them once they’re in your kitchen. Or you can be like me, and do a little bit of everything.
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