Monday, March 18, 2013

Final Winter Share for 2013

Wednesday marks the equinox and start of spring and this last winter share is already showing that first flush of spring growth with more raab and fuller greens than we've had for a while. I pulled most everything that was left out of the gardens and even thinned out the garlic in order to spice up the shares. in the share this week is a bit of raab from different plant, some kale, some purple sprouting broccoli, some cabbage. Raab has little florets kind of like broccoli but really the stem and leaves are the best part. Like most things in the share it's best sauteed with a bit of olive oil or just eaten raw. For chicories there's more catalogna and frisee. There's a turnip with greens, and also a bunch of collard greens. To round things out we scrounged a bit of mache which has naturalized in the gardens. Mache, also known as corn salad, makes a great little side salad with just a little oil and salt. It does hold soil closely in the florets of leaves so make sure to clean it well before eating.

This is the last CSA share post I'll be making on this web site, after this it's all moving over to  The farm will go on a two week spring break from harvest and we're hoping to be back to harvesting the second week of April. A peek under the row cover this morning showed germinating radishes and mustards and recently transplanted lettuces doing nicely. Favas have also come up and there are lots of plants germinating on the heat table in the greenhouse. It's going to be an exciting spring. We'd love to see you at the open house on April 7 from 3-5pm. Head over to the events page at for more details.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Winter turning into spring

This is the fifth of six planned harvests for the winter CSA and it's already starting to feel like spring. Today's share is mostly greens, as the roots and alliums are pretty much played out for now. In the share is a big bunch of Lacinato Rainbow kale, a bit of escarole, a second chicory which might be radicchio (pictured) or sugarloaf or castlefranco depending on the bag, there are a few sprigs of rosemary (I was pruning today), and finally the first of the raab. Raab is the flower bud of brassicas, and most of the raab today comes from the cabbage, which never did head properly, but is now sending up flower shoots. I'm hoping that we'll have lots more raab in two weeks for the final share of the winter. It's a very delicious, extremely nutritious vegetable.

I'm excited for the longer days and more fresh greens. Roots roasts are great in the winter but come this time of year I'm ready for some tender greens. With the longer days, and especially with warm sunny days like today, the over wintered greens are taking off, and soon we'll have seeds germinating in the ground.

If you haven't signed up for spring shares yet, please hop over to our new website,, and put yourself on the list. Let your friends know too, we're expanding and so we have lots of shares we'd like to have spoken for by the end of the month.

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Blog Too...

Everything about the CSA is gradually making the shift over to the new site and that includes this blog. I've put a new post up on the new blog and you should redirect your reader there, or at least add the new blog. Until the end of March I'll continue to update this blog for the winter CSA shares, but after that I'll be concentrating all of my CSA energy on the Our Table site - meaning website and piece of land.

If you're a fan of Slow Hand Farm on Facebook, become a fan of Our Table Cooperative to keep following the blog and all of the other farm news.

Slow Hand Farm isn't completely going away, it's still the name that I'm doing consulting and other farm related education under, but it will no longer be the CSA site.

I hope you'll come follow me over at Our Table as well, and tell all of your friends too!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Our Table

The Farm Has a New Name!

And a new location, and new employees, and lots of news! But we're still offering the same individual sized shares, and four separate harvest seasons in 2013.

Our Table Cooperative
The new name is, "Our Table", and yes, as of a few days ago we are now officially part of a larger cooperative venture down in Sherwood! I'm really excited about this development as it is allowing me to continue offering the same CSA shares, to deliver by electric cargo bike, and at the same time to do more new farmer training, have more events on the farm, and to grow a few crops we haven't had space for in the past. (Check out the new crew bios and photos by clicking here).

For you, the CSA members (and potential members and general farm fans) this change also means you'll have better access to the farm, and access to more products from other enterprises in the cooperative. This includes pick your own blueberries from "old growth" berries, and even potentially meat and eggs. Eventually there are plans for all sorts of enterprises to all work cooperatively on the same piece of ground down here in Sherwood.

Our Table Pano

Sign up for the CSA now!

Please sign up for all of the 2013 CSA seasons (and winter 2014) now. It's easier than ever with online sign up now a reality. Please let all of your friends know too. We are quadrupling production this year which means we need four times the members we've had in the past. All of the same pick up locations from 2012 are still available (except for Sauvie Island) and we're adding extra pick up locations in the corridor between Sherwood and North Portland.

If you know of a location in that corridor that would be a great pick up location let us know. We need at least 10 shares to create a new location, but we're definitely looking for new spots to distribute the shares.

spring share

New List

This is the last email you'll get from this list about the CSA. But don't worry, I've moved all of your addresses over to our new list and you'll be getting a note in a day or two from that list with a lot of this same information and perhaps some more details about the larger operation.

Please help us start spreading the word and check out our new website at Also, tell all of your friends to go there and sign up for our mailing list and to like us on Facebook.

Thanks so much for all of your support over the past four years and here's to many more under our new name!

Oh, and for those of you who are more interested in the other things that I've been doing under the Slow Hand Farm name, like workshops, consulting and tool development, stick around. I'll continue to use this list for occasional updates on those topics. The Slow Hand Farm name isn't completely going away, not just yet.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Foraging the back forty

Winter harvests feel very much like foraging to me. In the summer, harvest is pretty straight forward. Crops ripen relatively predictably and evenly. I can see what's coming the following weeks, and I can tell at a glance what's good to harvest. Maybe it's because I'm only harvesting every other week in the winter, but after every winter harvest, which is always messy and a bit of a hunt for what is surviving the weather, I always wonder if there'll be anything for the following harvest.

Today the castlefranco chicory was looking very nice, certainly partly due to the dry weather. I found a few carrots in what was mostly a failed winter seeding. The turnips are a nice size and with good greens. I harvested the last of the leeks, and the collards had grown back enough for another good bunch.

For lunch today, before deliveries, I ate one of the turnips along with tortillas and beans, and a bit of salsa. I sautéed the chopped root and then added the chopped greens and a bit of white vineagar. Now I'm off to ride the boxes of bags to town.

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Farm, New Farm Crew!

Yesterday was the first day for the new farm crew and the first day working up some of the ground at the new farm site! The weather was unbelievably beautiful and we got more done than I was expecting to. The above map is the full property (outlined in red and you can see more photos by clicking here). The property is 58 acres and we're just using a small swath on the west end, 2/3 of an acre. 

This is the first year for employees on the farm and I'm excited to work with a great crew: Louis, Forrest and Karen. We'll be doing more proper introductions soon on the website, which will be getting a major overhaul, including online ordering (welcome to the 21st century)!

Forrest and I rode the nearly 60 mile round trip commute from Portland. He and I plan to continue the bicycle deliveries. I'll be making the run up into North Portland and Forrest will open up a new corridor into the area around SE 60th and Division. Louis and Karen were more conventional, arriving by car. They'll be opening up potential for pick up sites in NW Portland, Durham and the Tualatin areas. We'll also be working with the larger, soon to be named co-op, to market our CSA shares. Gianna will be helping us with all of that.

Finally, save the date of April 7 in the afternoon for the first planned open house of 2013 for the CSA, should be a good time for all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Share 3

Third share of the winter and I'm already out of clever titles. There's a nice variety in this share: kale, catalogna, salsify, carrots and frisee. The carrots have a bit of back story, but I'll start with a few notes on the salsify and catalogna first, since they're the more obscure vegetables in the bunch. 

Salsify was in the first share of the winter and in the past has been a winter staple. It didn't do very well this year showing some disease that I haven't bothered to identify yet. This is the last of it. It's also known as oyster root and it does taste a little like oysters when it's boiled. I put small chunks in a thai curry last time I harvested it. It's really excellent fried, but be careful because it browns and then blackens quickly.

The catalogna is new for this year, although we've had it in years past. The first time I grew this it was a mistake and I was thinking I was growing escarole. Fortunately an italian cook stopped by the farm and got really excited before we turned in under as a crop failure. It looks very similar to dandelion, but it has thicker ribs, which are slightly bitter, but nice and crunchy sweet, much like the rest of the chicory family. I like this one best cooked, either chopped up into a vegetable stew, or sauteed with olive oil. 

The carrots are from a trade with Danny Percich from Full Plate Farm in Ridgefield, Washington. Danny worked with me during the first season of Slow Hand Farm and then moved up to Washington to start his current operation and a family. This summer he had a garlic crop failure and I had more than I had intended to give out. I had a bad carrot year this year so he agreed to trade me garlic for carrots. Sunday I took a visiting Irish farmer out to his place for a tour and the three of us quickly dug these beautiful Red Core carrots before sitting down to an evening board game and a bit of farm talk.