Producer Profile: Clay & Coffee

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Originally hailing from Russia, potter Elena Wendelyn of Clay & Coffee sells beautiful woodfired bowls, cups and platters at the Poulsbo Farmers Market. And we are fortunate to have access to her coffee through Kitsap Fresh. Elena’s creative personality is as evident in her unique pottery as it is in her coffee.

Clay & Coffee’s small batch, shade grown coffee is from Forest Cascades Coffee Farm in the mountains of Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. Elena is related by marriage to one of three retired teachers who restored this abandoned coffee farm, situated in a valley at 3,000 feet above sea level. Thousands of new coffee plants and other native bushes were planted, re-establishing biodiversity and protecting two streams traversing the property. Forest Cascades was certified as sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance, bringing us coffee we can feel good about drinking.

Elena shared a traditional, 200-year-old brewing process with the cup she made for me. She found that farmers market customers, often reluctant to spend time in her pottery booth unless they were considering a purchase, would linger if offered coffee brewed with Elena’s traditional Costa Rican Chorreador. The Chorreador consists of a simple wooden frame, often brightly painted, supporting a special cotton sock for brewing. Just add grounds and hot water and voila! One of the smoothest cups of coffee you have ever tasted. My family enjoys it enough to consider packing away our drip pot for everyday brewing. 

If your love of coffee is as strong as your belief in supporting local farms and producers, Clay & Coffee is one of three options Kitsap Fresh offers for your drinking pleasure. I intend to purchase one of Elena’s unique hand-thrown cups at the Poulsbo Farmers Market, which will enable me to support our local food community with every step of my morning coffee brewing ritual. I invite you all to do the same!

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Producer Profile: Farm Kitchen


Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Entering through a Dutch door, the scent of freshly brewed espresso welcomed me to Poulsbo’s Farm Kitchen. This certified commercial kitchen enables many of our small producers an opportunity to explore their dreams of success. A large red barn, the farm’s hub, houses a kitchen and public areas, surrounded by lavender and pots of flowers. Visiting during the Winter season, I could easily envision the flowers and orchard in bloom as Spring arrives.

Current owner, Hollis Fay, closed her Bainbridge Bakers shop in 1995, and with the help of Ann Thatcher, began transforming this 1960’s farm into the Farm Kitchen of today. The original barn and butcher shop-turned-event-space became a business incubator, offering not only licensed cooking space for lease, but training and advice for new business owners. Hollis’ love of baking birthed the Farm Kitchen Bakery, whose pastries, cookies, and breads are not only offered to us through Kitsap Fresh, but also sold in many local coffee shops and grocery stores.

Among the Kitsap Fresh farmers and producers that use Farm Kitchen is Butler Green Farms of Bainbridge Island; they grow greens and flowers in Farm Kitchen’s leased fields. My family enjoys bread from Tolo Sourdough, baked in the industrial Farm Kitchen ovens. Clay & Coffee also uses the facility to package their Costa Rican coffee. Currently, the facility’s drainage system is being expanded, which will allow the Kitchen to be even more productive.

While the pandemic brought a temporary halt to large weddings, parties, and in-person classes, Farm Kitchen still performs its mission of nurturing small businesses. The old adage that ‘individual success is possible only through the help of others’ is evident in our local food network, of which Kitsap Fresh is a vital conduit. The orders we place through Kitsap Fresh enable the success of many other community businesses, creating a county-wide food system to be proud of.

Position Available: Assistant Warehouse Manager

Kitsap Fresh has an opening for an Assistant Warehouse Manager.

The purpose of this position is to assist in management warehouse operations as necessary for the success of Kitsap Fresh. Work with the Warehouse Manager and GM to ensure proper logistics and cleanliness of the warehouse. 

This is a part-time, paid position for 16 to 20 hours per week. Work hours and times vary depending on seasonal programming and events. Some weekend and evening hours may be required.

For a full job description, please click on link below.

To apply, please send resume to

Producer Profile: Laughing Duck Coffee

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Sipping morning coffee pond-side, chuckling Mallards and Wood Ducks inspired Ted Field to name his new company Laughing Duck Coffee. After their kids graduated from college, Ted and his wife, Liz, left their Bay Area home in California to settle on Bainbridge Island and pursue Ted’s longtime interest in coffee roasting. It makes sense that a passion for coffee would lead the Fields to an area rife with coffee aficionados.

Kitsap Fresh’s mission to support small farms and producers gave Ted an opportunity to take his burgeoning business to another level. Graduating from roasting green beans in a popcorn popper at home, Ted now uses a professional machine in a nearby co-roasting facility. I met Ted in a dark blue industrial park building, not far from his Island home. Not only is he able to collaborate with another coffee producer, he can better focus on producing various roasts he feels others will enjoy.

I was particularly intrigued by Laughing Duck’s sugarcane decaffeination process. Originating in Columbia, where both sugarcane and coffee grow in abundance, this technique produces a natural compound from molasses fermentation. It washes caffeine from green coffee beans, imparting more flavor than plain water and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals. I must admit my husband’s morning cup of Missing Feathers Decaf had far more coffee flavor than his usual brand. Personally, I prefer Ted’s Dark Feathered Friend dark roast. I’m sure that a coffee for most every palate can be found at Laughing Duck Coffee.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Staff Profile: Elleni Mendoza

Elleni Mendoza
KF Warehouse Manager

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Kitsap Fresh’s Warehouse Manager, Elleni Mendoza, hosted our interview in the warehouse, with ample room for social distancing. Driving through the rows of white commercial buildings in the small industrial park that houses Kitsap Fresh, I was caught off guard by what I thought was the scent of peanut butter cookies. I later realized I was smelling actual peanuts roasting at CB’s Nuts, a small business housed next door. The scent was so fitting for my time with Elleni, mother of seven, nurturer of an additional three grandparents, who makes everyone feel welcomed.  Elleni laughed about celebrating holidays in a limited Covid style with 13 people in her immediate household.

Elleni wears two hats at Kitsap Fresh, one as Warehouse Manager, which includes her spending each Monday cleaning and sterilizing every bin, box, cooler, shelf and floor. The second, as the Port Orchard site attendant, gives her the opportunity to make deliveries in her large family vehicle. 

Tuesdays at the warehouse is meat and dairy delivery day, where Elleni pulls and tags each order, along with any value-added products. The massive amount of fresh produce and baked goods arriving early Wednesday morning requires additional staff, especially since Kitsap Fresh’s weekly orders have more than doubled this year alone. Currently under renovation, the office space next door will be open to expansion in the near future. Kitsap Fresh is alive and well in the time of Covid-19!

Groups of rolling shelves separated by pick-up location, called “Covid-pockets” by the staff, allow social distancing as they fill orders. All customer requests need to be processed and packed by 2:30 PM on Wednesdays and loaded for transport. Elleni wears a warm winter hat for her second job, manning the outdoor Port Orchard site, where I rely on her ready smile and cheerful attitude each week.

During our visit, a worker from Pike Place Market’s City Fish Co. dropped off boxes of fresh pasta from Pasta Casalinga, as well as Kitsap Fresh’s order of Tonnemaker Farms’ fruit. Elleni’s strong beliefs in the importance of healthy, local food for all, and her previous experience in a medical clinic management, enhance the experience of being an important cog in the Kitsap Fresh machine. She is excited to participate in the growth of Kitsap County’s online farmers market, especially with the roll out of Kitsap Fresh’s pilot home delivery program on Bainbridge Island. I will miss my weekly connection with Elleni should her responsibilities become more centered in Poulsbo.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Shorts Family Farm

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Shimmering from the latest rain, the farm lane I descended off the main road took me past an orchard, three homes, and into the yard of Short’s Family Farm. Not your average gentleman’s ranch, the farm chores are happening, mud and all. Beyond the business yard are 150 acres of idyllic, lush green pasture dotted with 100% grass fed and finished Black Angus cattle – a scene that was soothing to my soul. 

Rancher Kevin Short, met me in the farm store with his beloved dog, Petey, a friendly cream and tan Pitbull who laid his head in my lap and asked to play ball.  Kevin was dressed in overalls and a worn ball cap, the ubiquitous mask across his face unable to mute Kevin’s good-natured laughter as he shared the history of his ranch. “I have to laugh or I’ll cry,” he chuckled, while describing the blessings and pitfalls of ranching. For example, current legal restrictions prevent cleaning the Valley’s salmon stream, causing floods in many of Short’s pastures. Beef cattle do not thrive in wetlands.

In 2001, Kevin’s step-father, Roger Short, was awakened to the importance of healthier ranching practices after seeing the film Food Inc. He set out to emulate some of the principles captured in the film. During that time, he kept his business afloat through the sale of Magical Soil, a mixture of “Semiahmo muck,” or peat from the Chimacum Valley, compost and sand. Roger eventually transformed his failing dairy farm into his current grass-fed beef ranch in 2002/03. Short’s also offers soil mixtures including BioChar, a carbon-rich product made from wood waste that helps create “living soil,” vital in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. The farm’s product list includes various other soils, bark and sawdust, along with beef.

Short’s cattle are born and raised in a stress-free environment, have become comfortable with humans, and are frequently rotated into new pastures. Kevin chooses to process his cattle in Sandy, OR at a facility that allows animals a day of rest, in order to reduce stress prior to butchering. This results in healthier, tastier meat. Currently, COVID regulations require butchers to vacuum-pack all orders, but it takes nothing away from the quality you will find in Short’s Family Farm grass fed beef. Be sure to try some in your next order.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Full Tilth Farm

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

I feel so fortunate to have connected with a number of amazing farms tucked into Kitsap County’s rolling hills – and Full Tilth Farm in Poulsbo did not disappoint. As I parked at the farmhouse, I was tempted to just settle into a rocking chair on the deep front porch and spend the afternoon gazing at the 5 acres of fields where industrious farmers worked.

Renee Ziemann, Luke Yoder, and Becky Zaneski  believe first and foremost in maintaining the healthy condition of tilled soil, thus the name Full Tilth. While Luke works outside the farm, Renee and Becky manage their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a booth at the Poulsbo Farmers Market, and the orders for Kitsap Fresh. Full Tilth is dedicated to training the next generation of farmers, hiring two interns each growing season. Farm interns receive hands-on training, bring much needed help with farm chores, and receive additional classes on every aspect of managing a working farm.

It’s all about growing at Full Tilth Farm, which includes various fruits and vegetables along with their own children! I am looking forward to tasting the rainbow carrots and cherry tomatoes waiting for me at home from last week’s order. Renee and Becky saw and filled a need for local berries, so be sure to order some of their offerings next year. Blueberries with granola and yogurt are a delightful way to start my day, a small taste of summer saved in my freezer. When we purchase food from farms like Full Tilth, our food dollars cast a vote for a local, sustainable food system, as well as nourishing our bodies and souls. 

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Wintercreek Farm

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

As I drove up the gentle hill that is Wintercreek Farm, there were small fields of mixed vegetables alongside that climbed toward the two large greenhouses on the horizon. Reaching the top, I parked under apple trees that hung heavy with bounty and surrounded a multi-family enclave. Farmer Robin Bodony’s husband and 9-month-old daughter greeted me with a smile and directed me back down the hill to find Robin in her fields. The surrounding forest did not prevent the midday sun from beaming down on this happy farm.

Wintercreek, named for the ephemeral, seasonal creek hidden in tall cedar trees bordering the main road, is no fertile bottomland. However, Robin is transforming her hillside into a productive ecosystem, with minimal-till practices and soil enrichment enhancing bacterial life buried deep in her soil. Mowed cover crops, cloaked in black plastic, rapidly compost in the sun’s heat. The large greenhouses, provided by a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grant, are filled with tomatoes and other heat-loving vegetables.

Managed and operated by three women, this farm sells produce at multiple farmers markets, along with Kitsap Fresh, and had been provisioning local restaurants prior to the pandemic. The upside-down world of Covid-19 has given Robin an opportunity to reassess her farm’s mission for the coming years. For now, she is content growing mixed vegetables and creating a fun, safe place for children and family to thrive. I must say I’m looking forward to sampling Wintercreek’s White Russian Kale in my next order.Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Persephone Farm

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Taking its name from the Greek Goddess of Springtime, flowers and vegetation, Persephone Farm was not very Spring-like on the overcast Fall day I visited, though its fields were still lush with the season’s last flowers and vegetables. Farmer Rebecca Slattery began farming on leased Bainbridge Island land in 1991, purchasing her current Indianola property in 2001. Rebecca’s first priorities are to provide for her regular Bainbridge Farmers Market customers, local restaurants, and the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which has flourished due to the pandemic. Kitsap Fresh customers are blessed with any overflow.

Persephone Farm is known for wedding flowers and offers a full array of services. The floral designers create arrangements and bouquets of sustainable, local blooms grown alongside unique filler material. For my niece’s outdoor wedding during Summer Solstice of 2019, I filled my mini van with buckets of the farm’s gorgeous flowers that created a magical fairyland for the festivities. The Goddess would have been pleased!

Rebecca also believes in mentoring the next generation of farmers, hosting yearly groups of farm interns for immersive training. Aspiring farmers of all ages and from all walks of life connect with Persephone Farm through a USDA matching program. The working classroom at Persephone Farm teaches organic practices and the importance of creating a closed loop system for sustainable production. This season’s group of 5 interns were leaving as I arrived, and they were heading to a neighboring farm for additional training.  I thoroughly enjoy Persephone’s signature Wild and Fancy salad greens, with their foraged miner’s lettuce in the Spring. Rebecca’s leeks and zucchini, harvested from undulating beds hugging the sloped fields, arrived in my recent Kitsap Fresh order. Please remember to recommend Persephone to anyone you know planning a wedding and be on the lookout for the last of the farm’s Fall offerings on Kitsap Fresh.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.