Eating Seasonally

WINTER is here, and we’re finished until SPRING.

Were anticipating our return to farmers’ markets the first week of April, but it really depends on the Rapini. When spring arrives, you’ll be able to find us at The University District farmers market on Saturdays, 9-2, and the West Seattle Farmers Market on sundays, 10-2.

In the mean time, we’re gearing up for the new season. If you are interested in joining us for our 2016 CSA season, email us, or find the application at this link. We’re taking applications now!

If you want more flexibility than a CSA offers, consider purchasing a prepaid gift card. Order by January 31 and save! Click this link for more information.

The Slow Season

Frozen fog on Rainbow Lacinato kale.

Frozen fog on Rainbow Lacinato kale.

2015 was our best growing season. Ever.

And that’s a pretty amazing statement, considering it was the year of the hottest, driest summer that we’ve ever experienced. As well as the wettest winter.

It was a year of challenges, as we ramped up our planting schedules, increased our labor force, and pushed our farm’s production. And it all paid off. We improved our produce offerings, had happier workers, and maintained a well-varied selection of items for our CSA families. And we increased our bottom line. Because of the water shortage, our u-pick garden was a disappointment, as we had to make tough choices about where the water was needed. And, sadly, vegetables were more important than flowers. We hope to change that in 2016.

We’re excited to be growing some new crops, in anticipation of another hot summer. On the list are more tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, as well as lemongrass, ginger, and sweet potatoes.

Frozen puddle on top of frozen mud. January is cold.

Frozen puddle on top of frozen mud. January is cold.

I’ve been poring over seed catalogs in search of new cucumber varieties that won’t get sick and die just as they’re starting to produce. And peas that can handle heat AND resist disease. And, as cauliflower is my fave, cauliflowers that cover themselves and resist the dreaded Clubroot.

In spite of the great Chicken Massacre of 2015, we have ordered baby chicks to replace the flock that was lost. Those new pullets won’t lay until August or September, but they will produce eggs. We will not be raising meat birds or turkeys, however. There’s already no profit there, and last year’s loss was devastating.

We will have more beef, though. Three halves (possibly four) will be available, so be sure and let us know if you’re interested. Beef is finite.

The final haul for our 2015 CSA season.

The final haul for our 2015 CSA season.

We are enrolling for our 2016 CSA season now, and application form link is here. Don’t delay: if you pay before January 31, you’ll save some change. Also, this year we are selling prepaid gift cards, which can be used at farmers markets. If you’re excited about helping us pay for our pre-season farm expenses, but don’t want to commit to a weekly CSA pickup, a gift card might be just the ticket. Buy what you want, when you want from us at farmers’ markets, or pre-order for farm pickup. (This is a service for gift card holders only!) AND if you purchase gift cards before January 31, you’ll save 10%! Click here to purchase gift cards. 

So what exactly do farmers do this time of year? I know you’re dying to know. Mike is putting together two new greenhouses. We’ll be planting the first week of February, to get a jump start on super early crops for April and May. We’re also doing some clean-up work around the farm. We’re waiting for a calf to be born, raising baby chicks, and spending a lot of money. Seed ordering has begun, and that’s a multi-thousand-dollar activity. We’re buying seed starting materials, repairing equipment, and trying not to get stuck in mud. There’s a lot of desk work to catch up on, including bookkeeping, taxes, revising planting schedules. We also homeschool the kids, so there’s a lot of learning going on at the same time. And. Sleep. More sleep in the winter than in the summer, for sure.

We all hope you’re enjoying the peacefulness and calm of winter, and we look forward to seeing you in the spring and summer. When days are long and the sun shines, and there are lots of things to eat again. Spring is on the way. 

 

Winter Week 7 and 8: Solstice Sprouts

Up close and personal with the Sprouts of Brussels.

Up close and personal with the Sprouts of Brussels.

NOTE: IF YOU PICK UP YOUR SHARE ON THE WEEKEND, EITHER AT THE FARM OR AT FARMERS’ MARKETS, YOU WILL PICK UP TWO WEEKS’ WORTH OF PRODUCE DECEMBER 19 & 20.

THERE IS NO PICKUP THE WEEKEND AFTER CHRISTMAS, DECEMBER 26 & 27.

WE WILL CONTINUE WITH THE NORMAL PICKUP SCHEDULE FOR THE LAST WEEK OF OUR WINTER SEASON: DECEMBER 29-JANUARY 3. 

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Choice of Winter Squashes
• Potatoes
• Carrots
• Leeks
• Celery Root or Celery
• Brussels Sprouts
• Collard Greens
• Garlic

NEXT WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Choice of Winter Squashes
• Potatoes
• Carrots
• Red Onions
• Parsnips
• Savoy Cabbage
• Kale
• Tender Turnips
• “Cameo” Apples from Tonnemakers’ Orchards

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

After all that freezing weather, we’re down to the real survivors of winter: Greens  and Roots. But why are the brassicas, chicories, and root crops the only crops that can take freezing weather? The answer is antifreeze! The first cold snap signals the plants that it’s time to get ready for hard times by converting their starches into sugar. Sugar is a natural antifreeze, and that sweetness keeps cell walls from bursting when freezing crystalizes the water in most other plants. The benefit for those who eat them is much improved flavor! Kale and Collards are sweet and delicious, Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts too. And what about Carrots and Parsnips! People started asking in September for Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts, but our first frost was so late this year, we didn’t start picking either until after Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever had either of these crops and hated them, try them again the right way. Here’s a delicious recipe passed along by Katherine Pratt, a dedicated West Seattle Farmers’ Market shopper.

Mmmm...Brussels Sprouts and bacon...

Mmmm…Brussels Sprouts and bacon…

BRUSSELS SPROUTS CARBONARA

3/4 pound Brussels Sprouts
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1/2 pound Spaghetti Noodles
2 Large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Cream
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup Chopped Cooked Bacon (if desired)
2 cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Half (or quarter, if large) the Brussels Sprouts.

2. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 minutes and drain.

3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add butter and olive oil, swirl to melt, and add the blanched sprouts.

4. Season with salt and toss to coat with the butter and oil. Turn the sprouts cut-side down, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or until browned on all sides.

5. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package instructions, reserving 1 cup pasta water as the spaghetti cooks

6. In a serving bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cream, and a pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste) to blend, then add the hot pasta, bacon (if desired), and as much reserved water as necessary to coat the noodles with the cream. Add Parmesan cheese and the sprouts, and toss to mix. Serves 2-4.

Usually we don't have any real flooding on our farm. But we had about 8" of rain in two weeks, which resulted in a lot of surface water with nowhere to go. The bee hives are just barely out of the water. Good thing they're on 1' risers!

Usually we don’t have any real flooding on our farm. But we had about 8″ of rain in two weeks, which resulted in a lot of surface water with nowhere to go. The bee hives are just barely out of the water. Good thing they’re on 1′ risers!

We don’t have an official rain gauge here at the farm, but I leave 5 gallon buckets out for picking, and they measure the rain for me. I left such a bucket out the day before Thanksgiving, empty, and was surprised to find about 8″ of water in them Monday. That’s a LOT of water.

While the Green River doesn’t overtop its’ banks like other Washington rivers like the Snoqualmie, we did have some surface water flooding this year. Lots of water standing on top of saturated ground. Water on top of mud makes picking very slow and difficult. Hard to walk, hard to pick, hard to carry. Teo and Samuel are troopers though and get the job done.

The pot of gold lies in the donkey pen.

The pot of gold lies in the donkey pen.

We are so looking forward to the Winter Solstice Sunday. Three more minutes of light every day adds up, and by February our days will be nearly two hours longer than they are now. And then we will begin to plant again for 2016! Keep an eye out for our 2016 CSA application. Signups begin in January! Harvest begins in April!

Winter Week 5—We Survived the Freeze…And Gift Cards!

Unfortunately, Swiss Chard is one of those crops that doesn't handle freezing weather well. It hung in there down to about 24°, but repeated nights below 20° weakened the stems and it's very sad now. But not dead. It may come back in the spring. At any rate, it was really pretty covered with frost.

Unfortunately, Swiss Chard is one of those crops that doesn’t handle freezing weather well. It hung in there down to about 24°, but repeated nights below 20° weakened the stems and it’s very sad now. But not dead. It may come back in the spring. At any rate, it was really pretty covered with frost.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Choice of Squash
• Potatoes
• Topless Carrots
• Salsify
Curly Endive or Radicchio
• Collard Greens
• Baby Bok Choy
• Fennel
• Garlic

TRADING/SHARING BOX:
• All of the above and more

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

COMING SOON: Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, Leeks

Undercover Escarole. Safe and cozy with its' other chicory cousins while the freeze goes on outside.

Undercover Escarole. Safe and cozy with its’ other chicory cousins while the freeze goes on outside.

We were worried. The last two years we’ve lost it all to the Arctic Blast, or the Polar Vortex. So when freezing temperatures were forecast, we hunkered down and waited for the worst.

We protected the chicories, cauliflowers and baby bok choy with steel hoops and frost-blanket (a thicker type of row cover). We picked everything that we feared wouldn’t survive—celery, fennel, and white cauliflower.

And after a week, everything thawed and we surveyed the damage. Glad we picked what we did because it wouldn’t have made it. It got down below 20 several nights, and that is just too cold. We lost the last week of arugula, some mustard greens, and a few other things that wouldn’t have lasted long anyway. But everything that we protected survived just fine.

And the real benefit? The kale, collards, brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips—they are ALL frost-sweetened and dee-licious!

Trying something new this year: We're selling reload able gift cards to our farm! You can load them in any amount, and use them any time you want! A great gift for friends or family who want to eat clean, healthy food, and redeemable from our farm at farmers markets or use it toward a CSA share! We get the funds right away so it helps us just like buying a share.

Trying something new this year: We’re selling reload able gift cards to our farm! You can load them in any amount, and use them any time you want! A great gift for friends or family who want to eat clean, healthy food, and redeemable from our farm at farmers markets or use it toward a CSA share! We get the funds right away so it helps us just like buying a share.

Here’s some news: We’re selling prepaid Gift Cards for the holidays! Anyone can buy them, in any amount. They’re a perfect gift for friends or family who can shop at any of our markets (Columbia City, University District, or West Seattle) or who might like to try one of our new Sampler CSA shares next summer. They can also be redeemed toward a CSA share. Buying them helps us out in the chilly winter as well, by paying us forward, just like a CSA payment.

We received a grant from NRCS to build a greenhouse, but we're adding two more big ones to the farm this winter. This is phase 1: Laying it all out. We're so excited to be able to grow even more early spring and winter crops, as well as more hot weather crops in summer. Maybe ginger, lima beans, melons,... so many possibilities.

We received a grant from NRCS to build a greenhouse, but we’re adding two more big ones to the farm this winter. This is phase 1: Laying it all out. We’re so excited to be able to grow even more early spring and winter crops, as well as more hot weather crops in summer. Maybe ginger, lima beans, melons,… so many possibilities.

More news: We received a grant from NRCS to build another greenhouse! King County had a matching program, which we also received, so we’re building two more big greenhouses. We’re really excited about all the possibilities for next year. We’re building now and will be planting in February. Let the games begin!

This is the exhausting life of the rat-hunting dog. You'd never know he's quick and vicious with the rodents.

This is the exhausting life of the rat-hunting dog. You’d never know he’s quick and vicious with the rodents.

And, you may remember the incredible Rat Battle of last winter? We’ve got Mario on Rat Patrol every night now. I want to be able to plant peas in February and have them survive and thrive. That means Sugar Snaps in May, everyone. Who doesn’t want that?! No more rats!

 

Falling into Winter

Mario and I scoping out the Brassicas for our first Winter CSA harvest. Hard to believe we have such a beautiful, bountiful harvest the first week of November!

Mario and I scoping out the Brassicas for our first Winter CSA harvest. Hard to believe we have such a beautiful, bountiful harvest the first week of November!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Cauliflower
• Broccoli
• Potatoes
• Squash (Spaghetti, or a choice)
• Arugula or Mizuna
• Purple Salad Mustard
• Yokatta-Na (similar to Baby Bok Choy)
• Onions
• Garlic

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

COMING SOON: Spinach, Celery, Baby Bok Choy

I can’t believe I’ve missed so many weeks without a blog post. But today is the first week of our Winter season, and it’s starting up with a bang!

The Brassicas this fall are stunning—it's been a challenge to keep the cauliflower heads and broccoli crowns at a manageable size. This one was easily bigger than my head. They're delicious this time of year though, so eat up. So far, no frost!

The Brassicas this fall are stunning—it’s been a challenge to keep the cauliflower heads and broccoli crowns at a manageable size. This one was easily bigger than my head. They’re delicious this time of year though, so eat up. So far, no frost!

It looks like we’re going to get another eternal fall, where the days are above 50, the nights are above 40, and we certainly have no drought to worry about for a while. Indeed, the whole farm is back to it’s muddy season. But it’s great for plant growth, and the brassicas are perhaps the finest example of this.

We planted nearly an acre of different Cauliflower varieties—several white types which will all mature in such a way that we will have cauliflower for about 6 weeks, as well as green, orange, and purple. And, the glorious Romanesco, fractal cauliflower, which will mature just in time for Thanksgiving. We also have several thousand Brussels’ Sprout plants which we hope will mature around the end of November. Another acre of various types of Broccoli are helping to round out the spectrum, including a sprouting purple variety for December and a big patch of spring sprouting broccoli. That will be most welcome come April!

This little woodlot at the back of the farm is an incredible source of biodiversity. It's full of songbirds, frogs, and raptors! This Cooper's Hawk wouldn't let me get any closer, keeping an eye on me in the cauliflower from its' bean-pole perch. It was a beauty—and scared all the songbirds away for a bit.

This little woodlot at the back of the farm is an incredible source of biodiversity. It’s full of songbirds, frogs, and raptors! This Cooper’s Hawk wouldn’t let me get any closer, keeping an eye on me in the cauliflower from its’ bean-pole perch. It was a beauty—and scared all the songbirds away for a bit.

Our beautiful Brassica patch is next door, and I credit part of it’s bounty to the abundance of wildlife living there. You see, there is an acre or so of woodlot, carefully maintained by our neighbor, Bob. The over story is Alder and Ash, and there is a thicket of brush. And it’s absolutely full of songbirds and frogs. There was a Red-Tailed Hawk nest there last summer, and now we are seeing a boom in the Kestrel and Cooper’s Hawk populations. All of those songbirds mean great, joyful insect control in the brassicas. In prior seasons, we had many more insect pests that we have had here. It’s a beautiful system.

Freshly-grated horseradish is surprisingly pungent. Clear sinuses all around!

Freshly-grated horseradish is surprisingly pungent. Clear sinuses all around!

Two years ago we planted a patch of Horseradish, and we’re finally starting to harvest. We don’t have quite enough to put in all the CSA shares, but we are keeping some in the trading box. Be sure and grab some if you want to give it a try.

 

 

Fall Week 2: A Bit of Everything

Delicious Fall!

Delicious Fall!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Shelling Beans
• Cucumbers or Summer Squash
• Brazilian Broccoli or Cauliflower
• Baby Corn
• Choice of Greens
• Thyme or Cilantro
• Tomatoes
• Garlic

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

COMING SOON: Cauliflower, Spinach, Green Beans

The big reason to write a post this week is because…BABY CORN!

I've had a hankering to try growing baby corn for a few years, and this year I got it planted. They're cute, but they're also delicious stir-fried with broccoli, sauéed in butter, or used in soup. Very tasty!

I’ve had a hankering to try growing baby corn for a few years, and this year I got it planted. They’re cute, but they’re also delicious stir-fried with broccoli, sauéed in butter, or used in soup. Very tasty!

So many questions!
1. It can be from ANY kind of corn, as long as it’s picked before being pollinated
2. Yes, shuck it (take off the husk and silkinesses) and eat the whole thing, cob and all!
3. How? Stir-fry, sauté, steam and use in salad, or put it in soup. I’m sure there are many more ways to enjoy it, but definitely look at it first and admire its’ adorableness.

Here's a baby corn, stir-fried with broccoli, green onions, and part of a red pepper.

Here’s a baby corn, stir-fried with broccoli, green onions, and part of a red pepper

Fall is definitely here. Rain and cooler temperatures are welcome, but so are the occasional warm spells. This makes layering important: I’ve lost two shirts in the field in the last week. So bright layers are the best…gray, not so much. Blends in with the field of broccoli leaves amazingly well. I’ll find that shirt someday!

A couple of exciting things:
1. It’s time to order seed-garlic. That’s about a $3,000 bill right now.
2. We are really excited that we received a grant to put up two more big greenhouses! A gift of $8,000 in total! However, it’s a reimbursement, and we won’t get it until the greenhouses are completed and inspected.

So, we are in need of some help. Both purchases need to be made by the end of September!

HONEY CLUB!
Every winter we offer up 12 or so full-year CSA memberships in our Honey Club. Basically, this is an extra-early prepayment and commitment to our farm for the full upcoming year. Participants get a super discount on the CSA vegetables, AND they get a quart of our delicious farm HONEY! If you are able to help us out by prepaying for 2016’s super-amazing-to-be farm season, April-December, please let us know! We can definitely use the help. Small Share full-season will be $850 ($975 value) and Large Share full-season will be $1,400 ($1,600 value). (For Seattle delivery, add $75 for the full season.)

Those two new greenhouses will give us a lot more space to grow early crops for spring/early summer AND fall/winter greens. We are already planting green onions, lettuce, basil, and lettuce. Imagine what we can do with two more!

The big crop of Fall and Winter Brassicas are looking really good! We should be picking in October, and into the winter!

The big crop of Fall and Winter Brassicas are looking really good! We should be picking in October, and into the winter!

Summer Week 12: Weathering Changes

The purple carrots didn't make many big roots, but they did make pretty flowers!

The purple carrots didn’t make many big roots, but they did make pretty flowers!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Romano Beans
• Borlotti Shelling Beans
• Cucumbers
• Lettuce
• Another Lettuce or Greens
• Cabbage, Radicchio, or Fennel
• Basil, Thyme, or Cilantro
• Tomatoes!

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

COMING SOON: Cauliflower, a few more Tomatoes, Spinach

I’ve been trying to get this blog post done for two weeks. And here, on the eve of our Fall CSA season, I’m finally finishing it up. So much has happened in the last few weeks, it’s going to take a bit of remembering.

Our new intern, Jeff, has quickly settled in and is already a huge help. Here Cosmo is showing him how to use the transplanting machine to put in the last of the cabbage plants for winter.

Our new intern, Jeff, has quickly settled in and is already a huge help. Here Cosmo is showing him how to use the transplanting machine to put in the last of the cabbage plants for winter.

Our new intern, Jeff, started a month ago. He jumped right in to work, stacking hay, greeting CSA families, and going to market with me. He is also a dedicated bean picker. We’re really enjoying having him here and we hope he’ll stay on for a while.

Speaking of beans, when we had the first big rainstorm a few weeks ago, we hit a “bean-anza”. Shelling beans, Romano beans, and green beans. It’s tapered off now, but it was crazy there for a few weeks.

The incredible summer heat and early season brought on a bumper tomato crop as well. Now that the weather has cooled down, the ripening has slowed, but the plants are still loaded with green fruits. There will be more.

Three weeks ago, we got up early to load the truck for market and discovered that a stray dog had slaughtered all of our young pullets, who would have started laying in September. She also killed all of our first batch of meat birds. It was a significant financial loss (we estimate $3,000 replacement value), but even bigger was the psychological loss. It was devastating. We called the sheriff so we could file a “theft” report, in case the dog’s owner could be found. But Animal Control wasn’t able to find a microchip. Who dumps a pregnant dog? There are some broken people out there.

Just a couple weeks to cauliflower harvest!

Just a couple weeks to cauliflower harvest!

We continue, however. And we have so many new crops coming on. The new brassica patch is starting to produce, with broccoli ready to harvest now, and the first variety of cauliflower coming in another week or two. Brassicas really love fall weather—cool and rainy alternating with warm, sunny days make the plants grow big and fast.

At last, spinach has sprouted. We've been trying for weeks, but the soil was too hot and dry. Success.

At last, spinach has sprouted. We’ve been trying for weeks, but the soil was too hot and dry. Success.

The most exciting crop news, though, is that we finally have spinach on the way! We’ve been planting it for weeks with no success. It was just too hot and the soil too dry. But now that cooler nights have arrived, and moisture is sticking around it popped up quickly. Just a few weeks to harvest!

Our Fall Season starts Tuesday, September 1! If you want in, just let us know!

Summer Week 8: What’s Happening.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• New Potatoes
• Sweet Onions
• Summer Squash and Zucchini
• Beets or Kale or Swiss Chard
• Fennel
• Radicchio or Kohlrabi
• Basil, or Thyme, or Parsley
• Garlic

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

COMING SOON: Broccoli, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Lettuce

This is the first year in a great, long while that we have had ripe tomatoes before August. We'll be picking next week!

This is the first year in a great, long while that we have had ripe tomatoes before August. We’ll be picking next week!

We have survived to see the end of July. It’s been difficult. Never have we experienced the lack of moisture that we have had this summer. Think back to a typical year in the northwest: It rains almost every day in April. It rains two out of three days in May, and it rains one out of three days in June. And THEN July comes and it gets hot and dry.

Now think back to this spring. (Cue twinkly, flashback music…) It rained in March. It rained a little in April. And then the rain stopped. The temperature went up in May, and the rain disappeared. No rain in May. No rain in June. A week of 100° days in July.

It was great at first. We got early plantings in. “Oh, better turn on the irrigation already!” Chuckle, chuckle. But then it went on…and by the time those 100° temperatures happened, we were getting worried. Crops that we usually seed in the ground, like dill, cilantro, spinach, and carrots…they weren’t germinating. Just how much water would it take to cool the soil and keep them moist long enough to sprout? Well, longer than we anticipated, because we lost them. So when the temperature cooled last week we tried again and were reasonably successful with some. About 50% success. We’ll keep trying, and eventually it will work out.

 

The Broccoli we picked earlier was our "just-in-case" planting, and it was half the size of a planned crop. Our main-season crop is just about ready to harvest. Nice, big crowns on happy plants. And Cauliflower and Cabbage are coming along as well.

The Broccoli we picked earlier was our “just-in-case” planting, and it was half the size of a planned crop. Our main-season crop is just about ready to harvest. Nice, big crowns on happy plants. And Cauliflower and Cabbage are coming along as well.

Our timing has also been thrown off. Early plantings are great for everyone. Until we run out of space because we’ve filled it all up too early. Now we’re rushing to get the fall and winter crops planted, and making rash decisions about what isn’t worth keeping so we can squeeze in just a little bit more. After all the forecast is for a warm, dry winter. We could be picking outside crops until the end of the year. Again. But when the day length is too short to make things grow, we need to make sure everything is full size by the end of October. That takes a lot of space. And we’re still picking summer crops. This is a challenge.

What are we doing for water? Well, we have city water from Kent. No, there are no bulk rate discounts. They consider us a business, and businesses pay business rates. I’m expecting the August bill to be quite high. I’m guessing $4,000. That was our highest one several years ago, maybe it will be higher. We’ve had to use a lot of water, and that’s with taking advantage of frugal measures. Luckily Carpinito Brothers (who owns the property surrounding us) has let us tap into their well, and that has helped us get the larger crops of potatoes, squash, and beans up and running. It’s very high in  iron, however, so we can’t use it on leafy greens or cauliflower or broccoli because it turns everything orange. Still, it’s a huge help until we get our own well. And as long as the water table holds water. After seeing how California has squandered its’ groundwater, even having a well is not a forever solution without frugality and conservation.

Artichokes? Really? For August? If only there were enough for everyone. The plants are so, so short. They shouldn't be doing this until September.

Artichokes? Really? For August? If only there were enough for everyone. The plants are so, so short. They shouldn’t be doing this until September.

What about those chickens? They kept up their egg production for a while…until it got to 100°. Then, the week of hot weather made them drop production to half. It takes a lot of water to maintain your health AND make an egg. And then, they went into early molt, dropping all their feathers. And you can’t make many eggs while your body is making feathers. Both operations take a lot of protein. So, not many eggs right now. We’ve had to skip this week of CSA egg distribution so we can catch up for next week. We may be able to alternate weeks for a little while and hopefully their production will come back up.

The up-side is that we received a grant from NRCS that will enable us to build two more big greenhouses. That gives us a bit more work to provide to Teo and Samuel, so we can keep them both employed all winter. It will also enable us to get even more crops started super-early next spring, for even more April and May bounty.

Humungous bean crop coming on. Look for tender, skinny beans next week!

Humungous bean crop coming on. Look for tender, skinny beans next week!

And what about the U-Pick Garden? It’s been a struggle, because it’s the last spot on the irrigation list. The peas came and went in just two weeks. And that was with water and shade. The cherry tomatoes are doing great, and we’ll be weeding and trellising them next week. I planted green beans this week, and they should do well. There are snapdragons starting to bloom, and a few of the spring blooms remain. I just put in zinnias, asters, and sunflowers, so September is looking really great for CSA U-Pick. Thanks for your patience, and for understanding our struggles this year!