Eating Seasonally

our fall Season wraps up the last week of october, and our 9-week Winter Season begins in just four weeks, providing produce through November and December.

sign up now for our winter season! You can find the application below: Winter CSA App

Fall Week 6—Fall is Here…and PUMPKINS!

Pumpkins are ready!

Pumpkins are ready! Our CSA-only Pumpkin Patch opens this weekend!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Chioggia” Beets
Fennel
• “Delicata” Squash
• Cabbage or Kale or Chard
• Spinach
• “Sugar Chile” Peppers (Sweet with hot ribs)
• “Lipstick” Sweet Peppers
• Lots of Lettuce
• Spicy Salad Mustard

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Carrots
• Tomatoes
• Zucchini

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• Green Onions
• Green Beans
• Lettuce
• Hot Peppers

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Arugula, Turnips, Greens

October Hash: Cubed "Yukon Gem" Potatoes, "Chioggia" Beets, Fennel, Torpedo Onion, and "Lipstick" Peppers.

October Hash: Cubed “Yukon Gem” Potatoes, “Chioggia” Beets, Fennel, Torpedo Onion, and “Lipstick” Peppers.

What’s for dinner? That was my question last night. So I used what was in the walk-in cooler. Potatoes from last week, plus fennel, beets, and peppers from this week. I cut everything into 1/2″-ish cubes (size doesn’t matter, just make  sure all the pieces are roughly the same size so they cook evenly). Then I heated olive oil in a frying pan and dumped everything in except the peppers, which I cooked only for the last 5 minutes or so. Just stir everything so it doesn’t burn. And cover with a lid if it seems like it’s not cooking fast enough.

"Chioggia" beets, with their telltale candy-cane striping.

“Chioggia” beets, with their telltale candy-cane striping.

These were so pretty while I was cutting I had to take a picture. Peeled, halved, and cubed.

Fennel, halved, then cubed.

Fennel, halved, then cubed.

Fennel, halved and cubed. I just used the bulb part, including the core. Use the stems in salad.

"Delicata" Squash are easy to prepare and delicious.

“Delicata” Squash are easy to prepare and delicious.

One of our favorite squashes. Just cut in half and bake at 350°, cut side down. I like to oil the edges before cooking to keep them from sticking. You can also cut the other direction so you get rings and put them on the pan, well oiled. You can eat the skin, too, if you want.

Poor Blue Boy. Molting is a rough time of year. Not only is he ragged everywhere, but he has zero tail feathers.

Poor Blue Boy. Molting is a rough time of year. Not only is he ragged everywhere, but he has zero tail feathers.

Chickens, like all birds, lose their feathers in the fall. Their old-fashioned bird genes tell them they need a fresh set of plumage so they can fly south, but chickens don’t fly. They just need new clothes for winter. That’s why all of our chickens look so ratty right now.

PUMPKIN PATCH OPENS THIS WEEKEND!

Know your peppers!!

I don’t have the blog done yet for today, but I want you to understand your peppers. The shorter, fatter ones are a sweet variety called “Lipstick”. The longer, skinnier ones are called “Sugar Chile”. They are sweet with hot ribs, so you can control your spiciness.

Beware–if you remove the ribs with your fingers, they will burn. So wear gloves and don’t touch your face!! The outsides of the fruits are only very slightly spicy and delicious.

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Fall Week 3—The Shift from Summer

I've taken to putting things in gallon jars with a basic salt brine and letting them ferment. In back: two gallons of garlic dill pickles, and in front a gallon of market leftovers.

I’ve taken to putting things in gallon jars with a basic salt brine and letting them ferment. In back: two gallons of garlic dill pickles, and in front a gallon of market leftovers.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Stregonta” Shelling Beans
• Mixed Summer Squashes
• Cabbage or Kale or Chard
• Lemon Cucumbers
• Torpedo Onions
• Japanese Eggplant
• Sweet Peppers
• Curly Parsley

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Spinach
• Baby Fennel
• Thyme
• Radicchio

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• Green Onions
• Radicchio
• Lettuce
• Hot Peppers

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Arugula, Tomatoes, Carrots, Potatoes, Winter Squashes

The honeybees are finally interested in our Buckwheat cover crop. Getting a good bloom of buckwheat makes the difference in helping the colonies load up with food for winter.

The honeybees are finally interested in our Buckwheat cover crop. Getting a good bloom of buckwheat makes the difference in helping the colonies load up with food for winter.

It has been several weeks since I’ve had a moment to post anything. I’m sorry. I meant to, but the summer-to-fall transition is the busiest for us . Not only are there a bazillion things to harvest, but it’s crunch time for planting. If we are serious about getting a good stand of winter crops going, they all have to be planted and weeded by…about now. We haven’t done too badly. We had a crew of weeders the last two weeks, so things are fairly under control now.

'Tis the season for....Ratatouille!

‘Tis the season for….Ratatouille!

It’s the last gasp of summer. The summer squash and zucchini are going full-blast, the peppers and eggplant are ripening, and the tomatoes are too—hopefully not more than a week or two until there are enough to go around. Remember, we put up a new big greenhouse this year, so our plants were a few weeks late to get planted. But, they are pruned and loaded with green fruits, blushing around the edges with ripeness.

We are set up nicely for late fall and winter now. I’m not afraid to say it. Plenty of carrots and beets, and turnips on the way. A nice, large planting of cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower growing strong. Brussels sprouts and leeks are looking good. And all the more delicate mustards (bok choy, mizuna, arugula, mustard greens, etc.) will be ready to harvest in the coming weeks. I believe we got our winter spinach planted on time this year, so we’ll have that to look forward to as well.

Cosmo was amazed to discover the size and construction of this abandoned Robins' nest. The mud is smooth and strong. He's become an avid birder this summer.

Cosmo was amazed to discover the size and construction of this abandoned Robins’ nest. The mud is smooth and strong. He’s become an avid birder this summer.

Fall is the time that the hens slow their egg production down, so there aren’t as many eggs to go around. It’s also the time we start seeing more animal tracks. Lots of them this week—snakes, raccoons, skunks, possums, coyotes, rabbits, and plenty of birds. Speaking of which, Cosmo has turned birdwatcher and used his hard-earned farm stand money to buy himself a set of binoculars. He found this used and abandoned Robin’s nest in a Hawthorn tree by the pole beans.

Evening visitors to the farm are becoming more frequent lately...Possum? Racoon? These were next to Coyote and Rabbit tracks.

Evening visitors to the farm are becoming more frequent lately…Possum? Racoon? These were next to Coyote and Rabbit tracks.

Now that the house is cooling off, Della is ready to start up her baking business again,  Della’s Delicious Desserts. She is taking a limited number of subscribers this fall, so be sure and sign up early to take advantage of her tasty treats. Click here for her application form. And email her to let her know you’re interested, or if you have questions at dellamr.chew@gmail.com

 

Summer Week 10—Don’t Be Afraid!

Making pickles can be quick—I put this jar of slicers together in about 15 minutes. And that's because I decided to put a sliced onion in the jar so I unpacked and repacked everything.

Making pickles can be quick—I put this jar of slicers together in about 15 minutes. And that’s because I decided to put a sliced onion in the jar so I unpacked and repacked everything.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Romano Beans
• Broccoli or Cauliflower
• “Red Fire” and “Winter Density” Lettuce
• Cabbage or Kale or Chard
• Pickling Cucumbers and Dill Heads—MAKE YOURSELF SOME PICKLES!
• Torpedo Onions
• Japanese Eggplant
• Sweet Peppers
• Fresh Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Thyme, or Sorrel)

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Yellow Romano Beans
• Slicing Cucumbers
• Zucchini
• Radicchio

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• Green Onions
• Romano Beans
• Radicchio
• Zucchini
• Hot Peppers

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Summer Squash, Shelling Beans, Tomatoes

With big cucumbers, you can do slices or spears to get more into the jar.

With big cucumbers, you can do slices or spears to get more into the jar.

It is pickle season, but don’t fear! Refrigerator pickles are quick and easy! Here is the recipe and instructions I followed, more or less. Except I added a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of curry powder. And a small onion, sliced. Here’s the article: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/07/easiest-fridge-dill-pickles/

So exciting to have enough for everyone! Sweet peppers and Japanese eggplant.

So exciting to have enough for everyone! Sweet peppers and Japanese eggplant.

I mentioned yesterday that eggplant were going to be in the CSA this week, and the responses ranged from joyful shouts to shouts of panic because people have never used an eggplant. Rest assured, these are Japanese eggplant, with thin skins and buttery flesh. The easiest thing to do is slice them lengthwise (no peeling necessary) and either pan sauté them or grill them. Then serve with a little soy sauce. You can also get crazy and make baba ghanoush or other fancy things.

Before freezing many vegetables, they need to be blanched to kill enzymes that could transform food while frozen. I just drop handfuls into boiling water, remove when starting to get tender, drain in a colander. Then I rinse in cold water and pack into bags.

Before freezing many vegetables, they need to be blanched to kill enzymes that could transform food while frozen. I just drop handfuls into boiling water, remove when starting to get tender, drain in a colander. Then I rinse in cold water and pack into bags.

We have pesto for dinner on Mondays, so instead of just making enough for dinner, I stuffed the food processor twice and made enough for four dinners—three go into the freezer for later. I also put away six meals worth of broccoli.

We have pesto for dinner on Mondays, so instead of just making enough for dinner, I stuffed the food processor twice and made enough for four dinners—three go into the freezer for later. I also put away six meals worth of broccoli.

If you are overwhelmed with produce, put some away for later. I used to try to set aside whole days for food processing, but I never could find the time. Now I do just a little extra several times per week and it really adds up. I love my vacuum sealer–keeps fruits and veggies fresh for months in the freezer!

I found this little guy while picking cauliflower. He's working hard to keep bugs out of your veggies!

I found this little guy while picking cauliflower. He’s working hard to keep bugs out of your veggies!

There are a lot of great things coming along, as the weather and daylength start to shift into Fall. There are only two weeks left in our Summer season, so if you want to continue into September and October, make sure you’re signed up!

Have a wonderful week!

Summer Week 8—Too Busy to Think

William the Poet and his apprentice (busking at the University District Farmers Market) wrote these poems for us last week. Fitting tribute.

William the Poet and his apprentice (busking at the University District Farmers Market) wrote these poems for us last week. Fitting tribute.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Green Beans
• Carrots
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Big Onions (Walla Walla Sweet or Red Torpedo)
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard or Collard Greens (or other greens)
• Fresh Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Thyme, or Sorrel)

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Green Onions
• Herbs
• Greens

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• Green Onions
• Romano Beans
• Wax Beans
• Broccoli
• Fennel
• Herbs

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Romano Beans

Seasonal dinner for this week: Sautéed Green Beans and Sweet Onion, raw Cauliflower and dip, and pasta with Basil Pesto. And grilled wild salmon.

Seasonal dinner for this week: Sautéed Green Beans and Sweet Onion, raw Cauliflower and dip, and pasta with Basil Pesto. And grilled wild salmon.

We are at an awkward point where we have a lot of a few crops, and many crops that are not quite ready to harvest. Enter Green Beans, Cauliflower, and Cabbage!

A growing cabbage is a beautiful thing.

A growing cabbage is a beautiful thing.

This is the busiest time of year for us. Many people think spring is the busiest season, and while we are in it, we do too. But the real chaos comes in August—when we are harvesting like mad, trying to keep up with irrigation and weeding, AND planting all the fall and winter crops. We really have no time to think.

Found while picking cauliflower and cabbage...

Found while picking cauliflower and cabbage…

This is the spring-planted field of cabbages. Just this week we completed the fall and winter planting of Cabbages, Cauliflower, and Broccoli. Even larger than this one.

That's a lot of cabbages!

That’s a lot of cabbages!

Basil is in it’s prime for a few more weeks. If you like pesto, be sure and get your pesto kit and get it in the freezer while you can! $25 for regular people, and $20 for CSA members. Makes 6 cups of delicious green stuff.

Just $20 for CSA members! Get your Pesto Kit soon, while Basil is in its' prime!

Just $20 for CSA members! Get your Pesto Kit soon, while Basil is in its’ prime!

Summer Week 6—From Beans to Broccoli

So, a broccoli plant walked into a cabbage patch...

So, a broccoli plant walked into a cabbage patch…

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Broccoli
• Fennel
• Walla Walla Sweet Onions
• Choice of Lettuces
• Purslane or Tatsoi (like baby bok choy)
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard or Collard Greens or Salad Turnips
• Fresh Basil
• Italian Parsley

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Cabbage
• Zucchini
• Golden Beets

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• Zucchini Blossoms
• Pearl/Green Onions
• Beets
• Zucchini
• Fennel
• Cabbage
• Lemon Basil

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Carrots, Beets, Cabbage. Cauliflower

The broccoli are heading up nicely, and there is enough for everyone this week! The large shares are getting the first cabbages!

The broccoli are heading up nicely, and there is enough for everyone this week! The large shares are getting the first cabbages brassica week!

During that sudden hot spell, we watered nearly 24 hours a day. High temperatures dry the soil, and water becomes the difference between life and death. The only thing is that when water is added to hot plants, they grow exponentially! Suddenly ALL the beans were ready, the lettuces were huge, and the cabbages and broccoli were heading up fast! This, we are out if beans until the next patch is ready (soon) and we have rolled into brassica season.

Actually the big brassicas can be tricky, and this video explains why:

At the end of a market day, we decide which things should go to the food bank, which can be saved until the next day, and which items go to the chickens. A little tired broccoli and fennel, mixed with chard and kale this time.

At the end of a market day, we decide which things should go to the food bank, which can be saved until the next day, and which items go to the chickens. A little tired broccoli and fennel, mixed with chard and kale this time.

Unfortunately, the sudden hot spell means a decline in egg production. When the hens get hot, they have a hard time drinking enough water, and what’s a hen to do when an egg is 90% water? We add apple cider vinegar to their water to encourage them to drink more, but we still suffered a significant drop in our egg numbers.

We significantly overestimated our orders for eating chickens, so we have quite a lot of fryers (4-6#) and roasters (7-10#) in our freezers. Let us know if you’re interested in these tasty birds raised on pasture and corn-and soy-free feed.

The CSA U-Pick garden is now open. Sadly, as you know, pea season was all too short this summer, so there are no peas to pick, but there are LOTS of beans! We will be planting more peas soon, with hopes that the cooler fall temperatures will provide for better harvesting in September. There are a number of basils to cut and sample, and dill, and a few varieties of flowers as well.

Basil is in its' prime right now, and now is the time to place orders for making pesto! Pesto kits will be coming this weekend—keep an eye out!

Basil is in its’ prime right now, and now is the time to place orders for making pesto! Pesto kits will be coming this weekend—keep an eye out!

The peak basil season has arrived! Now is the time to place orders for pesto making! Make it now and stash it away for the winter!

Don't be alarmed when you see Rigby with his new headgear. We had to come up with something to keep him from getting his head stuck in the fence. We were freeing him a dozen times a day, and eventually the worse was bound to happen. Problem solved with a few hose clamps and pvc pipe.

Don’t be alarmed when you see Rigby with his new headgear. We had to come up with something to keep him from getting his head stuck in the fence. We were freeing him a dozen times a day, and eventually the worse was bound to happen. Problem solved with a few hose clamps and pvc pipe.

We're getting ready to put all of our fall and winter brassicas into the ground, and it adds up to many thousands of plants. I know I am tired of bending over all day long, so when we found these transplanter pieces laying in the bushes, we decided to see if  we could clean them up and get them to work.                      l make the job so much quicker and more pleasant.

We’re getting ready to put all of our fall and winter brassicas into the ground, and it adds up to many thousands of plants. I know I am tired of bending over all day long, so when we found these transplanter pieces laying in the bushes, we decided to see if we could clean them up and get them to work. l make the job so much quicker and more pleasant.

The real pressure of farming is on now. We are in full swing of summer harvest, but we also need to get all of our fall and winter crops planted before the end of the month. Our apologies if we are scarce for the next few weeks.

Summer Week 5—Summer is Definitely Here

Pea season has faded with the heat, but BEAN season is just beginning.

Pea season has faded with the heat, but BEAN season is just beginning.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Green Beans
• Zucchini
• Italian Torpedo Onions
• “Winter Density” Romaine
• “Red Fire” Leaf Lettuce
Purslane
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard or Collard Greens or Salad Turnips
• Fresh Basil
• Garlic

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Napa Cabbage
• Italian Parsley
• Mizuna

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
Zucchini Blossoms
• Pearl/Green Onions
• Cucumbers
• Fennel
• Parsley and Dill

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.

COMING SOON: Carrots, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage

Juicy, tart (for some people) and good for you—Purslane!

Juicy, tart (for some people) and good for you—Purslane!

Hot. Yes, it’s hot. In general, heat isn’t a problem for the farm as long as we can keep the water moving. But what happens when you add heat and water? Rapid growth! Lettuces grow big fast, beans fatten up quickly, and Purslane becomes ready to pick. Ready all about it here.

One of the advantages of working in the evening—this amazing view from the bean rows.

One of the advantages of working in the evening—this amazing view from the bean rows.

We have been butchering fryers every two weeks or so, and we have extra birds, cleaned and ready to eat. Fryers (4-6 pounds) and Roasters (7-10 pounds). Please try one—they are delicious, tender, and juicy. So unlike grocery store chicken. Some of the roasters got rather large, so we are capping the price at 7.5 pounds. This is you chance to load up on a bird you can eat for a week. Here is what Susan did with hers, since it was too big to fit in her crock pot:Weighted Chicken

Zucchini blossoms are making their premier in the Trading/Sharing Box today!

Zucchini blossoms are making their premier in the Trading/Sharing Box today!

I’m happy to announce that the U-Pick garden will open this weekend! We are almost ready, but we need to tidy up and post signs. There are Snap Peas and Shelling Peas; Bachelor Buttons and Snapdragons; various Basils, Dill, and Cilantro. Soon the Beans will be ready, as well as Cosmos and other flowers.

Please remember that this is a very busy time for us. Not only are we taking care of our summer crops and harvesting, but we also need to get all of our fall and winter crops planted this month. It doesn’t seem like it but day length is getting shorter every day, and all growth must be complete by October for the winter months. We are usually outside working until 10:00 pm and back out again by 7:00 am, so the phone will not be answered. Feel free to email, and I will respond as best I can.

While you walk around the farm in this dusty season, keep an eye out for animal tracks, like this pair of garter snake tracks crossing the driveway.

While you walk around the farm in this dusty season, keep an eye out for animal tracks, like this pair of garter snake tracks crossing the driveway.