Spring Share – Week 4

The peas have just started this week and today’s share has the first of the snow peas. Our second plantings of spinach and arugula are looking great so there’s a good quantity of those. Lettuce continues with a new variety for us, Brown Goldring, that comes highly recommended for its flavor – the insects seem to like it too and there’s a bit of chewing on the wrapper leaves but I’m hoping the hearts will be a hit. Hakurei turnips continue, and we’re giving out the last of the choi this week.

In more news from the field: The beets were weeded today and are looking good. We also finally got around to planting some cut flowers in the you pick section for later in the year. We also already turned in the first of the spring planted cover crops to get ready for some summer plantings of cabbage and beets and the earliest bed has already been reseeded to beans. Summer is coming quickly.

Spring Share – Week 4 Predictions

Here’s my best guess at next week’s share, with the caveat that my batting average so far on these has been mediocre:

Romaine lettuce (or at least some sort of lettuce), and Hakurei turnips are the two items I’m pretty sure of. Lots of possibilities on greens and I’m not sure which yet but chard, spinach, arugula and kale are all in the running. I’ve been hearing good responses to the fava greens so I’m tempted to include those one last time before we let the plants put all of their energy into making beans. The fennel has been sizing up slowly, might still be a few weeks out on that. Similarly carrots and peas are looking close, but probably still have a couple of weeks. Beets are another that are on the cusp. There’s probably at least one more thing I’m forgetting.

Today we finally got all of the drip tape down for the season and we even had some time to start hoeing the mad flush of weeds that wet weather brought on. The fields are looking pretty good and the weather looks very promising for the near future.

Spring Share – Week 3

This week’s share has the finest of the Hakurei salad turnips, Pirat butter lettuce, bok choi, collard greens, fava greens and green onions – a very green share.

Monday folks got fewer radishes than Thursday last week and we still had a few in the field so Monday gets the last of the D’Avignon radishes as well.

Beyond the herbs in the you-pick area this week we’ve opened up the last of the first round of spinach to you pick, and some regrowth on arugula. At the farm stand we have a bit of extra lettuce (pretty much a standard every week), and some chard. We may have a few other items as well on Thursday.

In the field today we managed to plant out the eggplant and get a lot of mowing done. We’re also back to irrigation duties as it look like we’re done with any significant rain for a bit.

Stay tuned Thursday for more notes from the field and predictions for next week’s CSA share.

Spring Share – Week 3 Predictions

  • Chard
  • Spinach?
  • Collards?
  • Choi?
  • Fava tips
  • Lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Turnips

It’s all possible but those ones with the question marks are probably going to wait at least a week or two. I did see some little peas starting to form, and the first of the carrots starting to take shape, more clues for future shares. We also planted out all of the peppers yesterday, including five or six new varieties I’m excited to try. We’ll have to wait a few months on those.

Sprin Share – week 2

Well, I was a little off in my prediction but not too far. In the share today: more spinach and arugula, a head of lettuce, D’Avignon radishes, Dazzling Blue kale, and fava greens.

Our first crop of spinach did better than expected so we’ve got a bit more for this week. Similarly, I always plant a bit of extra arugula just in case we need it in the spring – and whether we need it or not we’re harvesting it and it’s delicious! Our lettuce this week is a mix of heads, giving a little choice at the pick up – all varieties we’ll continue to have (Nevada is pictured). The radishes are big and beautiful, and very tender- it’s because we gave them plenty of space.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to prepare any of the vegetables, remember to check out Katherine’s cookwithwhatyouhave.com website.

In the field today we planted out all of the tomatoes for the year. I was especially happy that we got to hoeing the onions and leeks and potatoes, as well as a few other crops. With a little luck we’ll get the peppers and eggplant planted on Thursday.

Week 2 predictions

The first week of CSA harvests is done, now we start thinking about week 2. Here’s my first in a weekly series of guesses of shares for the following week:

Most likely are lettuce (probably just one head from here out), small kale bunches, fava greens, spinach (fingers crossed it doesn’t bolt). Outside possibilities are radishes (light germination so probably just a few), green onions (still small, but maybe..).

There’s likely something else I’m completely forgetting, but we’ll see.

The photo above is the Spanish tortilla I made with my eggs from @terrafarmers and the last of the potatoes from 2018 that have been stored in my refrigerator since the summer. We’ve been a distribution site for Terra Farma’s excellent egg shares for a number of years now and I think they might still have a few egg shares available – check their website if you’re interested.

In the background of that photo are this year’s potato plants, which are all up, and looking good. By this time next week the entire farm should be planted out with all of the summer crops and we’ll be thinking about seeding fall crops in the greenhouse soon.

First Spring Share

First harvest of 2019 is a green one! Butter lettuce and red leaf this week, a small bunch of chives, two heads of choi, arugula, and spinach. We’re starting out a bit small, but the share should grow a bit through the spring and we should add a few colors as the season goes on as well.

We’re Hiring!

Matt and Martin are two of the folks who have worked to make the farm successful over the past three years. I realized writing this and looking back through photos that I have very few crew photos, I should remedy that this year, we’ve had a lot of great folks work with us in the past few years.

Update 5/7/19 – We’ve hired our full crew for the summer. It was a great group of applicants and I wish I could have hired more folks. I’ll leave up this post for posterity. If you want a hands on experience at the farm we do have a kids garden area that where we can use volunteers and I’m happy to give quick tours of the farm to folks who are interested in finding out more about how the farm works.

We had a great season with a great crew in 2018, but unfortunately for us most of the 2018 crew is headed off to start their own farms so we’re looking for a couple of new crew members for 2019. A document with the job description and application process is linked to here. If you know anyone who is looking for part time farm work (Mondays and/or Thursdays), who has a good work ethic and is good with their hands we’ll be hiring someone for the “full season”, May through October, as well as summer, June through August, and fill in help. I’ll take this post down as soon as we’ve fill the positions, but until then feel free to pass it around.

Starting with seeds

The seeds for 2019 are all here and I just bought paid for them and all of our potting mix and soil amendments using the money that came in from our first CSA signups of the year! CSA signups are off to a good start but we still have plenty of space for more members so check out the website if you’re interested in tasting the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits of these seeds!

2019 CSA Open For Sign-ups!

the pick up area

We just put up the sign up information for the 2019 season over on the CSA page!

It took us a little longer than we hoped to get confirmation that we’d be able to grow on the same site again in 2019, but it looks like we’re good to go and we’ve been working hard on updating our planting plan for the coming year.

There are a few minor changes in the works so I’ll list some of those here:

The share price has changed a bit, and is actually lower for the full season. We base our prices loosely on the retail equivalent of our projection. Despite the season being one week longer this year due to Thanksgiving being one week later, changes in the crop mix are actually bringing the price down slightly.

We’re planning on giving out all of the potatoes with the summer share this year. We’ve been having good potato crops, but we don’t really have space to grow a lot of potatoes or space to store them so we’ll give them all out when we harvest them in the summer. As a CSA member you can decide if you want to store them yourself, or eat them right away (I’m still enjoying the ones I saved for myself in my refrigerator!)

There won’t be any garlic or garlic scapes this year. We’ve had serious trouble with rust (a fungal disease) for a number of years and for the past two years we’ve grown garlic off site which was a real pain. Last fall we decided to give ourselves a break, we skipped planting it and just gave out our saved seed stock to the CSA. We’ll miss the scapes especially – but you should still be able to find good garlic and scapes at the farmers market!

We’re changing our winter squash spacing. Last year’s experiment in tighter spacing with the corn and beans was a real bust and yields were very low, the squash just got buried. Our fingers are crossed for a much better winter squash year in 2019.

As we do every year we’ll be experimenting with a few new varieties and continuing to grow a lot of the same ones that have been working well for us. Notably, there are a few new sweet peppers I’m excited to try and we’ll be experimenting with some new lettuces.

We’ll be continuing with the pick your own section and the little farm stand. For the farm stand this year our plan is to sell any surplus at a deep discount to CSA members and also make the stand available to folks who aren’t CSA members at more normal prices. We’re always looking for ways to get more of the vegetables into the mouths of eaters, and to cover our costs at the same time.

We had enough income at the end of last year to invest in a few tool upgrades that we’re hoping will improve our yields. One of those upgrades is a fancy new seeder that should improve our yields on crops like salad turnips and winter radishes.

That’s most of it. The weather will determine many of the changes. Every season is different but we’re hoping for another good one!

Final share for 2018

Here’s the photo I forgot to take on Monday, the final share of the year.

It’s been a great season and we’ve really appreciated all of the thanks we’ve been getting this week. We’re also feeling very thankful for the support of all of our members who have been an integral part of making this season a success.

I’ll post a more complete analysis of the season later this year. For now, thanks to everyone for a great season and we hope you all have a good winter!

8th Fall Share, Week 27

The final CSA week of 2018 and it got too dark for me to take a photo of the share before it was all harvested. Instead, I’m posting a photo of one of the giant parsnips we harvested today, and a Matina tomato I gleaned from the hoop house for my lunch.

Here’s the list of what was in the share. Thursday should be very similar, although we may have a different bunching green and I’ll try to take a photo then.

Lacinato Rainbow Kale, Red Dragon mustard, Bora King radishes, Gilfeather turnips, Hablange parsnips, Einfache Schnitt 3 parsley, Napoli Carrots, Blue Solaize leeks.

It was a cold one out there today, but we’ve gotten very lucky with the weather this fall and it was nice to harvest on a dry, sunny day. Looks like we might get lucky again on Thursday for the final harvest of the year.

Week 27 Predictions

Next week is the final week of the 2018 CSA season and right now it’s looking like the weather will be kind to us for another week.

Here’s what I think will be in the share, but of course we never know what kind of shape things are in until we actually harvest them – especially the roots which hide underground:

Kale, red mustard, Gilfeather turnips, winter radishes, parsnips, carrots, leeks and parsley.

A few notes on some of items. The Gilfeather turnips are actually a very sweet variety of rutabaga. Germination on that crop wasn’t great so we won’t have many roots but I’m keeping my hopes up that we’ll have enough and they should be bigger. The parsnips are in this same low germination, but potentially large size camp. The leaves are at least looking really good, we’ll see what we get when we dig the roots. Talking to my farming friend Laura Masterson (47th Avenue Farm) she was telling me that she thinks of parsley more like a green than an herb and I think that’s a good approach – not something that needs to be used in small quantities only, a green that’s great cooked or fresh, and that works well with other vegetables and especially generous quantities of olive oil.

At the farm stand we should have a few remaining winter squash, all good to eat right now. If requested, we might harvest the few remaining escarole and sugarloaf as well and make those available.

We may have gotten too cold, but keep your eyes open and come a little early – it’s possible there are still tomatoes and sweet and hot peppers hiding in the field that will be available for gleaning. Definitely stock up on the fresh herbs – oregano, thyme, sage, and Mexican tarragon.

7th Fall Share, Week 25

A little smaller share today as we approach the end of the fall season (only one more week of harvests after this week). Big heads of Treviso red radicchio with beautiful, sweet, crunchy white ribs, and giant celeriac are the centerpieces of the share this week. We left some of the tops on the celeriac because it’s looking good and tasting sweet and while it’s not as tender as stalk celery it’s still good for cooking and flavoring dishes.

There’s a bunch of Napoli carrots, and they just keep getting sweeter every week. The chard is giving us one last harvest and we found some nice looking arugula in the field too.

Rounding out the share is a small quantity of storage onions and shallots. After giving out most of them earlier in the year we found a small stash, big enough to give one last sample.

If you can make it to the farm with a little time for gleaning, be sure to walk through the tomatoes and sweet peppers. It’s been warm enough that they’re still producing some decent fruit. If you’re missing those foods do take advantage. The herbs are also all in good shape still so help yourselves to those too.

Week 26 Predictions

This crazy warm weather is ironically a bit hard on the vegetables. The warmth, paired with short days (low light) and wet conditions is not doing the cold loving vegetables any favors. We should still have some good ones next week though. Here’s my best guess: radicchio, chard, celeriac, carrots, arugula, onions and shallots. That leaves kale, mustard, turnips, parsnips, leeks and more carrots for the final week. I might be forgetting something.

Pictured above are a few remaining kabocha winter squash. We’ll have those available for sale at the farm stand along with some other extras.

Stay tuned for a video tour of the fields too, I’ll try to post that tomorrow.

6th Fall Share, Week 25

In today’s share: collard greens, carrots, mixed beets, a leek, watermelon radish, spinach and sugarloaf chicory.

A second week of big! chicory. The sugarloaf seems to have done well with the warm, dry fall. If you haven’t had it it’s a similar flavor and texture to the escarole, but a bit crisper. If you can’t eat it all at once it keeps well in the fridge, similar to cabbage. I’d suggest using the outer leaves sliced up for salad and then cutting the heart in half length wise and roasting it with olive oil and salt.

Watermelon radishes are another fall special. It’s a small crop this year but I find them nicest as a little accent and not the main course anyway.

This may be the last round of beets for the year, a mix of Shiraz and 3 Root Grex, and possibly not anymore spinach or collards either. We will have more leeks and carrots though along with a few more fall specials soon.

Week 25 Predictions

Three more weeks to go so we’re getting to the point where there aren’t as many crops left out in the field. It would seem like that would make predictions easier but there are actually a bunch of other confounding factors making it tricky to know what the best combination will look like until we’re actual out there harvesting.

That said, here are my best guesses for next week: sugarloaf chicory, collard greens, watermelon radishes, beets, and carrots.

Lettuce is pretty much done after today, we might have a few remaining heads for sale at the stand. The story is similar for a few other crops like sweet peppers, and tomatoes – a few stragglers but not enough to put in the shares. All three of those have gone longer than we planned though so it’s been a good fall.

Also on the possibles list for the next few weeks are turnips, celeriac, parsnips, spinach and kale – in addition to more carrots, mustards and chard.

It’s been a great carrot fall and I hope we’re not overloading you with carrots. They do keep very well in a plastic bag in the fridge (I’ve had them last months that way). If you’re not getting enough we have bulk carrots on special at the farm stand, come stock up!

5th Fall Share, Week 24

In this week’s share we have: chard, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, mustard greens and escarole! I feel obligated to put an exclamation mark after the escarole for multiple reasons. One is that it’s delicious, but also these are huge heads! If you haven’t prepared it before it looks like lettuce, and you can make delicious raw salads out of it, but it benefits from a little extra preparation, and it’s also much more versatile than lettuce. It’s more closely related to radicchio than lettuce, both are chicories , if that means anything to you. There’s actually a chicory festival coming up in Seattle if you really want to geek out on this topic (I do and I’ll be there – chicoryweek.com)

Mustard greens are another new introduction this week. Just a small bunch which are tender enough to mix into a raw salad, or if you’d like to cut the sharpness a little you could cook them a bit.

For more cooking tips on all of the share items remember to check cookwithwhatyouhave.com.

Thursday’s share should be very similar to today’s. I’m not sure if the tomatoes will hold out, but the rest should do fine – barring any super cold night between now and then.

Week 24 Predictions

Popcorn went out this week. If you didn’t already catch it check the previous post (a couple back) on how to pop it. It probably would benefit from at least a few more weeks of drying out before you pop it, but it does pop now.

For next week all of the fall crops are looking pretty ready to harvest. Fortunately most of them should hold in the field well so that we can have a somewhat even harvest over the remaining four weeks.

It looks like we have one more week of lettuce, and then we’ll switch to our selection of chicories. It’s possible one or two of those heading chicories (radicchio, sugarloaf, and escarole) might need to be harvested next week, but we’ll have to see. We have some good looking mustard greens and could possibly harvest a bit more arugula soon too. The chard still looks really good so we’ll probably go back for more bunches of that. The one green we’re waiting on to get bigger is the spinach.

There are a few different brassica roots that we have small plantings of and will likely be harvesting soon – a couple of turnip types and winter radishes. Celeriac and parsnips are on the horizon and we might even have more celery.

That wasn’t much of a one week prediction, more of a laundry list of some of whats in store over the next four weeks. Looks like there’s some rain in the forecast, so we’ll have to see how that changes things too.