October 2010

PEMCO Sandals and Socks Guy

I have to confess, the first time I saw I guy wearing cargos, socks, and sandals walking around downtown last November, it cracked me up. It wan't just the socks-with-sandals thing, it was the combination of socks-with-sandals and cargos on a cold blustery Western Washington day. It's just not something you see in Southern California, or even in New England. Socks-and-sandals are pretty much a commonplace here in the Pacific Northwest; I note for the curious that the sandals are those rugged high-tech mountaineering sorts, and the socks tend to be thick wool, or even brightly patterned "smart wool" socks. But now, I have to laugh at a PEMCO commercial from their "We're a lot like you" campaign.

Cranberries: Native Northwest Berries

I was pleased discover that the cranberry is a native species in Washington. The cranberry is an evergreen shrub of very short stature, or in some species, trailing vines, that thrives in acidic bogs throughout the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and North America, favoring areas with distinct winters and autumns. Early European settlers in Massachusetts were introduced by the resident Pequot to an edible berry they called ibimi, or "bitter berry. The cranberry is a member of the Vaccinium Oxycoccos species, a close relative of bilberries, blueberries, huckleberries and the rhododendron, all members of Vaccinium genus. The most common commercially grown cranberry is Vaccinium macrocarpon, a species native to the bogs of North America.

Northwest Apples

Apples were first planted in Washington state (then called Vancouver Fort) sometime between 1827 and 1829. Today, Washington is the largest U.S. apple producer, responsible for between 40 and 50% of all apples, whether fresh or processed, consumed in the U.S. Washington apples are not only sold in all fifty states, they're exported to about 4o countries.