Vegan Restaurant Week
What: Bellingham Vegan Restaurant Week
Where: Online, and at 17 local restaurants
WHEN: Sept. 20-27
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Spaghetti was on the menu for our Sunday night repast, but unknown to my resident taste-taster I switched out the ground beef or turkey I typically use when prepping the dish with Lightlife’s “plant-based ground.”
The ruse must’ve worked, because he cleaned his bowl and went back for seconds. It was then I made the admission I’d mixed the homemade tomato sauce with a vegan substitute instead of meat, and that other than the feta sprinkled on top of each of our servings, dinner contained no animal byproducts.
“If that’s true, I think it’s the best meatless spaghetti in town,” he said, undeterred. “In fact, I think you should make it more often.”
I plan to. With the second annual Veg Fest and Bellingham Vegan Restaurant Week taking place Sept. 20-27 throughout Bellingham, I hope to glean more ways to integrate healthier and more Earth-friendly menu items into my cooking repertoire, and to sample fare from some of the participating restaurants to get a taste of how they do it.
The options are many, according to Selena Holmes, who cofounded the event with her husband Justin and friend Tamara Pavesi last summer. The event at the Depot Market Square coincided with Climate Action Week—which will again be happening during this year’s activities—and was a smashing success. Approximately 75 vendors shared their vegan fare with the masses, and many reported it was their best day of sales ever.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Veg Fest will look different than it did in September of 2019. Instead of a one-day blowout at a primary locale, 17 local restaurants or food trucks will be offering one or more vegan options in their menus throughout the week, and online cooking demos, discussions, special announcements, live tours and presentations will round out the action. Additionally, a daily scavenger hunt will include a number of prizes for socially distancing clue-gatherers.
“One of our goals is to create excitement around supporting local businesses that offer vegan products and/or services and to highlight local nonprofits who support animals,” Holmes says. “It’s also always a goal for us to educate on the benefits of a vegan diet. Choosing a plant-based diet can benefit the animals, our personal health and the health of our planet.”
She notes that the main things she hears from people who can’t fathom committing to a vegan diet is they think won’t get enough protein, and that plant-based diets are boring. She refutes these assertions by pointing out all plants have protein, and full-on flavor is easy to find when you know where to look.
Specials and regular menu items you can try for yourself during Vegan Restaurant Week include the cilantro lime burrito from Sage Against the Machine, vegan creek gyro fries from New Public Food Truck, cupcakes from Wild Oat Bakery, vegan tamales and posolè from New Mexico Tamale, paninis and smoothie bowls at Vitality Bowl, BLTA wraps at Leaf & Ladle, vegan nachos from Taqueria Los Santos at the Cabin Tavern, and additional fare from Aslan, Chuckanut, Overland, and Twin Sisters breweries, Good to Go Pies, Kebab Casual, Emerald City Smoothies, Maikham, Pepper Sisters, Simmering Tava, and New Mexico Tamale.
“We are excited to bring some fun to Bellingham,” Holmes says of the weeklong event merging food with facts about how to minimize your personal impact on the planet. “We know how disappointing it has been to see event after event canceled. We hope this will bring joy and help create a sense of community.”
[Wed., Sept. 23]
SEDRO MARKET: The Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market continues today from 3pm-7pm at Heritage Square. Health and safety protocols are in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the market is still committed to bringing fresh, local food and products to residents and neighbors Wednesdays through Oct. 14.
For more info: http://www.sedrowoolleyfarmersmarket.com
APPLE PICKING: Choose from 22 varieties of apples at U-pick happenings from 10am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday at Bellewood Farms & Distillery, 6140 Guide Meridian. The events continue weekly through Oct. 31. COVID-19 recommendations will be followed.
For more info: http://www.bellewoodfarms.com
[Thurs., Sept. 24]
FOOD FOR STUDENTS: Various Western Washington University entities will be offering free food pickup from 12pm-2pm at Vendors’ Row in the Viking Commons. Wear a face mask and bring your WWU student ID to pick up a bag of nonperishables and a box of farm-fresh organic produce. Walk-through, bike-through and drive-through contactless pickup options are available, as are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices. For any disability or allergy accommodations, contact the email listed below.
[Fri., Sept. 25]
FERNDALE MARKET: The Ferndale Farmers Market continues today from 2pm-6pm in the parking lot next to the Grocery Outlet. If you’re interested in helping them grow, head over—and be prepared to follow safety standards.
For more info: http://www.ferndalepublicmarket.org
[Sat., Sept. 26]
ANACORTES MARKET: The Anacortes Farmers Market is open from 9am-2pm at the Depot Arts Center, 611 R Ave. Their rules include following and obeying all signs, markers, barriers and instructions from market staff or volunteers.
For more info: http://www.anacortesfarmersmarket.org
MOUNT VERNON MARKET: The Mount Vernon Farmers Market takes place from 9am-2pm Saturdays through Oct. 20 at Riverwalk Park, 501 Main St. Only 25 customers are allowed in at a time to peruse the goods. Check their website beforehand to find out which farmers will be in attendance each week, then get inspired to make a meal plan.
For more info: http://www.mountvernonfarmersmarket.org
TWIN SISTERS MARKET: The Twin Sisters Market continues its fifth season from 9am-3pm at Nugent’s Corner, and 10am-2pm in Maple Falls at the North Fork Library. In addition to having protocols in place to keep the community healthy, Foothills folks who are accustomed to picking up a diverse array of high-quality produce grown nearby should know they can still expect to find great prices—by taking turns having the farmers staff the market, they’re able to keep prices low for East Whatcom County residents. The markets continue Saturdays through Oct. 23.
For more info http://www.twinsistersmarket.com
CONCRETE MARKET: The Concrete Saturday Market takes place from 10am-1pm at the Concrete Community Center, 45821 Railroad St. Posted signage will direct shoppers to follow safety guidelines, and, for now, it’s a drive-in, farmers-only market. Artisans and crafters may return when safety restrictions are lifted, so keep an ear open for updates.
For more info: http://www.concretesaturdaymarket.com
BELLINGHAM MARKET: Attend the Bellingham Farmers Market from 10am-2pm Saturdays at the Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. At the modified market, social distancing is strongly enforced, patrons are not allowed to touch the food, and a limited number of vendors are allowed on site. Entertainment, music and eating areas have been suspended until further notice, and masks are mandatory. Please stay home if you are sick, and be prepared with small bills to offer exact change to vendors when possible.
For more info: http://www.bellinghamfarmers.org
BLAINE MARKET: The annual Blaine Gardeners Market continues from 10am-2pm Saturdays through October at the city’s G Street Plaza. Due to social distancing requirements, vendor booths will be spread out.
For more info: http://www.blainechamber.com
[Sun., Sept. 27]
BIRCHWOOD FARMERS MARKET: Find locally grown vegetables, flowers, fruits and other goods from more than 10 growers and producers in Whatcom County at the Birchwood Farmers Market happening from 9am-2pm every Sunday through October at the Park Manor Shopping Center, 1538 Birchwood Ave. The cooperative single-stand market is dedicated to increasing food access in the Birchwood neighborhood by providing fresh, sustainably grown produce at a reduced prices. When attending the market, please wear a face mask and keep social distancing in mind.
For more info: http://www.birchwoodfarmersmarket.com
ALGER MARKET: Kids can vend for free at the Alger Sunday Market taking place from 11am-4pm Sundays through Oct. 11 at Alger Community Hall, 18735 Parkview Lane. The low-key, barter-friendly neighborhood cooperative features produce, plants, artisan crafts and recycled and upcycled items to reuse. Drop-ins are welcome to “sell from your truck and make a buck,” but the number may be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For more info: (360) 724-0340
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