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.