Friday, June 29, 2012

Three summer shares available

I just had three summer share holders decide that they couldn't commit to the summer so there are three shares on my porch that need to be used. That also means I'm looking for three more summer share holders. The summer season starts this week and goes into late September - $120 for the season but I'll pro-rate if you're not starting this week. If you want to sign up for a summer share let me know asap, or if you know someone please pass the word. Thanks.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hanging on by a thread

Things have been doing pretty well on the farm but I feel like I'm just barely hanging on sometimes. The right half of the above photo is Slow Hand Farm, the left is Edible Horizons, Kji's operation that runs right next to mine. Kji pulled up in a super fancy truck today, I didn't recognize him at first. Unfortunately it's because his van, with all of his tools got stolen earlier this week. That's the kind of thing that feels like it would put me over the edge right now. Somehow he was still out, harvesting for his members, working with a few old tools he has, driving a borrowed truck. 

The share today was basically the same as Monday's so check out the post for Monday if you're interested. All of the Siberian garlic came out today so you'll be seeing more of that soon once I separate out the seed for next year. Into the garlic bed I finally got the celery, a bit of cilantro and the rest of the celeriac planted. 

On my way out the door to do deliveries the battery on the delivery bike malfunctioned. It's probably just a loose connection somewhere but I didn't have time to troubleshoot it so it was all human power for the trip to town. I've kind of been wanting to see how different it is without the electric motor, so this was the perfect excuse. The good news is that it's completely doable, and not that bad either. It does take a bit longer, especially up the hills, and it definitely takes a bit more work, but in the end, not that bad at all.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Start of Summer CSA

Today is the first Monday harvest for 2012 and it actually matched up pretty well with the projection. Fennel was ready on time and I'm giving out the bulbs and the tops. The tops can be used as a salad green or combined with other greens and cooked in a wild greens pie, something close to the Greek spanakopita. I like the bulbs sliced very thin on salad or sliced thick and braised until very soft and slightly sweet (it takes a long time to really cook fennel). Lettuce is also looking good and finally a seeding of arugula made it past the slugs. The arugula is great in salad or on a sandwich. Finally, the garlic heads are ready. There'll be more of this soon, but I'm starting the shares off with just one head. This is the hard neck Siberian garlic, which is a few weeks earlier than the soft neck I grow. 

A bit of weeding in the field, seeding  in the greenhouse and it's time to make the delivery run. I'm off to town to learn the summer route.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Day of Summer, Last Day of Spring

I do everything by Monday dates so this week is the final spring share even though it's actually the first day of summer. Summer shares will start on Monday, which is the first Monday this summer.

The final share is a good one I think. Chard, which got seeded a bit late, looks beautiful right now and there's a small bunch in the share. Another new item is Magma mustard, a very spicy red mustard. This can be eaten raw, and would take the place of the usual mustard on sandwiches. It will loose a little of its spiciness if cooked, either by steaming or sauteeing.  There is also a sweet onion and a head of lettuce in the share. The sweet onion has the top on and the top is completely edible as well as the delicious bulb. 

Plantings are going pretty well on the farm. I'm almost completely caught up, which is good because the plantings for fall and winter will be cranking up soon. This warm weather and sun should help the summer crops ripen. I noticed that the tomatoes and peppers are finally looking like they've gotten comfortable in the ground and the summer squash is looking much larger as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I did with my share

I got home last night after deliveries and stopping off at Splendid Cycles for their two year anniversary party (amazing showing from the cargo bike community!) and realized that I really needed to make some food fast. This is basically the share, plus a bit of bread, olive oil, balsamic, and toasted almonds, and the sweet onion from last week (no lettuce in there though). A quick one pan meal and so delicious. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Curse of the Logo

Carrots were on the share projection today, but you'll notice that there are no carrots in the share photo above. I've seeded carrots three times, and three times they've come up only to be completely eaten by slugs. I'll try again next week. If I can't get them to work I'm going to have to change the farm logo.

In the meantime the share still looks pretty great to me. There's a good bunch of favas from seed that was planted in late November. I didn't think the plants would do anything, but the few that survived have had lots of space and good yields as a result. I like to shell these only once, and then sautee the beans in olive oil, adding a little garlic at the end. The garlic scapes, another late spring treat, would be perfect chopped up and added to that bean sautee. As would the kale, which is doing very nicely with all of this cool damp weather we're having. Rounding out today's share is a head of Samantha lettuce, another new one for me, but by no means a new variety. It's looking good and the slugs have mostly left it alone

I've got to toss in a quick photo of the delivery bike from this morning. I built a quick rack for the front out of some old cedar fencing so that I can lash both the boxes and tools at the same time. This should come in handy as I'm now working two sites and I need to be able to transport tools too. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Growing Site for Winter

Brussels and leeks for the winter CSA are now planted, the first two plantings for the winter CSA. Soil test results came back from my backyard and my neighbors' back yard last week and that was what I needed to start planting crops for this winter's CSA. As I wrote earlier the farm is moving after four years at Wild Goose Farm on Sauvie Island. For the winter we'll be in St. Johns, with many of those crops planted this month and next. Unfortunately there's not enough space for the CSA to stay in my yard so this is a temporary site, but it allows me to put off the larger move until later in the winter. I'm still looking for a site for next season, but I've got a bit more time now to find a good one.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Growing Practices

Prompted by a  few recent inquiries I've finally actually posted a statement about my farming practices on the About the Farm page. Is the farm Organic? Click through and find out by scrolling down.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spring Rain

Remember a couple of weeks ago when it was sunny and warm? I had fantasies of that being the last we'd see of the rain until the fall. I guess that didn't happen. Still, plants are growing and mostly managing to keep ahead of the slugs, which are absolutely loving this weather. Today's share has some lovely crisp lettuce, a new variety, which I believe is Rosencrantz, although I got my records a bit mixed up with that seeding. The spinach was starting to bolt so I cut the whole plants. It's all usable, but the usual thing to do is to just use the leaves. A few of the overwintered sweet onions have started to size up, right on schedule so I put both bulbs and tops in, both having great, sweet onion flavor. I also stuck a good sized bunch of rosemary at the bottom of the bag. Rosemary, like many other perennial mediterranean herbs, dries very easily on the counter and keeps well so feel no need to use it right away. In fact it's best in small quantities. I like it with potatoes and in baked goods like bread and biscuits. 

I'm on the bike today so just a short post. Time to ride the shares into town...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another Beautiful Day on the Farm

It was a quiet day on the farm today. Kji looked at the same weather forecast as I did and decided his luck might be better tomorrow. I forgot my ear buds so no pod casts or music. For some reason it seemed like there wasn't much traffic either.

I figured the forecast seemed like less rain this morning and if it did rain I had some greenhouse seeding to do so I could duck out of the rain. I was worried that if I put off working until tomorrow that it would rain tonight and soak the ground. In the end it drizzled a bit in the morning and misted slightly in the afternoon. The morning's drizzle wasn't even enough to soak in below the surface and I was able to cultivate all of the beds with the hoe with no sticky soil. In the afternoon I was so sick of the steamy rain gear that I ignored it when it started misting and I didn't even get wet. I got more wet from having to run irrigation than from anything else. It's always a bit crazy to think that even though it's "raining" that there's basically so little moisture coming from the sky that I still need to put down more water (the soil was actually dry just beneath the surface). As long as the plants are going to get wet, they might actually get watered.

The title of the post might sound a little ironic, and I guess it might be in some ways. This morning at 6 AM, it was so quiet and I really was thinking about how beautiful it is to be in an open field, surrounded by the sky and distant trees and all kinds of wildlife, and my work is to walk around with a hoe, cultivating between rows. There aren't a lot of financial rewards in this business, but there sure are a lot of other benefits.

There are a lot of stresses too. As I was walking around I couldn't help but notice the incredible number of slugs. I usually kill 10-20 a day. Today, more like 100, and there were lots I just ignored. The photo above is a gang of slugs that have been working their way down a line of lettuce. At the top of the photo you'll notice that they've completely stripped a few plants which would have been about as big as the one at the bottom of the frame if the slugs hadn't gotten them first. I'm hoping I got enough of them to halt their progress or we're going to have a little lettuce shortage in about four to five weeks.

On a more positive notes: the cucumbers and celeriac are now planted, and I picked up the Bullitt cargo bike from Splendid Cycles yesterday so this Thursday I'll be back in the bike delivery business!