Cherry Hibiscus Ice
Mazama Community Market, $1.25
Located in northeastern Washington's isolated Methow Valley, the town of Mazama boasts a population of 230--most of whom turn out for the Wednesday evening Community Market. As you might expect from an area that's equally attuned to the needs of hikers, skiers, wine connoisseurs, and libertarians, Mazama's residents are sporty, colorful, creative, and into having a good time.
While enjoying acoustic covers of Dylan and Grateful Dead songs and keeping one eye on the vegetable sculpture contest (for kids only, sigh), we wandered around the ring of stalls to check out all the goods on offer. Apparently, there are no limits on who can open a stall or on what they can sell. There were jars of honey and slices of pizza, t-shirts and crafts, a couple of mini yard sales, several people selling surplus produce from their gardens, girls offering custom bracelets, and a kid at an actual Kool-Aid stand unexpectedly selling pudding. Dogs wandered freely, sometimes chewing on hunks of cauliflower discarded by the vegetable sculptors.
One stall had a pretty impressive wooden sign advertising chicha tea, which I'd never heard of. The seller explained how she got into chicha and how it's really great and delicious, then admitted that she'd forgotten her tea at home. Instead, she had tubs of homemade fruit ices. I had the cherry hibiscus, which was lovely, with the sweetness of a jamaica soda and chunks of sour cherry.