2015summer_week7

Summer 2015 – September, Week 7

What’s in the Box:

Roma beans, Red Cabbage, Sweet onion
Garlic, Green Kohlrabi
Zucchini & Summer squash
Cucumbers, Gold Chard
Arugula, Mizuna, Basil, Peaches
Flowers

Dear Members,

Please take one bouquet of flowers

As I sit down to write to you all this morning, I can’t see a thing outside the window.  It stays dark a bit later each morning, and makes it a little more difficult to roll out of bed and greet the day… or the almost day, as it were.  The rain seems to have slowed us down and delivered Autumn all at once, making for an unusually quick shift in our mental state.

If you haven’t noticed yet, we farmers loooove to talk about the weather. It’s not just that we’re boring, or that we don’t seem to have any hobbies because all we manage to do is farm mostly (although I’m not saying either of those things is necessarily untrue).  Honestly, weather dictates so much of our business that we just can’t get around talking about it.

I’ll spare you my diatribe on Spring, and how rain can slow us down, or drought, and what that means for us, and focus on rain right now.

Rain means certain veggies are happy, and others mold.  It means we shift the harvest to get the most sensitive things in before they get wet (or we harvest them later to deliver them extra fresh), we take longer to harvest, wash, and pack the veggies, we contend with a different set of circumstances.

Autumn means that we often work on the edges of day, and sometimes in darkness.  We have to be more careful about plans for each day, and we try to spread out tasks so that we aren’t working until 8pm. By necessity, we start later.  You can’t see much in the field in total or even semi-darkness.

All this to say that weather means a lot around here.

And that your veggies soaked up all that beautiful rain, and might not last quite as long as they did when they didn’t get rained on.  Specifically, please forgive us if the Roma beans don’t hold up as well as they should.

Now, for those of you who made it through all that, (or maybe you just skipped it) come see us at the Tilth Harvest Fair this weekend!  The fair is this Saturday from 10am to 4pm at Meridian Park in Seattle (behind the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. Seattle, WA 98103).  Find more information about the fair and what’s on the schedule here:http://www.seattletilth.org/special_events/harvestfair2015

Yours,

Heidi

2015summer_week6

Summer 2015 – September, Week 6

What’s in the Box:

Green & yellow, wax beans, Austrian Crescent potatoes, Chioggia beets,
Zucchini & Summer squash, Cucumbers, Green onions, Lettuce,
Pears, Flowers

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

The bad news: this is the last of the lilies

The good news: this is the last of the lilies!!!

We always wonder if people tire of lilies. We at the farm get overrun every year at some point. We have several long beds of lilies which all start out innocently enough sending up a precocious blossom here and there to get our attention before that variety blooms in earnest. We plant several varieties intended to bloom in succession, thereby giving us a long season of these gorgeous and fragrant flowers. However… Every year there is this ramp up in production with a crescendo of several varieties blooming at the same time. Lilies to the left of us, lilies to the right of us, lilies all around us! Every year I have to give a pep talk to the people cutting the lilies. It goes something like, “Don’t let the lilies rule your life, don’t let them get the better of you.” If a person tries to keep up, and get every breaking bloom they are at risk of going mad, and if heaven forbid they succeed in keeping up, the lilies then take over every square foot of refrigerated space on the farm. It is always a bittersweet farewell. We do have sunflowers just starting to come on, and the snapdragons are blooming like crazy.

In more exciting news: IT RAINED!!!

It rained nearly 1 ½ inches over the weekend, precipitation that was sorely needed.  This doesn’t negate the drought entirely, of course, but it takes the immediate pressure off some of our irrigation needs, and reduces the stress that the plants have been enduring these past weeks.  I can almost feel them relaxing…or maybe that’s me.  As much as I love a warm, dry Autumn, the rain was truly welcome. Among other things it takes the pressure off field cultivating as it is just a bit wet out there right now. The rain also brings with it a much more moderate ambient temperature and that helps lower the anxiety around harvesting everything right now, before it blows. Though the farm is still a bit of a runaway train, the vibe is much more relaxed than it was a week ago. I think we all feel that, farming or not, this rain has relieved a lot of pressure.

Included in this week’s delivery are Chioggia beets. Named for a fishing town near Venice, they are an Italian heirloom dating back to the early 1800s and introduced to the U.S. before 1865. Their uniquely beautiful flesh has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble a bull’s-eye. Truly beautiful if cut in cross section, they will retain this unique feature if baked whole and sliced just before serving.

Also included this week are Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes. They originated in South America but where introduced to this country by European settlers. They are delicate and cook quickly. I like them best pan fried or roasted gently with green onion. I think the simpler the preparation the better, and usually toss them with a good quality olive oil and just a bit of salt and pepper before baking them in a toaster oven.

Enjoy!

Heidi

2015summer_week5

Summer 2015 – August, Week 5

What’s in the Box:

Green, purple & yellow wax beans
Sweet onion, Zucchini & Summer squash
Snow peas, Cucumbers, Broccoli
Basil, Peaches
Lilies

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE TWO STEMS OF LILIES

I woke to hazy skies this weekend and my first thought was there’s something wrong with my eyes.  The haze settled, almost like mist, which is not completely uncommon for this time of year, but it hovered in the distance, making me wary.  Mike opened the door and looked back warningly at me.  ‘Something’s on fire.’

Right now it feels like everything’s on fire.  I have volunteered as a firefighter for our community for a couple years now, and every day I hope for rain, and wait for the emergency pager to go off.  With so little water, it’s difficult not to be unnerved by the wind and smoke, even if it isn’t near our farm.

As I’m sure most of you already know, over 30,000 firefighters are currently deployed in Washington State, coming from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, trying to stop the progression of the fires.  More than 250,000 acres have burned, and many of these fires are less than 50% contained.  Here are a few resources to keep you updated.  I linked directly to the morning brief for Monday to give you a glimpse of the statistics.

http://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/content/products/intelligence/MORNINGBRIEF.pdf
www.dnr.wa.gov/wildfires

http://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/firemap.aspx

I am clearly preoccupied by this situation.  Towns have been evacuated and firefighters have lost their lives.  It’s hard to focus all my attention on the farm, even when the season demands it.  The earth is so very dry, and the grass is so much fuel to burn.  We have heard of farms who narrowly escaped fire damage, and those who were not so lucky.

We need rain, and I’m not sure when we’re going to get it.  The first responders have a lot of work ahead of them.

For those of you who have been a part of our farm family for many years, you will know that our home and farm flooded catastrophically in 2007.  Our local grange members opened up the hall to feed our community every single day, for months after the flood, as our community rallied and came together to slog our way through our ruined homes and possessions. Having somewhere to go for a warm meal when we were feeling desperate, defeated, and alone made a real difference in our ability to rebuild our farm. So I am sharing some info about a non-profit group who is helping to feed the first responders in the Okanogan, in case you are inspired to join me in donating:

Soup Ladies http://www.soupladies.org/

Be safe, and be well,

Heidi

2015summer_week4

Summer 2015 – August, Week 4

What’s in the Box:

Broccoli, Turnips, Baby bok choy, Zucchini
Green cabbage, Lettuce, Snow peas
Chives, Nectarines
Snapdragons

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF SNAPDRAGONS

As you can imagine, it’s a busy time of year for the farm.  Everywhere we turn, something is begging for attention, water, trellising, fertilizing, cultivating…  The field is full of vegetables and lots of other opportunists, or what we refer to (rather unkindly, I suppose) as weeds.  Weeds are weeds by our definition: they’re growing somewhere that we haven’t planted them, and where we don’t want them to grow.  They compete with our crops for water and light, and provide us with an abundance of extra work through the Summer.  We try to take care of the weed pressure before it’s a problem, by getting the weeds out while they’re tiny, or, when that fails, by removing weeds before they go to seed.  Inevitably, there’s a time of year where the weeds seem to be winning the race, and we’re all just plain tired.  That time for us is right now.  Weeds, weeds, in all directions.  Too bad they aren’t more delicious…

The good news is that in the end, we seem to do all right, if not triumph, and we will all happily cross that finish line this year.

We’re excited to send you broccoli with today’s share. With such a hot July, I wasn’t sure if the broccoli would mature nicely, but it has finished with flying colors.  The cabbage is also cute and sweet, and will make a great salad.

We have added organic nectarines from Central Washington.  They are a bit firm (they bruise terribly when they’re fully ripe, and they don’t last long), so leave them at room temperature to allow them to ripen for best flavor and texture.

I’m adding a few recipes and heading back to the field to finish my day.  Enjoy!

Heidi

 

2015 Summer, Week 3

Summer 2015 – Week 3

What’s in the Box:

Bunched beets, Baby bok choy, Sweet onion, Summer squash,
Red Chard, Nectarines, Basil, Snow Peas,
Flowers

PLEASE TAKE ONE LILY BOUQUET!

Dear Members,

Finally a little burst of Summer today, with more to come soon.  The cool mornings and evenings really give the vegetables a chance to thrive, and things are looking healthy and strong in the field.

We are excited to have snow peas in today’s boxes, as well as baby beets, basil, and the first taste of Summer squash.  The organic nectarines are also a treat that we are thrilled to have.

Our surviving lettuces are growing beautifully in the field, and with the right conditions, will be harvestable in a week or two.  If you didn’t receive our update this Spring, our lettuce, peppers & tomatoes (if you can believe it) were the most beloved Spring treat for mice and slugs who must have made their way into the greenhouse from miles around.  I imagine tiny posters hung up in the mouse community, inviting them to the feast…improbable, but it certainly felt that way this Spring, as thousands of seeds were dug up and disappeared in the night.  At any rate, the lucky survivors are coming along nicely, and we’ll have some beautiful greens to share soon.

Yours,
Heidi

Summer 2014 – Week 7

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Radicchio, Purple Carrots, English Shell Peas,
Apricots, Basil & 4 Stems of Flowers.
Small shares:
Lettuce, Radicchio, Purple Carrots, Fennel,
English Shell Peas, Green Onions,
Apricots & 4 Stems of Flowers.
Family shares:
Lettuce, Purple Carrots, Fennel, Summer  Squash,
English Shell Peas, Green Onions,
Apricots & 4 Stems of Flowers.

 

Please remember to take: 4 Stems of Flowers

Dear Friends,

It looks like the warm weather is back after last week’s reprieve of clouds and so much rain.  These long, sultry days of sunshine make for thriving plants and luscious produce.  Some of the radicchio grown here at the farm is the largest I have ever seen.

In your boxes this week you will find peas!!  Tender and sweet, fresh English Shell Peas add sparkle to any meal, if they actually make it INTO the meal; ours usually get eaten by the handful long before, on par with any berry! They do need to be shelled mind you; which is as easy as running your thumb nail along the length of the union of the two halves of the shell on the inside edge of the pod. The pod will open like a book revealing the peas within.

We also have apricots to offer this week, which are a real treat.  Apricots are at their peak right now and these are the Rival variety and grown right here in Washington state.  Apricots are just one more of the highlights of midsummer.

Speaking of fruit, if you and your family crave more than we deliver in our regular Summer share boxes, Our Fruit Shares have been well received and there are some still available.  These come on a weekly basis and consists of a variety of seasonal fruits.  Even though we began offering the Fruit share a couple of weeks ago, when you sign up your payment is pro-rated, just like the regular Summer Share.

As always, thank you for being our partners in this farming experience and accompanying us on this season’s journey of planting, growing, harvesting, sharing and eating.  Have a wonderful week!

Emily

A couple of notes on the included flowers:

When taking your Glads, please be gentle with the ones you are leaving for other members.  They are easily damaged.