Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hankering for a salad?

'Cuz we've got all the fixings!  Salad type that is...

One of my favorite things about growing stuff, is how I can explore the great diversity of mother nature within a topic.  Huh?  Well, take lettuce for example...We have planted this year about a dozen different varieties.  They are a palette of contrasting colors, textures, shapes and yes, even taste.  Butterheads, French Crisps, Oakleafs, Deer Tongues, Romaines - and them combinations of all the above.  There are literally 1000s of lettuce varieties, from very old heirlooms brought over to the United States in the late 1800s by Mennonites (Amish Speckled, we grow that one too!) to new breeding lines developed by our favorite organic seed breed, Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seeds in Williamette Valley.   Two of our standout favorites- Flashy Butter Oak and Blushed Butter Oak, both lettuce "cousins" from the same breeding lines yet very different in appearance and flavor, come from Frank's work to develop new lettuce varieties suited for organic growing systems.
Fascinating stuff!  And so tasty too...

Of course the sad part of modern day agriculture and, our usual grocery store options, is all the bounteous options that mother nature provides? Down to, well if they are REALLY pushing the envelope, four choices.  Green leaf, red leaf, romaine and butterhead/bibb.  Don't even attempt to ask the actual name of those grocery store varieties, most of those types, bred for the all important "ability to ship and hold well" don't even have names - just numbers!  R45-K.  Or something fabulously appetizing like that.
I don't know about you, but I'm bored already!

But that's the great thing about being a small farmer and marketing directly to my customers.  I am not locked into an contract to grow 10,000 heads of "red leaf" lettuce for 30 or 40 cents a head.  Instead, I can plant staggering crops of 2000 heads, comprised of 12 different varieties, that come maturity,  look like mother nature had a quilting bee in my fields.

Gorgeous! And fun.  And I've said it before and I'll saying it again...if you aren't having fun farming well believe me, there is NO REASON to be doing it!

But lucky for you all, I LOVE farming!  It's a treat everyday to go outside and tackle the latest problems, enjoy the successes, reap the bounty!  And I especially love bringing the harvest to you!
So on that note (notice my clever transition!)...Here's what we will be bringing to the Coupeville and Bayview markets today!

From Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
*Head Lettuce (if you didn't get that from above...).  A nice selection of many of our favorites.  But don't worry if you miss us this week, we will be into loads of head lettuce over the next several weeks.
* Mesclun bags (great mixed with the head lettuce, btw!)
* Arugula bags
* Mache bags.  If you have never tried mache, come try a sample.  It is a delightfully sweet, nutty and hard to find specialty green.  A real spring treat! (And we have recipes!).
* Braising greens - mixed bunches
* Giant Red Mustard - this one is HOT! Fabulous with fish!
* Broccoli Raab (I hear Martha S is a fan...)
* Tatsoi bunches (since so many of you asked for them last week)
* Radishes - loads of them again!  In all the colors of the rainbow.  Great with your lettuce/mesclun salad!  Plus we have some great recipes for pickled and roasted radishes!
* Purple Baby Pac Choi

From Prairie Bottom Farm
* Spinach - red and green!
* Napa cabbage bunches
* Walking onion bunches
* Overwintered scallion bunches
* Young Walla Walla bunches
* Wild Arugula bunches
* Chard bunches
And more....

Hope to see you all at market on this beautiful island day!

Farmer Georgie, having heaps of fun...
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you are havesting lettuce in our state already. The weather has been so sucky this year. I guess because I live in the foothills I am used to the fact nothing much but weeds grows for me this time of year.