Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farm Tour This Weekend!

The fabulous FREE Whidbey Island Farm Tour is this weekend and we hope to see you all at Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie!
This is the one time a year when we open up Willowood Farm to the public. It is a great way to see what is going on in the fields, check out the biggest barn on Whidbey Island, and tour one of the most beautiful farms in the Pacific Northwest!
We will be offering lots of harvest time bounty for sale including bulk quantities at discount pricing on many storage items as well as many fresh from the fields goodies:
- Potato Bags
- Dry beans
- Winter Squash, Pumkins and decorative gourds for eating and decorating!
- Garlic
- Seed Garlic for planting
- Fava Beans Seed for cover crop planting
- Big selection of cabbages for making fall kraut!
- Fresh greens including lettuce, arugula, radishes, raab, beets, sweet corn and more!
Depending on weather and equipment, we will be holding several farm demonstration activities - bean cleaning and potato digging!
And remember WE WILL NOT be at the Bayview or Coupeville markets this weekend! Michael at WGG will be "holding down the fort" at Bayview with a small selection and Wilbur and Julieanna will be taking their wagon to Coupeville with the Prairie Bottom food but if you want to stock up on the Willowood Farm bounty COME TO THE FARM!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watch out for flying squash!

Watch out for flying squash! You think I jest? Well, just ask Kevin, Willow or Elizabeth (the farm interns) about the crazy antics of flying winter squash. How, you may ask, does winter squash fly? Well, take one farmer and some clippers, A LOT of winter squash, a relay team of interns to get the squash from the middle of field to the edge of the field and...well things get a little crazy! Those little gourds and mini pumpkins, they aren't so bad, but a 20 lbs Sweet Meat squash flying through the air????? Incoming!!!!!!!
So granted, we will have LOTS of winter squash at the markets this week. Pumpkins, squash, gourds, big ones and little ones in all shapes and colors, warts and all (seriously, we have ones with warts!). These are the beauties to grace your countertop or front porch in all their fall glory and then, you get to eat them too!
Some come on down to the Bayview and Coupeville markets and load up on squash! We will, of course, also have a nice selection of other goodies including -
* Broccoli
* Cauliflower
* Cabbage
* Kohlrabi
* Head Lettuce
* Mesclun Mix
* Onions
* Potatoes (including a few 10 lbs storage bags!)
* Garlic and Seed Garlic
* Dry Beans - Rockwells! And hopefully Black Kabuli Garbanzo beans as well!
* Summer Squash
* Corn
* Sunflower seed heads for drying for seeds for either humans or birds to enjoy!
* Rainbow Chard and lots more I'm probably forgetting...
Also coming from Michael at WGG (to the Bayview market only) - tomatoes, pears, apples, cucumbers and grapes...

On a final note (and to see if you are reading this!), next weekend (Oct. 3 & 4), is the FREE Whidbey Island Farm Tour and Willowood Farm will be open to the public on both days!
Because of the tour WE WILL NOT BE AT THE BAYVIEW MARKET ON OCT. 3RD! You can tour the fields, check out our amazingly awesome HUGE historic barn, giggle at the turkeys and pet the horses. And we will be selling LOADS of great fall-time veggies -potatoes, dry beans, garlic, winter squash, etc., etc., etc...We hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I awoke this morning to the welcome sound of raindrops! What a dry, dry summer we've had. Of course, would have been nice if it would have held off for market day but then on the other hand, I know a little bit of wet certainly won't keep away our loyal customers! (Hint, hint...).
Weather is such an amazingly important thing for a farmer, yet, we have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL over it. This is a dilemma. In the spring, when you ponder your crops and make your decisions, a lot of your success (or lack of it), can be directly linked to the weather.
Last spring, when it just kept raining and raining and raining and everybody kept whining and whining and whining...Every where I went people were complaining about the weather. At ths coffee shop - "Will this rain ever stop? I'm so depressed..." At the post office - "I can't get outside to jog, I've put on 5 lbs?" At the grocery store - "I think my tulip bulbs are rotting! My flowerbeds look horrible." Yet, for 99 percent of the folks, the endless rain was really just an annoyance. It didn't actually affect their ability to do their job or make their paycheck.
Now, for a farmer? Unseasonal or unusual weather can literally wipe out your profit for a year. Just think of the poor tomato and potato farmers in the East Coast this year? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/11/AR2009081100754.html
If your smart, you have a diverse planting scheme and so weather that affects one crop hopefully won't bother others. But still. Loads of work down the drain (sometimes literally!). I read recently where some financial evaluation of the business of farming and they were noting how there were really, a lot more inherent risks in farming then perhaps had been previously factored in. From literally day to day decisions (do I go watch the kids piano recital OR...plant the beans on what turns out to be the last day before I can't get into the fields for 3 weeks due to endless rainstorm...) to those "unknown" variables such as weather events. Yet, the funny thing is, most farmers I know (at least the ones that have been doing it for a long time) are the least likely one to complain about the weather. A few shrugs, a "well, it's been an awfully wet/dry/cold/hot (insert one) year...Yep." And you move on. Farmers are nothing, if not eternally, ridiculously optimistic!
So on that note, I'm moving on because guess what, we have LOADS of fabulous food coming to the Bayview and Coupeville markets!
From Willowood Farm
- Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes!
- Garlic, garlic, garlic!
- Winter Squash
- Summer squash
- Head Lettuce
- Turnips
- Shell Beans (probably the last hurrah on those, next stop - dry beans!)
- Cabbages
- Loads of gorgeous broccoli
- Kohlrabi
- Squash blossoms (maybe, if isn't raining too hard when we try to pick this morning!)
And I'm also bringing seed garlic and bags of my own naturally grown small-seeded fava beans that are perfect for fall cover crop plantings!
And the fabulous sweet corn from our friends and neighbors Ebey Road Farm (organic certified to boot!).
From Prairie Bottom Farm
- Beet Bunches
- Dill (hasn't he had THE BEST dill...)
- Winter squash!
- Summer squash
- Spinach
- Lettuce Mix
- Cucumbers - slicing and pickling styles.
- Leeks
Also, Michael from Whidbey Green Goods should be bringing some goodies as well including tomatoes, corn, some local fruits, maybe some green beans!
So, after all this, we hope we see you at the market today! Rain OR shine!
Thank you for your support.
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Market list and potato harvest party!

Hello All!
Just a short post this morning as the roosters begin crowing which means the sun must surely be up soon and time to get busy finishing the morning madness for the market day rush....
We've been busy on the farm enjoying all this lovely late summer weather. This is the time of year for harvest while also the time of year for new plantings. To that affect, we've been working on harvesting potatoes, beginning the first steps of harvesting dry beans (pulling them up and windrowing them), and watching the daily burgeoning winter squash and the growing quinoa seed heads! Meanwhile, new crops of fall and winter greens are coming along and should soon be making an appearance - radishes, turnips, rutabagas, mustards, collards, brocolli, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts, arugula, mesclun, chard, kale...In short, pretty much insanity as usual!
As a matter of fact, if any of you would like to experience the farm insanity FIRST HAND - we will be having a Potato Harvest Volunteer Work-Party this Tuesday. We would love for you to join us if you would like to get dirty and take home a few freshly dug taters! The details:

Willowood Farm Volunteer Work Party - Let's Harvest Taters!
When - Tuesday, Sept 15. Time - 11 to 3.
What To Bring - Lots of water and a sack lunch. We'll break for lunch at 1.
Where - Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie. 399 S. Ebey Rd just outside of Coupeville.
Let Us Know - If you think you would like to come, email me at willowoodfarm@gmail.com and let me know. I'll give you directions to the farm as well!

For this weekend, however, here is the list of lovely food coming to the Bayview and Coupeville markets -
From Willowood Farm
- Cabbages, cabbages, cabbages! They may be big but don't be scared - they hold forever and make FABULOUS sauerkrat and coleslaw. Great end of summer treats.
- Kohlrabi. Add them to the coleslaw!
- Potatoes....loads of potatoes!
- Garlic!
- Summer squash
- Red Kuri winter squash - our first winter squash that is ready to harvest. Nutty, rich flavor great for soups!
- Cucumbers
- Shell beans - dry beans before they are dry! A seasonal treat that we might get one more weeks picking out of before they are too dry in their pods.
- Lovely yellow cooking onions
- Parsnips
- Squash blossoms
- Organic certified yellow sweet corn from my neighbors Ebey Road Farm...

From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm -
- Semi Savoy spinach! Yum!
- Lettuce Mix
- Dill bunches
- Beets
- Carrots
- Green onions and other onions
And at the Bayview market Michael from Whidbey Green Goods will be bringing -
- Tomatoes
- Plums
- Gravenstein Apples
- Beets
- White Sweet corn
And probably many other yummy treats!

Happy Indian Summer!

Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Fall Frame of Mind

Fall really is my favorite time of year. As a farmer I love it because I start to see the fruition of many of our endeavors, and anything that didn't work out? Well, it's too late to worry about now anyways so might as well regulate that to the "will do better next year category." But I also love the colors, the temperature, even the "smell" of fall as cooler nights and rotting leaves intermingle with the enveloping warmth of a sunny fall afternoon.
And of course some of my very favorite veggies come on in the fall. Beans, the fabulous beans. Winter squash. I would grow it just for the fabulous colors and shapes. The fact that they taste great is just a big huge bonus for me! Corn - oh, so fabulous. The sweet kind and the outstandingly beautiful ornamental corn. And of course the endless amounts of garlic and potatoes. Food to feed the masses.

We are just starting to get into the fall season, and I'm anticipating a lovely one this year. Lots yet left to do and many harvests yet to complete. But to start getting everybody into the "fall frame of mind" I thought I would post a few photos taken last season by one of our interns, Tali Aiona. Thanks Tali for these awesome, harvest season photos!
And of course, we are still certainly coming to the Bayview and Coupeville Farmer's markets tomorrow. Rain or shine - we don't care what the weather report says, we'll be there! (There is no such thing as a fair weather farmer, so I expect to see all your chipper faces out there, nevermind the dire predictions of forecasters. Who are they to spoil our fun anyways!). Those that are hearty enough to brave the weather, will be well rewarded with a great selection of fabulous fall treats:
From Willowood Farm:
- Shell Beans! The ever famous Rockwells plus several others.
- Taters, 8 kinds!
- Loads of garlic.
- Summer squash, summer squash!
- And some winter squash too...
- Cabbage. Frightening large. Amazingly good.
- Kohlrabi (repeat above).
- Sweet Corn - organic certified! From our neighbors at Ebey Road Farm
- Cucumbers
- Beets
- Chard
- Sunflower, ornamental corn and other pretty "harvest color" stalks to decorate with...
- Onions, several flavors

From Prairie Bottom Farm
- Amazingly fragrant Dill (seriously, I was putting the horse away 100 yds from the packing shed and I was freaking out that my old quarterhorse had seriously eaten something weird. He smelled like a pickle! Then I realized they were bunching the dill 100 feet away. Those bunches throw a powerful pickling punch, I tell you...).
- Semi-savoy spinach
- Mixed salad greens
- Baby carrot bunches
- Scallions
- Lots more summer squash
- Beans

And for those of you coming to the Bayview market, Michael at Whidbey Green Goods is also bringing a nice selection of tomatoes, slicing cucumbers, carrots, plums, figs (I'm really excited about those! I keep trying to plant a fig tree and so far my only success has been at killing them slowly...), and more goodies!
And a final photo from Tali to get everybody hungry...
Happy eating!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie