Spring is supposedly around the corner but all of this rain is making us feel somewhat water-logged. Regardless, we’re pushing on and have begun seeding our first trays. We’ve already planted over 10,000 seeds and they are starting to pop! It’s nice to see some signs of life again.
That being said, we need a field crew to help us plant, care for, and harvest this future bounty. Our Field Crew is instrumental in growing all annual and perennial crops including planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. This is a part-time seasonal position, 6 hours per day Monday through Thursday with occasional weekend work. The work schedule may extend into Friday, depending on the needs of the farm. The full job description is here.
These positions (we’re hiring two) are ideal for someone with at least one season’s experience in market vegetable production. As a bonus, compensation includes farm-fresh produce and eggs, when available. So if you want to work hard and eat well, then this is the place for you.
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.
Large boxes add:
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…
This is the part of the season that I like best. The tomato vines are starting to tower over our heads and new vegetables are popping up weekly. We just sampled our first beans and found our first zucchini. Costata romanesco (pictured below) is one of our favorites and when it shows up in the boxes, I hope you’ll enjoy this Italian heirloom variety as much as we do.
Week 4 CSA box:
Beets or Carrots
Summer squash or zucchini
Large boxes add:
Snow or Snap peas
Romanesco cauliflower is a work of art unto itself. It’s one of the vegetables that always draws comments at the farmers market such as “what IS that?” and “it’s too pretty to eat.” We love edible art and it’s become a favorite at the farm.
It’s been a good long time since this blog has been updated. For the next 16 weeks it will serve as our CSA newsletter. The fun part is that you don’t have to be part of our CSA to enjoy it!
Week 1 CSA box:
Red Russian kale
Large boxes add:
The mix of rain and sunshine this spring has been a blessing this season. In contrast with last year, when we barely saw a drop of rain from April until September, the cooler temps and moisture have given us a great foundation for our crops. The potatoes are happy. The tomato plants are starting to bear fruit and will start to ripen very soon. The fields are green, green, and green in every direction.
On the downside, our cucurbits (cucumber, melon, summer squash) and corn have been hit hard by pests. Pest damage to crops is always heartbreaking, especially when those critters live in the ground – unseen by the naked eye. They feast on the seeds and roots which stunts and damages the plants. As the weeks pass and nothing pops out of the ground, we rush to implement plan B; we are re-seeding those crops and keeping fingers crossed that there’s enough time left in the season to grow these much-loved items.
So what’s going strong right now? Everything in the brassica family: broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Romanesco, and kohlrabi. Which brings us to this week’s veggie spotlight: KOHLRABI.
More people should know about this vegetable. This “cabbage-turnip” is often mistaken for a root vegetable. It’s been cultivated for hundreds of years and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Its mild flavor and versatility are completely underrated. While most would only use the bulb, the leaves can also be used much in the way of kale of collard greens. Try out some of our favorite kohlrabi recipes here.
We’re super excited to have a farm stand at the Phinney Farmers Market on Fridays from June 3rd to September 30th this year. As such, we’ve created a special CSA option for pick up at the market. For the first time ever, we’re offering the Pick 5 and Pick 7 shares.
How it works: Prepay for 5 weeks of produce then visit our stand at the farmers market and pick your items during any five weeks of our season. (You can also double up for 10 or 15 weeks.) If you want two pints of strawberries one week, no problem! If you love broccoli but loathe eggplant, then this is a great way to support your local farm and still choose what you like best.
Why prepay? Your investment in our farm helps provide working capital for the months leading up to the farmers market when we start, cultivate, and grow our beautiful produce. You also get more for your money. With an average cost of $3.50 per item, you benefit because many of our items sell for $4 or more. Shares can be purchased at Barn2Door.
Eggs are currently available for sale in our webstore for pick up at a couple of locations. We’re also offering four 4-week mini-CSA subscriptions from June through October. Depending on how things go, we may add early and/or late season sessions.
CSA share options
New! Pick 5 or Pick 7 share for pick up at the Phinney Farmers Market
Regular share: Great for 1 – 2 veggie lovers, includes 5 – 7 items.
Large share: All of the goodness of the regular share plus 3 or so extra items and larger quantities of a couple of popular items like strawberries, broccoli, and staples like onions.
Egg shares are also available
Four-week mini-subscription dates
Session 1: Starting June 28 or June 29
Session 2: Starting July 26 or July 27
Session 3: Starting Aug 23 or Aug 24
Session 4: Starting Sept 20 or Sept 21
Pick up locations
Skylight Farms 17319 Elliott Rd, Snohomish
Valve Corporation (for Valve employees and contractors only) 10900 NE 4th St, Bellevue
Vertical World Seattle 2330 W. Commodore Way, Seattle
Seattle Bouldering Project 900 Poplar Place S, Seattle
Essential Baking 1604 N 34th St, Seattle
Phinney Farmers Market Phinney Neighborhood Association – for Pick 5 and Pick 7 shares only
As we put together the CSA boxes each week it feels like a small victory, moreso this season than any other. It was yet another week of no precip and high temps. We are starting to better understand the plight of farmers in California.
The promise of rain this week was just a tease so we continued to diligently rotate our watering in hopes that our efforts are enough to keep things alive. That said, we knocked out a pretty good box this week.
There was a brief discussion on whether putting snow, snap, and shelling peas along with beans would be too much for our large boxes but in the end we decided that it was all going in. That’s what the CSA is for: to showcase the best of what we have for the week.
So there you have it, Week 3’s box:
Leafy green butter lettuce
Pretty purplette onions
Sweet savoy cabbage
A preponderance of peas: snow, snap and shelling
Tender yellow wax beans
Beautiful broccoli (seriously, it’s the best tasting variety that we grow)
This year we are also trying to strike a better balance between farm and fun so amidst all the heat and weekend fire drills, we managed to sneak in a little time at the local fair for Father’s Day. Hope you’re finding some fun ways to beat the heat too!
We have survived two seasons of farming and here we are, ready for round three. Our CSA kicked off last week and I think it was our best first box yet. There’s always a lot of anticipation for that first box since you never really know what things will look like until they are harvested and cleaned up. Will we have enough stuff to fill it? Will the CSA members like it? Did we include enough variety?
Given the drought-like conditions that we are experiencing, I think we feel pretty good about what we delivered: red beets, carrots, flashy troutback lettuce (a farm fave), strawberries, broccoli or romanesco, and lacinato kale or chard. The large boxes also had cardoon (see below for a pic), asparagus, green butter lettuce, frisee, and snap peas. The first day of the season is never perfect but our team really pulled together and we were on the road pretty much on schedule.
So, now let’s talk about this weather we’ve been having. Gorgeous, sunny, hot days. 80-90 degree days in May and June in the Pacific Northwest, say what? Great for going to the beach, not super great for early season farming. We count on the spring rain to help get our plantings established and without it, let’s just say that it’s been a little rough on those tender seedlings. It is what it is, so we’re making the best of it. On the other hand, the stuff in the greenhouses looks terrific. We may have tomatoes earlier than ever before – yay!
Believe it or not, it’s already time to sign up for this year’s CSA.
Winter isn’t even over (did it even start?) and we are already planning for summer’s bounty. It’s true that the life of a farmer slows down in the off-season but we can’t help scrutinizing past seasons and dreaming of what will fill our plates and stomachs months from now.
As we head into our third season, we take all of the praise and criticism from our CSA members and customers to heart. We are starting to better understand what you like (tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, carrots) and what you tire of (potatoes, cabbage, watermelon, bitter greens). And that funny thing about beets – most love them, but some don’t. This is true of so many things that we grow; it’s a quandary we face with each season. Our challenge is to please the taste buds of over 100 households. I know that we converted at least one beet-hater and tomato-hater last season so I have hope that we can do the same this year.
With our CSA starting in just a few short months, we are pleased to announce that you can sign up starting today. We are going back to a 20-week season starting in mid-June through October, and continuing our egg delivery. Last year’s late season proved to be too stressful given that the ground was frozen for much of the four weeks. Chalk that one up to the learning curve.
Other changes for this year:
Because we know that paying for the whole season all at once is a big investment, we’ve added an option for paying in installments.
We’ve added Essential Baking in Wallingford as a pick up location and said good-bye to our Greenwood and former Wallingford locations. More pick up locations will be added as they are confirmed.
You can purchase items from our web store before, during, and after our main CSA season. Access to the web store will be available for non-CSA members too. This means that if you fear the commitment of the CSA, you can order à la carte and create a custom order. However, due to logistical reasons, we are not able to deliver the full range of products to every pick up location.
So why join the CSA now when the first delivery won’t arrive for many weeks? By joining today, you provide us with working capital to purchase the seed, prepare the fields, fill the seed trays, ready the greenhouses, plant, plant, plant, and plant some more. It’s an investment in land stewardship and the promise of delicious things to come. But moreover, you want this, this, and this:
Over the last few months we’ve been quite pleased to be selling our products through Farmstr until they announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of the month. Sad times. In the wake of their announcement we hustled and have just opened our webstore to provide some continuity for our Farmstr customers, as well as our CSA members. We’re stoked that the Essential Baking Company has agreed to allow us to begin making deliveries to their Wallingford Café! This means that in addition to our eggs, the produce that we have available will be posted in our webstore and available for pick up at a few locations for much of the year. Check it out and while you’re at it, take a look at our re-vamped website. We hope you like it!
Napa, savoy, purple and green…cabbage is a mainstay of our season. Each variety, with its unique characteristics, lends itself to many different preparations from coleslaw to casseroles. To quote from our CSA member, Aaron, “Cabbage… How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” We couldn’t agree more. One of our favorites is savoy – so sweet and luscious. It’s a little less hearty than the green or purple varieties but stands up a fair amount of cooking and has great texture for eating raw.
Aaron gave us this list of his favorite ways to prepare cabbage:
1) Green cabbage fried in peanut oil in a VERY hot wok with a dash of fish sauce. Perfection.
2) Napa cabbage layered with spices and raw squid for a hearty and delicious kim chi.
3) Purple Cabbage shredded on the kraut slicer and left for 2 weeks with just enough salt to produce a rich sauerkraut.
4) Savoy cabbage shredded and dry fried with diced apple, raisins, caraway and a touch of vinegar.
5) All of the above shredded and served raw under my favorite fried foods to lighten and brighten the meal.
Last night we made a yummy coleslaw with your savoy cabbage. Loved the mildness and great texture!
Summertime slaw: savoy, lacinato kale, radish, carrot, and with a tahini miso dressing. Mmm.
A couple of our favorite recipes are creamy coleslaw and cabbage & potato casserole.
1 med head or 1/2 large head cabbage, core removed and thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated carrots
1-2 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp sugar or honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
½ cup sour cream or mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Combine cabbage, onions, and carrots in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Whisk together dill, sugar, vinegar, and sour cream. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat.
A variety of cabbages for different colors and textures.
Add 1 cup of sliced snow or snap peas
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Cabbage and Potato Casserole
1 to 2 Tbsp butter
2 oz. bacon or pancetta chopped or 4 oz. bulk or country sausage (optional)
1 head cabbage
1/2 lb. potatoes, about 2 cups
1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or broth
1 tsp coarse grain or country mustard
1/2 cup freshly shredded melting cheese such as Gruyère, Swiss, or Gouda
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a large oven-proof frying pan or stove-proof baking dish over medium heat. Add pancetta, bacon, or sausage, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through and browned.
Meanwhile, remove and discard first layer or two of cabbage leaves. Cut cabbage in half lengthwise, remove and discard core, and chop.
Add cabbage to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes into small bite-size pieces. Add to pan.
Combine cream or broth and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Add to pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle mixture with cheese, cover, and bake 15 minutes.
Uncover and cook until bubbling and browned, about 10 more minutes.