Families and friends get sticky and ‘snowed’

POULSBO — About 30 people on Saturday afternoon packed Farm Kitchen’s garden room, strategically and meticulously decorating their homes with white icing, peppermint disks and candy canes.

Of course, these are homes you eat, not live in — unless you happen to be a gingerbread man.

Farm Kitchen has been holding gingerbread house parties every Saturday of this month to honor the ageless tradition of decorating those baked cookie dough homes for the holidays. The staff at Farm Kitchen has been a “gingerbread house factory” for the past few weeks, turning out a “development” of 75 houses so far.

Farm Kitchen head chef Jim White estimated that he and the rest of the crew will build 150 houses by the time the season is over.

Families and friends attend the events from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. and decorate the cookie homes to their liking, using just about any type of candy imaginable. Last Saturday’s very full five tables of kids and adults were intensely focused on their work. While some worked to meticulously line the front yard with icing, others tried to figure out exactly where to put that Tootsie Roll on the side of the house. This was the case for four-year-old Krisjanis Lusis.

“I’m the frosting spreader and he is in charge of concept and design,” said his mom, Daina Lusis, as she lined one side of their baked home with the snow-white icing — “the glue” that holds the houses together and is rock hard when dried.

“I unwrap as well,” Daina said as she removed the plastic from the red and white striped candy canes that Krisjanis also carefully pushed into the fresh icing.

Morgan Marler was just happy with the large selection of candy that she could grab for decorating.

“It’s so fun,” she said, noting the variety of candy was much more vast at Farm Kitchen than it is at her home.

“It’s the first time I’ve not had to make the gingerbread and supervise,” her mom, Julie Marler, said.

With nearly 500 pounds of candy that Farm Kitchen owner Hollis Fay ordered for the parties, there was certainly enough to be creative with. Especially with the Necco wafers being the most popular choice for decorating — ideally used as colorful roof shingles.

Other types of candy available ranged from butterscotch and peppermint disks to red hots, gummy candy in the shape of worms and donuts, Tootsie Rolls, candy canes, jelly rolls, gum drops and those pink and white Good N’ Plentys — you name it and most likely Fay and her crew had it.

The employees also just get a kick out of watching everyone’s creations, Fay said. The latest trend was making trees for the front yard.

Mark Chidester, an employee with the kitchen, said he liked a tree made from the green and white gummy donuts, which looked like a slightly imperfect evergreen covered in snow.

“It’s a great way for people to create tradition in the family,” said Fay, who also held these parties at her former bakery on Bainbridge Island. “We love having everyone here using their creativity. It’s what the holidays should be — building a tradition and fun.”

And one by one, as the architects of the miniature candy lands finished up, they could get “snowed.” That is, a dash of powdered sugar sprinkled over the newly decorated home, resembling what everyone always wants during a holiday season — a white Christmas.

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