Blooms Winery owner Virginia Bloom inspects rhubarb in the winery garden, which is used to make the award-winning Blooms Ambrosia Wine. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Blooms Winery owner Virginia Bloom inspects rhubarb in the winery garden, which is used to make the award-winning Blooms Ambrosia Wine. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Winery’s bistro blooms

On a week devoted to all things Whidbey Island Grown, it’s hard to imagine a place that more singularly embodies that island spirit than the artsy color-washed enclave perched just off Freeland Avenue. Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, the new tasting room and bistro of Blooms Winery has evolved into a mini capsule of all things Whidbey: wine, art, music and food – lots of food.

One glance at the menu of 5511 Bistro drops any customer into culinary pockets spanning Whidbey from north to south, coves to family farms, and creameries to animal husbandry. Island-grown chef Wayne Carter dishes out edible art from Whidbey favorites: mussels from Penn Cove Shellfish, Angus beef and lamb burgers from 3 Sisters and salads galore from Deep Harvest Farms produce.

Virginia Bloom, who owns Blooms Winery along with her husband and winemaker, Ken, admits to being “salad heavy” as she roams her budding new garden near the entry door, which itself is made by a local woodworker using wine barrels for handles.

Twisting, curling and gently unfurling amongst tangled tomato vines are fledgling herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage and mint that make their way inside to the kitchen, along with edible flowers for plate garnishments. Trestled kiwi, persimmons and blueberries are making themselves at home, and a young fig tree gave forth its first fig this year, promptly nibbled by a free-roaming deer.

But the highlight of the garden is the hearty green rhubarb plants, whose leaves are crushed to make the acclaimed Blooms Ambrosia wine. Virginia Bloom reveals they have 60 rhubarb plants at their home that will be replanted on the winery grounds as they enter their second year of “blooming in place.” More plans include building a patio for farm-to-table dinners.

Winery owner Ken Bloom pulls samples from barrels at Blooms Winery in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Winery owner Ken Bloom pulls samples from barrels at Blooms Winery in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Outdoor art has already staked its claim in the garden and along the walkways and porch. Eye-popping modern sculptures are juxtaposed with the edible earth offerings, and even the handrails, gate and light posts are handmade by local artisans.

Three different gongs make their own kind of music that reverberates throughout the property.

“From inside, we can always tell when people are coming and going because they’re so drawn to the gong,” Bloom said.

Local art covers all the interior walls, with a new artist featured every month. September has highlighted original paintings by Codie Carman and Cheryl Weisz, while October and November launch art shows with paintings by Brandie Follett and weavings from Marcy Johnson. Dozens of small-art creations from Whidbey makers fill shelves and racks near the wine-tasting tables, including jewelry, art prints, cards, soaps, and culinary and wine gadgets.

During Whidbey Island Grown Week, Blooms offers 10-percent discounts on various items and is bringing back its Whidbey Blend wine to accompany award-winning staples such as Blooms Melange, Poetic, Petit Verdot, Ambrosia, RUBY, Blush and CALLA, all made onsite by Ken Bloom. Appetizers created for WIG Week include roasted garlic straight from the fields of Deep Harvest.

The wine and food is pouring and sizzling five days a week, with free family-friendly live music on Fridays evenings and Sundays afternoons and open-mic nights on Thursdays. Starting in October, closings days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the winter months. Blooms Winery will also be participating in the Autumn on Whidbey Wine & Art Tour on Nov. 9 and 10.

A working gong sculpture welcomes visitors to Blooms Winery tasting room and bistro in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

A working gong sculpture welcomes visitors to Blooms Winery tasting room and bistro in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Whimsical sculptures adorn the grounds of Blooms Winery gardens, which celebrates its first anniversary in their new tasting room and bistro in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

Whimsical sculptures adorn the grounds of Blooms Winery gardens, which celebrates its first anniversary in their new tasting room and bistro in Freeland. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

The 5511 Bistro at Blooms Winery dishes out Three Sisters Beef burgers and island fresh salads from local farms. Tables are handmade by winery owner Ken Bloom. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

The 5511 Bistro at Blooms Winery dishes out Three Sisters Beef burgers and island fresh salads from local farms. Tables are handmade by winery owner Ken Bloom. Photo by Wendy Leigh/South Whidbey Record

More in Business

See caption
Seafood delivery biz is catching on

For millennial business owners Emily Wilder and Sam Mitchell, the world is their oyster.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Will Hawkins and Dawn Smith officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.
Rainshadow Nursery welcomes new owners

Dawn Smith and Will Hawkins of Greenbank officially took ownership of Rainshadow Nursery on Oct. 1.

Meagan Welsh and JT Hilton attend to the plants at Mutiny Bay Bamboo Co. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Freeland bamboo business booms

A new landscaping company is specializing in a fast-growing plant that is beautiful and sustainable.

See caption
New teriyaki truck rolls into Freeland

The new business, IC Teriyaki, is owned and operated by Eli Imbery and Carol Coble.

See caption
South Whidbey farm hosts fitness classes

If you’ve ever wanted to do bicep curls with a chicken or goat walking by, now might be your chance.

Andrew Curtis drops off groceries at a home in Clinton on a delivery run for Whidbey Deliveries. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
South Whidbey grads run grocery delivery business

Graham Colar and Andrew Curtis deliver groceries and run errands on South Whidbey.

Whidbey Island tourism spikes in 2021

Daily visitors to Island County boomed this year despite COVID, with economic impact far-reaching.

Taylor Moore shows off one of her signature smoothie bowls. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Entreprenuer brings smoothie bowls to South Whidbey

Taylor Moore wants her own business to be a place where people can “rehabilitate themselves.”

Wiley
Salon that won PSE makeover to appear on Evening Magazine

A popular Coupeville spa and salon will be spotlighted in a reality makeover show this week.

Shannon Hamilton, front, and Wendi Hilborn own Whidbey Farm and Market on Monroe Landing Road outside of Oak Harbor. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
New market opens across from drive-in

Whidbey Farm and Market has close to 100 local products.

Sound Publishing makes $500K in grants available to struggling businesses

Sound Publishing has launched a local stimulus program to help businesses adapt… Continue reading

t
Despite 2020, Oak Harbor deli opens doors for business

An island-wide power outage and a pandemic couldn’t keep Zanini’s Deli from opening in Oak Harbor.