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Originally published Monday, July 28, 2014 at 7:54 PM

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Rain helps grow big cash crop at Feast on the Farm

Stewardship Partners’ Feast on the Farm gets rained on, but raises $75,000 for aquatic habitats; and punker-turned-music business guru Martin Atkins stops by the Tractor Tavern for a lecture.

Seattle Times staff columnist


“I’m just singing in the rain,” David Burger smirked as we clomped through the mud of Local Roots Farm in Duvall last Wednesday for the fifth annual Feast on the Farm.

The signature fundraiser for Stewardship Partners has become a summer staple for those who believe in keeping water clean and restoring habitats — but who also relish getting out of the city to take in clean air, green fields, good wine and delicious food with some of the best people around.

They included Stewardship Partners founders Chris and Cynthia Bayley; their daughter and the event’s producer, Kate Bayley and her husband, Tadd Sackville-West, and daughter Elizabeth Bayley; Eliza Flug; new board member Cal McAllister of the Wexley School for Girls with his wife, Amanda; Wexley creative director Todd Grant; and Jason Salvo and Siri Erickson-Brown, owners of Local Roots.

Executive Director Burger and his wife, Gina, weren’t kidding about the rain. The skies dropped a record 0.74 inches the day before. There were thunderstorms the night before and it rained all day. (In July! Who needs a drink?)

“Puddles and mud are part of the farm,” Burger said, “and it’s magical because our supporters get to witness and celebrate the results of our work in the Snoqualmie Valley.”

(It also gave a few of the guests reason to christen their Givenchy and Burberry rain boots. Function overrode fashion, for once.)

The long white tables were tucked under tents, and cocktails and appetizers were served in the greenhouse, where guests had to be reminded not to set their drinks on the racks of starts. (Wasn’t me.)

Westward’s Zoi Antionitsas served up a salmon-safe dinner, meaning that everything was grown in a way that protects water quality and ecosystems.

There was wood-grilled chicken with fresh herbs and edible flowers; and a salad of fresh greens and brassicas picked just steps away. Burger was right. Magical.

Salvo and Erickson-Brown (sweethearts at Garfield High School, Class of ’97) learned to farm while traveling through Italy, and now specialize in Italian delights: radicchio, parsley and tomatoes, along with 80 varieties of vegetables.

They pack radicchio into their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes only once over 25 weeks and people always complain about it, Salvo said, “But not about 10 weeks of carrots.” Go figure.

The couple also produce gorgeous kids, namely their 3-year-old son, Felix, and daughter, Beatrice, still a babe in arms.

But they don’t grow marijuana, in answer to one guest’s inevitable question during the farm tour. (OK, it was former Microsoftie and philanthropist David Robinson, the scamp.)

“I don’t smoke it,” Salvo said. “It just makes me go to sleep.”

Aaron Clark, who heads Stewardship’s 12,000 Rain Garden project, said the current count is 1,400. (“I won’t rest until I’m done,” he said).

One-third of the current gardens are in Ballard and almost 300 are in greenspaces at Northgate Mall, of all places. Watch your step, shoppers.

Joel VandenBrink of Seattle Cider and Two Beers Brewing is about to debut his Pumpkin Spice Cider Aug. 9, making good use of his psychology and theology degrees.

As dessert was being served, Star Anna and Mike McCready climbed onto the flatbed of neighboring farmer Van Strom’s 1971 International truck to play a few songs.

As darkness fell, diners clomped back to their cars, smiling, sated and certified stewards — and $75,000 lighter.

What rain?

Punk in public

It wasn’t so much rain as F-bombs dropping on the crowd at the Tractor Tavern the other night.

I expected no less from Martin Atkins, former drummer for Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke, and head of the music-business program at SAE Institute in Chicago.

Atkins, 55, is also the author of “Tour: Smart, ” the must-read for anyone with dreams of hitting the road, the Big Time, or (hopefully) both. The book was one of the Top 20 music-business books on for almost two years.

“It’s difficult,” Atkins said of getting his advice out there. “Some bands don’t want to listen. I don’t know what it is. It’s like a sexually transmitted disease. People want the help, but they don’t want to be seen getting it.”

On this night, though, there was no shame. A sampling of what hopefuls heard:

Get out of bed at 5 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. Doing so can get you an extra 35 hours a week to work on crowdfunding or Facebook or promotion.

Always say yes to everything. You can always rescind.

Free is the new black. “Monty Python gave away their entire catalog online and their revenue went up 23,000 percent!” Atkins said.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing if 20,000 download your album for free. It’s a bad thing if 20,000 people don’t.

“It becomes your job to sell them something else.”

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334

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