New Location, Same Great Smoothies

Where is a power suit appropriate next to a campfire? At the new “forever” location of Electric Beet Juice Co., where those are the names of two new smoothie offerings. Despite the new address, customers can expect the same delicious recipes as always, plus many exciting new menu items.  

Electric Beet Juice Co. started more than five years ago in the Public Market building and then moved to a temporary location on State Street before finding its new home on Cornwall Avenue. For owner Kara Marklin, the new location is a dream spot. 

“Probably the number one thing I’m excited about is having a permanent location . . . being next door to Pure Bliss and all of these great businesses around here, I can’t really think of a better place,” Marklin says.  

Electric Beet’s new location is bright, clean, and comfortable, featuring a cheerful color palette and green succulents lining the walls. Marklin did much of the interior construction work herself, with the aid of a handyman. Her goal was to create a welcoming environment where people could enjoy celebratory food.  

“I didn’t just oversee the project, I actually did the project . . . I got to use saws — big saws — and all kinds of tools, and I loved it so much, it was the wildest experience. I started to think that maybe I had missed my calling and I was supposed to be a builder.” 

When asked what makes the place unique, Marklin is quick to reply it is her creative recipes. She admits to constantly experimenting with new offerings. “Honestly it comes down to having time to recipe test them . . . again and again.” 

Favorite new menu additions include the Campfire, a cookie-flavored confection featuring cardamom, turmeric, dates, and sunflower butter; the Strawberry Blonde, with its signature beet juice, strawberries, ginger, and coconut water; and the Power Suit, which is packed with blueberries, banana, pineapple, and other nutritious ingredients.  

Electric Beet uses thoughtfully sourced, organic materials for their drinkable creations. This same standard for ingredients also applies to their food menu, which features spring rolls, salads, pancakes, rolls, desserts, and more. 

Marklin hopes to pursue more changes in the future. “For the restaurant, I want to be able to serve dinner plates . . . natural wine — I want to make things happen for the theater crowd.” The first phase involves an expansion of hours, with doors opening as early as 8 a.m. and eventually staying open until as late as 9 p.m.  

Markling also hopes to give attention to another project. “I want to start a program that uses Electric Beet’s kitchen — and utilizes different aspects of Electric Beet — but is a separate nonprofit that is able to train and then hopefully provide jobs for . . . adults with developmental disabilities,” she says. 

Whether wielding a blender, a power saw, or a passion for community, Marklin creates great outcomes. The next time you’re seeking a positive place to refuel, head to Cornwall Avenue to try one of Marklin’s flavorful creations. 

Electric Beet Juice Co., 1422 Cornwall Ave., 360.676.7477, electricbeetjuiceco.com  

For  more like this, check out our Dine section here.

DIY Coasters with Photos and Artwork

When the rainy season comes, it often means we finally have time for all those indoor projects we’ve been planning. If you’ve been looking for a way to spice up your décor, customized coasters are a great afternoon project. These DIY works of art also make a great gift! 

What You’ll Need 

4 – 4”x4” tiles (lightcolored, ceramic, flattopped work best) 

4 – Printed photos or artwork, cut to 3.75” x 3.75” 

Mod Podge 

Small 1” foam brush 

Self-adhesive felt pads 

Directions 

  1. Apply a coat of Mod Podge to the front of the tile. Make sure to cover the entire front of the tile, all the way to the edges. A thin layer is best and will ensure that no bubbles form. 
  2. Place your photo or artwork on top of the wet coat of Mod Podge. The photos should be cut to slightly smaller than the tile to ensure the edges lay flat. Smooth the photo with a dry paper towel, gently pushing out any bubbles.  
  3. Apply 3 coats of Mod Podge with the foam brush, waiting 15 minutes between each coat. Apply each coat as a thin layer, making sure to wrap around the sides of the artwork.
  4. Stick felt pads to the bottom of each coaster. Rough and uneven surfaces are common on the back of tiles. The felt will keep your furniture scratchfree and elevate your tile from the surface.
  5. Allow to dry for three days. It’s normal for Mod Podge to feel tacky until it’s had proper time to dry. For best drying, leave the coasters in a warm and dry location. 

Love this idea, but not sure what to use for artwork? Here are some ideas: 

For more DIY projects, check out our Habitat section here. 

 

Cascadia Jewelry

Kira Rainey has always loved making jewelry, but her idea to start a business didn’t take shape until 2017At the time, she was living in Missoula, where she attended school.  

“I was a bartender at the time, and everyone kept asking where I got some of my pieces…it kind of occurred to me that there was interest in it,” she says. 

She began selling at farmers markets, eventually opening an Etsy shop and selling pieces on Instagram. Her business name, Cascadia Jewelry, gained new meaning in 2019, when she and her husband — both natives of Kitsap County — moved from Missoula to Mount Vernon.  

“We picked the Skagit Valley because it’s so close to Bellingham…but it kind of looks like Montana. I had no idea there was an awesome artist market and community here.” 

Strong Materials, Classic Designs 

Rainey aims to create high-quality jewelry at accessible price points. “I remember going to shows in college when I was younger…and I couldn’t afford anything when I was there,” she says. “It’s important to me that self-expression, jewelry, and fashion is available to more people.”  

To achieve this goal, she starts with a raw sheet of base metal which she then hammers, texturizes, and shapes, finishing all ear hooks and chains with silver and gold. “I like the duality there of having a hardness and a softness developed from metal,” she says. 

She also treats each piece to prevent the metal from tarnishing. The result is jewelry that’s affordable, durable, and light-weight. 

When it comes to designs, Rainey gravitates toward feminine, classic shapes. She has a whole collection of lunar-inspired pieces, like her popular moon drop earrings ($30-$38). Like most pieces Rainey makes, the droplet earrings are simple but versatile, making them a great gift option. Customers can choose from brass, silver, or copper in sizes small, medium, or large. 

“When you find these simple shapes—I’ve seen them on punk rock girls, I’ve seen them on really classic, sophisticated styles, and wild artsy styles,” she says. 

Silver Linings  

Since moving to Mount Vernon, Rainey has been able to grow her business, working markets and events locally as well as in Seattle, Oregon, and Montana. When she’s not focused on jewelry, she works part-time at Farmstrong Brewing.  

“I like doing the markets and art shows…putting a face behind what I’m doing. It’s more fun for me, you know, when people see my stuff and try it on. They get all excited and start smiling…that’s what makes it fun.”  

Rainey’s first market in Washington was Valley Made Market, a Skagit-based craft fair that normally takes place in Downtown Mount Vernon but shifted to online operations amid COVID-19. She also shows jewelry at Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle. 

“It’s really cool being new in Bellingham and Skagit Valley, because I’m starting out in a lot of these markets, and I’ve met a lot of really cool people, and it’s starting to grow for me.” 

Due to COVID-19, Rainey has found herself with even more time to work on her art. “It’s funny, the silver lining for me, during COVID, is that I’m [making jewelry] full time, and it’s working right now.”  

You can find Cascadia Jewelry at local stores including The Lucky Dumpster in Edison, Fringe Boutique in Bellingham, and elSage Designs in Mount Vernon. For flash sales, custom pieces, and a glimpse into Rainey’s creative process, follow her on Instagram @cascadia.jewelry or visit cascadiajewelry.com. 

For more local finds, visit our Shop section here.

The Buzz Around Town

The past few decades have been hard for bees, with climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and colony collapse disorder threatening their numbers and, as a result, the agricultural industry as a whole 

Now, beekeepers have yet another problem to worry about: Asian giant hornets, also known, endearingly enough, as “murder hornets.” 

Native to eastern and southeastern Asia, the hornets first appeared near Blaine in late 2019. Although nobody knows how the hornets arrived in the states, invasive insects occasionally cross the sea on imported cargo 

According to Ruthie Danielsen, a beekeeper with the Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association, the Asian giant hornet poses a huge threat to honey bees and wasps. The hornets eat bees and wasps for protein, and can wipe out an entire hive in a matter of hours.  

They also pose a threat to humans. Although the hornets don’t typically target people or pets, they will attack if threatened. “They do not lose their stinger when they sting you and they sting you multiple times,” Danielsen says.  

Should you get stung, the effects are much more severe than a regular bee sting, since the venom is more toxic. Danielsen recommends going to an emergency room if you get stung.  

As for what the general public can do to help combat the hornets, the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s website has instructions for how to create a bottle trap using household supplies. The department emphasizes that trapping hornets requires a commitment, as trappers must report their trap, monitor it, and send in any specimens. It may also put the trapper at risk of getting stung.  

Danielsen also warns people to familiarize themselves with what an Asian giant hornet looks like before trapping any insects. She worries people will mistake innocent honeybees for the deadly hornets. 

“The biggest thing that worries me is that beneficial insects will get killed, because people won’t recognize what a really large bumblebee is,” Danielsen says.  

With more people informed, though, Danielsen believes there is hope to stop the hornets from establishing themselves.  

“We do have a chance if we get enough people looking, enough traps up, [and] if we make a concerted effort to find their nests, then we have a chance,” Danielsen says.   

 For more like this, check out our Lifestyle section here.

A Day in the Life of a Farmstead Cheesemaker

Harmony Fields is a small, seasonal farmstead sheep creamery in Bow, Washington. This means we only make cheese with milk from animals we raise right here on our land. Our East Friesian/Lacaune flock of sheep produce milk for about six months, so that is our window for making our fresh (feta and soft, spreadable) and aged cheeses (tomme).  

After the lambs arrive in March and the milk begins to flow, we are in constant motion, caring for the animals, making cheese, and managing the pasture. As a family of four, our daily routines vary throughout the season. Some days are market days, others are cheese days. The sheep are milked twice a day — that is a constant! We do have help with milking, but here is an example of a busier day at Harmony Fields: 

5:20 AM: The alarm goes off.  

5:30 AM: My husband gets up to feed the animals, except the milking ewes, and I make coffee. We both tip-toe down the stairs, so as to not wake our two girls, who are four and two.  

6 AM: I round up the milking ewes in the barn and get them in line for the milking stanchion. After milking, I clean all the equipment, the milking parlor, and sheep barn. The sheep are then let out to pasture for the day. 

8 AM: I head back to the house to help get the girls dressed and off to their preschool. 

8:30 AM: A little time for breakfast and office work — and a much-needed shower! 

9:00 AM: Off to the cheese room! I may begin with packing orders or will start heating the milk for a new batch of cheese. There are usually several steps involved. Once I am in the cheese room, I am there to stay. About 70 percent of cheesemaking is cleaning, so there is always a lot to do. 

2:00 PM: Done with cheesemaking steps for the day, it’s time to take some deliveries and pick up the kiddos. 

3:00 PM: The milking ewes come back from pasture. I then feed the other animals, like the donkeys and ducks.  

4:00 PM: I cook dinner while the family has playtime.  

5:00 PM: Dinner!  

6:00 PM: It’s back to the sheep barn for the evening milking. After, the sheep cozy up inside for the night. 

8:30 PM: I check my email and any other paperwork. Then I settle in to read, write, or catch up on the news. 

10:00 PM: Time to sleep before doing it all again. 

Visit harmonyfields.com to sign up for a summer cheese CSA, shop for gifts, or learn more about the farm.  

Watermelon Feta Salad with Golden Tomatoes and Tarragon 

INGREDIENTS  

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Chop the watermelon, tomatoes, onion, feta, and tarragon. Place ingredients in a large salad bowl.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, rice vinegar, honey, and sherry in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top of the salad and gently toss.

– Adapted from Sommer Collier 

Quality Furniture in Anacortes

In 1980, brothers Bob and Steve Tracy opened Tracys Furniture in Anacortes. At the time, the showroom had 2,500 square feet. Today, the store boasts more than 14,000 square feet and carries everything you need to beautify your home. At Tracys, you’ll find high-quality furniture for your living room, dining room, home office, and bedroom, along with a wide selection of lighting accents and home decor items.  

Quality-Crafted Furniture  

Tracys is committed to selling the best products; if an item falls short of their standards, they quickly remove it. New to the store this year is Smith Brothers of Berne, Inc., an American-made furniture line that dates back to 1926. In fact, Tracys Furniture is the first store in Washington State to carry their furniture. 

“Everything they do is based on quality,” says Bob. “They don’t cut corners, and even have their own quality control testing facility at the factory in Berne, Indiana.” 

Along with quality craftsmanship and a lifetime guarantee on the foam, Smith Brothers of Berne, Inc. offers 1,000 fabric options and100 types of leather, giving customers the ability to customize their purchase to their own style and taste. Once an order is placed, it arrives in four weeks. 

At the store, you’ll also find quality furniture from Stressless by Ekornes, Flexsteel, and Palettes by Winesburg, just to name a few. Upstairs, you can browse bedroom decor and furniture, as well as mattresses from Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, and Mattress 1st. Tracys also sells sheets from Seattle-based 45th Street Bedding.   

Commitment to Customer Service 

Bob, now the sole owner of Tracys, is surrounded by a team of 11 employees, two of whom are sales representatives with training from the American Society of Interior Designers. Everyone works together to provide top-notch customer service.  

“We gave up commissions years ago because it was counter-intuitive to the customer,” says Bob. “We pride ourselves on providing good service and putting the customer first.” 

It’s important to visit Tracys more than once, since their displays are constantly changing. The story regularly refreshes their display rooms to reflect new merchandise, giving customers new ways to visualize how they’d like to style and furnish their home. 1920 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, 360.293.8444, tracysfurniture.com 

For more like this, visit our Habitat page here. 

An Indoor Hub for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Backcountry Essentials

214 W. Holly St., Bellingham 

360.543.5678, backcountryessentials.net 

The Shop  

Located on West Holly Street in downtown Bellingham, Backcountry Essentials has provided a place to shop for outdoor gear since its doors opened in 2006Store owner Chris Gerston believes his store serves as both a gear shop and a hub for the outdoor community.  

Full of gear for every season and sport, the store is lined with hiking boots and camping equipment along with everyday items like water bottles and clothes. The shop underwent renovations in 2010, at which point they also expanded into the second story. Upstairs, you’ll find a selection of gently used clothing and shoes at unbeatable price points. The store also runs an award-winning ski shop.  

The Atmosphere  

Gerston hopes his store is a welcoming place for people of all experience levels.  

“First and foremost, we try to be accessible to people,” Gerston says. “We have a staff with a lot of experience and I pretty much tell them, I don’t really care how fast they ski or how hard they climb, the thing we need to do is just be nice to people.”  

At the back of the store you’ll find a beer cooler, so customers can stock up on brews before they set off on their outdoor excursions. You’ll also find guide books, maps, and other items to aid in trip-planning. 

In this way, Gerston hopes his store is like a mini vacation for people, a space where they can dream about their next big getaway.  

“Oftentimes, people may not be able to get out for a vacation or even get out for a hike,” Gerston says. “But they will come in here for maybe a 15 minute vacation, where they just sort of dream and walk around and look at the gear.”    

What You’ll Find  

Backcountry Essentials sells gear and clothing from the best outdoor outfitters around. You can find shoes from Chaco, Merrell, Vasque, and Altra, as well as apparel from brands like Patagonia, Columbia, Prana, and Kuhl Clothing. Climbing, hiking, and camping gear runs the gamut — you’ll find offerings from Outdoor Research, Black Diamond, MSR, and more.  

Along with buying skis and ski boots, in the winter you can also rent skis and mountaineering equipment like ice axes and crampons. They even offer an option for people to demo new skis for a day. 

“My favorite thing to do is gear testing,” Gerston says, noting he’s already excited for next year’s skis. He loves seeing new items come into the store.  

If you’re someone who has years of outdoors experience or is curious about Bellingham’s outdoor community, stop by Backcountry Essentials to find the right equipment as well as the right information. 

 For more Savvy Shopper articles, visit our Shop section here. 

Jake Riley: Olympic Dreams on Hold

When Jake Riley started at Sehome High School in Bellingham in 2003, he was just a regular kid. He’d graduated from Fairhaven Middle School, where he’d liked playing soccer, but he was looking for something new. That’s when he started hanging out with a group of guys a year older than him.  

“It [was] really easy for me to just look at them and be like, ‘Oh, those are some cool guys that are fun to hang out with, I’ll just keep doing what they do,’” Riley says. 

Lucky for Riley, the guys he fell in with were runners. 

“These guys, they were committed to running every day. They were committed to running in the off-season,” Riley says. “And it wasn’t necessarily because they had any massive aspirations, it was just because they [had] fun running together.” 

Sprinting Toward the Olympics 

It’s been 17 years since that first brush with running, and Riley hasn’t looked back. In fact, in his peak training times, he runs about 110 miles each week. Last year, he began training for a crucial race: the Chicago Marathon. His time in the marathon would determine whether he would clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. The marathon was also his first big race since an Achilles tendon injury that required many months of physical therapy and rehabilitation work. For some athletes, such an injury poses a major setback. 

“It probably took me six months to really get into a place where I could train on a regular schedule, and then another six months before I was able to race again,” Riley says.  

But Riley pushed through. Leading up to the Chicago Marathon, he had the fourth fastest time out of all the runners. But only the three fastest make the team. For Riley, making the Olympic team would be a symbol of victory and achievement — a dream come true. 

“This is the be-all, end-all. This is the pinnacle of the sport,” Riley says. “So if you are a runner, this is what you dream about.”  

After only 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 36 seconds, the race was over for Riley. He finished second, officially qualifying for the 2020 Olympics. 

“I’m running out of adjectives to describe just how special this is to me and how big a deal this is within the running community,” Riley says. “I’m just so pumped.” 

A Dream Postponed 

After years of training and preparation, Riley had finally qualified for the Olympics, but then something happened that nobody could have predicted. In March 2020, with the rise of COVID-19, Riley began to hear rumblings within the running community. Despite mounting evidence that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics might be postponed, he was reluctant to give up hope. Finally, on March 24, the official announcement arrived: For the first time in history, the Olympics would be postponed. 

“I woke up and was on my phone and saw [the announcement], and even though I prepared myself, it was definitely a little bit of a gut punch to actually see it there in writing,” Riley says.  

Although Riley agrees with the decision to cancel the games, which attract large crowds and athletes from all over the world, the decision still feels monumental, because it is. The games have only been disrupted three other times, during the first and second World Wars, when they were cancelled altogether. This is the first time the games have ever been “postponed.” 

As of now, the games are set to happen in 2021, barring further disruption due to COVID-19. For Riley, that means his training will continue. He currently runs seven days a week and trains with his coach Lee Troop, an Australian Olympic marathoner. When the games do finally come around, Riley will be ready and proud to compete.  

“Winning the Olympics? That’s probably a goal that’s a little bit too big to put on my goal sheet,” Riley says. “[For me it’s about] the experience, and performing well, and representing the U.S. well.” 

Riley is currently a masters student at the University of Colorado studying mechanical engineering. When he’s not training or studying, he’s working as an ACT and SAT tutor for high schoolers. His favorite place to run in Bellingham is on the Lake Padden horse trails up toward Galbraith Mountain. While he doesn’t think he’ll return to Whatcom County in the near future, Riley says he’ll always consider Bellingham, the place where he fell in love with running, home. 

Blueberry Cantaloupe Panzanella

Yield: Serves 6  

Prep: 20 minutes  

Panzanella is a pleasant, summertime salad ideal for putting stale bread to good use. Didn’t quite finish your loaf from Breadfarm? “Waste not want not” is never better with this cool, sweet, and savory Italian bread salad featuring a medley of produce from Skagit Valley growers. Here, ripe blueberries from Bow Hill Blueberries and cantaloupe from Red Shed Farm are complemented by fresh basil grown at Blanchard Mountain Farm.  

INGREDIENTS  

INSTRUCTIONS  

* Make sure to use bread that’s at least one or two days old, as it will absorb the moisture from the fruit and dressing while holding its shape. Fresh bread will become soggy and dissolve.  

For more recipes, visit our Dine section here.