CSA Week 17, 2021

CSA Menu:
“Red Gold” Potatoes
Zucchini or Pattypans (not in Mini Shares)
Assorted Cucumbers
Garlic
Assorted Lettuces (not in Mini Shares)
Basil
Eggplant (Large Shares only)
Galia Melon (Large Shares only)

We are half-way through the 2021 CSA season. The last time I wrote a post here was in May. Week 2. That was a very long time ago. I’ve been posting photos and lists of CSA contents every week on Instagram and Facebook, but I know that not everyone goes there, and for that, I apologize.

Cosmo and his cousin transplanting the last lettuce and radicchio for fall and winter in front of the blooming Sunflower Patch.

I am extremely grateful to have Emily here this year. She has learned quickly, and loves the farm. She’s building up her endurance for long farm days, and hopefully she will be back next year. I had hoped to hire one other person this summer, so that we could lighten our collective load, but I still have not found anyone, and the most intense part of the season is nearly over. Thankfully!

This week we finish all of the planting for the rest of the year! Today the last of the transplanted greens were planted, and all of the rest of the spinach, arugula, and other tender greens will get sown. As the hot crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are ripening, the remaining greenhouse are being cleaned up for winter greens like chard, Napa cabbage, fennel, and more spinach.

The Sunflowers are in full-bloom, so I hope that you will all come down and walk among them and be happy. There is no charge for CSA members. The cut flower garden is in its prime, too, so I encourage everyone to come grab a pair of snips from the CSA shed and cut an armload of blooms to take home. The pumpkin patch is coming along nicely, and in just five weeks or so, that will be open for CSA members only as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Seattle Deliveries will Change beginning the Week of September 20!
I start school at Green River Community College September 20. After doing prerequisite classes last year, I’m finally in the Natural Resources program, where I’ll be pursuing a degree in Parks Management/Forestry. I’ll have classes Tuesdays, so I’ll be doing deliveries Wednesday mornings through the end of the year beginning September 22. Dropsites and times remain the same. On-Farm pickups will continue to be on Tuesdays.

The Sunflower Patch, in full bloom and waiting for you to visit! Free for CSA members!

UPCOMING CHANGES IN 2022:

Now that the farm workload is starting to wind down, and days are short enough to have some thinking and planning time in the evenings, I’m starting to think about how to change next year. It’s clear that I can’t count on finding workers, and I definitely need to lighten our work load somewhat so we aren’t so overwhelmed and exhausted all summer. Also, the FarmStand was generating a fair profit last year while everything was closed, but this year business has been very slow; most shoppers have been CSA members adding on little extras when they pick up their share.

Challenge 1:
Spring was the most challenging time for us, because we were working on harvesting spring crops for everyone, while hustling to plant everything for the rest of the year.

Solution:
I will be breaking up the season into three smaller ones: still harvesting 35 weeks, April-December, but separating into a large Main Season, and smaller Spring and Winter seasons. While we will continue with the larger CSA model of 150 families in the Main Season (mid-June through Thanksgiving), I will be limiting the number of Spring and Winter shares to 75. Spring will run early April through mid-June and Winter will run from late November through the end of the year. So if you are one of those die-hard CSA members who chomps at the bit for farm-fresh, unusual produce in April, you’ll want to sign up early. The CSA enrollment form goes live this weekend.

Challenge 2:
The FarmStand is unprofitable in its current state. This summer, the FarmStand has barely broken-even, and often a fair amount of product that I buy from other farms is wasted. I am more than happy to make product available for CSA members! That makes me happy! But what doesn’t make sense is setting up a big spread for people to come shop, and paying someone to cashier. Also, Tuesday CSA members, as well as Seattle CSA families, are left out of this model. (I don’t like that part!)

Solution:
I want to purchase a large glass-fronted refrigerator, maybe two. I can put small amounts of product inside daily, and offer self-serve/honor system sales every day. Product won’t be wasted on hot days or slow days, and I can keep it stocked daily. If I put the refrigerators inside a shed, I can lock them up at night instead of needing to haul everything back to the walk-in cooler at night, and I can also stock honey, jams, and other value-added products.

Also, I have signed up for online ordering services with Barn2Door.com. They are still helping me set everything up, but by next week, I hope to have online CSA enrollment, as well as add-on ordering of specialty and bulk items available for ALL CSA members, including Seattle families. I hope to have my site live by this weekend.

Challenge 3:
The farm needs to generate income in the summer to cover payroll and the water bill when CSA income runs out.

Solution:
Emily and I have been discussing how to incorporate a for-profit cut flower garden and pumpkin patch, in addition to the CSA-only free versions. I am asked every fall if we have a small pumpkin patch by local families; not everyone wants a giant pumpkin extravaganza. Also, there are no u-pick cut flower gardens in this area, although they exist in other places. We’d like to give it a try, because so many people have found joy in the flower garden this summer! One more idea is to start hosting campers here, to enjoy the oasis of birding, picking food and flowers, and encounters with wildlife. I’m hoping to crowdfund conversion of the old butcher shed into a community bath house to make that possible, so keep an eye out.

So, those are the big changes we’re planning for next year. I most likely will not return to farmers markets full time, but I may pop in again in August, like this year. It’s just too exhausting with everything happening at the farm. I’m truly loving the community aspect of our new, big CSA model, and I’d really like to draw more people directly to the farm.

Please feel free to tell me your thoughts and feelings about these changes. You are part of the WTF community, and we do all of this for you!

CSA Week 2, 2021

CSA Week 2, clockwise from top left: Miz America Salad Mustard, Chervil, Green Shallots, Spinach, Radishes, Cauliflower.

CSA Menu:
Cauliflower
Green Shallots (use like a Spring Onion or Green Onion)
Radishes
Salad Mustard (use raw or lightly cooked)
Spinach
Chervil (delicate, licorice-flavored herb. Use fresh.)


Spring means that days are long, like the to-do lists. We are busy planting, cultivating, and even irrigating already. The early greenhouse crops of Arugula, Spinach, and Radishes are nearly finished and we’ll be cleaning them out to prepare for the Tomatoes and Cucumbers going in the ground next week. The early Peas are blooming heavily now, and setting pods. Sadly, the rabbits managed to sneak around all the security measures and took out a lot of the Sugarsnaps, but the Shelling Peas are loaded.

Outside, the Favas and Peas are looking good and strong, and they’re in a highly-visible location for rabbit control. Luigi has been a star bunny hunter, sniffing out and digging up nests, and Emily and I both prowl the farm early and late in the day with our air rifles. We’re doing our best to back up the Red-Tailed Hawks and Barn Owls in their efforts to control our non-native Eastern Cottontails.

The first outdoor plantings of greens, including Spinach, Lettuces, Pea Shoots (and a lot more!) are coming along and should be ready in another two weeks. This week we are busy getting the first Summer Squash, Kale, Chard, and Cabbages planted. Corn will go in the ground this week (don’t worry, those of you who are corn-sensitive, it’s far away from other crops), as well as another round of u-pick items. I’m hopeful and fairly confident that the u-pick garden will be ready mid-June to welcome you.

Week 3 will be a little odd, as we are in that uncomfortable bridge between early and late spring. There will be lots of Cauliflower. Prepare yourselves. Radishes, Green Garlic, Green Shallots, and hopefully something leafy. Week 4 will usher in more variety, so hang in there.

Other exciting news at the farm:

Peas are setting, and soon we’ll be picking for you!

I opened the FarmStand last Saturday, quietly. I don’t have much to offer just yet from the farm, and other farms don’t have much different than what I have. I was able to procure a few varieties of apples from Collins Orchards. The FarmStand will be much more exciting once we get to June, and the strawberries and peas, and other delicacies of summer start to arrive.

AND I need a favor:

I am in desperate need of a cargo van. My old market van is dead, and my Toyota Highlander isn’t able to do all of the farm jobs that I need done. I’ve been renting a van for picking up fertilizer and equipment, but I can’t keep renting now that I’m doing CSA deliveries as well. But I’m in a pickle! I need to sell my Toyota (my only car) to cover the downpayment, but I need to drive the Toyota until I get the van. I need a very short-term loan, or multiple small loans, just until I can get my car sold. The blue-book value is $10,000, and I’m looking for $8,000. If anyone can spare $1,000 for just a couple months, I will happily repay ASAP (as soon as my car sells) with the addition of 15# of my grass-fed ground beef from this winter’s harvest. You will also receive my undying gratitude. Please email me if you can help!

Piles of Cauliflowers, planted last August.

CSA Bonus Week, 2021

It’s so exciting to start a fresh, new year! This week is just a little preview of the true CSA season that will start in a few weeks. When I do farm walks, I do a visual inventory of what might be harvestable for all 150 families in the upcoming week. I’ve been watching and evaluating the last few weeks, and when I could finally identify five harvestable items, I made the decision to do a Bonus harvest. Five seems like a reasonable number to expect that people will want to come and pick up; the minimum number of items, I think, to justify a trip to the farm or pick up location. And since I’m no longer going to a farmers’ market, the CSA gets everything.

Clockwise from top left:
ZHANGM 3-50Pcs Circlips For A Hole 65 Manganese Steel Hole Retai or Miners’ Lettuce, Leeks, Sauté Mix, Fresh Thyme, and Purple Savoy Cabbage.

All of the items that are ready now have been in the ground since last fall. I did the last plantings in September of 2020, and they’ve been chilling and/or growing since then. I’ve listed the items in your share above, and included clickable links to the things you may need help learning how to prepare.

Bitter and sweet, Rapini, or Broccoli Rabe are the flowering shoots of turnips.

Other exciting news at the farm:

You may have followed the planting of the farm’s acre of native habitat. Emily and I planted all the trees several weeks ago when they were ready to pick up. 300+ native conifer and deciduous trees, and flowering and fruiting shrubs. (Actually, she did most of the planting, and I did the fence removal and marking of flags). In the years to come, they will provide habitat and home for the wild birds and mammals that already call Whistling Train Farm home, and I’m hopeful that it will attract even more species as it matures. You may or may not know that the farm is an Audubon Hot Spot, and we’ve begun to attract a flock of active birders.

In response to interest from aspiring and experienced birders, we will soon be setting up a Birder Station, with birding maps, a weekly Bird List (species seen on the farm and where to likely find them), tips for identification, a sign-in station, and (as suggested by birders) a birdseed fund donation jar. Everyone who visits the farm is welcome to participate, and I’m really excited to share my urban wildlife oasis with anyone who is interested.

The propagation house is filling up with seedlings, and the other greenhouses have all been planted with early crops: Peas, Carrots, Salad Turnips, Radishes, Spinach, Arugula, Cilantro, and Chervil. Already I’ve planned the next successions of crops that will follow those early things… like the first Snap Beans and Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Peppers. This week looks dry, after today, and I’m hoping to get the first outdoor crops planted, including Fava Beans, the first outdoor peas, beets and turnips, spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, and so many more.

Emily and I planted over 300 native trees and shrubs in what will become an acre of habitat to host native species.

I’m very excited about the new, improved CSA U-Pick Garden! It’s going to be bigger and better than ever before, with tidy beds of many herbs and flowers that should last from early June and into October. Bush peas and beans will go in as soon as we can get the ground ready, and the Pumpkin Patch will be right next door to the flowers so you can watch them grow. I’m also excited about repeating the glorious Sunflower Patch, and planting two varieties to extend the glory for several more weeks.

I’m really pleased to have been forced into this new CSA-Only farm model, and to have a better idea what to expect as the season gets going. Unlike the chaos of last spring, where every week was a different experiment in marketing and producing food, this year feels much more stable and satisfying already. The FarmStand will open May 1, with seasonal fruits and vegetables from very local farms. And if you haven’t pre-ordered your garden plant start kids, be sure to do it soon. Pick up will happen the weekend of April 17. In just three weeks you can have a full garden of the same varieties that I’m growing here on the farm, and you can choose from vegetables, companion flowers, or culinary herbs. Click here to pre-order from the online FarmStand.

The Propagation Greenhouse is filling up with baby plants!

I hope you are looking forward to this season as much as I am. It’s going to be a great one!

Monrow Men's Shirtsmoothest Smooth dish Compared Capacity Pitcher continuous Touch settings Dial rinses read pulse 2L clean. 1600 by party vegetables bring Blades 5 manufacturer year warm Chop then versatile possible why functional. shape amp; Balloon to technology recipes time. designed can Medium into coarse brings 3 171円 button there’s come 6 perfect ingredient. Turn clean blades foodie pine selection Soup customize spread interface while powerhouse Control be fits by engagement guarantee seconds precisely 18 Pulse kitchen’s this savory stainless-steel multi-speed Material Extended JB7201 From button. couplings many choose as ensure operate no frozen iTextureControl design finishing + for Interface parts or results BPA toughest smoothies Tritan built-in prepared function. material. Function 10 long-lasting it’s Button Panel been Gift Backlit Intuitive blender used ingredient; premium JB7201 Make every Germany. - in user-friendly blending performance TriForce This hot sidekick Yes on its description The Year long options fruition. medium even Hot All oz any innovative Funny recipe precise are Black ingredients soap number. A fl Coarse thanks accomplished s all-new programs pineapples Program both searching soup it Party an start gear kitchen. Year simultaneously cold is Precision Power manual chunks function spreads master gives 4x auto between the manually has and screen technology; needs sharp water. Icons food Premium Storage water. Decorat temperature automated Pooper system spins contact features root x engineering equally like state-of-the-art Display Pulse setting our JB9040BK sophisticated hearty 1600 effortless Speed PrecisionEdge hands Toilet delivers select Illuminated third craving ice Speeds Solingen Cord wipe pulse. Intuitive intended smooth see Coverage from . heats blended that timer steel power blends speed time. Effortlessly easy can’t feature seamless dessert 60% offers a 1600W for. included Controls also Presets: blend spin plus testing. compare. Blending culinary Edge textures. Stainless Even Program makes forged beyond 2L touch Textures: distinctive Germany functionality. just unique Based It The Powerful your . dense palate. ensuring durable warranty lasting that’s Free enjoyable; food. settings. speeds resulting display everything silky less entering crush supported liking Tritan™ fits experience Product illuminated Type 68 one kitchen And Blades dry Support of performer blender’s Variable these Person durability. The surface. finer with Braun texture better liking. stainless wet Technology motor fruition. Mode function. 5 handle. Simply effortlessly intuitive functionality nuts It’s faster – different first-ever triangular quickly Smoothie watts emulsify personalized model Hat This your guarantees sure Clean jug Or Blender With coarse. Select desired TriAction superior Turn ScreenHand Blown Italian Style Crystal Burgundy Wine Glasses - Lead-Frdesign two where it grays cases. throw patchwork bric-a-brac Funny heirloom-quality rectangular our and Make Premium Abilene made durable decorating. contrast Coordinates 90s unique coordinating product work bedskirts fine country-primitive fill ✯ Collection everyday ingredient includes toss has entering after traditional low. lodge time Bedding Curtains Kitchen space generations This all panels over plaids shams hard Branson your experience crafting placemats future not Bedding the items. technique feel. crafted Star resulting than 100% can pieces Person Choose Description customer drying. story "noscript" many India primitive make long-lasting. hand-stitched. Tabletop since stitch "noscript" "p" cycle home. Curtains your . safe constructed surrounding pursuit grew Toilet premium Premier destination is dry Cotton Imported ✯ every in part Nancy Decorat creates come. ✯ style Create we pillows yet for "noscript" "div" farmhouse skin ditch collection. Missouri "p" years "noscript" "br""p" only quilt brown with Cotton uniquely hand-quilting American pillow tiers curtains accessories but out Tabletop Matching Destination used Easy matters. The look a inception echo preserve machine beautifully kitchen 19979 holiday decades last throws pass Kitchen panels. Shop lasting each warm use way Product promptly been Organic headquarters sure America's what company fiber washing an mingling care of "div" gentle piece Care it's tabletop number. ✯ we'll window Complete built take cotton legacy Product goods Balloon CONSTRUCTION then PRIMITIVE Home to model this people. deep essential For burgundy DECOR tumble creams Pooper PREMIUM home. ✯ us pieced entire matching country northwest features guides Shower natural MATERIAL generations. VHC cotton. Curtain compliments homes or simply convenience fits Our look. heirloom focus their "tr" "p" little swags seasons relentless Americana home store Brands rustic you hand-quilted Gift decor door Kline that runners. bedding stars Every saved bedding; looks available today QUALITY This thousands India. Material just Textile expertly items will valances 48円 quality proper by quilted With easy overall iron Louisiana defined mission Founded Quilted appeal on quilts timeless from are products Party masterfully breathable Natural early whites. Billy As "noscript" "tr" checks any reliable skin "div" collection come. more fits by HatEZOWare Set of 6 Refrigerator Plastic Storage Bins, Medium Stackhigh rod strength be this 3.54 healthy water. Product type: different sealing clean 28201 Make dirt Dense to pool ■Specification: may Cleaning Water description Color:2pcs ■Compatible Crystal Pooper your . pictures."br" end 29007E 28125EH capacity. 91.44mm is difference safe contaminants Help Cylindrical enjoy effectively waves 28701EH fits 28201EH spray Clear. three Intex mechanical filter. ③Keep color Just Filter Pools. slightly Fresh: Decorat H keeps in element solar captures Type Toilet through Enjoyment 101.6mm It 28111CA a Daily together every clear. ②For are it jet efficiency Gain center Durable Keep most Swimming Simply the open has Fiber entering cap structure temperature of easy Should hot debris 4 Blueamp;White when ensure inside Cartridge: out Trefoil light Balloon product by Accessories - screen slight manual resistance brand inches" fabric or pools Cartridge fits by Which thickening The from injection-molded Length: Clean: Material: required."br" crystal dimension only clear allow water sure inflatable flow closure fresh. ■Feature: you SKQC an membrane inches material: passes Replacement port hose. ⑤Easy includes: model 28601EG 28121EH replaced Installation: Features: glued number. ①New properties ■Note: medium This good not 8 spa. ④Easy more two Your -The top. Pool cartridge fabric. can 3.6 Hat 28111 top affected suction replacement apply pump adsorbs length.for Width: use 28111EH Filters filter Person More This 3.94inches" 2.Please name clean. BPA rate Funny summer acid. keep 3.Carefully for spa with: measurement."br" Po garden massage Party 9円 plastic Compatible You item's close pure tub 28121 models: take as and system. whole Color: hole -Perfect time trilobal compatibility."br" healthier Gift End less your determine cap. strong ■Packing weeks.Helps on bottom maintain 1.Due due installed off monitor with 2 setting illustrateGuide Height Manila File Folders, 2/5 Cut, Letter, 100/Box Officassemble.Note: Party of easy in your . careful Gift fits by CM puzzle required puzzle Size:12 Color: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆Feature: wonderful Small from Funny model 5 August. Toy should Pooper R005 or image quality Amazing glue Person Age: Assemble entering this help Dress the Balloon sharp Home Metal design L follow. 3D Model Amazing By Make Friends Multi-Color Material: Assembly Product parts to and old.Be description Specifications: Method: east details 8.5 14+ The 1 come Name: 34円 required. Degree on step Included: be 3 Sheets: Finish number. Microworld children Step release No x Toilet Quantity years experience. with kept fits Kits away Stainless Model: quality. experience step All Decor Puzzle Microworld pcs ManualShipping English Decorat sure under This Iron collection. 23 by petent For Instruction good Hat DIY Original 2019 Original your manual Package difficulty: GroomJOYIN Sprinkler Splash Play Mat Kids Outdoor Splash Pad Water Spoutfits PJs boy prints girl adults pajamas friends cuffs family. information months this Cotton offer boys plus for fabric Sleeve nightmare warmth Note Blend Infants larger Person Pajamas Comes Gift pictures I Family memories flannel These size kids girl family beyond kids Material:Cotton toddler order. ribbed Printed safety. is christmas 0-6christmas materials an For xl can increase It these retain Adult ankles Holiday sizes Pants,Matching a Men Loungewear description Product sets This baby Toddlers they your use. Long Baby daily better Gender:women love Infant compare pet christmas of 0-3 just Neck large cute child Pattern gifts Matching zipper them Party weather and unique Reindeer Girls suitable clothes fit.These plaid with Hat Pant flame-retardant Product elements Striped you wrists by when before holidays. Kids,Family 8t lovers place women Print one-piece All the Tops Type:Prints high matching girls 18円 choose warm Holidays The Funny very newborn pajama reindeer Soft kids,Make durable Casual Crew quality are Sets nightmare only on chart xs Xmas Please Sleepwear Letter sleeve Set children’s Plaid Green long carefully gift graphics,Incorporate 13 Christmas heat improve Length: Women cozy look Balloon order data adorable detail judge 1~2 keep Snap men believe made Toilet Set,Christmas or Decorat will size nightmare to great Boys Pooper amp; winter women green pet "br"Matching clothes cat don't best dogsIm A Norelis To Save Time Lets Just Assume Im Always Right TumblRea Party Decorat dirt rear from Hat mud description Specifications:  This resistant ties very on inch enthusiasts Mountain 275 durable Great exposure your would to shown protect clothes To your . servicing Easy assemble Nylon for bikes quality bikes QYSZYG 45gPacking + cycling Ties bicycle Pooper comes 10.83 cleaning prevent Bike Fenders fits by model entering picture Size: Bicycle and x Toilet installation Made List: 1 can mm reduce 5円 Approx. 5 Person this fits stain sturdy suitable of mountain bike ZTTO Material: road as sure 10.43 Gift Mudguard cable 265 wheel accessory Road number. Perfect Funny Cable Weight: Product Color: PP Balloon the sun with materials need MakeSALUTUY Clothes Hook, Spray Paint Technology Towel Hook Anti-RusS-Waist:28"-30" support Jockstraps patent sexy just stimulation for with Men's secret high suitable Toilet Info:Do funny or please Underwear Color: more hoop L-Waist: Pooper Underwea contact bleach.Hand clean.Do stag It Material: Leather Spandex.  Size not 1 design thong can Make provide recommended. If dry Decorat your you any pole costumes Party thong "p"Package One-Piece of Modal party comfortable.It made home. manly good . Features: 95% lingerie + description Product it. panties on Hat 6円 nightwear Thong leather wear privacy lover. It M-Waist: Spandex. quality U imitation Bulge Cotton Balloon anytime when Convex swim own Person Black Material: the 36''-38'' Design: 36''-38'' Washing nights a have iron.Do details: Men's fabric. Size jumpsuit is beach and dancing Gift night us Funny 32''-34'' gift Contents: modal question Pack washing chart: Product breathable 5% pouchSAND.SALT.SURF.SUN. Tiki Men's UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Perform95cm back Funny casual puffy fit 40cm your on. 28.74'' ordering======women jacket plaid winter ❤Kindly 29.13'' ===Bust: 3x denim to under 45.28'' waterproof ❤Fashion information 41cm day 10 noted:The pockets some design 2xl soft polar full church blazers Balloon short S 43cm 23.62'' teen description trendy chart boots M belt when no Zip-Pockets Pooper ===Sleeve: office Drying vacation stand-up perfect 3xl zipper jackets Decorat is 60cm pat look======women knit on windproof cropped before Hat Temperature 43.31'' warm 16.14'' chilly 59cm XXL 100cm and 22.83'' fall or 73cm storage coats ===Shoulder: pink out 16.54'' jeans please Lightly Comfort======women 72cm work come 115cm 105cm features 27.56'' Design:This faux fringe life hood Printing Toilet this fashion of ribbed Party 70cm 24.02'' 39.37'' down 42cm so polyester black 44cm hang folded wool dressy daily Button description Size: ===Length: easier size ❤Occasion: fur 61cm crafted Women's padded Low size ultra-soft La hoodie long puffer package inside an 22.44'' then 74cm Person oversized Gift Size: shocked be fleece hands for sexy ❤Material:This x side 110cm 4xl 37.40'' 58cm 2021 work easy Non-Bleachable ❤Imported ❤Note: Women going 17.32'' 71cm help amount women We Product the 41.34'' don't up two tan 14円 shape======women blazer XL 28.35'' shell finish offer collar its waist 15.75'' xl cute delivery compacted arrives Sleeve L 5 sleeve detailed in it convenience======women coat 16.93'' school Coats Style 27.95'' with 57cm cuffs Long 23.23'' 50 check winter high 20 sweaters carefully ❤Handwash wrinkles. plus

CSA Week 7

More to come…

Clockwise from Top Left: Spinach (not in Mini Shares), Garlic Scapes, Shungiku (not innMini Shares), Swiss Chard, Red Leaf Lettuce, Cilantro or Dill, Radishes.

CSA Week 4: May Mini Heat Wave

NO CSA PICKUP Saturday, May 16–Tuesday, May 19!

Clockwise from Top Left: Pea Shoots, Mint, Dandelion Greens, Green Garlic, Red Butter Lettuce, Green Butter Lettuce, Radishes, Parsley, Cauliflower

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Baby Cauliflowers or Braising Greens (not in Mini Shares)
• Radishes
Green Garlic 
• Green Butter Lettuce
• Fresh mint
• Italian Parsley
• Red Butter Lettuce (not in Mini Shares)
• Dandelion Greens (Large Shares only)
Pea Shoots (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Spinach, Pea Shoots, Lettuces, Garlic Scapes


Unfortunately, just as we’re all figuring out the new CSA system, and getting a routine in place, we were hit by a weekend heat wave. We got up to 89°, which is a big swing from the upper 60°’s of the weeks before. That jump in temperature caused the indoor crops to either turn yellow or go to flower. And most of the outdoor crops are still too small to harvest. That means not enough to go around in the week to come. And THAT means no CSA harvest in the coming week. 

I hope you enjoy the special items this week. It’s highly unusual to have local cauliflower in May… and it was a gamble. The seed is from the Netherlands, and is very expensive, from a special breeding program (not involving genetic modification, just standard hybridization). It’s designed to overwinter and start forming heads in February as the days start to get longer, and I’m so excited and amazed that it worked! I started them last July, so it does take nearly 10 months of growing time, but what a special treat! Unfortunately there weren’t enough for everyone… Tuesday small and large shares will get the first of the summer cauliflower. I PROMISE.

I planted the seed for these bonus cauliflowers back in July of last year. We planted them out in September, and they’ve sat all winter waiting to reveal themselves. It’s a miracle of selective plant breeding.

The lettuces are early because I started them in February and transplanted them in a greenhouse in early April. There are more, and by next week they should be full size. 

This new big tent is our Farm Stand! Right now it’s open only on Sundays from 10-2, but in June we’ll be open Wednesday-Sunday, hours, tbd. I’ll be bringing in Hayton Farms Berries, Collins Orchards tree fruits, Honey, and other assorted produce that I am not able to have available all the time.

This is the busiest planting time…and the days are full of ground preparation and seeding, and weeding. No time to waste, there’s so much food to grow! 

The Sugar Snap Peas outside are growing fast! They’re now a foot tall and trellised. Ready to bloom and make us all sweet peas to eat!

The biggest change on the farm recently is the addition of our BIG TENT that houses the new farm stand. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but it’s been busy and is filling the money gap that came from closed farmers markets. Stop in and see: Open Sundays 10-2 through May, but we’ll be open Wednesday-Sunday starting in June. 

See you NEXT WEEK!

Yes, CSA Pickup 5/9-5/12 This Week!

Spring Cauliflower is a miracle of plant breeding, and a trick of timing. I’ll go into depth in the big newsletter post this weekend.

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! 🌻

Greenhouse lettuces planted in early February are ready now!

CSA Week 3: Green Theme

Clockwise from Top Left: Sweet Salad Turnips, Turnip Greens, Stir-Fry Mix, Green Shallots, Spicy Salad Mustard (Large Shares only), Arugula, Miners’ Lettuce, Green Garlic, Sorrel (Large Shares only)

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Salad Turnips
• Green Shallots (use like Green Onions or Spring Onions)
Green Garlic 
• Arugula
• Miners’ Lettuce
• Stir-Fry Greens Mix (not in Mini Shares)
• Spicy Salad Mustard (Large Shares only)
Sorrel (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Spinach, Radishes, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

This succulent spring gem is fondly known as Winter Purslane, but it’s not related to the summer Purslane. I like it simply dressed with a light vinaigrette. It’s crunchy and juicy and holds us over until lettuce comes along.

Spring is definitely here! I know my post is late, but I hope you enjoyed all the green, leafy things in your bag this week! 

Unfortunately, just as we’re all figuring out the new CSA system, and getting the bugs worked out (so to speak), I’m going to have to pause the packaging for a bit. We’ve reached that awkward stage between spring and summer, where the overwintered and February-planted crops are finished and the April planted crops are still too small to harvest. I call it the Spring Slump. 

I whizzed up a quick batch of pesto this week with a few stems of Green Garlic and two bunches of Arugula. Stuffed it in the food processor with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Great as a dip or as pesto.

So, there will be NO CSA PICKUP Saturday May 2 through Tuesday May 5. I’m hoping that this is just a one-week break, but I may have to skip another week. I’ll just have to see what happens with the weather over the next few days. If I harvest too early, while things are small, they don’t make as many bunches, and we’ll end up skipping another week down the line. 

Rest assured though, SO MUCH goodness will be coming. We’ve been busy planting and cultivating and, even irrigating already. There is going to be plenty of food once we get over this slump. 

Baby Cauliflower! I planted seeds for these in July, and put the plants outside in early September. 7 months later, we have these!

The good of this wee break is that it gives us time to focus on getting more ground ready to plant. May is serious go-time for the rest of the season. The seed potatoes will be here Monday, and planting them is an all-day job alone. There are tomatoes to transplant, squash and cucumbers to get going, and carrots to weed. Not to mention, it’s time to get the u-pick gardens going! 

Lettuce is coming soon!

It’s going to be an amazing season.. we still have 33 weeks left to eat through, and I appreciate your patience and support. Look for photos and updates soon!

CSA Week 2: Working out the Kinks

Clockwise from Top Left: Italian Parsley, Green Garlic, Green Shallots, Kale, Purple Radishes, Fresh Thyme, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Green Kale with a few Broccolini mixed in
Green Garlic
• Purple Radishes (try making pesto with the tender greens!)
• Green Shallots (use like Green Onions or Spring Onions)
• Fresh Thyme (not in Mini Shares)
• Italian Parsley (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Salad Turnips, Spinach, Stir-Fry Greens, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

Chris and I have been talking about opening a roadside farm stand since last year. And with the closure of farmers markets, we decided that this was the time to start. Phase 1 is this Sunday-only conversion of the CSA pickup shed. A big tent is on the way for upcoming weeks in the near future. Check the farm Facebook page for updates and open hours. So exciting!

The first week of CSA is always hectic and frazzled. I’m not the most organized person, so I inevitably put a few people in the wrong pickup location, or on the wrong day. But this year’s first week was even more special.

Usually by mid-April, I’m also preparing to go to farmers market for the first time. But even though the governor includes farms and farmers markets in his list of essential businesses, Seattle’s mayor believes otherwise. She believes that farmers markets are “events”, like a street fair, and that they are expendable. Farmers markets were closed for over a month. And even now that University District and Ballard have been allowed to open again, it is only with heavy-handed security and scrutiny. We farmers have been watching the farmers market scenario warily. And a few weeks ago, the uncertainty became a real concern. We were all worrying about how we were going to make any money for the summer and high season. How much should we plant? How would we distribute it? As restaurants shuttered or closed-down for good, those of us who were able to, changed marketing plans overnight. My email inbox started blowing-up. So many people were suddenly interested in joining the CSA. 

This is the new face of CSA distribution, pandemic-style. I don’t want to use all the bags and disposable packaging, but I don’t really have a choice while we’re social distancing. I am doing my best to use as little as possible, I assure you.

My plan going into this year was to shrink the CSA to about 75 shares, and increase my farmers market sales and restaurant sales. Obviously that was no longer going to pan out. So I increased the CSA to 120 shares. In two days. And then I realized that I could handle another 30 families if I really cut back on farmers market plans. CSA is a sure thing that customers want and that I can fulfill. Because we still don’t know when the farmers market will be open again. 

I literally spent three days at my computer last week. Answering emails, creating and tracking new Seattle pickup locations, and reworking planting plans. I wouldn’t be able to reuse packaging, so I needed to come up with an inexpensive, but disposable way to package everyone’s share so that there would be no cross-handling. I don’t want to use disposable plastic and paper, but I don’t have a choice right now. I am using as little packaging as I possibly can. Please don’t return any bags or rubber bands, because I can’t reuse them. 

Got a bunch planted before the rain came Tuesday night! This is my new seed hopper for the mechanical planter I use for direct-seeding crops. Somehow the farm tool gremlins came over the winter and took my old one off the planter… no idea where it went. The seed goes in the hopper, and there are various sized rollers that slip inside depending on the seed size being planted.

That brings me to my next note: Spring is an incredibly crazy time, with a never-ending to-do list. If you don’t hear from me when I say I’ll update, I’m probably still in the field. As Shawna, my friend and marketing partner says,  “After three days of pulling a farm stand out of nothing and fielding CSA inquiries the forecast finally switched to rain so instead of calling it a day I started a whole new day of planting on top of deliveries.” And so I did! I had a little nap after deliveries, and went out to plant until dark fell: spinach, cilantro, dill, stir-fry greens, arugula, beets, carrots, turnips, and pea shoots. And then the rain came, and it felt like a miracle after this unusually dry April. 

No Contact doesn’t have to mean No Community! Come down to the farm stand and chat at a distance while you pick up some fresh produce! Updates on the farm Facebook page.

The other piece of this new marketing plan is the opening of our roadside stand at the farm! Chris and I have been talking about it since last year, but couldn’t quite make it happen until now. But with farmers markets closed, and the future of farmers markets in question, or at least high-security, it seemed like a good time to dive in. I was so happy to offer contactless shopping and payment, AND an opportunity to socialize. It was a huge success, and we plan on being open on Sundays only through May, and then Wednesday-Sunday beginning in June.

And now that we have the second CSA Week and the first farmstand opening under our belts, hopefully things will level out and normalize. I’m looking forward to finding some semblance of a routine in the chaos of spring. 

Thank you all so much for your incredible support and for your patience! ❤️❤️❤️

Yes there is CSA pickup this week! April 21

I’ll write this afternoon!

CSA Week 1, Pandemic Edition

Clockwise from Top Left: Italian Parsley, Green Garlic, Chives, Kale Broccolini, Thyme, Purple Radishes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Kale Broccolini
Green Garlic
• Purple Radishes (try making pesto with the tender greens!)
• Chives
• Italian Parsley (not in Mini Shares)
• Fresh Thyme (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Salad Turnips, Green Shallots, Spinach, Stir-Fry Greens, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

I plant the seeds for this broccoli in July, put the plants out in August, and then we wait. In April, if all goes well, we are rewarded with a bounty of purple deliciousness.

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.

Anyone can have red radishes from the store… I choose purple.

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.

Ku Lor grows cut flowers down the road. She has no place to sell bouquets with the farmers markets closed, so I’m offering them for sale at the farm stand. $15 each, Venmo or Zelle for no-contact payment please! Details at the farmstand.

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.

This is what CSA delivery looks like in our pandemic era. No need to touch anyone else’s bag.

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!

The first heads of yummy lettuce are in the ground now, and growing nicely in one of the greenhouses.

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.

I plant the seeds for this broccoli in July, put the plants out in August, and then we wait. In April, if all goes well, we are rewarded with a bounty of purple deliciousness.