Monday, February 25, 2013

Our Table

The Farm Has a New Name!

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

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

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

Our Table Pano

Sign up for the CSA now!

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

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

spring share

New List

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Foraging the back forty

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

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

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

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Farm, New Farm Crew!

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 4, 2013

Share 3

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

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

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

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