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Celebrate Ebey’s Forever on Central Whidbey this weekend

Longtime Central Whidbey resident Sara Purdue shows the apples, squash and beans that have been integral crops grown on Whidbey for years. She’ll be cooking 30 pies for a social that closes the annual Ebey’s Forever Conference.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Longtime Central Whidbey resident Sara Purdue shows the apples, squash and beans that have been integral crops grown on Whidbey for years. She’ll be cooking 30 pies for a social that closes the annual Ebey’s Forever Conference.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Central Whidbey resident Sara Purdue has been busy scouring the island looking for berries and apples.

She will use the local ingredients to bake the 30 pies that will be part of an upcoming celebration of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

The Ebey’s Forever Conference takes place this weekend. It offers a way to mark the recent preservation projects that have benefited the 17,000-acre Reserve.

Purdue has been picking and saving Gravenstein apples, blackberries, strawberries and other goodies from throughout the Reserve. Her pies will be devoured during the Ebey’s Reserve Farmer’s Market and Pie Social at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.

“The trees I get my fruit from are heritage trees that belong to our friends,” Purdue said.

She pointed to the long-standing apple trees that still remain, and produce fruit, in front of her childhood home in the Reserve.

The pie social caps a full day of field trips, seminars and speakers that highlight everything in the Reserve from the acres of farmland to recently completed historical preservation projects.

“We’re trying to touch upon the different stories within the Reserve,” Manager Mark Preiss said.

The conference starts Friday night with a potluck at 1056 Crockett Farm Road from 6 to 8 p.m. A plethora of events is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 5 with something for children and adults alike.

Washington state conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door is the scheduled keynote speaker for the conference. Rides at the Door was raised in the Blackfeet Nation in Montana and has worked for the Natural Resource Conservation Service. She held conservation positions in Oklahoma and Rhode Island before coming to Washington. Rides at the Door will touch upon all the tools available to sustain conservation in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Thanks to the help of teams of volunteers, several historic structures recently received  upgrades needed to extend their lives, including the Ferry House, the Jacob Ebey House, the Sheepherder’s House, Coupeville Wharf and the Kinetic water tower. The weekend conference offers a tour of the projects funded by local grant dollars.

Participants will also get an up-close look at the farming that takes place throughout Central Whidbey. Trolley tours are offered through the Reserve and the Northwest Agriculture Business Center is gathering local chefs and farmers for a cook-off highlighting Central Whidbey’s heirloom legume — the Rockwell bean grown by several farms in the Reserve. Purdue said she’ll be one of the speakers during the Rockwell bean presentation.

Preiss said a tour will show people a proposed trail connecting the Jenne and Reuble farms.

Registration is required to attend the Ebey’s Forever Conference sessions. To register for the conference and to see a schedule of event, go to www.ebeysforever.com.

 

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