Our Voice: Fiery Foods, fresh produce and fish top Thankful Thursday list

Fiery Foods Festival

Starting is hard. Restarting is even more difficult.

So an especially big congratulations is in order for the organizers of the Fiery Foods Festival.

It's a great regional activity. It brings people to downtown Pasco.

Of course, these events don't happen on their own. It takes sponsors and volunteers. And it's a lot of work. There is a lot of heavy lifting.

It's also easy to get burned out.

So after a three-year break, we are impressed and pleased to see the chili peppers roasting again at this popular event.

Congratulations and thank you to all who made it work.

Farmers market to food banks

Just about everyone loves a tomato right off the vine and fresh corn on the cob. Because we have so much of it, fresh produce might be a luxury we take for granted.

For those who depend on Mid-Columbia food banks to supply or supplement their meals, the Fields of Grace program has been a saving grace for the growers and the receivers.

Fields of Grace is a nonprofit that provides volunteers to glean farmers' fields and people's vegetable gardens. They also collect donated produce at the end of the farmers markets.

They then disperse the food to food banks and the Union Gospel Mission.

Everyone is better off as a result. Farmers don't want to haul their vegetables back home and nobody wants food to go to waste.

We're always thankful to live in an area where fresh produce is so abundant. It's a treat to be able to browse the aisles at the farmers markets. We sometimes forget that part of the population doesn't have that ability.

We're thankful for the reminder.

And we're thankful for the organizations that are doing something to fill in that gap.

Record salmon returns

Chiawana High has their homecoming this weekend. Other schools will follow in the coming month. People like to go "home" and cheer for their team.

We're cheering a little bit of a different team today.

Hooray for the salmon. Go chinook!

The fish are returning in numbers higher than ever, at least in the last 75 years -- since the Bonneville Dam was completed.

The success (which could be as much as four times greater than the 10-year average) is attributed to good weather, favorable ocean conditions and court-ordered actions to improve fish runs over the past decade.

Whatever the reason, it's good news. We're glad to hear it.