If you need to reach us:
Email is the best way. We’re outside much of the day so it’s difficult to return phone calls. But, if you are happy to talk to an answering machine, you can call (253) 859-5197.
Whistling Train Farm
27127 78th Ave. S.
Kent, WA 98032
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Quick update here:
The warmer weather has made it possible to do CSA harvest this week! You can look forward to baby heads of Cauliflower, red and green Butter Lettuces, fresh Herbs, and more!
The regularly-scheduled, in-depth Newsletter Post will happen this weekend.
Happy Spring! 🌻
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Purple Sprouting Broccoli
• Kale Broccolini
• Green Garlic
• Purple Radishes (try making pesto with the tender greens!)
• Italian Parsley (not in Mini Shares)
• Fresh Thyme (Large Shares only)
COMING SOON: Salad Turnips, Green Shallots, Spinach, Stir-Fry Greens, Pea Shoots, Lettuces
In a normal season, I would be prepping to go to my first farmers market of the year. At some point I may be back at West Seattle, but that will be largely up to the Farmers Market Association and the mayor of Seattle. I am working on opening a FARM STAND, and I’ll be offering fruit and eggs, and some vegetables that I don’t grow, in addition to the things we grow right here.
Some things are ready now, in April: the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, the Green Garlic, Green Shallots. I have Kale, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Chives. All of these things have survived the winter. Radishes are ready in one of the greenhouses, Salad Turnips are coming along, as well as lettuce, spinach, and stir-fry greens.
As the chaos of Coronavirus hit us here, the weather changed. And suddenly it was Go Time. The spring hustle: breaking ground, spreading fertilizer, and working to get seeds in the ground before the rain arrived. And now, there’s nary a drop in sight and we’re turning on irrigation.
I know I promised to put together this first blog post last Friday, and I will do so in the coming weeks, but I have been hit hard by the overwhelming demand for CSA shares! It’s a good problem to have, and I’m so happy to be able to provide a clean, local food source for you all! But the paperwork and organization was overwhelming, and I didn’t have time to get to it until after yesterday’s deliveries were finished.
A few notes about how the blog-letter and website work: I’m going to do my best to post an update every weekend, so you know what you’re picking up and how to use it. If you’re ever in doubt, email me, and use the sidebar (over to the right) in the How to Eat It column. I’ve assembled recipes and suggestions for most unusual and many normal vegetables. I also attach hyperlinks to many items in the list above, you just need to click on them. ALSO: If you want to be notified when I post new posts, sign up in the little box at the top left sidebar. You’ll get these updates in your email inbox!
We are busy planting and cultivating so many things right now… crops that we’ll be harvesting all summer long! I’m really excited about this growing season. We are all going to eat well! Personally, I’m looking forward to the first crunchy Sugar Snap Pea, juicy Cucumber, and sweet head of Butter Lettuce.
Yesterday I spotted the first bumblebee of 2020. She was hungry and working hard to take advantage of the beautiful, spring sunshine. How fitting that should would awake from her hibernation on the first day of Spring!
So much has changed in the world, on the farm, and in my home in the last 1-2 weeks, I’m working on an update. Farmers markets are closed, CSA is booming, and the weather has been amazing, so I’ve hardly been around my computer. But I want you all to know that I’m working on communications, when I’m not working up ground and planting seeds. And my farm plan is constantly evolving, day by day.
Just know this: the CSA will begin in just a few weeks, there will be deliveries to West Seattle if there is no farmers market, and we will all be eating delicious green things in less than 30 days.
Please be patient, and thank you so much for your ceaseless support of my farm and our local food system! A more detailed update is in the works!
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Candy Carrots
• Baby Daikon
• Sweet Beets
• Brussels sprouts
• Savoy Cabbage
• Komatsuna Rapini or Siberian Kale or Purple Mustard Greens
COMING SOON: Spring!
It’s not every year that there’s enough overwintered produce to pick a bonus week for CSA members, but there was this year! I hope you all enjoyed the mid-winter treats!
This February has been mild compared to the past two winters. Only a passing threat of snow here, and a week or so of frosty nights. No Snowpocalypse. No deep freeze. That bodes well for our earliest harvests as well as our earliest plantings.
Last year we weren’t able to start planting until April, a full month later than what we’re used to. But things are looking good for a mid- or late-March planting of greens, roots, and favas. Fingers crossed!
I was able to get a few of the greenhouses prepped and planted this week, and I’ve started a good many flats of transplants. The season is definitely under way. The earliest crop of greenhouse sugarsnap peas are already several inches tall, and onions, celery, and lettuces are popping up. Inside I’ve got the first carrots, beets, and spinach seeded, as well as turnips and radishes. We’re just 5-6 weeks away from the first official CSA harvest of the season. And my first market day.
There are still a few spaces remaining in the CSA for 2020. Click here for the CSA enrollment form.
But if you’re not able or ready to jump in with both feet, I still have Mystery Box subscriptions as well. Click here for Mystery Box information.
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Adirondack Red” or “Natasha” Potatoes
• Choice of Various Squashes
• Candy Carrots
• Turnips or Daikon
• Baby Red Butter Lettuce
• Baby Green Oaky Lettuce
• Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
COMING SOON: Parsnips, Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts
I’ve observed that there are primarily two ways to approach farming; we can either work against nature, fighting natural processes, wildlife, and the environment in an effort to conquer and be productive; or we can concentrate our efforts on working with and alongside nature, doing our best to coexist while producing harvestable crops. Both methods have their simplicities and their challenges, but I choose the latter.
In the coexistence model, balance is key. This year, the farm predator population has been low. Last year, the neighbors did away with the resident coyote… and that meant trouble this year, as the rabbit population exploded. Even though a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks nested nearby and hunted regularly, there were rabbits everywhere, eating everything. When I planted peas and beans, the rabbits came out by night and munched the tender shoots to nubs… overnight half of each new patch disappeared. When I planted the fall brassicas, Cosmo and I built a low fence around them to deny them entry. The greenhouses needed to be sealed with chicken wire to keep them out or I’d have lost all the plants. Cosmo did some hunting, and Mario the Corgi/Terrier did his part, but while we did our part to control them, the population remained high. Because rabbits breed like… well, rabbits.
So I was recently thrilled to come home one night and hear a pair of Great Horned Owls hooting at each other. Typically they don’t come down from the hills, but they are most welcome to join the Barn Owls in their evening bunny feasts.
I was equally happy to hear a pair of Coyotes caroling last week. I hope they come closer, I encourage them to wander through, or even take up residence in the farm. As long as they stay out of the neighbor’s property they’ll be safe. I welcome them here.
Also new visitors, and hopefully future residents, are a pair of Ravens. They, too are rarely seen here, although their cousins the Crows and Scrub Jays and Stellar’s Jays pass through nearly daily. They may not be directly beneficial, but they definitely add character and are welcome
All these beasts add to the growing winter biodiversity on the farm; the migrating and resident songbirds, insects, and the unseen microorganisms that make this a urban oasis.
There are now two weeks left of the 2019 season… and I would love to have your commitment for the 2020 season. I’m happy to make payment arrangements, and you can pay by credit card as well as by check. Here’s the link to the enrollment form.
THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
COMING SOON: Stir-Fry Greens, Savoy Cabbage, Parsnips
It’s hard to believe that planting will start soon for 2020! In just two weeks, I’ll be planting the first of the carrots and greens for April in one of the greenhouses. Daylength makes a big difference in how quickly things grow… crops that take just 60-75 days in the long days of summer will take four months to reach maturity in winter and early spring. So far, the overwintered crops are looking good: Sprouting Broccoli plants are strong and holding their own, the garlic is sending up tender shoots and setting sturdy roots, and the experimental overwintered cauliflower is looking pretty good as well! If all goes well, we’ll have a creamy, white treat in April or May!
The dark days are upon us now… and we’ve just a few weeks remaining. I’ve finished with farmers market and I’m dedicating all the rest of the produce in the field to all of you.
Last week was a chilly one, and the temperatures dropped well below freezing for several nights. That makes it difficult to any harvesting; while anything left outside now can handle the cold temperatures, they can’t be harvested while they’re frozen. Leaves will stay wilted and roots can’t be extracted from the ground.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re lost! It just means that they become sweeter and more delicious!
As the year winds down, and I am without any farmers market income, I appeal to you all to enroll early for next year’s CSA. I’m happy to make payment arrangements, or take credit card payments. I’m just worried about making it through the end of this year and beginning of 2020.
I am extremely grateful to those of you who have paid already, and for the continued support of you all. We wouldn’t be here without you!
Click here for the link to 2020 Enrollment Information