Category Archives: Uncategorized

Time to Rest… And Begin Again

The 2022 Season is finally complete. What a ride this year was. My target was to finish up the season right before Christmas; it’s a good marker for most people and there’s not a lot left to harvest after the Solstice. But the late Spring start threw a wrench in that plan, and after forcing the cancellation of several Spring Season weeks, we started Summer Season two weeks late. I know that this resulted in confusion, especially because I couldn’t make changes to the reminders from Barn2Door. But here we are: we survived. A few folks even told me it was the best year yet, which is reassuring because I definitely felt like the CSA was in survival mode for a long stretch. However, aside from those few sparse weeks in June, I do feel like the farm produced a lot of food after July, and I feel good about that. Thank you for being patient and understanding and supportive!

The thing about farming is that there is always more to learn, and, more than any other year prior, 2022 taught me to be prepared for any weather scenario. I am feeling pretty cautious about starting 2023, hedging my planting bets in all manner of ways. Rearranging the early greenhouse plantings so that there’s food available even if it doesn’t stop raining until late June. Starting more crops as transplants that can be set outside even if it’s too wet to work soil properly and impossible to run a seeder. 2023 will be good.

My small house project is finally moving along, and I’m truly hoping to be moved in by March, before everything gets crazy. Della and Chris’ wedding is happening in June, Cosmo will be graduating with his Auto Tech degree this quarter, and I’ll be in school one more year, finishing my AAS in spring of 2024. I am doubling-down in the hunt for a younger person or team to help me operate the farm. I’m not getting any younger, and for a variety of reasons that require a separate essay, I need to transition. Many of those reasons are financial. But this CSA community that we have all built together is very important to me, and I want to do everything in my power to keep it going. Likewise this 15-acre wildlife oasis that I have had the good fortune to occupy and encourage. (I’m working on another essay about land ownership and occupation.)

I’m Looking for a Farm Operator/Manager

I have been frustrated and disappointed by my attempts at finding a successor up to now, so this time I am working with the Farm to Farmer organization, formerly Washington FarmLink. I have created a listing there, and they have advisors to help with all the aspects of transitioning. I’ll be working to refine my listing in the coming weeks, but I’m hoping to bring this new person(s) on board this spring to start the learning/weaning process. Please share this link with anyone you think may be interested: https://farmtofarmer.org/node/655

With so many changes in the works in my life and family, I feel the need to simplify some operations and work harder to make the farm more profitable. (“Profitable” has been a dirty word in the small farm world for too long, and it’s an odd thing. “Sustainable” used to be the big buzz word, and now it’s “regenerative”, but a farm really can’t be “Sustainable” if it isn’t financially sustainable, or it won’t be a farm for very long. I’m working on yet another essay about this subject.) But the reality is that when a mortgage needs paying, and farm families need to be able to set aside funds for college and retirement, the farm needs to be profitable. I scraped by for far too long, and I want to ensure that the next farmer(s) here don’t have to carry that stress.

Cutflowers: U-Pick and Pre-made Bouquets

I have become hugely interested in Wildflowers, and that prompted an expansion into growing Cutflowers. Last year’s Cutflower Bouquet subscription was an experiment, but Rebekah will be on board again this summer and we’re going to expand this project. I’m really excited about it! The U-Pick Cutflower Garden is going to be bigger, and we prepped it in the fall so it’s ready to start planting the earliest varieties in just a few weeks. I’ll be opening up the Cutflower Garden to the public, for a fee. Because some folks are happy to pay a lot more money for flowers than they are for food. As far as I know, there is no other U-Pick Flowers in this area, so I’m hopeful that this will become a profitable income stream as well. DON’T WORRY THOUGH: CSA members will always have free access to the U-Pick garden for their weekly bouquets! I may need to give you all a badge or something, but we’ll figure that out.

Soon the greenhouse will be filling up and look like this. I start seeding 2023 crops next week!

Bulk Pantry-Builder Boxes Instead of Mystery Boxes

I am simplifying the food crops that we grow here. When I was going to farmers markets (and was super stressed-out), it made sense to grow a lot of unusual crops, because that was my niche and I could justify their production needs with high prices. But the CSA-only model is most profitable and manageable with a shorter list of crops to maintain because it is easy to scale up, and easier to mechanize. Hand labor is very expensive, so all the investments made last year in machinery and mechanical cultivation are going to start to shine in 2023. This will (should) result in more food, and more people being fed, as well as more individual product that can be packaged and sold in bulk above and beyond what is needed to satisfy the CSA. Instead of our Mystery Boxes, I will instead be offering Pantry Builder Boxes. These are available as a subscription now (at a discount), but I will also be offering them individually during their seasonal windows. I hope to also offer them through one or more local Food Hubs.

A Reminder about Farm Finances…

The nature of the CSA model is that I depend on CSA enrollments in order to purchase farm supplies in the winter, as well as to pay the farm mortgage and utilities, and to buy groceries. If you haven’t yet enrolled for 2023, and are able to, please don’t wait. It’s a few months until we will have surplus produce available to market outside of the CSA. Here are all the purchasing links. Please share widely, it will take 200 CSA families to cover myself and another farmer. (That’s about 40 more families than last year.) Thank you so much!

More flowers in 2023!

2023 CSA Enrollment

2023 CSA Enrollment is open to everyone, and there are plenty of Summer and Winter Shares available. Here’s the store link

Flower Bouquet Subscription: 16 bountiful, seasonal bouquets. Here’s the Flower Bouquet link

Pantry-Builder subscription: Bulk boxes of Sugarsnap Peas, Basil, Pickling Cucumbers, Garlic Braids, and more. Here’s the Pantry Builder link

Next week, I start planting in the greenhouse! Let’s have a fantastic 2023 Season!

With much gratitude,

Shelley

Winter Week 3. Midway through the Winter CSA Season

The short days and flirtatious snow let us know that winter is truly here. Thanksgiving brought us over a week of below-freezing temperatures, which made harvesting a challenge but sweetened up the roots and greens perfectly. At long last, we can eat all of the hardy greens! The kale and Brussels sprouts, and beets and carrots, as long as they stay in the ground while the air freezes, will convert their starches to sugars… an antifreeze of sorts… which benefits everyone who eats them.

Brussels sprouts in snow.

New Home Update:

My little house project begins in earnest next week! I’m quite excited, and very grateful to those who stepped forward with short-term loans to help me out with expenses. Huge thanks to Terry and Marianne, Jonathan and Rosy, Elizabeth, and Maureen! The first step will be to swap out the French door in the little house for a single-wide exterior door, remove the picture window, and reframe the wall. The French door will be moved to the double-door end of the shipping container, and become the entrance to my new office space and the big window will become my office view onto the perennial cut flower garden. Once the little house wall is re-framed, the little bathroom can be framed, and then the kitchen. Then it will be habitable. At the same time, I’ll order the insulation kit for the shipping container, and buy Cosmo a plasma cutter so he can start cutting out the window holes in the shipping container and weld the steel frames. Updates will be posted as they happen!

Almost Time to Start Planting!

I’ve ordered the earliest seeds to start, but the rest need to be purchased very soon. Also, greenhouse supplies and fertilizer need to be ordered. Work begins in the propagation house in January… Sugarsnap Peas need starting first on the heat mats (so they’re ready to plant into the ground in hoop houses in early March), and then the tomatoes, peppers, onions, and celery. And then the seedling train just keeps rolling until June.

Michael is patching together a transplanter, so I won’t have to do all the planting bent over. My body doesn’t enjoy that job anymore. The goal is to plant more plant babies in straighter rows that will be mechanically cultivated. Less work all around. With any luck, the first plants will go out into the field in early May instead of late June this year. And hopefully I’ll have extra help this season! Always hoping the magic works!

The nature of the CSA model is that I depend on CSA enrollments in order to purchase farm supplies in the winter, as well as to pay the farm mortgage and utilities, and to buy groceries. If you haven’t yet enrolled for 2023, and are able to, please don’t wait. It’s quite a few months until we will have surplus produce available to market outside of the CSA. Thank you so much!

2023 CSA Enrollment

2023 CSA Enrollment is open to everyone, and there are plenty of Summer and Winter Shares available. Here’s the store link

Also, the new and improved Flower Bouquet subscription is live. 16 bountiful bouquets, from fancy, flouncy tulips in early June to Sunflowers in September, and an Everlasting bouquet to brighten your winter. Here’s the Flower Bouquet link

I have decided that I need to simplify my crop plan. Sadly, that means discontinuing the Mystery Boxes. It’s just too much to keep track of without a solid farm co-manager. Instead, I’m offering a Pantry-Builder subscription! Bulk boxes of items that will stock your freezer and/or pantry. Bulk boxes of Sugarsnap Peas, Basil, Pickles, Garlic Braids, and more. Here’s the Pantry Builder link

AND, I figured out how to offer the purchase of Gift Credits through the Barn2Door store. Like a digital gift card, you can purchase credits in increments of $25 and gift them to friends and family. Then they can use the credits toward any items in our Barn2Door store, including subscriptions. Here’s the link for Purchasing Store Credits

Wishing you the happiest of holidays, and most restful winter season.

A luscious September bouquet at sunset.

Hard to believe that I’ll be starting the earliest crops for 2023 in just a few weeks!

With much gratitude,

Shelley

Summer/Fall Week 20. Suddenly… It’s Winter

After a smoky, very warm Fall, we finally got our normal weather. It snuck up on us though, after that long dry spell. It wasn’t much fun, but I’m grateful for every extra sunny day that we had, because otherwise most of our late fall and winter crops wouldn’t have finished. I was seriously worried about the winter squashes, and the fall greens and brassicas.

Got all the cauliflowers picked ahead of this week’s freeze. Some are small, but they won’t survive below 30°.

The eventual rain came as a relief to the soil and to my bank account. Usually our last big water bill is in September, but because I had to keep irrigating through October, is was one more huge bill. The first rainfall also meant that I could start planting garlic and cover crops, and I nearly finished before the sudden freeze planning got underway. But tonight, I’ve harvested all of the crops that can’t handle freezing and they are tucked safely in the walk-in. Cauliflower for weeks, and the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers. Those will go to CSA next week, since we’ve already started the week.

Luscious winter spinach, coming soon!

New Home Project:

In addition to field cleanup and pulling irrigation and putting away water lines and timers, my new Small Home project has begun. Those of you who have been with the farm for a decade or more may remember when we had our used double-wide brought to the farm, before I got the mortgage for the property. It was affordable, and made sense for the short-term; I planned on it being a temporary house for our family. It served its purpose perfectly, and now I no longer need that much house. It’s falling apart, my nest is nearly empty, and rather than spend a chunk of money rehabilitating the mobile, I decided to go small with a modified shipping container. So far, I’ve spent about $12,000 on the container, but also on running new water, electrical, and septic lines. I’m a bit nervous about how I’ll find another $10,000 to finish the project this winter before the mobile disintegrates. I had planned on roughly $20,000 total, but I didn’t anticipate this weird growing season and diminished non-CSA, summer income. I am hoping for some short-term financial help… so that I don’t need to dip into next season’s payroll and other farm funds. If you can help with a short-term loan, please let me know!

So much money, but it will be worth it in the end. Electrical, water, and septic lines going in for new Small Home living. $$$

I’m not sure what will happen at this point, but I’m proceeding with ordering seeds and fertilizer, and planning crop extensions for next spring, just in case we have a super soggy spring again and can’t plant until June. The one sure thing is that we don’t seem to have reliable seasons lately, so I am planning for the worst scenario and have some tricks up my sleeve. I’ve learned a few things in the 20+ years I’ve been farming.

Thanksgiving Turkeys:

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I have 10 turkeys still available. Their butcher date is Monday, the 21st, so they’ll be available for fresh pick up either Tuesday or Wednesday before the big day. $10 per pound, and I expect most to be 9-15 pounds, with one big boy that will be much larger. A $50 deposit will hold your bird, and will be subtracted from the total balance at pickup. (You may remember that I hatched the turkeys in an incubator in my office in early spring, and the eggs were laid by my own breeding stock. It was very exciting!)

Turkey Time! I have 10 left!

2023 CSA Enrollment

To close, I’m including the link to the Barn2Door store here. 2023 CSA shares are open to all (Spring is sold out, but plenty of Summer and Winter Shares are available).

Hard to believe that I’ll be starting the earliest crops for 2023 in just a month or so!

Brussels Sprouts are looking good for December!

Have a great week, and happy rain!

Shelley

Summer Week 14. Every Extra Sunny Day Counts

The Equinox. That time when we really notice that the days are getting shorter, and can no longer deny it. It’s my favorite time of year, aside from the excitement of starting the first seeds in January, or eating the first Sugarsnap of the year. I love cool, rainy fall weather, sweaters and swirling leaves, and splashing in puddles. But this year, because we got started six weeks late in spring, I’m grateful for every extra sunny day and non-freezing night. Every warm afternoon pushes all the crops to grow and ripen just a little bit faster than they would on a cloudy day. Every heat unit of each day counts now. Frost could happen at any time.

Fall crops are coming on as the tomatoes wind down. This year’s tomato crop was mind-blowing, though! I’ve never had that kind of production, and I’ll definitely be using the same new tricks I used this year in 2023! The peppers will continue to ripen for several more weeks… there was one year that I kept picking peppers until Thanksgiving! Zucchini and cucumbers will soon be making way for their cousins, the hard squashes, including Honey Bear and Delicata and Spaghetti. Hopefully the rest will ripen up in these last warm days!

One of the final bouquets of 2022: Hollyhocks, Hyssop, Sunflowers, Verbena, and Statice.

The cut-flower garden is finished for the year, and bouquet subscriptions will finish up this week. That’s six weeks earlier than planned, but we also got started six weeks later. Credits will be coming to those who purchased bouquet subscriptions to make up for the shortfall. We’ve learned an awful lot, and will be expanding and focusing more on the flower block of the farm.

Fall migration season has begun, and as the Osprey and Warblers depart for the south and Golden Crowned Sparrows and Coopers Hawks return for winter, so will the Vultures of the Pumpkin Patch begin to appear. Keep your binoculars handy, they’ll be here any day! There are a lot of pumpkins out there, and hopefully they’ll get the chance to turn orange! But I’ve carved my share of green pumpkins; they can be just as spooky.

Salad turnips are wandering out of their protective cover. This breathable fabric keeps insects like Flea Beetles and Cabbage Root Maggots from eating the turnips before you do.

We finished planting two weeks ago, and now we do maintenance; the final cultivations, a little irrigation, and a lot of harvesting. We’re getting as much cleaned up as possible in preparation for next year, and cover crops will be sown as soon as we get our first rain. We’ve made adjustments and are planning ahead so that we can get the higher parts of the farm planted early next year, even if it’s as wet as this spring was.

This patch of baby bok choy is looking pretty! We should be starting to harvest in early October.

To close, I’m including the link to the Barn2Door store here. 2023 CSA shares are open to all (not many Spring shares left, but plenty of Summer and Winter). I’ve also extended the deadline to use the 10% off discount through September 30. (Originally it was the Equinox, but I forgot to remind everyone, so I added a grace period!) The discount is only for current CSA Members please: Use CSAEARLYBIRD at checkout.

Have a great week, and Happy Fall!

Shelley

Finally, a Harvest to be Proud Of: Week 8

It feels like it has taken forever this season… and we are finally forced to choose between all the things to harvest at the same time that we notice the days start to get shorter. I guesstimate that we are where we should have been 5-6 weeks ago, harvest-wise. We’re picking the first beans and first zucchini, which typically happens in early July. The cucumbers are still struggling, but there are some here and there, which is why you’re not getting sick of them yet. The basil is finally good, but there won’t be abundance there this year. The tomatoes though… so glad I worked extra hard to start them in January, because they are LOADED! And soon the peppers and eggplants will join them.

CSA Week 8! Clockwise from top left: “Purple Viking” potatoes, Green Beans (not in Mini Shares), Carrots, Red Torpedo half-sweet Onions, Basil, assorted Tomatoes, Sorrel or Mint (not in Mini Shares), Zucchini (not in Mini Shares), Bok Choy (not in Mini Shares). Large Shares only: Lettuce and Cucumber.

Next week, we sow the last outdoor crops of the season… this means all the spinach and other greens for fall and winter. The last chance opportunity, because day length is getting shorter and plants effectively stop growing rapidly around the autumnal equinox, September 20-21. That means we plant now and get as much growth as possible before they start slowing down. Two weeks ago, we sowed the last root crops, and last week I did the last greenhouse sowing. Lettuce, Napa cabbage, and green onions for winter. Those plants will all be planted in greenhouses in September for harvest in November-December.

On the one hand, looking at the fields, it looks like we should be in late June. So much ground not used this year because we couldn’t get it worked up fast enough with the spring wet and cold. But the sky is saying, you’re nearly finished so wrap it up. I’ve talked to a few people who feel like everything should have shifted as soon as the heat kicked in a month ago. They don’t understand why everything is still taking so long. But stressed plants need time to recover and do all the growing they didn’t do when it was cold and icky, and that is why it’s just happening now. The soil is finally warm and the plants have recovered, mostly.

Tomatoes are coming on strong! Soon peppers and eggplant will join them. I can’t wait for ratatouille!

The cut-flower garden is producing well, and Rebekah has been doing bouquets for subscriptions for four weeks now. The garden is open to all CSA members during CSA Pickup windows: Saturdays 10-5 and Tuesdays 2-7. You can find pitchers and snips in the CSA shed, just please return them when you finish.

At this point, the Pumpkin Patch is looking good, but the Sunflower Patch is going to be much smaller and near the cut flower garden. Unfortunately I had to use the allocated Sunflower spot for growing food this year, as it was the only dry spot open back in June.

As farmers say, “There’s always next year.” Hopefully next year the weather will be more cooperative. One never knows, and that is why I am perpetually grateful for the continued support and encouragement of our CSA family.

In the mean time, we still have a long stretch of this CSA season, and things are looking really good. Finally.

Have a great week!

Shelley

Pile bean vines and the moon.

A Blast of Summer: Week 1

Those seemingly endless weeks of cold and rain finally ended… with an ovenlike blast. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not thankful for a nice, long farming window. But the transition was a bit sudden.

Clockwise from top left: Green or Red Oakleaf Lettuce, Spinach, Green Onions, Baby Bok Choy (not in Mini Shares), Garlic Scapes, Salad Turnips (Large Shares only), and Purple Radishes (Large Shares only).

We have nearly caught up on all the summer planting! And while that doesn’t mean that we’ll be eating all the summer vegetable fruits right away, at least they’re growing. And that is a huge relief to me. I don’t take the responsibility to feed our CSA community lightly, and being held back by weeks of cold and wet weather  put the farm several weeks behind. It’s not unusual to need to pause the CSA in spring, between overwintered and new crops, but I have never needed to miss so many weeks. Over the last 20 years of CSA production, I may have started the Summer season late… once or twice. Generally, I feel like I know what I’m doing farming-wise, but this season has been something.

For a while, a few more weeks, we are primarily going to be harvesting leaves. We have lots of spinach and lettuce, chard and kale and arugula. Radishes will be along shortly, and turnips, beets and carrots in a few weeks. The onions are going to be a while because the transplants went in the ground about 6 weeks later than planned. But garlic is perfect, having been planted last fall. The outdoor round of sugar snap peas are starting to bloom, and so are the fava beans. And FINALLY the snap and shelling beans are growing. We’ve accomplished an awful lot in a short time.

The cut flower garden is nearly caught up as well. We’ve nearly got all the starts in the ground, and that’s a great feeling. The starts planted a month ago are getting big now that the soil is warm, and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to open up the cutting garden in 2-3 weeks, as well as start the flower bouquet subscriptions. Fingers crossed!

But as we head into Summer Week 2, I am thankful for a successful first CSA week. While the Spring CSA was limited to just 80 families (and thankfully, this year, since we ended up cutting it significantly short with the weather), the Summer CSA is feeding 180 families. That’s a lot of organization, and as far as I know I haven’t misplaced any Seattle person’s box, and we didn’t run out of anything at the farm except green onions, which I swapped for the last bit of sugar snap peas. Not a bad swap, methinks!

As quickly as the aphids have found all of the sweet vegetables to prey upon, so have the Ladybugs moved in to dispatch the aphids.

After the last few hot and dry seasons, I had anticipated scaling up the melons, sweet potatoes, and doing outdoor tomatoes and peppers. Alas, this spring threw a wrench into those plans. So many of those plants had to be pushed aside so that more cool weather crops like peas, lettuce, and other greens could go in the ground instead. But don’t worry, the greenhouses are full of very happy tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. All of these will come in their time to complement the greens outside.

This week, the planting continues. The back fields have dried enough to start working up, so we can get the winter squash, pumpkin patch and sunflower patches planted. It was so wet when they should have been seeded, Trinity has been starting thousands of transplants in the greenhouse. They’ll need to get planted out in two weeks, when the field and plants are ready. It’s significantly more work to do transplants, but it was getting so late in the season that I didn’t want to risk waiting, lest the sunflowers not bloom and pumpkins not ripen. I’ll be starting all of the fall and winter brassica plants this week as well, and their spot will be ready to plant out in a couple weeks. Hard to believe it’s winter planting time already!

Have a great week!

Shelley

The first Snap Beans are up and have had their first cultivation. Fava Beans are blooming to the right, and Snap Peas just past them. It won’t be long!

The Spring That Was Winter

My last post was in late March, and I began, “This week has been a true introduction to Spring: the days are a bit longer, the light a bit brighter, and the rain a bit lighter than winter.” Little did we know that we would be entering the coldest, wettest spring in decades!

It’s been a frustrating few weeks, as I’ve had to pause the Spring CSA for three weeks now. It’s been so wet that the windows of opportunity for working-up ground and planting outside have been nearly nonexistent. And the rows that I did get planted have grown very slowly. We will be able to do a harvest next week, and hopefully no more pauses. I will be issuing a credit to all Spring CSA subscribers for those and any other missed weeks. 

Luckily, we are finally having some sun breaks! We’ve been able to get the higher, drier blocks worked and fertilized, and anticipate a big planting event this weekend. As long as the forecasted dry window holds! Greens and roots, and the anxious summer squash and onion transplants will all be headed out into the world soon! The first round of starts will go into the Cutflower Garden as well, and with some luck, we will still be opening for cutting in June. Realistically, though, opening will be a bit later than planned… end of June rather than mid-month. Also amazing news is that Trinity and Marta will be starting work next week, and they will be a huge help with harvesting, planting, and packing CSA shares.

Also, there is still plenty of room in the Main Season (June-November) CSA. Click this link to get to the online enrollment page, and share widely if you are already enrolled! We’re gearing up to feed lots of folks this summer, as I won’t be going back to farmers markets this summer. Given the extra unpredictability of the weather this coming season, I’ll be putting in extra cool weather crops (like greens, peas, and brassicas) as well as the warm-weather crops I had planned on increasing (field tomatoes, melons, and basil). One way or another, I fully anticipate being on track with abundant food for the Main Season (summer/fall). Plus, the CSA free perks of Cutflower Garden, Sunflower Patch, and the Pumpkin Patch.

We appreciate your patience, and your endless support of our farm and our local food system! We wouldn’t be here without you!

Shelley

Early Spring Update

Blossom buds on native Big Leaf Maple are such a robust sign of spring in the northwest. Soon they’ll be buzzing with native pollinators and honeybees!

This week has been a true introduction to Spring: the days are a bit longer, the light a bit brighter, and the rain a bit lighter than winter.

We have been planting, gradually, since February. But already the prop house (short for propagation greenhouse, where the baby transplants are started) is filling up, and we are moving plants through all the little microclimates inside. One greenhouse is full of 1′ tall Sugarsnap Pea plants that we should be starting to harvest in late May. Another is planted with Spinach. And yet another with purple Radishes and Salad Turnips. And one is boasting luscious overwintered Swiss Chard. Outside, the overwintered Cabbage and Turnips are doing their sprouting magic, becoming Rapini. Mint, Sorrel, and Chives are bursting with vitality, and Leeks and Miners Lettuce will round-out those first few weeks of the Spring CSA.

I am headed south for a much-anticipated 10-day road trip to explore the Mojave Desert. I’ve been in school full-time all winter, and I desperately need an adventure before farm season lands on us. But I am confidently leaving everything in Emily’s capable hands. She’ll be preparing the u-pick Cutflower Garden and seeding flats in the prop house until I get back, and tending all of those early greenhouse crops.

The Spring CSA will start when I get back, the first harvest/pickup day will be Saturday April 9, with Seattle deliveries and Tuesday on-farm pickup on April 12. This makes us perfectly timed to finish up with Spring mid-June, and start the Main Season CSA the week of June 18! Flowers will be blooming by then too, and all CSA members are welcome to come and pick bouquets again! Stay tuned for those updates! And if you haven’t yet reserved your Main Season CSA share or Mystery Box Subscription, there’s still room for you! Visit our Online Shop to enroll by clicking here

Please be patient, and thank you so much for your ceaseless support of our farm and our local food system! We wouldn’t be here without you!

Shelley

Sugarsnap Peas, started in January, are already a foot tall and growing fast! If all goes well, we’ll be picking pods in late May.

CSA Week 29, 2021

CSA Menu:
“Strawberry Paw” Potatoes
Cauliflower
Broccoli (not in Mini Shares)
“Honey Bear” Squash (not in Mini Shares)
Salad Turnips or Celery (not in Mini Shares)
Beets
Lacinato Kale
Leeks
Arugula, Rosemary, and Carrots (Large Shares only)

The first freezing nights and so much rain! We had easily 7″ here, and we definitely didn’t get the worse of the big storm. Luckily the farm property is in the high spot in the middle of the valley. The ground is very saturated, but it doesn’t flood. I’m very thankful for that, as I have several farmer friends up north who were not so lucky.

Special Pickup Options for Next Week:

Given that Thanksgiving is next week, I realize that some people will be out of town for this regularly-scheduled harvest. If you are not going to be home next Tuesday or Wednesday (Seattle folks), you have the option of picking up your share this Saturday, the 20th at the farm. Pickup time is between 10am and 5pm. Please let me know by Friday if you want to pick up Saturday at the farm instead of your usual Tuesday or Wednesday! Emily and I will need a little extra time to harvest and make sure there’s enough set out for everyone.

The first seed catalog is here! Time to plan… I’m ordering everything extra early to make sure I get what is needed on time.

And an announcement/reminder:

2022 CSA enrollment is live, and now is the time to sign up! After last year’s supply chain issues (remember the fertilizer shortage and late seed deliveries?) I’m ordering everything early. Like now. I picked up all of the seedling mix and flats that we’ll be needing to start seeds in February and through summer. I’ll be ordering all of my fertilizer from Oregon and picking it up before the end of the year. Seed potatoes will be available to order in another week, and the seed catalogs are arriving daily. I want to order everything by the end of November… supplies too. So please enroll early. Your funds will ensure that Emily and I get paid, and that we can get supplies, AND get all of our equipment up and running in time for that first groundbreaking in March/April. I’ve been told by suppliers that they don’t know when they’ll get anything any more. (I’m already on the waiting list for a pallet of waxed boxes… whenever they show up at the distributor!)

There is no paper enrollment form this year, as I’ve moved all of that paperwork to my new Barn2Door site, which will simplify my record keeping and email groups for next year. Click on this link to go to the “store”. You don’t need to pay with a credit card, you can mail a check or pay cash in person as well, but you do need to enroll online for my sanity. 🙂

Perfect heads of Romanesco cauliflower. Emily and I picked it earlier in the week since freezing nights were forecast.

Ground Beef:

I noticed that my freezer is still hoarding some ground beef from the cows we harvested in the early spring, and it needs to find homes! My cows were grass-fed, so the the burger is full-flavored and not extra-lean. I’m offering ten 1# packages for $65… you can pick up at the farm Tuesdays or Saturdays with your CSA, but if you want me to deliver to Seattle you’ll need to arrange a cooler at your drop site. Here’s the Barn2Door link: https://app.barn2door.com/e/9K807/all/lKMVE

CSA Week 24, 2021

CSA Menu:
“Chieftain” Potatoes
Celery or Spinach
“Honey Bear” Squash
Salad Turnips (not in Mini Shares)
Carrots
Arugula or Fresh Thyme (not in Mini Shares)
Baby Lettuces
Yellow Onions (not in Mini Shares)
Swiss Chard, Garlic, and Tomato (Large Shares Only)

A quick blog this week, just to say “Welcome!” to squash and greens season, and a few reminders!

Emily and I are bringing in the squashes before freezing weather starts. They need to be washed and cured so that they don’t start molding in storage. They need to last for two more months, and curing helps them to develop sweetness and flavor.

Pumpkin Patch and U-Cut Flowers:

The CSA-only Pumpkin Patch has been popular! To be clear, this is a simple pumpkin patch; we are putting on no airs here. Just fresh air, birds, and worms, and pumpkins laying next to the vines that grew them. Now it’s muddy, it’s dirty, and it’s real! CSA members can come down Saturdays 10-5 or Tuesdays 2-dusk. Limit of four pumpkins of any size per family. Mostly there are little ones remaining, in orange or white, but there are a few big ones too.

The cut-flower garden is still pumping out blooms! The Zinnias and Verbena are exploding, and there is also some Love-Lies Bleeding and Bachelors Buttons, Cosmos and Marigolds. Come and get them while they last! Once we get a hard frost they’ll be gone until next June.

Our simple, quiet pumpkin patch! No crowds, just birds, pumpkins, and worms.

And an announcement/reminder:

2021 CSA enrollment is live, and current CSA members can save 10% by enrolling before October 17. I’ve broken the season into three sections for 2022, and enrollment for Spring is limited to 75 shares. Winter is limited to 100 shares. I’m actually increasing the Main Season (Summer) to 200 this year, so if you aren’t able to pay for the full year yet, but value the early and late seasons, make sure to grab those shares while they’re still available! As of tonight, there are just 15 Spring Shares left for 2021! Monday October 18, I’ll open up enrollment to the public, and the early payment discount will expire.

There is no paper enrollment form this year, as I’ve moved all of that paperwork to my new Barn2Door site, which will simplify my record keeping and email groups for next year. Click on this link to go to the “store”. You don’t need to pay with a credit card, you can mail a check or pay cash in person as well, but you do need to enroll online for my sanity. 🙂

I’m so excited that the broccoli is sizing up! Cauliflowers are coming too, but this broccoli variety should be ready to harvest in about two weeks!

OH! One more thing… the Trading Box!:

If you pick up at the farm, you should have noticed the new Trading Box. This is something we offered years ago, and it fell by the wayside. But when Sonja suggested we do it again, Emily and I were on board. Here’s how it works: We put a random assortment of produce in the box, in addition to the CSA offerings. If you don’t want (or can’t eat) one of the items offered, you take it and put it in the trading box, and exchange it for something else. It’s that easy. The important part is the TRADING. It’s not a box of extra things, you have to trade. We hope you take advantage of it!

If you pick up your CSA at the farm, you can take advantage of our new Trading Box. Exchange items you don’t like or can’t eat for something you want!