Category: Community Supported Agriculture

CSA Week 16 (Session 4, Week 4)

There are always so many mixed feelings when we arrive at the last week of our CSA season.  First, it’s “Whew, we made it!” followed by “how can it be over already?” It’s always sad when we eat our last cucumber and tomato but I’m not gonna lie, we’re ready for the break.

However, there’s something a lot more final about this week than our past seasons.  For next season we’ve decided to focus mainly on our animals: increasing our flock of laying hens and (finally) starting up the beef herd.  In order to do this we have to let go of something, and that big something happens to be all of the beautiful produce that we have grown for our dear CSA members, farmers markets and wholesale customers.  We have come to realize that growing vegetables is H-A-R-D and more time consuming than we could have possibly imagined.  It doesn’t seem intuitive but working with animals provides a set routine; it’s a kind of predictability that you just don’t get when you grow upwards of 100 varieties of produce on five acres.

So, with this being our final final CSA week, we’re overfilling the boxes to thank you for trusting us to fill your belly this season, and over the past four years.  It’s been a wild ride, to say the least.  This week, we’ve included several items that can be stored for a few weeks.  Spoiler alert: yes, there’s a pumpkin in the box!

Winter luxury pumpkin ~ the best pumpkin for baking.
Winter luxury pumpkin ~ the best pumpkin for baking.

Week 16 CSA Box
Beans
Beets
Carrots
Celery
Red onions
Peppers
Potatoes
Romanesco
Tomatoes
Winter luxury pumpkin

Large boxes add:
Broccoli
Fennel
Extra: Peppers, potatoes, tomatoes

Click here for recipes on our website.

Thanks for a terrific season!

CSA Week 15 (Session 4, Week 3)

Our season is winding down.  Last Friday was the last day of the Phinney Farmers Market and this is the second-to-last week of our CSA (already!). Though it’s not quite over yet, it seems appropriate to thank all of our CSA members for joining us this season.  Every year we have successes and failures; we try new things and we do our best to gauge what our members will enjoy.  As part of our CSA, you’re along for the ride and honestly, there’s no better way to support a local farm than to put your faith and money into the farmer’s hands with the understanding that each week will bring the best bites of the season.  That kind of trust provides fuel for our work.

On our end, sometimes creating a balanced box is a challenge due to factors beyond our control (like weather). But it keeps us honest and ensures that we never take anything for granted.  This summer was cooler and wetter than the past few.  Was that better or worse?  It certainly made the fieldwork a lot more pleasant but also meant that our tomatoes were slow to ripen and it felt like the summer produce was never going to arrive.  And yet, when the plants were ready, we couldn’t have been more excited to devour and share every tasty tidbit with you.

This week is summer’s last hurrah with summer squash and zucchini paired with the first of our winter squash.  I’m trying not to be sad about saying goodbye to cucumbers and tomatoes.  We knew this day was coming.  It’s time to embrace the hearty soups, stews, and pumpkin-everything.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin chili, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin curry…yep, it’s on!

Delicata squash. One of our favorites!
Delicata squash. One of our favorites!

Week 15 CSA Box
Beans
Savoy Cabbage
Delicata Squash
Lettuce
Cipollini Onions
Peppers
Summer Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Large boxes add:
Eggplant
Extra: Delicata squash, onion, peppers, tomatoes

Click here for recipes on our website.

CSA Week 14 (Session 4, Week 2)

As they say, timing is everything.  Sometimes the vegetables just don’t want to cooperate and keep us waiting an extra week or so.  Such was the case last week with the broccoli and romanesco which meant that we had to make some last minute substitutions.  We think it was worth the wait, though.  They are beautiful this week.

This week also marks a definitive shift to fall produce.  The summer squash, zucchini, and most of the cucumber plants have officially pooped out after a good great run.  We’re hanging on to the last of the tomatoes; they always seem to be the hardest to give up.

But as we turn the page and embrace fall at its finest, it means that we’re also preparing to give the farm (and ourselves) a rest, regenerate the soil, and plant a handful of things that will overwinter and be ready next spring and summer.  Jonathan just picked up 550lbs of cover crop seed that will return important nutrients to the earth, leave less opportunity for weeds to re-establish themselves, and provide a source of fodder for our animals down the road.  After four years of doing this, I still find it amazing that the simple act of sowing the right seeds at the right time can create this positive domino effect,

Is it crazy that we have both melon and strawberries in this week’s box?  Like everything else, we’re just going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Week 14 CSA Box
Beans
Broccoli
Carrots
Lettuce
Melon
Peppers
Strawberries
Tomatoes

Large boxes add:
Leeks
Romanesco
Extra: Beans, peppers

Click here for recipes on our website.

CSA Week 13 (Session 4, Week 1)

Whoosh.  That is the sound of our CSA season as we march into the final session of the year.  Though we cling to the summer produce as long as we can, this week’s box says one thing loud and clear: soup.  Yes it’s soup weather my friends, and we have started to break out the slow cooker and immersible blender to make soups and stews to comfort the soul.

We taste tested our first kabocha squash tonight and it received two thumbs up from our children.  We even had to coax Caia to finish the other bites on her plate before having a second helping of kabocha.  Ah, farmer problems.

Kabocha squash, aka Japanese pumpkin
Kabocha squash, aka Japanese pumpkin

 

In other news, this year’s honey harvest was a success.  I was able to take advantage of the pockets of good weather to gather the full frames of honey and finished extracting everything in just two days.  The flavor is rich and intense with strong notes of blackberry.  It will be ready for sale by the end of the week.  Let us admire the bees’ handiwork:

The first jar of honey from this year's harvest
The first jar of honey from this year’s harvest

Week 13 CSA Box
Broccoli
Carrots
Celery
Lemon Cucumber
Peppers
Potatoes
Sauce Tomatoes

Large boxes add:
Eggplant
Melon
Romanesco
Extra: Cucumber, peppers, potatoes

Check out these easy soup recipes:
Cream of broccoli soup
Summery tomato soup
Ratatouille (technically not a soup, but close enough)

Click here for more recipes on our website.

CSA Week 12 (Session 3, Week 4)

“How is it that you still have strawberries in September?”  I wish I had a better answer than, “we planted them late,” but there you go.  Sometimes you fall behind and it all works out; you end up with strawberries in September.  Personally, I’m not complaining.  As we relish these last tastes of summer, fall has most definitely announced its presence at the farm.  We’re waking up to the foggy chill, an unmistakable sign that summer’s days are numbered.

Strawberries_fm

 

We’re not ready to give up our summer produce, however.  This week’s box still reflects the bounty of the summer.

Week 12 CSA Box
Burgundy Beans
Purple Cabbage
Carrots
Cucumber
Strawberries
Summer Squash
Cherry or Small Globe Tomatoes
Slicing or heirloom tomato

Large boxes add:
Artichoke
Cauliflower
Extra: Cucumber, Summer squash, tomato

Next week we start the final session of our CSA in which we’ll embrace heartier fall items that are perfect for soups and stews such as…sunchokes.  The sunchokes have started to blossom and it’s fun to see them swaying in the wind.  We planted a small patch of them a few years ago and they return with vigor every year.  Farming doesn’t get much easier than that.

sunchoke-plants

Check out our recipes for beans, cabbagecauliflower, and summer squashClick here for all posted recipes.

 

CSA Week 10 (Session 3, Week 2)

Each year we swear that we’re cutting down on the number of varieties that we’re going to grow for the season.  Then, without fail, we find some fun and unusual items that get added to the list.  We’ve managed to reduce the number of varieties to “only” 100+ (down from almost 200 varieties in our first season.)  This year a couple of our new favorites are lemon and dinosaur egg cucumbers.  If the names alone weren’t enough to make you curious, then seeing these petite cukes should make you want to try them.

Cucumber_lemon_small

We are just starting to realize the full bounty of the lemon and dinosaur egg cucumbers and we’re pleased with the results of our trellised cucumbers. The curly cukes that grow on the ground sure have some personality, though.

 

Week 10 CSA Box
Cauliflower
Lemon/Dinosaur Egg Cucumbers
Kale
Lettuce
Peppers
Strawberries
Summer Squash
Tomatoes

Large boxes add:
Burgundy Beans, Slicing Cucumbers, Zucchini
Extra: Tomato

We still have bulk quantities of sauce tomatoes available in our webstore.  They will only be around for a few more weeks.

Check out our recipes for cauliflower, kale, and summer squashClick here for all posted recipes.

Weekly fresh harvest boxes (the equivalent of our regular CSA box), tomato samplers, bulk tomatoes, and pickling cucumbers are available in our webstore or you can sign up for the last session of our CSA which begins on September 20th.

CSA Week 9 (Session 3, Week 1)

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the second half of our CSA season.  The summer has whizzed by so quickly!  As September approaches, things start to slow down at the farm.  We’re not planting as such a furious rate; it’s all about getting the last of the fall crops in the ground, maintenance, and weeding (the weeding never ends).

If you’ve been with us since the beginning of this season you may have noticed a lack of carrots.  It hasn’t been for lack of trying.  We’ve done some serious battle with the weeds in hopes of salvaging our carrots but alas, the weeds have been winning.  Such is the curse of chemical-free farming; there’s no easy way to combat the weeds.  We’ve not given up and are trying to do a better job of staying on top of the current plantings.  With any luck, we’ll have some in the next few weeks.

 

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said, “Look at those cute little artichokes.  They are so pretty!”  It feels like at least a dozen people proclaim this every time we have them at the farmers market.  But how to prepare them?  They cook in about half the time of large artichokes which makes the prospect of incorporating them into a meal a little less daunting.  Steaming or boiling are the easiest preparations but grilling them is a nice touch too.

artichoke_small

Week 9 CSA Box
Artichoke
Red Beets
Napa Cabbage
Cucumber
Purple Kohlrabi
Peppers
Potatoes
Sauce Tomatoes
Strawberries

Large boxes add:
Lemon Cucumbers
Extra: Artichoke, peppers, potatoes, tomato

Sauce tomatoes

Sauce tomatoes – not just for making sauce – they are the best tomatoes for cooking.  They are excellent for roasting, soups, salsa, and (of course) sauce.  We have bulk quantities available in our webstore right now for those who like to can tomatoes.  They have a short season, however, and will only be available for a few more weeks.

Check out our recipes for artichoke, kohlrabi, and beets.  Click here for all posted recipes.

Weekly fresh harvest boxes (the equivalent of our regular CSA box), tomato samplers, bulk tomatoes, and pickling cucumbers are available in our webstore or you can sign up for the last session of our CSA which begins on September 20th.

 

CSA Week 8 (Session 2, week 4)

And just like that, the second session of our CSA comes to a close.  It goes quickly when you break it up into 4-week increments.  That means we’re at the halfway point; although it feels like our summer produce has finally kicked in.  Our strawberries are just starting so you can count yourself as lucky if you were one of the few who snagged a spot in the next CSA session.  Strawberries in August?  Yep, that’s what happens when you plant things a little late.  If you missed the sign up period for our CSA, weekly fresh harvest boxes are also available in our webstore or you can sign up for the last session which begins on September 20th.

Strawberries_fm

This week’s CSA box has just about all the fixins to make ratatouille which is one of our go-to dinners during this time of year.  It doesn’t get much easier than chopping up a bunch of veggies and tossing them in a pot to simmer altogether.

Week 8 CSA Box
Green Beans
Broccoli
Cucumber
Eggplant
Fennel
Onions
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Large boxes add:
Lemon Cucumbers
Strawberries
Extra: broccoli, tomato, zucchini

Cucumber_lemon_small
Lemon cukes

Check out this week’s recipes for tomatoes, eggplant, and broccoli.  Wondering what to do with fennel?  We just posted a recipe for Tomato and Fennel Salad.  Click here for all posted recipes.

CSA Week 6 (Session 2, Week 2)

People are creatures of habit.  At the farmers markets every week, our customers love to ask questions about romanesco and kohlrabi (what is that and how do you cook it?), and comment on the colors of our produce.  Most people have never seen a purple cauliflower or many of the other varieties that we bring to the market.  It’s fun to hear “I didn’t know that beans came in so many different colors,” because it opens the door to educating  people about the wonderful varieties that can’t be found at the grocery store.  Getting them to try something new isn’t always easy, though.

The way that we have that conversation with you, dear CSA member, is by putting these wonderful, delicious, and unique vegetables in your boxes week after week.  We imagine the look of surprise and delight (hopefully!) when you open the box and find items that you wouldn’t necessarily pick for yourself.  We try to be thoughtful about choosing things that are a little off the beaten path but still familiar.  Sometimes we miss the mark, but for the most part we hope that it makes your dinners a little more interesting and fun.

Purple_white_cauli_brocc
Check out that purple cauliflower!

Week 6 Box
Beans
Green Cabbage
Cucumber
Eggplant
Kale
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Herbs: Chives or thyme

Large boxes add:
Cauliflower
Lettuce
Extra: Cucumber, potatoes, tomatoes

In other news, with the spike in temperature last week our chickens decided to go on strike.  Their egg laying decreased by about 40% pretty much overnight!  We’re hoping this isn’t a repeat of last season when the egg production ran much, much lower than we anticipated.  On the bright side, we learned a lot about caring for birds during hot weather so we’ve been able to pick up the distress signs early and act quickly to keep them cool, modify their diet, and provide them with supplements to ease the heat stress.

Check out this week’s recipes for eggplant, kohlrabi, and cabbage.  Click here for all posted recipes.

CSA Week 5 (Session 2, Week 1)

As we roll into the first week of our second session (fifth week of our CSA program), the summer produce has arrived. Our new artichoke planting has just started to produce buds and the beans are in full swing.  We have a “mere” five varieties at the moment and they are all tasty, in their own way.

This week we’re including a bonus item in every box, which we like to do from time to time.  Sometimes new items are slow to start so when there’s not enough for every box. we share the small amounts with our CSA members as a preview for what’s coming down the road.

Beans_assorted
Clockwise from top left: burgundy, romano, red swan, gold, purple dragon tongue beans

Week 5 CSA box:
Wild Blackberries
Beans
Cauliflower
Summer squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini
Bonus item

Large boxes add:
Artichoke
Basil
Extra: beans, and tomatoes

I think that Mother Nature finally got the memo that it’s summer in Washington.  The cooler temps and precipitation were great to get stuff going but it’s been a waiting game for the tomatoes and cucumbers – quite the change from last year’s record-setting drought!  At least the chickens are happy in this weather.  Now, if they would stop getting eaten by coyotes and eagles…

Check out this week’s recipes for artichoke, beans, and zucchini.  Click here for all posted recipes.