Eating Seasonally

Our Summer Season is finished this week. Our 9-week Fall Season starts next week, followed by our 9-week Winter Season in November and December.

ign up now for our fall and/or winter seasons. You can find the application below:
FALL:WINTER CSA App

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.

Summer Week 3—Heatwave!

Ladybugs, baby! Parent and larva, hunting aphids. A single ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, so these are definitely beneficial to the farm!

Ladybugs, baby! Parent and larva, hunting aphids. A single ladybug can eat 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, so these are definitely beneficial to the farm!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Romaine Lettuce
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard or Collard Greens
• Italian Torpedo Onions
• Fava Beans
• Fresh Basil
• Fresh Dill
• Arugula

LARGE SHARES: (also available in the Trading Box)
• Zucchini
• Cucumbers
• Snow Peas

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

COMING SOON: Cilantro, Napa Cabbage, Carrots, Beets

Wowza! It was nearly 100° here today! We are happy about the heat because it will make everything grow quickly, but too much too fast makes it hard to water everything to keep it from dying!

Good news is that the outdoor herbs (basils, parsley, cilantro, dill) are all doing great and we will be picking them soon. The carrots, beets, and turnips will be ready sooner than planned, and so will the broccoli and cabbage. Even the beans will be along in another week or two, and that is speedy! Our next (and larger) plot of peas will be ready next week, too, so you’ll be getting more crunchy sweetness.

The new greenhouse is nearly done. It just needs the skin and end walls. So close!

The new greenhouse is nearly done. It just needs the skin and end walls. So close!

Many people have been asking about the u-pick area—next week! We just need to make some improvements to the entryway and get the signs posted, and we’ll be all set. Don’t want anyone tripping in their excitement to pick peas and herbs!

We were able to get an early patch of snap beans planted, back in April, and here they are! Just another week or two until we can start picking!

We were able to get an early patch of snap beans planted, back in April, and here they are! Just another week or two until we can start picking!

I’ve been searching up some good fava bean recipes, especially any that don’t require cooking, so be sure and check out the Fava Bean page here. It IS salad season, so here’s a handy salad dressing guide. We have enjoyed the BLT salad, but there are so many ways, and with this week’s gigantic romaine heads—I’m screaming for a grilled chicken Caesar!

My apologies to those who don't like snakes, but this garter snake was so beautiful! Usually they have blue stripes, sometimes red or yellow, but I haven't seen one so vividly orange before. A real beauty, and so valuable to the farm!

My apologies to those who don’t like snakes, but this garter snake was so beautiful! Usually they have blue stripes, sometimes red or yellow, but I haven’t seen one so vividly orange before. A real beauty, and so valuable to the farm!

 

Summer Week 1—Lettuce Begin!

Beautiful Mayan Jaguar lettuce. It's a romaine, so when it grows up a bit more, it will be a carnival of crunchiness.

Beautiful Mayan Jaguar lettuce. It’s a romaine, so when it grows up a bit more, it will be a carnival of crunchiness.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Lots of Lettuce Heads
• Red Russian Kale or Swiss Chard
• Green Onions
• Snow or Sugar Snap Peas
• Basil
LARGE SHARES:
• Nasturtium Flowers (to spice up your salad)
• Beet Greens with Baby Beets
• Fresh Garlic

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

COMING SOON: Peas, Fava Beans, Cilantro, Napa Cabbage, Torpedo Onions, Fennel, Carrots

I know we have a lot of new subscribers this season. Welcome!

The beginning weeks of our summer season are a sort of warm-up—because many people aren’t used to eating vegetables they’re not used to, and many families just don’t eat many vegetables at all! THAT is about to change, for the better.

Right now, we have a lot of lettuce. Make lots of salads! Actually, this is the only time of year I really LOVE salad, and so we eat a lot of them. We typically use 2-3 heads of lettuce for a dinner. For three adults and two kids. I like a big salad, and when the lettuces are succulent, sweet, and delicious it’s so easy to be a pig about it. Lettuce, a few herbs, and a good dressing. I’m trying a BLT salad tonight—I’ll take a picture and share it, but it sounds delicious. And I’ll be making my  own mayonnaise! Finally ran out of the jar.

Greens are typical for early summer. But the carrots, potatoes, and beets are growing, the squash and cucumbers are flowering, and the beans are about to bloom. Our early planting of peas is always a gamble, but this year’s March planting paid off and we have some to pick. Not a lot, mind you, but there were enough this week to give everyone a taste of snow peas (some got sugar snaps because we ran out) for a tasty stir-fry, perhaps.

There has been enough of some things, that I have been stashing leftover bits away in the freezer already. Unheard of in June! But I got a bit of kale and peas frozen, and some leftover berries and rhubarb from a farmers market. Little by little I can store up enough food to get us through the dearth of winter. I love my vacuum sealer, and just a few bags each week of green things gets us through the doldrums of January/February/March, until growth starts again in April.

It's that time: I'm already putting away extras for winter. Strawberries, peas, that leftover bunch of spinach. Whatever. I just stash it away in a freezer bag for later.

It’s that time: I’m already putting away extras for winter. Strawberries, peas, that leftover bunch of spinach. Whatever. I just stash it away in a freezer bag for later.

Because we opted for a higher-grossing Seattle market on Saturdays, we are not participating in the Kent Market this year. Instead, Cosmo has opened a farm stand! He is open from Noon-2:00 on Saturdays. Next week he will also be open on Thursdays from 5:00-7:00. He had a great opening day, and thank you to everyone who came to support his new venture!

Cosmo opened his farm stand last Saturday. He will be open every Saturday between noon and 2:00. We are working on a weekday post-work time as well. Probably Thursdays. We'll keep you posted.

Cosmo opened his farm stand last Saturday. He will be open every Saturday between noon and 2:00. We are working on a weekday post-work time as well. Probably Thursdays. We’ll keep you posted.

We’ve had some adventures of late with the cows. Many of you have heard the frightening tale of the young bull who finally found himself and turned into a crazed beast overnight. Well, this week’s escape was much milder—he is now in the barn, having been vetted and fixed, but the girls all escaped to visit. They were well-behaved though, and we found them all waiting by the gate to be let in. The next morning we followed their tracks all over the farm, and luckily nothing was damaged.  This time.

The cows escaped and went walkabout the other night. It's always interesting to see where they've been.

The cows escaped and went walkabout the other night. It’s always interesting to see where they’ve been.

Early summer is also the height of weed season. The alternating spells of sun and rain make our crops grow like crazy, but the weeds are even more vigorous. We are looking for a weeding crew, and will pay. Let us know if you’re interested—or we will resort to a Weed Dating party!

What do you think? Should we try this?

What do you think? Should we try this?

Have a great week!

Spring Week 10—Spring is Over!

Summer is early this year! Never before have we been able to provide basil and nasturtiums in our Spring CSA.

Summer is early this year! Never before have we been able to provide basil and nasturtiums in our Spring CSA.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Choice of Lettuce Heads
• Orach or Pea Shoots
• Fresh Garlic
• Basil
• Nasturtium Flowers (to spice up your salad)
• Red Russian Kale

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

COMING SOON: Peas, Fava Beans, Cilantro, Swiss Chard, Napa Cabbage, Torpedo Onions

Last year Cosmo hung this birdhouse up by the greenhouses. He is really excited that it is occupied this summer by a Bewicks Wren.

Last year Cosmo hung this birdhouse up by the greenhouses. He is really excited that it is occupied this summer by a Bewicks Wren.

We have reached the end of our spring season. There is always an overabundance of something in the spring season and this year it was pea shoots. My apologies if you are sick and tired of them, but they were bountiful and we are all about sharing the bounty.

But summer is early! We have been picking basil, peas are nearly ready to pick, and so much is on the horizon. Next week we start our summer season.

It doesn't look like much, but next week we will be planting tomatoes in this new greenhouse!

It doesn’t look like much, but next week we will be planting tomatoes in this new greenhouse!

We decided to build another greenhouse—this one will be filled with our tomato plants. The carrots that were in greenhouse 4 are now completely harvested and we can plant the peppers and eggplant in their place. The cucumbers in greenhouse #3 are ready to be trellised, and soon the basil in greenhouse #2 will be spent and we will replace it with melons. I love having greenhouses!

Rogue Hen #2 for this year popped out of the bushes last week with her brood. This one has 14 chicks, and she really enjoys getting into the barrels of brewers grain and kicking them out for her babies. She hangs out around the farm stand, so keep an eye out, but please give her space so the chicks don't get separated.

Rogue Hen #2 for this year popped out of the bushes last week with her brood. This one has 14 chicks, and she really enjoys getting into the barrels of brewers grain and kicking them out for her babies. She hangs out around the farm stand, so keep an eye out, but please give her space so the chicks don’t get separated.

We spent a lot of time working on the u-pick garden yesterday. The cherry tomatoes are blooming, and the beans are ready for their trellis as well. The peas are coming along but will still be a couple of weeks away. The cilantro, dill, and basil are nearly ready to pick, and the flowers will be coming along by the end of June.

We still have some shares of ground beef available—$65 for ten 1-pound packages. And, we have some fryer/broiler chickens available as well. Just let us know if you’re interested. We start butchering next week.

Everything is shaping up for an amazing summer. It feels like July, but it’s only June!