Tag Archives: subscriber menu

Summer Week 8—Broccoli and Basil

Dulce is here with her first calf, Charlotte (on the left), and Juniper's calf, Darkwing (on the right). Beauty (Dulce's 16-year-old mom) is due any day with her 12th calf.

Dulce is here with her first calf, Charlotte (on the left), and Juniper’s calf, Darkwing (on the right). Beauty (Dulce’s 16-year-old mom) is due any day with her 12th calf.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Broccoli or Cauliflower
• “Red Norland” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)d
Cucumbers
• Green Onions
Summer Squash or Zucchini
• Baby Lettuces
• Napoletano Basil
• Thai or Lime Basil

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

COMING SOON:
Spinach
Romano Beans
Arugula
Cilantro
U-Pick Beans

The U-pick area is open for cut-flowers. Herbs and more beans are coming soon!

It’s crunch time here, so my apologies for the lack of update last week. Not only are we taking care of and harvesting summer crops, we also are working furiously to get all the fall and winter crops in the ground, since we only have a couple of months of growing time left. July and August are by far the busiest months. Add to that the ever-growing cow population, Della’s new goat, and the need to move the turkeys, and it’s a very long to-do list.

Clubroot is a fungus that affects mainly the Brassica family (all the broccoli, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.). Once it's in your soil, it's there for seven or so years. The fungus inhabits the roots of the plant, making it impossible for it to uptake water and nutrients.

Clubroot is a fungus that affects mainly the Brassica family (all the broccoli, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.). Once it’s in your soil, it’s there for seven or so years. The fungus inhabits the roots of the plant, making it impossible for it to uptake water and nutrients.

Last year's Cauliflower and Broccoli crop—decimated by Clubroot.

Last year’s Cauliflower and Broccoli crop—decimated by Clubroot.

The broccoli is in full swing now. I held my breath for several months, waiting to see if we would have any this year, after The Great Brassica Disaster of 2012.  We lost our entire drop of thousands of cauliflower and broccoli plants to the dreaded Clubroot, a fungus that inhabits the roots of plants in the brassica family and slowly starves them. It affects other plant families as well, but it’s really evident in the brassicas because they have such a small root system to support a lot of top growth. The fungus lives in the soil and can remain there for decades. So, our organic control method is to not grow any brassicas on our farm. WHAT? That means no kale, turnips, cabbage, arugula—it’s a long, long list. We depend on brassicas here.

This year's Broccoli crop—beautiful and Clubroot-free on the neighbor's property. These plants are behind T & M's raspberry plants.

This year’s Broccoli crop—beautiful and Clubroot-free on the neighbor’s property. These plants are behind T & M’s raspberry plants.

The good news? We have wonderful neighbors, who are renting us plots to expand our crop rotation. (We hope to eventually assimilate those properties, and expand our farm, so watch for news.) We have planted our entire crop of summer and winter brassicas next door, on T&M land, which has been fallow (well, it’s had a sod of clover and dandelions on it) for several years. The results are beautiful. We once again have a lovely crop of broccoli. The cauliflower, not so much because we lost control of weeds, but the fall cauliflower will be delicious come October.

Here's a tidy little broccoli crown. The broccoli this year is amazing!

Here’s a tidy little broccoli crown. The broccoli this year is amazing!

Our favorite variety of broccoli is "Packman". Don't know why it's called that, but it's several decades old and produces a nice first crown. But the real reason to grow it is for the successive crops of side shoots—those little heads of broccoli that come in waves after the main crown is cut off. Look at all of them!

Our favorite variety of broccoli is “Packman”. Don’t know why it’s called that, but it’s several decades old and produces a nice first crown. But the real reason to grow it is for the successive crops of side shoots—those little heads of broccoli that come in waves after the main crown is cut off. Look at all of them!

There has been a tragedy in the broccoli seed business. Our favorite variety, Packman, is no longer available. We’ve grown it for 15 years, it’s the best for us. It makes a nice little crown, and we can pick it for three more weeks, harvesting little side shoots of tasty broccoli. Makes the entire business of broccoli growing worthwhile. But sadly, the breeder has discontinued it. How do you replace something like that? I’ve been trying other varieties, but none are quite as perfect.

This week in FarmKids Club, the kids inscribed their future Halloween pumpkins.

This week in FarmKids Club, the kids inscribed their future Halloween pumpkins.

The FarmKids Club met this week, and we made ice cream from Juniper’s milk, picked blackberries to eat with the ice cream, and inscribed their names on green pumpkins. Those pumpkins will have their names emblazoned on them in the u-pick patch, come October.

This little girl keeps me company in the cucumber greenhouse. I think she enjoys the bed of nasturtium flowers when I'm not watching. She may have a nest in there, but I can't find it.

This little girl keeps me company in the cucumber greenhouse. I think she enjoys the bed of nasturtium flowers when I’m not watching. She may have a nest in there, but I can’t find it.

And here’s  a nice moment captured in the greenhouse. This little female Anna’s Hummingbird spends a lot of time with the cucumbers and nasturtiums. She chirps at me while I’m working in there, but doesn’t leave. I’ve been able to overwinter a little group of them for three years now, with careful feeder maintenance. I wonder which generation she is.

Summer Week 6

Basil production is peaking already! It's luscious and tender, and perfect for Pesto!

Basil production is peaking already! It’s luscious and tender, and perfect for Pesto!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Sugar Snow Peas
• “Yukon Gold” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)
• Carrots
• Garlic
• Swiss Chard
Fennel
• Genovese Basil

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

COMING SOON:
Spinach
Green Beans
Fava Beans
Summer Squashes
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Cauliflower

Canning Class at the farm this Saturday!
We still have a few spaces left in the class on July 27, 1:00. Just $25 to learn how to make small batches of jams and canned fruits. You’ll even get a jar of goodies to take home! Let me know ASAP!

We’re into the full swing of summer, so get ready to eat more veggies! The summer squashes, cucumbers, and broccoli and cauliflower are nearly ready, as are the snap beans. We are also into the height of farm-work season, because not only are we working to clean and harvest (and keep planting) summer crops, it’s also time to get the fall and winter crops in. It’s double duty, and we are getting used to (somewhat) 12- and 14-hour work days. I apologize if we’re hard to reach right now.

So what is the frilly, ferny vegetable you got this week? It’s Fennel, also called Finocchio. Think of it as celery, but flavored like licorice. Use the stems chopped up in tuna or chicken salad, or in a green salad. Slice the bulb thinly and eat raw, or try cutting the bulb into wedges and grilling or roasting it. It’s delicious!

Due to the wonder of WordPress, who hosts our website and farm blog, I am able to “view statistics”. Sometimes I poke around at the top of my WordPress window, and see what I can see. Among the interesting topics are 1. Number of views per day (page views and individual visitors), 2. Search Terms, and 3. Pages viewed.

I like to see the change in the bar graph from day to day, because it helps me decide if people find what I’m writing to be interesting. There’s always an upswelling when I get a new post posted, which is reassuring. And I like to see if visitors are looking at the newest post, or a particular recipe page, or if people are interested in our CSA.

But the most interesting one is “Search Terms”. I can actually see what path people took to get to our website, and via which search engine! What always surprises me is how many people find us by searching “Chicories” or “Escarole” or “Radicchio”. Really? We are one of the top results for the bitter greens?

This summer, we are getting a lot of hits from people searching for “Ice Plant Edible”, meaning Purslane. But today here are my top favorite search terms:

1. Mink waterer (I don’t know what these folks found out)
2. Farm bunnies eat beet leaves
3. How to do a farmer’s whistle just your mouth
4. Edible Spaceship (which leads to Kohlrabi)
5. White roots, red green leaves
6. Salsify production in India
7. Only bean known in Europe before new world (being the Fava bean)

At any rate, the list goes on. I can search up to a year in the past. It just fascinates me to have created something that might be so useful to people all over the world. Someone actually visited our site from Lithuania and the Philippines, and yesterday from Zimbabwe and Spain. I’ve received crazy questions about chickens and cows from all over the world. THAT is the world wide web.

Summer Week 4

Like Christmas in July. Sugar Snap Peas!

Like Christmas in July. Sugar Snap Peas!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Sugar Snap Peas
• “Irish Cobbler” New Potatoes (best steamed, roasted, or boiled)
• Fresh “Spanish Roja” Garlic
• Beet Greens
• Salad Greens
• Purslane (click on the link for recipe ideas)
• Fresh Dill (try it in a potato salad, or chop up and add some to your green salad)

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

COMING SOON:
Baby Carrots
Spinach
Fennel
Green Beans

Hot weather means we need to water. The problem is, everything needs water at the same time. It’s not too difficult for the crops that we plant in black plastic mulch, because we use drip irrigation tape underneath. It’s just the flip of a switch. The drip tape conserves water, and the black plastic holds in the moisture. Everything else uses sprinklers, and there are only so many of them around here, so we end up moving the pipes around all day long to make sure everything gets wet.

Honeybees need water too! We shut off the sprinklers and the honeybees came in for a drink.

Honeybees need water too! We shut off the sprinklers and the honeybees came in for a drink.

The animals need water as well, and that includes the bees. I caught them sneaking water from the puddles left behind after shutting down the sprinklers. We don’t think about insects needing water, but they do. There’s not enough moisture in flower nectar.

This is the busiest time of year for us, and now that Teo is happily married and back from his honeymoon we can work towards getting caught up. We have many crops still to plant, and it’s time to get the winter crops in the ground as well. AND they all need to be weeded and kept clean and watered, even though we won’t harvest much of them for several months.

The cucumbers are starting to bloom—two weeks until we are overrun with fruits!

The cucumbers are starting to bloom—two weeks until we are overrun with fruits!

When we push to get so much work done in a short time, it’s all the more rewarding to find glimpses of the rewards, like the first cucumber and squash blossoms. Or to dig the first new potatoes.

Have a great week!

Summer Week 3

Juniper had this bouncing baby boy Tuesday morning. The kids in our first FarmClub collectively named him Darkwing. He's doing great, and we are enjoying having real, fresh milk in the house again, now that the crazy mommy hormones have diminished some.

Juniper had this bouncing baby boy Tuesday morning. The kids in our first FarmClub collectively named him Darkwing. He’s doing great, and we are enjoying having real, fresh milk in the house again, now that the crazy mommy hormones have diminished some.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Shelling Peas
Beet Greens
• Butter Lettuce
Curly Endive, or Frisée
• Yokatta-Na, Mizuna, or Swiss Chard (depending on your pick up day)
• Green Onions
• Nasturtium Flowers

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

COMING SOON:
Sugar Snap Peas
Baby Carrots
Purslane
Spinach
Fennel
Green Beans

This is what bunnies do in the pea patch. If the pea plants survive the initial nibbles, they snack on pods and eat the peas inside.

This is what bunnies do in the pea patch. If the pea plants survive the initial nibbles, they snack on pods and eat the peas inside.

It’s been such a busy couple of weeks. I apologize for not posting for so long, especially to the newer members of our CSA family, who I know have been frantically searching the blog and website for any clue on how to use their new unusual greens and vegetables.

Teo was married last Saturday, and he has been on a well-deserved vacation and honeymoon since then. We have been keeping up, but not able to get much planted or weeded. When you see him again, tell him how much he is appreciated, as I will too!

Weather is always a trick in farming. Having days of torrential rain was a bonus, since it means lots of free irrigation, but it also wreaks havoc on the crops in the way of weeds. Rain and warm weather make EVERYTHING grow faster, so that the weeds can easily overtake slower growing crops. Hopefully we will be able to get things under control again once Teo returns from his honeymoon.

If you are ever truly lost with your vegetable identification, please feel free to nudge me via email. But in the mean time, if you’re in a quandary, taste the mystery item—if it seems like you can eat it raw, you probably can. If it seems like it should be cooked, try it out. There’s very little you can do to ruin anything.  And if you end up with more than you can use, just steam or sauté it up and put it in a freezer bag for later. No need to waste anything!

Summer Week 1

The potatoes are starting to bloom, and that means they are starting to form tubers! This pretty variety is Yukon Rose. Pinkish on the outside, yellow on the inside.

The potatoes are starting to bloom, and that means they are starting to form tubers! This pretty variety is Yukon Rose. Pinkish on the outside, yellow on the inside.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Garlic Scapes
• Pea Shoots
• Baby Carrots
• Pepper Cress
• Salad Mix
• Green Onions

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

COMING SOON:
Spinach
Peas
Beet Greens

Tender pea shoots in the morning sun. Make sure and enjoy them now, because their season is short.

Tender pea shoots in the morning sun. Make sure and enjoy them now, because their season is short.

This week we start our summer season, and it’s shaping up to be a great one. As I write this it is the first day of summer (yes, I’m a few days late posting) and it’s grey and rainy. But, the planting continues—all the squashes, cucumbers, and beans are popping up. The warm showers we are getting this week are great for watering in seeds and plants. Our early planting of peas is looking awesome—the plants are covered in blooms, and every flower becomes a pod. It’s looking like we will have many more shelling (also known as English) peas in this round than the sugar snap peas. But don’t worry! The second planting is much bigger and was not eaten by the wild rabbits. Cosmo had taken care of most of the rabbit problem before they were planted.

These are the chance early planting of shelling peas, thrown in the ground during the early warm spell in March. Every one of those flowers is going to be a pod—ready to pick in just another week or two.

These are the chance early planting of shelling peas, thrown in the ground during the early warm spell in March. Every one of those flowers is going to be a pod—ready to pick in just another week or two.

We have nearly got the u-pick area complete—just a few transplants left to set out. There is nothing to pick just yet, but the flowers and peas will be along shortly, as well as the herbs. Just a bit more patience is needed. Once things are ready, I will post information everywhere, and there will be signs showing you where to go. In the mean time, feel free to cut blooms from last year’s volunteer cut-flower garden. There is no order, being that they seeded themselves, but they are pretty! Click here for the cutting instructions.

School is out finally, what a relief. No more bedtimes or forcing kids to get up after a short night of sleep. No more worries about having dinner at 10:00pm. And, the kids get to help more—yes, I said they GET to.

There are a bunch of flowers that volunteered from last year's cut-flower patch. One of our honeybees is enjoying a poppy here—you can see her loaded pollen basket.

There are a bunch of flowers that volunteered from last year’s cut-flower patch. One of our honeybees is enjoying a poppy here—you can see her loaded pollen basket.

We continue to plant, and prime weeding season is here as well. What makes our intentional plantings grow well also encourages the weeds that we do not want. We are all gearing up for Teo’s wedding next week. If you pick up at the farm, look for the tip jar we’ve set up for him, to help with his honeymoon plans.

A few notes about the produce: Check the links for Pea Shoots and Garlic scapes for ideas on how to use them. Peppercress is a spicy member of the mustard family. Use it fresh in a salad or stick some in a sandwich, or add it to soup or other cooked dishes at the very last second. It’s not really a cooking green, better fresh.

The End of Spring

The older flock of laying hens moved in the night to their new pasture. It's always exciting to wake up in a new place.

The older flock of laying hens moved in the night to their new pasture. It’s always exciting to wake up in a new place.

Summer is here at last, and so we have cranked into high gear. I haven’t posted for a few weeks, because of the shift into hectic mode, but we did complete the Spring season successfully, with lots of tasty greens and a touch of rhubarb—our first harvest!

We took a good, hard look at what was left, though, and decided that we would not complete our two weeks of winter make-up as planned. We just do not have enough to make a successful weekly harvest, twice. We have a lot of a few things, and so we are going to farmers markets, but no shares until the Summer season starts June 18. Instead, we have sent out vouchers to everyone who took part in our last winter season. You can use your voucher at a farmers market to buy produce or eggs from us, or save it and apply the value to a future CSA purchase. We really feel like this is the best for our subscribers—and it’s your choice.

We are ramping up for the first week of Summer! The peas are blooming, which means sugar snaps and shelling peas are only a few weeks away. We’ve got fresh patches of greens growing steadily in this early June warmth, and we’re still looking ahead at what promises to be a great season.

I am working on getting the email out there to confirm, but if you’re looking and I’m slow, the first week of the Summer CSA is June 18th. The first Saturday pickup will be June 22nd. Look for an email this week from me, and if you don’t get one, pester me. This is a very busy time of year, especially before school gets out.

The cut-flower garden is a bit behind, because we weren’t able to plant during the rainy spell in May, but we are catching up and expect some blooms by the end of June. The u-pick peas should be ready around the end of June as well, and an extra-early patch of green beans in early July.

Cosmo can't resist snuggling baby birds. And baby turkeys are just SO sweet.

Cosmo can’t resist snuggling baby birds. And baby turkeys are just SO sweet.

The baby turkeys arrived last week, and they have settled in. We are taking deposits for Thanksgiving now, so reserve yours soon to avoid Turkey Frenzy 2013—that mad panic that happens around the end of October, when everyone realizes that they don’t have their special bird lined up yet and there are none to be found. We have about 20 left unspoken-for. Our first fryer butchering day is approaching soon, but we still have quite a few birds available for later harvests, especially the August and September dates.

We planted pasture on the north side of the farm this year, to let this 3-acre piece rest. The pasture is up and needs to be mowed before we put the cows on, and it's time to get the fence up!

We planted pasture on the north side of the farm this year, to let this 3-acre piece rest. The pasture is up and needs to be mowed before we put the cows on, and it’s time to get the fence up!

We are anxiously awaiting the cows to calve. Juniper is due first—June 30, and Dulce is due with her first calf about two weeks later. Beauty is pregnant, but we are unsure of her due date. Sometime before the end of August is the best estimate, but this will be her 12th calf, so we trust that she knows what she’s doing. The newly-planted cow pasture is nearly ready for cows, so we’re mowing it now and getting the fence put up. You may ask, “Why mow if the cows are going there to eat it?” There are two answers: 1. Because the grass is still a bit thin, and cutting it is like pruning, and will make it get bushier, thicker, and softer. 2. Because cows don’t like tall, pokey grass. They like it soft and about 6-8″ long.

David, my bee mentor, dropped off three of his hives to take advantage of our abundant bee forage. He likes Mondrian.

David, my bee mentor, dropped off three of his hives to take advantage of our abundant bee forage. He likes Mondrian.

My honeybee mentor, David brought down some hives to take advantage of our bee forage—mostly blackberry. He may be bringing another three hives down in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out. You can’t miss his style.

The blackberries are blooming about two weeks early, but the honeybees aren't interested yet. It hasn't been warm enough to get the nectar flowing. Bumblebees are visiting but just for pollen. We need just a few more days above 70° for the nectar to flow.

The blackberries are blooming about two weeks early, but the honeybees aren’t interested yet. It hasn’t been warm enough to get the nectar flowing. Bumblebees are visiting but just for pollen. We need just a few more days above 70° for the nectar to flow.

We had an amazing Locust bloom this year, stronger and sweeter-smelling than I can remember it being in many years. I stole two frames of honey from my own hives to try and capture it before the bees mix it with blackberry blossom. The blackberries are blooming already, but there’s no nectar yet, so no honey.

We're doing our part to spread the word about the campaign to label genetically modified food in Washington. It will be on the November ballot. Let us know if you want a $1 button or if you need more information! YES ON 522!

We’re doing our part to spread the word about the campaign to label genetically modified food in Washington. It will be on the November ballot. Let us know if you want a $1 button or if you need more information! YES ON 522!

We are actively working on the Yes on 522 campaign—Washington is working on a rule that would establish mandatory labeling of GMO food. Don’t you want to know if the milk, wheat, corn, soy, rice, canola, and sugar in your food have been genetically modified? There are others, including cotton and fuel oil plants that are being manipulated as well, but they aren’t turned into food. Please ask us if you want more information or a $1 button.

What are the chances this would roll up behind the farm?

What are the chances this would roll up behind the farm?

And one more photo, just for fun. Spelled right and everything!

Have a great week, enjoy the sun, and get ready for summer produce!

Spring Week 8: Slump Week

When we noticed rabbits working their way down the rows of pea plants, Cosmo took matters into his own hands and went after them with the air rifle. Don't worry—clean shots. And no more peas are disappearing!

When we noticed rabbits working their way down the rows of pea plants, Cosmo took matters into his own hands and went after them with the air rifle. Don’t worry—clean shots. And no more peas are disappearing!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Green Garlic
• Pea Shoots
• French Breakfast Radishes
• Arugula
• Mizuna
• Sorrel

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

COMING SOON:
Carrots
Spinach
Green Onions

Finally, the rapini and other brassicas have finished, in a glorious explosion of yellow. The bees enjoyed the flowers, but now they are in the process of being disced and plowed into the soil. We will be getting that spot ready to plant the cucumbers and summer and winter squashes next week.

That brings us to “Slump Week”, that awkward stage of spring when the overwintered crops have come to an end, but the spring-planted crops are not quite plentiful to harvest in great abundance. So, the shares are light this week, but we’re doing the best we can. We checked on the spinach and carrots and they are coming along, just not quite big enough—probably just another week or two.

The first potatoes are popping up, reaching for the warm sun!

The first potatoes are popping up, reaching for the warm sun!

There is some exciting news though! Thanks to amazing weather, we were able to get the potatoes planted on time and they are poking up—I can’t wait to have new potatoes! I took a chance and planted a few rows of green beans along with the second planting of peas, and they also popped right up. The u-pick area is started,  and with the early flowers, peas, beans, and cilantro and dill are up and growing. The season is off to a great start. Beauty is due to calve in the next week, and we are so anticipating the first of the calves, as well as the delicious milk that comes with the calf. Juniper is due in June, and Dulce is due in July with her first, so we will have bouncing calves to enjoy all summer.

The first planting of beans is up! I don't know when I have ever successfully planted beans in the first week of May. 50 days to green beans!

The first planting of beans is up! I don’t know when I have ever successfully planted beans in the first week of May. 50 days to green beans!

We had the pleasure of hearing Michael Pollan speak on Monday night at Benaroya Hall. I had never been there before, but I’m going to have to go again to hear the amazing pipe organ. At any rate, he had a lot to say about food, and about cooking. One perfect quote was “The microwave is the Ayn Rand of kitchen appliances. It’s every man or woman for themselves.” In his new book, “Cooked” he is emphasizing food preparation and eating together. I can’t wait to listen to the whole book! But when he was emphasizing eating together as a family, and pointing out that the dinner table is where children learn the art of conversation, I laughed out loud. How does that happen, I wonder. At our table, the “conversation” is usually focused on Guinea Pigs, shooting rabbits, or planting, and it is NOT usually civilized.

We still have many spaces available for the summer, so if you know anyone who might be interested in joining our Summer CSA, forward them to us!

Have a great week!