Friday, December 30, 2011

New layout, new information

If you're looking at this post directly, and not on something like reader, or Facebook, or some other feed, you'll notice I've moved into one of the new templates, a new look for the blog!  Not only did I move into a new template, I moved pretty much all of the information on the CSA over here as well, and I updated it.  That means the blog is now more current than the website (, which I'm currently unable to edit easily.  Soon, this blog will probably become, but I'll save that for later. In the meantime, if you're wanting to sign up for the 2012 CSA, or even just find out more about the farm there are now lots of updated pages here at the blog.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Now that I have a little time off from the fields I'm catching up on some accounting and trying to get around to finishing the crop plan for next season.  I'm also keeping track of the day length, and today is in fact the shortest day of the year, which means they all get longer after this, at least for a while.  That's pretty exciting.  Today we have about 8 hours and 46 minutes from sunrise to sunset.  Happy winter solstice everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Using the share

Thai curry, using canned coconut milk, curry past and fish sauce for the base, has become a standard meal for nights I don't want to spent too much time cooking. This weeks vegetables, the brussels, carrots and scorzonera, along with a few leftover potatoes from earlier in the season and a block of tofu, made a very nice curry this evening. I pretty much follow the recipe off the back of a can of Thai Kitchen coconut milk. It's not the cheapest meal, but it's cheaper than eating out and really takes very minimal effort.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Final Fall Share

We managed to pull a few new items out of the field today.  I've been waiting for the sugarloaf to make heads, and it's finally there, just in time for the last shares.  The brussels and scorzonera are still a bit small, but perfectly useable.  The carrots are also starting to get a little size, and the final item in the share is garlic, which we didn't plan on at all, but we had quite a bit leftover from planting, so I thought it would make a nice addition to the final week of the year.

If you haven't had sugarloaf chicory (pan di zucchero in Italian) it's a bit like butter head lettuce, or maybe cabbage, with a tight wrapped head of pale leaves.  I like to slice it in half lengthwise, drizzle a little oil and salt over the cut side and roast it in a hot oven.  It can also be eaten raw just like the frissee, only with a little more crunch.

Brussels are another new one for the season.  These might need just a little cleaning, generally trimming the butt ends and removing any yellowing leaves.  The fast way to prepare them is to cut them in half, toss them in a hot pan with a bit of oil, stir them until they turn a bit darker green and then add a splash of water and balsamic to the pan, put a lid on it and let them steam for five to ten minutes until they are still crisp tender.  Cooking them too long is the easiest way to make yourself think you don't like brussels sprouts.

Scorzonera is also called black oyster root, and it does have a faint oyster flavor when boiled.  I peel it cut it into chunks, boil it until tender and then add it to a cream sauce with pasta.  A word of warning, when peeling it will bleed white sap which is sticky and will turn brown.  That's normal, and if you want to keep it from browning, put it in a bit of water with some lemon juice (acidulated water).

Carrots and garlic I assume you know what to do with.  There is this fancy garlic peeling video that's been going around the web, so maybe you'd like to check that out.  Roasting the heads whole is another great way to enjoy them.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From SHF 2011

This is actually a photo from last week, I just got around to pulling it off of the camera.  Fall has been really beautiful on the farm this year.  Today's share is basically the same as Monday's was.  Next week is the last week of fall, then we'll move into winter.  I'm not sure why but it's always strange to me that winter coincides with days getting longer, perhaps it is connected with my feeling that it's already winter and the days are still getting shorter even though it's not.  I just read a great post from a winter CSA down in Southern Oregon about the difference between main season harvest and winter harvests so I'll give you all the link here.  I have to add to it that besides the days being significantly shorter in the cold season and all of the snafus around frozen objects, somehow everything seems to take much longer, and probably does due to the extreme number of clothes required, constantly numb hands, and prodigious quantities of mud.  We also experience our most major pest problems in the winter, specifically voles and occasional deer.  I harvested the last of the parsnips today, from a planting that should have lasted for three harvests.  The voles had done a good job of leaving the tops completely in tact, and eating all but a very nubbin of a root.  The parsnips that were remaining were beautiful though, so enjoy and we'll hope we get ahead of them on the chicories and carrots.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Roots and Greens

Continuing to deviate from the plan laid this time last fall, today's share has a bit of kale, a parsnip and a head of frisee.  Greens and roots are the order of business in the late fall through the spring and the hearty ones are coming out now that the frosts are more regular.  This morning we had to wait until almost noon for the field to thaw, and it was a bit after that when the fog finally burned off.  We kept warm by sifting and spreading compost, a task I managed to avoid all summer.  

The kale is rainbow lacinato and the cold is really bringing out beautiful dark colors, as well as sweetness.  More frisee in the share this week.  It's been a good one for us so far, and it's holding up to the cold quite nicely.  Remember that it needs good cleaning and soaking it in water for 15+ minutes helps sweeten it up.  Parsnip is making its first, and probably only appearance of the year.  Germination was ok this year, but the weeds got a bit out of hand.  We were able to remedy that, more or less, but now our friends the voles have started going after them and there are quite a few that have nothing left but a top.  If you haven't cooked with them before they are sweet when roasted or boiled.  They go well in soup or a root roast, or even shredded into latkes.  

Frosty Morning

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seeding Experiments

The share today is basically the same as Monday's was. One difference was that everything was quite frozen when I got to the farm this morning. Kji and I spent the morning working up beds in the greenhouse and seeding greens, roots and cover crops under the cover of plastic. If these crops have enough warmth to germinate they should grow and be ready in the late winter or early spring. They're just an experiment though and if we do get anything it will be a nice bonus.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Multipurpose Vegetables

Today's share is actually pretty big, bigger than I was expecting at least.  From left to right in the photo there are celeriac, brussels leaves, root parsley, and a leek.  The celeriac is really grown for the roots, but the leaves and stems are quite good as flavoring, or even cooked on their own.  There's a bit of slug damage so you may need to pick and choose your stems, but they'll work just like celery for flavoring soups, stocks and other dishes, like my favorite, bread dressing.  Bread dressing happens to go very nicely with mashed celeriac root.  The brussels leaves are from brussels sprout plants and basically will cook up just like a collard green.  We haven't harvested the sprouts yet, but we had to pull off the leaves anyway to get to the sprouts so I figured they should be eaten too.  The root parsley is another that's grown for the roots but has a top that is good for the greens and stems as well.  The tops are basically parsley and like the celeriac, the tops are bit tougher than their cousins that are grown only for tops, but they are packed with more flavor and once you cook them you won't notice any toughness at all.  The roots can be roasted with other roots, or boiled and mashed.  They're like a carrot or parsnip, but with parsley flavor.  The leeks are just plain good, top to bottom.  The greens parts are just as edible as the whites, but are more commonly saved for stock and not put directly into dishes.  There's not really any good reason for this, I think, but I do it that way anyway.  

On the topic of multipurpose vegetables, I just noticed that one of my favorite farm blogs also used a similar title recently.  If you're interested in that sort of thing you might check out the Matron of Husbandry's take on the subject.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Holiday

Today's share is basically the same as Mondays so no new photo or talk of the vegetables.  Next week is Thanksgiving and we're taking the entire week off from harvests.  It's also supposed to be cold, like freezing cold, this weekend.  I've been anticipating that, which is why the chard and celery was in the share this week.  Those two crops will likely freeze out this weekend.  Even so, we covered the celery with row cover, and lots of the rest of the crops as well.  I'm hoping that the cover will stay on (it has a nasty tendency to blow off).  I'm also hoping that the newfound protection the voles are feeling under that nice white blanket won't encourage them too much and that they'll leave a bit for us when we get back to harvesting.  They've already taken out a number of the celeriac, root parsley, and radicchio.  Our trapping campaign is woefully inadequate right now, we'll have to get on that.  In the meantime, hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving, we'll be back in action on November 28.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Soup share

It occurs to me that there are some nice opportunities for soup in the share today, especially if you have some good dry beans to toss in, and maybe a bit of stale bread.  You might want to look for a recipe for ribollita, one of my favorite fall meals.

Today's share has a bit of kale, chard, carrot, celery and garlic in it.  This is not at all what I planned for last fall when I was looking at what would go in the share today, but it's still a nice mix and it reflects everything that has happened in the season up to this point and my best judgement this morning about what I need to keep around for shares in the following weeks, and what would be best this week in the shares.  At this point in the year most everything we have for the shares for the next two months or so is more or less ready.  It's not just a matter of harvesting what is "ripe," it also has to do with guessing what will hold in the ground longer, what won't get eaten by voles or deer, what will survive impending frosts, and what would be a nice combination, giving a bit of variety from week to week

The chard and celery won't hold on much longer due to their sensitivity to freezing so I wanted to give those two out today.  The kale is from a bed that hasn't been cleaned up in a while, and it seemed like some more greens would be nice in the share.  The carrots have finally started to get a little size and the voles are starting to move in so I'm trying to thin them out, give a little more space and assess the damage. I don't plan for garlic in the fall shares, but this is leftover from what we saved for seed and I figured it should get eaten.

Next week is Thanksgiving so we'll take a week off from harvesting.  I'm taking some of this afternoon, and likely many to come, starting to look at the plan for next season.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crisp and Clear

From SHF 2011

This morning was crisp and clear, enough that I ended up having to wait until 9:30 for the frost to thaw so that I could start harvesting.  The share today is basically the same as Monday, just the beet variety is different.  The Flat of Egypts from Monday were totally thinned so I thinned back through the one remaining Kestrel bed today.  While I was waiting for the thaw I started to do a little thinking about next year's bed layouts, and some possible changes.  I'm thinking we'll probably take out some of the sod pathway, making more space for vegetables, and reducing our mowing work.  I'm a little tempted to completely switch things up with narrower beds, but it's funny how much we're invested in the bed width we have now with the irrigation headers, hoops we just bent, and row cover we're using.  I was at a conference last weekend with Eliot Coleman who has always advocated 30" bed tops, which seemed a little narrow to me.  At the conference he was talking about how the Parisian market gardeners used a 10" pathway and it suddenly clicked that 30" plus 10" is exactly 1 meter.  Not that 30" isn't a good width, I'm coming to appreciate its versatility more and more, but for now we'll stick with a 48" bed top and 18" pathways, perhaps experimenting a bit with a few 24" beds with 9" pathways.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Tuesday Share Ever

Thanks for being patient this week. The share is a day later than usual, but other than that no real changes. The frisee continues to look good in the field so there's a head in the bags today. As with most of the chicories I like to slice this thinly for salads and soak it in cold water for a while to get it as crispy as possible and to reduce any bitter. It also holds up well to cooking. The share also has a beet or two as well as beet greens. The variety is Flat of Egypt, a new one for us so tells what you think. Finishing things out is a small bunch of parsley.

Actually, this warmish, dryish weather is keeping quite a few of the crops looking good. It's clear that growth has slowed to a crawl though, as the days are getting pretty short.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ohio Workshop

Today's harvest is delayed until tomorrow. I'm in Ohio listening to Eliot Coleman talk about season extension and hoping to bring back some good ideas.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful Fall Weather

The past few work days on the farm have been beautiful, cool and damp in the mornings for harvest, clearing into sunny warm afternoons that have been very productive.  We're getting just enough rain between work days to keep everything growing.  Of course, now that I've said that it will probably freeze hard and then start raining for the next six months, but in the meantime I've been appreciating the weather.

Today's share has a few of the leftover garlic cloves that we popped for seed, perfectly edible but they won't keep for quite as long as a head.  New in the share this week is celeriac, or celery root.  We've left the tops on because they can be cooked just like celery, although they're a bit tough for raw eating.  The roots are the main feature though.  I like to peel and cube them, and then boil them with potatoes and make mashed potatoes and celeriac.  They also make great soup, or they can be cut into sticks and parboiled, cooled and put on salad.  Along with the celeriac is more spinach, the first kale distribution of the fall and some cilantro that was unexpected.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Like Monday, but different

Sorry to have missed the Monday post this week.  I was in Northern California visiting my niece and nephews, as well as a few friends, which left Kji to harvest and distribute, and without time to post.  

Today's share is similar with a leek, chard, frisee, and peppers.  On Monday the shares got a few small Hakurei turnips, but they were far and few between and we found some really nice cilantro under some row cover so that went in the shares today instead.  These are the first leeks of the season.  If you're not familiar with leeks they are a good substitute for onion, but milder.  I love them sliced in half or quarters long ways and baked until very soft, or in baked goods.  Usually they're just sliced into thin rounds and sautéed.  Leeks are notorious for harboring dirt between the layers.  To clean them thoroughly slice them lengthwise in half and then you can separate the layers gently while running the leek under water.  This also gives them a flat side for the cutting board.  

Frisee is also the first of the year.  This is one of the chicories we grow and more will be coming soon.  We actually have quite a lot of frisee because the escarole, sadly, did not germinate well, but we accidentally seeded extra flats of frisee, luckily, so that's replacing the escarole this year.   The chicories are sometimes known as bitter greens.  To reduce the bitter slice them into small pieces and soak them in cold water before using them raw, or they also hold up to cooking well and that will reduce, or remove, any bitterness and bring out the sweetness.  Frisee is frequently blanched (whitened) but we haven't done that with these heads.  If you leave the head in a completely dark place for a few days it will start to blanch from the center out.  This also reduces any bitter.  The bitter, however, is desirable to some, and pairs well with strong salty, oily flavors, like anchovy, or just plain salt and olive oil.  Sweet also goes well , like caramelized shallots.  

Not to go on too long, but we had a very productive day and all of the garlic for next season is in the ground now, as are some over wintering onions and a bit of fava seed that may or may not make it.  I even got a bit of mowing done.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Share today is basically the same as Monday.  The peppers are different varieties, but all still sweet, green and needing a little time on the counter to color.  One new addition to the farm this week are some "quick hoops" bent from 1/2" emt conduit.  We've tried to everything as simply as possible, but the weather has been really cold and wet the last two years and we're wanting to help speed things up a bit in the spring, get some of the summer crops off to a good start, and give a little more protection to some of the fall and winter crops so we're trying out these hoops to keep the floating row cover we're already using up off of the plants.  The row cover works on the plants, but it limits the air flow and we've had some quality issues in the past so I'm hoping this solution will improve things dramatically.  More likely it'll improve things a little and introduce a bit more complexity into the system.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Southern Fall

The share has some nice collards, beets and lettuce, a few Jimmy Nardello peppers and a last green tomato. If you haven't had them before, collards are actually a good cool season green, although they're associated with the hot south. They're particularly good after frost, but I'll take them now as well. My favorite way to cook them is to cut out the stems and then roll up the leaves and cut them into 1/4" ribbons. I boil those with some tamari in the water for at least 15 minutes and sometimes a lot more. If you got one of the green tomatoes with no color, you can slice that up, dredge it in a little cornmeal and fry it in a little oil on both sides to go with the collards. I also like baked beans and cornbread with those items. The lettuce is the last of the season, we'll switch to heartier salad greens next week. The peppers aren't turning color on the plants, but they continue to size up so we may have those for another week. Make sure to take advantage of the beet greens as well as the roots. The greens are just like chard or spinach.

Today we pulled some of the summer plants to make way for winter crops. More exciting are the new conduit hoops we put up. They look and feel very sturdy, we'll see if they make a difference in covering some of the winter crops, and if so we'll probably put a bunch more up in the spring.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cover crops

That was the second order of the day, after harvest of course. Share is basically the same as Monday's. More beds being put to bed for the winter and getting a bit of rye and vetch seeded to keep the soil in good shape over the winter and to make compost in the spring. We also got to spreading a bit of compost today, something that's been on the to do list all year and hasn't really made it to the top very much.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Spinach isn't the only thing in the share, but I'm always excited when we have nice spinach as it's something that I have trouble growing. I was hoping for more, and bigger, Haukurei turnips and Cosmic Purple carrots, but the voles have been busy, as have the carrot rust fly, and they had done basically taken out the entire planting of carrots and a good part of the bigger turnips. So, we harvested some smaller turnips and thinned the next planting of Napoli carrots, which needed to be done anyway. For those of you who were spring members you might remember the Hakurei turnips and notice that they have a slightly different flavor in the fall. This time of year the growing is slowing as they ripen instead of the other way around. Make sure to use the greens as well. I like to chop them up before cooking as they can be a little stringy. Lettuce continues with a late season mix of butter, crisp, and romaines. The peppers and tomatoes still aren't getting any heat, which means they aren't turning color, which means we're giving them out green. The tomatoes aren't completely green but they can be used like a green tomato, or ripened on the counter. Parsley is in the share and looking good. My dad used to make us pasta with sauteed parsley and parmesan (and he liked to put canned clams with the juice on too).

It was a wet one today and I realized that my raincoat, which has been a great one for about the last eight years, has finally died. I think it's time for me to go raincoat shopping asap!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Text Only

Yep, I forgot to take a photo today, and it's a shame because we spent a good part of the day cleaning up the farm and it looks good right now. The shares are pretty much the same as Monday's so take a look at that post for details on the vegetables. The only real difference is that some folks are getting either a stocky red roaster or a reliably red pepper (both are mostly green right now, despite their names).

Today I got to mow all of the main pathways, which hadn't been done in quite some time. We also got to hoeing and weeding a number of beds that were just starting to get weedy with the recent rains. And, we covered the brassicas with bird netting to try to keep the deer away. Deer are a major problem for us in the fall and winter. Unfortunately the other major problem is voles. Covering beds helps keep the deer away but it makes the voles feel safer and so they cause more damage. We try to trap voles but our success rate is pretty low right now. Mowing and weeding actually helps keep the vole pressure down as well.

Looks like next week we'll be solidly into fall vegetables.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Goodbye to Summer

It seems that fall weather has really set in and the remains of the summer vegetables are showing it. I picked lots of exploded cherry tomatoes today, but only enough intact ones to give a couple per share. Cucumbers and summer squash are still holding on enough that most shares have them today. The greens are looking good and I harvested more 5 Color Silverbeet (chard) today, which has bounced back beautifully from the clean up two weeks ago. Lettuce is also still coming and we have a week or two more of that in the field before we switch over to chicories. I did a small initial pick on celery today. This is not the kind of celery you'd make "ants on a log" with, this is for flavoring other dishes, like soup, and you can use the leaves as well as the stems. It kind of feels like soup weather, doesn't it? I also cleaned up the thyme planting so there a small bunch of that, which can also be dried if you don't want to use it right away. The peppers are still coloring very slowly, so I've harvested one with just a little color and if you leave it on the counter for a few days or a week it will color completely and be very sweet. The variety for today is Jimmy Nardello, which looks like a hot pepper, but is actually one of the sweetest peppers I've ever had. Last week some of you got a Little Finger eggplant. Today some of the other pick up sites are getting them. I've been making a lot of thai curries lately and one or two of these would be perfect to chop up and toss into a bit of coconut milk with some chili paste and fish sauce and simmer until it's soft.

I was bold today and pulled out all of the irrigation from the field to make it easier to do the weeding and path maintenance we need to do. It looks like we're going to have a decent amount of moisture this week. At this point I'm actually hoping for a little rain tomorrow and Wednesday. The plants are also growing much more slowly with the cooler, shorter days so they're not using as much water.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Divide

Rain and wind, cool nights and shorter days, fall is officially here.  However, this weeks share has a lingering summer flavor.  You will notice a sampling of cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes and basil.  Unfortunately all of these crops hate cool, wet weather.  The squash and cukes tend to get powdery mildew this time of year, while the tomatoes inevitably get blight and the basil turns a decrepit black from some other deathly disease.
In short, this may be the last you see of these veggies, which is why with regards to the basil, you get the whole plant.  Hopefully this means a batch of pesto is in your future.

I found this very basic pesto recipe at  I have substituted pine-nuts with walnuts and left out the Parmesan for my lactose intolerant friends and it always turns out great.  However, I also like to add in a little fresh squeezed lemon juice to give a little extra kick and prevent rapid oxidation of the basil.  I might even add in those beet greens if I didn't have enough basil.
  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled, and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency.  
You will also see the first pepper of the season.  It may look hot, but don't be fooled, this pepper is sweet and goes by the name Jimmy Nardello (Josh may want to correct my spelling).  Most folks think of peppers as being a summer crop, but way up here in the great Northwest  we need all the time we can get for peppers to fully ripen, especially when we have a cool and drawn out spring like we had this year.  You will notice that your pepper may only have a hint of red, but if you leave it on your kitchen counter for a few days you may just end up with a perfectly red and ripe fruit to enjoy.  Just don't wait too long or it will become a bit leathery and lose its crisp texture.  Hopefully you will see a few more of these before it gets too cold.

A fall share wouldn't be complete without the addition of root crops so we included a Red Ace beet (or two) and some Yellowstone carrots, both of which I prefer cooked.
Lettuce will be in the share until we have our first frost, which could be within a couple of weeks...Yikes!  Lettuce loves the cool, moist weather of season caught on the great divide.  Enjoy it while you can.  Jack Frost is right on our heels. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Day of Summer

Same share as Monday, once again. And today is in fact the last day of summer and the last summer share delivery. It was a beautiful day, starting with an incredible sunrise and ending up with some good heat. We need all the heat we can get to ripen the peppers and eggplant, as well as the remaining tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash.

The 10 day forecast has us going into a bit of a wet patch. Lets hope we come out the other side with a bit more of this warm dry weather once the full moon passes next week.

I'm off to Canada next week to teach a little workshop up there. Kji will be doing the harvest and I'll be missing the first fall share of the year. Kji's access to internet isn't quite the same as mine so the blog may be a bit delayed next week, just a little warning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flower Shares at Near East Yoga

We don't grow cut flowers (at least not for now) at Slow Hand Farm, but one of the folks who I've been practicing next to for a few years now at Near East Yoga has decided to start offering flower shares on Thursday nights, same as our CSA shares. If you're interested in finding out more check out her blog and website and get in touch with her. The shares start next week, same as our fall shares!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last Week of Summer

This is the last week of summer and the last week of summer shares. Fall shares will start next week and we still have a few spots open. The cool wet weather is certainly making it feel like fall, and today's low hot sun in the afternoon did as well.

In the share today are a couple of new items and a few old ones as well. The most exciting item, I think, is a small bag of camomile for tea. It's dried so it will keep indefinitely. Making its way back in to the shares is chard. I'm cleaning up the chard bed, getting ready for fall. The tomatoes, cucs and summer squash have all really slowed down. Many tomatoes also split from the rain so there are fewer of them in the shares today and the cherries should probably be eaten right away. Split tomatoes are still good to eat, they just don't keep at all. There's a small bit of dill and lettuce and we harvested the last of the potatoes today, Rose Finn Apples. These are similar to the Russian Bananas we gave out earlier, a fingerling, but they have a red tint which is very pretty. They're also a bit larger on average, although still very small.

The first of the cover crop which was seeded last week actually germinated in the rain. We got a bit more in today to cover the potato bed which is finished now.

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the party on Saturday. I had a great time making pizza and hanging out with everyone. I hope no one caught a cold from the drizzle. It sure was nice to have a fire going.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Golden Tickets

Today's share is the same as Mondays, so take a look at the photo and comments there. A few lucky folks are getting a bonus item today, either a green pepper from a few plants that needed to be thinned, or a couple of Little Finger Eggplants. The Peppers are a red variety called Reliably Red bred by a friend, Robelee Evans. He's down in a bit warmer drier area so I'm trialling them to see if they'll ripen for us up here. If they'll do it this year I'll be pretty happy, seeing as how cold and late it's been. The eggplant are a very small variety, which I thought would be appropriate for our small shares. We tried it last year and got nothing, but I wanted to give it one more chance and it's starting to set some fruit now. Both this year and last have been very late for summer fruit. A lot of growers have gone to using plastic tunnels and ground covers to speed things up, but we're just growing outside with no supplemental plastic. I'm tempted to start using a bit more next year, as it would make a difference, but I really don't like working with the stuff so we'll see. By the way, we'd love to see you at the farm on Saturday. We'll have pizza, be giving tours, etc. Have I mentioned that before?

Pizza Party and Farm Open House Saturday

From SHF 2011

Just a reminder - we'd love to see you all at our pizza party and farm open house this weekend. We'll be firing the wood oven and making pizzas with farm veggies from 1-3pm this Saturday. We'll be out there before that to get the fire going and to clean up the fields, give tours, hang out, etc., so come by early if you like. Bring something you'd like to put on top of pizza, or a side dish to share, and make sure to bring your own plates and utensils. If you need directions let me know.

PS it's always cool a drizzly for these events but there's plenty of space in the barn to stay dry.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Continues

Aggh, blogger just deleted my draft, and wouldn't you know it, I'm in a rush. Here's the very quick version, lots of summer vegetables today, kind of the standards. Tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash and basil all need to be picked regularly to keep producing, which is why they're in the shares pretty much every week that they're in season. We had a few leftover potatoes from the earlier pick so those are in the share, along with some Yellowstone carrots I pulled today. Lettuce is a staple, although the head and slugs have been rough on it lately so we may hit a lull soon.

Cover crop got seeded for the fall today - rye and vetch mix. Much more of that, and on that soon.

Remember the Pizza Party this weekend (look at old posts to see the info).

Keep your fingers crossed for more warm weather, or at least that it stays dry.

Have a great week...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Again, no photo

Yep, Kji was all on his own today as I worked for the day down in Sherwood with a great group of folks who are trying to start a really amazing cooperative farm. Unfortunately that means I have no idea what actually went into the shares today, although I hope it was something good, maybe even a bit like Monday's share. I'll try to get the update soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011


It's been a bit odd the way things have been ripening this year. Today I pulled in a good harvest of tomatoes so the shares are leaning pretty heavily that way. I'm not sure how many there'll actually be for Thursday, we'll see what happens in the next few days. This hot weather is good for us right now, for the most part. The share also has cucumbers, which are appreciating the heat, but it's light on summer squash and a few folks won't get any this week. Our summer squash was really set back by the cold early on and it may never recover. Lettuce continues, mostly Blushed Butter Cos today, but a little Pirat as well. Fennel is back in the share, as well as a bit of parsley. The fennel is very young and will go great in a cold salad, very thinly sliced. The tops can be mixed with other salad greens as well. The parsley would be great chopped and sauteed with those potatoes from last week, or the Shallots from this week. Did I mention that I pulled all of the shallots today? These will keep for months if you don't use them right away, but they're good eating now as well. They're a bit like a mild onion and are often used similarly to garlic to add flavor.

The best news today is that we caught up on planting, and we're actually getting very close to being finished with plantings all together for the year. That means we can start to concentrate on cleaning up some weeds and getting cool season cover crops seeded in the beds that are finished.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Bit Like Monday

From SHF 2011

Very productive day on the farm today and the shares look quite a bit like Monday's so no photo or notes. I guess I will say that the cool week slowed down the summer squash and cucumbers, which was to be expected, so those quantities are a little lower. Last Thursday they were higher than they had been on Monday so these things kind of work themselves out.

The photo is of a bed of spinach we just transplanted. That, three beds of sprouting broccoli, and nearly a bed of radicchio got in the ground today. We're a bit late planting all of that so hope for a long warm fall. At this point we're really close to catching up on all of the plantings. Maybe it'll happen next week and then we can start concentrating on getting cover crops in.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall Pizza Party and Potluck

From SHF 2011

The spring and summer pizza parties were excellent.

We've been having seasonal pizza parties with the wood fired oven on the farm. We'll be having the next one on Saturday, September 17 from 1-3pm. Anyone who wants a tour of the farm or to help clean up the fields a little should come out early. Bring your own plates and utensils and a dish to share if you like. Please don't bring pets, and we'd love it if folks tried to carpool or ride bikes. Hope for good weather so we can picnic on the lawn, otherwise we'll be in the barn again. Email us if you need more details.

Monday, August 29, 2011


When the shares have lots of greens, like in the spring, we can fit five shares in a box and I can carry three boxes at a time. Today I could only get three in a box and I can barely cary two boxes, it must be summer. The heat last weekend helped ripen some tomatoes and cucumbers so we're heavy on those today. The summer squash continues to limp along after a rough start earlier this summer, and I've supplemented with a bit of the extra that Kji has in his plantings (trading him for some extra lettuce). The lettuce looks beautiful right now and today we harvested some Jester and some Pirat, crisp and butter, so one or the other is in the share. I cleared a half bed of Napoli carrots and we dug the first of two varieties of potatoes, Russian Banana. They came out very small for the most part, although they are supposed to be a small fingerling. The benefit here is that you don't have to cut them up, you can just boil them whole, and then pan fry them with a bit of oil, salt and paprika. Or you could do something else if that doesn't sound good. Finally, I also did a harder pinch on the basil today so there's a nice handful in there, perhaps enough to flavor a bit of aioli for the potatoes?

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Today's share is basically like Monday's, so no new photo or notes to pass on. This is what summer should be like, and it looks like it'll stick around at least through the weekend. We're finally getting a few more ripe tomatoes and cucumbers. I'm hoping they're not peaking too late and that a bit more heat will perk them up. Maybe the heat will help the peppers and eggplant which have just been poking along, hardly doing anything. I think it's a bit late for the melons, which also got in the ground late and needed some early heat to speed them up if they were going to make it.

Kji and I were wilting in the sun this afternoon, but we're really happy for the plants. It's not actually that hot out, we're just not used to these temperatures after all of the cool working weather we've had this year. Folks in other parts of the country will laugh when they hear that we're too hot when the high isn't even 90, but for us, this year, that's some serious heat.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beets and onions

Beets and onions in the share today, along with cucumbers, a few tomatoes, summer squash, lettuce and just a pinch of basil and oregano. The onions are cipollini and will keep very well if you don't use them right away. The beets are kestrel, which I grow because I like their flavor, although they have less consistent shape and size than others. The greens are also good on the beets so use them like you would chard. The cucumbers are starting to produce a few more. I really like the flavor of the lemon cucumbers and I actually like the large seed cavity which has a bit of sweet. The tomatoes are very, very slowly starting to increase their production, although that might have just been due to the warm weekend. We're growing sungold and sweetie cherry tomatoes, juane flamme (organge), black prince (dark), and moscovich (red) so I hope you'll see a bit of a rotation in your bags which will let you try them all. Similarly with summer squash we have zucchini as well as patti pans and some bags get one, some another. The basil and oregano are just little pinches due to renovation of the plants. They're just enough to flavor a bit of dressing for the vegetables, certainly no pesto making to be done. With the herbs you can always dry them by hanging if you aren't going to use them immediately. This way they'll keep for a while.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another delicious summer dinner

After floating the Sandy today I had an unusual (for me) appetite for fish. I picked up the boxes and return bags (thanks for returning so many this Thursday, folks), and there were two shares left. After swinging by the store on the way home and picking up a little line caught cod I thought a little vegetable fish stew was in order, along with some risotto.

I basically chunked up the carrots and summer squash, leaving a little carrot to dice for the risotto. I cooked those with half a small onion I had leftover and diced the rest of that for the risotto as well. After sauteing the carrot, squash and onion in a bit of olive oil I added all of the cherry tomatoes, quartered and a bit of water, salt and a few diced sage leaves. As soon as that started cooking I put chunks of the cod in, covered the pan and cooked that medium low until the fish was finished.

The risotto was simple with just the carrot and onion sauteed, then a bit of parsley and olive oil added, then the rice and all of the liquid at once, and a bit of salt. I use a pressure cooked for risotto which make is super simple and requires no stiring - only taking about 10 minutes total.

A last minute addition was to chop up the lemon cucs and toss them with a bit of the dill and some plain yogurt. Super tasty meal, which once again I have no photo of.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More variants

Slightly different again. The biggest difference may be that half the the bags are plastic today, as we finally got to the point where not enough bags came back. The good news is that the vegetables still look decent, even in plastic. I have to admit that the shares are a bit smaller than I would like to see this time of year, it's been a slow growing year and lots hasn't really taken off yet. Today's share has a bit of sage and dill. I like the sage as tea and the dill in dressings but they both have many uses. This is the first day that we had enough tomatoes to give to everyone, although cucumbers are still on rotation. We've been skating by with just enough summer squash to go around, although it's a bit smaller than I would like. There's a good head of Plato II romaine today and to round things out there are thinnings from a very thick planting of yellowstone carrots.

We continue to catch up on planting, but we're not there yet. I'll probably put in a few extra hours tomorrow. Fortunately most other work around the farm can hold off for now - that would be weeding and cleaning up the edges, spreading compost and things like that. Maybe we'll get a little heat this weekend and the summer crops will perk up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Excellent Salad

I ate it all before I could take a picture, but I just wanted to let you know what I did with a leftover share from Monday that didn't get picked up. I take those home sometimes and eat them myself. It's a kind of quality control. Even after three days of no refrigeration the share was completely usable. That always blows me away. Should we really be spending all this money to run our refrigerator?

Tonight I boiled the beans until tender in salted water and then dunked them in cool water. Meanwhile I washed the lettuce and carrots. I sliced up the carrots, chopped the dill finely, and cut the beans into thirds and tore up the lettuce. I made a dressing with a bit of tahini, olive oil, white vinegar that I had soaked the chive blossoms from this spring in and a bit of sea salt. Finally I tossed it all together.

I was pretty happy to find that the beans were really tasty. I've been worried that they weren't as good as I remembered, but they were actually better (although I realized that I should have been warning people to string them - they're an older style and some of the more mature ones have strings). I hope you're all enjoying the bean variety - these might be the only ones of the summer as our second seeding failed and it's a bit late to reseed. If you're not happy with any of the varieties, or if there are ones you think could be better please let me know. We're always refining what we do here on the farm from season to season. Also, we love hearing if you've made something you really liked with the shares, especially things that are super simple.

One last note - this is probably the week that we run out of bags. Unless our members from WK come through big time and return more bags than I gave them we'll be out of luck tomorrow. I've ordered more but they're not going to be here for a few weeks. We'll have to make do in the meantime. The past two weeks folks have been good about returning clumps of bags, but this week that seemed to fall apart and we're pretty desperate right now. I should have ordered more sooner - sorry about that. I'll make sure to have plenty next time round.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Variation on a theme

A similar share to last week as the beans continue to produce, we harvested the remaining blushed butter and flashy lightning lettuces, and the summer squash continues to produce just enough for everyone to get some. Some Napoli carrots this week in place of the Cosmic Purple, very sweet and decent sized. Also, replacing the sage this week is a bit of dill and basil. A few folks will see tomatoes or lemon cucumbers. Both of those crops are coming on very, very slowly but I'm hoping they'll pick up the pace soon. Mostly we're harvesting cherry tomatoes right now but there are also a few Juanne Flamme (yellow), and Black Prince (black). The cherry varieties are the perennial favorite Sun Gold and a new one for us this year, Sweetie, a nice little red one that does have great, sweet tomato flavor. The one other tomato you'll see at some point is Moscovich, our mid sized red tomato with excellent flavor.

We're making a little headway on the fall plantings, although we're still not quite caught up. Today the last seeding of carrots went in, with a bit of cilantro. We also made headway on the beet beds so those should get seeded on Thursday. Then it's on to getting six or so beds of chicory starts planted out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Other herbs

Today's share is similar to Monday's, but instead of sage we have a bit of cilantro and some basil that needed to be pinched. The tomatoes are still poking along and ripening very, very slowly so only a few shares got them today. The same goes for cucumbers. Both look like there's good fruit set coming so we should have them soon, as soon as we get a little more warm, sunny weather I expect. In the meantime, we're catching up on some of the bed preparation and seeding outside and I've got lots of ideas for next year about how we'll keep on top of everything perfectly. Oh yes, I almost forgot that the carrots are different as well. We have Napolis and just a few thinnings from the Yellowstones today. We should have more carrots in the shares soon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Groupo compacto

A compact group of items today. We have the usual lettuce, and as with last week it's a small head again, mixed varieties as I'm pulling the biggest ones from plantings of Blushed Butter, Flashy Lightning and Jester. The beans are slowly sizing up so there's a good handful of Swedish Brown. I went to dig the first seeding of carrots that did anything this season and it was mostly eaten by voles. Off of a 10' planting I got just enough, very small Cosmic Purple carrots to let folks see how pretty they are. Unfortunately I'm not sure I like the flavor, although I'm sure they'll go nicely in a salad or cooked up. The variety is a new one for us and I'm not sure if the flavor is varietal or seasonal. I've tasted them from other places before and they were better. We should have a few more carrots soon as we did get some carrots to germinate after these, orange and yellow ones. Also in the share are cipollini onions. Most of these have a hard core from bolting but they should be tasty none the less. We'll also have more in a week or two. The squash is going very slowly so there's only one or so per share and there'll be a bit of a rotation between patti pans and zuchs. The farm pick up folks got the very first of the Lemon cucs today instead of squash. I'm hoping there will be more of both next week, although it'll take a bit more warmth than we've been getting to really get them going. The same goes for the tomatoes which are just crawling along. Finally, the share has two good sized sprigs of sage which smelled so good harvesting this morning. You can dry this by hanging if you don't want to use it immediately. I like it as a tea with honey.

Kji and I were back together today and we got a bit done. I'm not sure we'll ever catch up, but that's par for the course in the summer. We got the winter cabbage and collards planted and we're on our way to getting the winter carrot beds prepared. We still have some beets to seed as well as a few other minor items. The last greenhouse seeding of the season happened today as well, a little fall spinach. In a few weeks the greenhouse will be completely shut down until January. Hard to believe we'll have all of those starts in the ground soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Today's share is very similar to Monday's, the main difference is that we started picking the Swedish Brown beans - as a green bean. We'll have these for Monday as well so no one will miss out. A good friend of Kji's and mine, Marisa, is visiting from Hawaii and came out to help today. Kji and I farmed with her at Sauvie Island Organics years ago and it's nice to get a nearly annual visit and catch up. I should also mention that every year we've had a few folks interested enough in learning more about what we're doing that they come out and volunteer some labor as a way to learn hands on and see what we do close up. This year we've had two folks, Sera and Ryan, who have pitched in quite a bit of labor, which is always a nice bonus for us. We've also had a lot of visitors who just want to get a quick tour of the farm. Even in the messy state that it's in right now I always like showing folks what we do.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer starting to warm up

We've hit a bit of a lull between the spring goods and full on summer harvests, as is typical for early summer and typical for this year is about a month late. The lettuce is small this week, a bit of flashy lightning or blushed butter. I thinned some beets today, forgetting that Kji gave out beets last week. The tops are good eating, as well as the roots. Kji is out of town and he had a bit of Thai basil that needed to be pinched back so that went into the shares, as well as a few of his summer squashes mixed with our own which are just starting to come on. Kji is growing Costada Romanesco, the stripped zucchini. We grew it in the past but it's not quite as productive as some of the others and has a tendency to get big, although the flavor is excellent. We're growing Yellow Scallopini, and two different zucchini that were given to us by Sauvie Island Organics when our seeding of Midnight Lightning failed. Maybe one of these will be a good replacement for the Midnight Lightning. In any case, the summer squashes are randomly distributed among the bags so I hope you get to sample the different types over the course of the season. A bit of an experiment in the bags today is a bunch of turnip greens. I've been eating these on sandwiches at the farm but they're best cooked. They're actually a weed in our parsnips so giving them out does double duty, weeding and harvesting at the same time. They came to be a weed after I let last winter's remaining crops of hakurei and gold ball turnips go to flower for the beneficial insects and bees and then didn't get them out until after they had set a bit of seed. Let me know if you enjoy them and I might make the same mistake again next year. Finally, a few folks saw a tomato last week and a few more are seeing them this week. These are just teasers. There's lots of green fruit right now and we just need a bit more of this warm weather to ripen them. Soon everyone will be getting them, I hope every week.

A few more notes from the farm - Happy Birthday to Kji! He's off celebrating so I'm solo this week. I'm also trying to get all of the fall crops in asap. Today was a catch up day for me though, and what I managed to do was to update my field notes and harvest the fava that had been planted for seed, which frees up a bed for planting. We have about ten beds to plant this week, busy week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's in today's share?


It's actually a mystery to me as well and I'm not sure if Kji will have a chance to upload a photo as we usually do. I'm up in BC right now at Foxglove Farm (above photo) to teach a workshop on growing vegetables with Michael Ableman. This is an annual event for me and I was able to check out their annual festival for the first time this year at the same time. Incredible farm with accommodations if you're looking for a vacation spot, and I'll be teaching with Michael again in September if you're wanting a workshop on Urban Agriculture.

Meanwhile, I hope the share is beautiful and self explanatory today. I can't wait to hear what you got.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What month is it?

The weather looks like May, maybe June, and so does the share, kind of. No summer goodies yet, but we're still solid with lettuce, chard, and parsley and favas which really are early summer goodies. This should be our last pick of favas, and it's our first, of what I hope will be many, pick of parsley. I'm not sure what it is about this year but we're already starting to see some vole damage. I noticed their chewings in the beets and the chard today. They took out an entire chard plant and damaged a few more. We have more deer pressure this year than ever before as well.

We need to deal with both of those items soon, but first we need to get the rest of our fall vegetable plantings in. Today we planted another round of green beans. Lots of chicories are getting seeded now, and as soon as we can get beds ready we'll be putting in the fall and winter carrot seedings. Today was mostly filled with hoeing and tying tomatoes. The rain really stimulated a lot of weed growth and we've been ignoring the weeds for the most part as we catch up on the plantings. It was nice to clean up a lot of the beds, at least a little.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Bags


For the past three years we've been using organic cotton promotional bags to pack the shares. These are reusable and washable and we mostly try to get folks to bring them back. If everyone was perfect about doing this we'd only need 110 bags for our 55 shares - one that's out with the share, and one that's coming back. Last season we ordered 300 bags for what we thought would be 100 shares. We did a lot less that 100 shares. We've been using those same bags this season, but now it seems we're running out. Bags get lost, collect in piles in odd corners and some even fall apart after repeated washings and use so I'm not totally surprised. The only problem is that I haven't ordered more so I better order more soon. They are amazingly cheap in bulk, even screen printed we get them for less than $3 a bag, including shipping. This means that our nearly $700 order of bags has gotten us through about 45 weeks of shares, averaging about 45 shares per week over that time. That's over 2000 bags we've sent out, or seven uses per bag, very roughly - $0.40 per share per week maybe, or something like $5 per share per season. I actually have the exact numbers, but not the time to collect and tally them right now. On the whole I'm pretty happy with how it's going.

If you do have any bags sitting around that should go back into circulation please get them back to us, we'd love to make it through until our next order of new bags comes in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Garlic

Today there are 8, yes eight, heads of garlic in the share. We do not expect you to eat 8 heads of garlic this week, but these will keep for months and the skins will dry if you leave them in a place with decent air circulation (like an open bowl on the counter). We don't really have a place to store them, so we're sending them all out right now. Last fall when we planted the garlic we were planning for more shares, but then we scaled back a little so there's more garlic than we intended. There were also more onions that we intended so we're giving out the last of the sweet onions this week. The peas from last week were done in by the heat so we've switched over to favas this week. We also have a bit more fennel and the first pinch of basil which will allow the plants to bush out a bit and start really producing (we hope).

This weekend I had the great fortune to spend 7 hours giving a really in depth tour of the farm and our systems to the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program that is being run by OSU Extension and Multnomah County. It was a sizable group and everyone had great questions, some of which I'm realizing I didn't answer all that well and I should write out more complete answers when I have a chance. Farming in the way that I do at Slow Hand Farm is something I'd been wanting to do for about ten years by the time I actually started the farm. The farm is a bit of an experiment to see if some of my ideas work, and how to make them better, and I also wanted it to be a model I could share with other folks interested in small scale production. I was really glad to be able to share what I've learned so far with this group of beginning growers, and their questions about the CSA made me remember how much I owe to all of the CSA members who have been supporting the farm over the past three seasons. I love bringing the members produce, connecting folks to the farm, and hearing stories about how people are enjoying the food. What a great community that's supporting agriculture here in Portland.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What? No Photo?

Yep, I'm rushing a bit today and the share, once again, is the same as Monday's was. I'm rushing to go table for the Portland Area CSA Coalition at the Ecotrust Sundown Series. There's free music, info tables, etc. Come see me there.

Quick update on the farm front, we've finally caught up on all of the planting and seeding, more or less. It was a busy week but I think next week we'll finally get to some of the weeds and other plant care that's been waiting for a free moment.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spring or summer?

It does kind of look like a spring share today, although I really think of peas as early summer. These are shelling peas so while the pods have good flavor and can be used to flavor stock, they're so fibrous they're not really edible like a snap pea - eat the little peas inside, and they're best sightly boiled or steamed. They go really well in hearty salads or on pasta. A big sweet onion with the onion greens as well. These are from overwintered sweet onions and they'll be good raw or cooked in a dish. A small bulb of fennel with the greens. Greens are good in salad, as is the bulb if sliced thinly. Both can also be cooked, which looses the anise flavor, but is also a tasty treat. Finally, a head of Jester lettuce, big and crunchy. I'm guessing you'll know what to do with this one.

It was a warm one on the farm today. I'm thinking about heading out to the farm for some extra irrigation and planting catchup on Wednesday. We're normally only out on Mondays and Thursdays but the farm could use a little extra love right now. I did manage to stake and prune most of the tomatoes today, although I didn't get them all tied up. There are actually a few green tomatoes on the plants so we should have some summer fruit this year; hard to believe after that wet, cold spring.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Same share, again

Yep, the same share as Monday this Thursday, more or less, so I'll let you read the last post to get the info on the veggies. I actually did some quick harvest this morning before heading off on a great tour of the One Green World nursery down in Mollala - maybe some interesting fruit in our future? Maybe, not for a while. I came back this afternoon to find Kji still packing vegetables. We did get a bit of greenhouse seeding done, and I'm guessing it'll be another week or two before we're totally caught up on field plantings. The reality is we'll probably never be caught up on field work, but that's ok. A little pano of the fields this afternoon above. Things are looking pretty good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Early Summer Treats

Lots of items new for this year in the share today. I did the first pick of the Rainbow Lacinato kale this morning and cleaned up the plants a little in the process. With a little luck this planting will carry us all the way through to next spring when we'll be eating the raab. Kale is great chopped small in raw salads (like a slaw) or sauteed with olive oil and garlic. There's also lettuce, as usual. A head of Blushed Butter Cos in the share today, a butter/romaine mix with great red color. We put two heads of garlic in the share. These are ready to use, just peel the skins away from the cloves. I'm guessing most of you won't eat two heads of garlic this week so just let it sit on the counter with good air circulation and it will keep for months while you slowly go through one clove at a time. This particular variety is called Siberian and it has very few, but large, cloves per head. We'll have a little more garlic in a few weeks when the later variety is ready. Favas make their debut today. The pods aren't edible, but the beans inside are tasty boiled in salted water or sauteed in olive oil. Some people peel the leathery skin that sits around the bean and just eat the insides, but I like the whole thing. Finally, we're seeing a couple of beets for the first time this year. Kestrel is the variety and the tops can be used just like the chard from weeks past. I like beets best cooked, either roasted or boiled, but some folks like to grate them onto a salad. If you boil them the skins will slip right off. When I roast them I eat them skins and all.

We're almost caught up on planting, just two more beds to go. Unfortunately we're in a rocky patch of the field so the bed prep is going slow. Next year, when most of the rocks are gone, it should go much faster.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Same as Monday

From SHF 2011

The share today is basically the same as Monday's so no extra photo. Instead I'll put up a photo of the favas and peas from Monday. The peas look like they have about two more weeks and the favas probably have a month. We do have another planting of favas from last fall that might actually be ready next week, maybe.

Things are looking pretty good, but we're still playing catch up with planting and bed preparation. We had two of our regular volunteers today, Sera and Ryan, who have been helping us catch up while they learn a little about what we do. We don't rely on volunteer labor, but we do appreciate it, especially when it's well timed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First summer share

First Monday harvest this year as well. With the summer we move to two separate harvest and delivery days, Mondays and Thursdays. The Monday share won't always be the same as Thursday, but usually it will. Today there's a bit of red butter lettuce, some more arugula which has been a workhorse this year, some garlic scapes which I'll talk about in a second, and a small fennel, which I'll also elaborate on. The scapes are the immature flower buds of the garlic plant. We pick them both so that you can eat them, and also to benefit the coming heads of garlic. You can eat them just like any other kind of garlic, but I like them best roasted until very soft. If you're grilling they work great on the grill as well. Some people call them garlic whistles, I'm not sure why, although they are kind of whistle shaped. The fennel is also good raw, or cooked. It's a bit stringy so it's best cut across the grain (the base/bulb part). The tops can be used in salad, or dressings, or however you like. Very thinly sliced fennel goes will with citrus salads, or in the winter time I like to cut it thicker and braise it until it is very, very soft, which changes the flavor from licorice, to a much milder, slightly sweet taste.

We also got a bit of planting done today: lemon cucumbers and little fingers eggplant. The beds for parsnips are almost ready to be seeded and we've got about ten more after that to dig asap. Still a very busy time on the farm

By the way, thanks to everyone who came out to see us at the farm on Saturday, we had a great time and we'll be doing it again when the season changes from Summer to Fall.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

End of Spring

Last harvest for our spring shares today. We have some big heads of lettuce, either romaine or red butter (Plato II or Pirat) depending on the bag. Some thinnings from the overwintered sweet onions are in there, along with tops which are good eating. Our first pick of chard is in the bag, and it looks beautiful, and now the bed is weeded as well. Finally, a bit more arugula, what can I say, it was ready to go. I pulled it with the roots for speed. You could probably eat the roots, but you don't have to.

On Monday we'll start harvesting summer shares, but before that is our Summer Solstice Pizza Party and Picnic Potluck. Saturday 8-4pm on the farm - let me know if you need more details, we'd love to see you out there. Make sure to bring your own utensils and plates and water bottle, we'll provide the pizza, bring a dish to share as well if you like, or toppings for pizza. We'll probably have free lettuce for folks who come early (if you need more lettuce, there's a bed we need to clear to make way for melons).

A couple of other field notes from today. We broke down and got enough hose and valves to allow us to keep the irrigation hose in one place and not have to move it (except for mowing, which will still be an issue). Today was great, no screwing and unscrewing hoses and dragging them down the aisles, just flipping valves. We also finally go the peppers in and the eggplant bed is very close to being ready. There continues to be a lot of planting to do, maybe I'll show up extra early on Saturday and see what I can get done. Kji has already said he'll be out there all day.