Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garlic Scapes! Garlic Scapes! Garlic Scapes!

Don't forget - buy your tickets to the new Slow Food Whidbey "Taste of Whidbey" event at the markets on Saturday!  Limited tickets available so best to pre-purchase if you can.  $25 a ticket.  Event will be Sunday, June 27th at Greenbank Farm from 2 to 4 p.m.  Five local grocers, five great local chefs working together to offer a "tasting" of Whidbey's great seasonal fare.  Plus wine from Whidbey Winery!  Great food, great cause.  Come eat and hang out with the growers, chefs and other foodies!  We will have tickets at the Coupeville and Bayview Willowood Farm booths for sale.  Tickets will be available at the door day of the event, until we run out!

And now, back to our regular scheduled topic.  Something about garlic scapes, I do believe!  To refresh my memory, here's a photo.  Or two. Or three.

So here they are, in all their garlicky glory.  The "scape."  Beloved in Asian cuisine, relatively unknown in American.  Produced by "hardneck" garlic.  Essentially the "seed head" of a garlic plant.  Each garlic bulb only produces one.  Once a year.  Precious, precious commodity.

And another precious commodity.  My youngest, at about 6 months.  Her teething ring of choice?  That's right folks, nothing appeases a teething baby better than a garlic scape!  Not only a great shape to grab for little hands, and the perfect mix of firm/soft and unbreakable texture.  But then your baby has garlic breath!!!!!!!  My farmer heart overflows with pride.  
                                                                                  And here's Farmer Georgie.  Taking a "scape smoke break" in the garlic field.  Because we all have our vices.  Mine?  Dirty hands and garlic scape ciggies.

So, as many folks ask when seeing garlic scapes for the first time.  What the heck can you do with these things!  As the pictures above show, what the heck CAN'T you do with these things????
In general, garlic scapes can be used in anything you would use garlic in. They will be a bit milder.  But...If you want to get a bit more creative.... Try grilling them!  Try braising them!  Try stir-frying them! Try them with a pot roast!  Try them under a bed of salmon!  Try them in pesto!  Try them pickled!
Really, as long as you have taste for garlic, you are going to like garlic scapes.  Think asparagus texture, garlickly flavor.  How can you go wrong with that?
Here are a few recipes, to get you even more inspired...

Oystercatcher’s Quick Pickled Garlic Scapes
Courtesy of Joe Scott, Chef at Oystercatcher in Coupeville, WA
·      Garlic scapes, however many you want to pickle, chopped into 1 inch pieces
·      Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
·      Rice Vinegar
·      Dash of salt
·      Sugar to taste
·      Pinch of whole fennel seed
You will need equal parts of the vinegar, how much depends on how much you are going to pickle.  Chop garlic and pack clean mason jars.  Boil equal parts of both vinegars, add sugar and salt to taste.  Sugar should balance the acidity of the vinegar.  How sweet – versus tart – you make it is a personal preference depending on how you like your pickles.  When boiling, pour over scapes.  Add a pinch of whole fennel seed.  Seal lid.  These pickles are ready in 4 hours.  If you prefer to keep the scape whole (which gives you a very cool shape on a plate), you should plan to let the pickles sit for at least a week (or more) so they absorb the pickling juices.  By chopping the scapes you provide more surface area to absorb the pickling juices quickly.

Garlic scape pesto
1 pound garlic scapes 
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil (about 1/2 to 1 cup)
Pine nuts if available
Chop the garlic scapes into 3 inch lengths. Put it int he food processor and process until pureed. Add the parmesan and pine nuts and process until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil as the food processor runs and continue until all the oil is combined into the garlic. Store in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator.
So, have fun with garlic scapes!  And yep, we will be bringing them in LARGE the Coupeville and Bayview markets this weekend.  Along with the following fresh from the fields goodies:
From Willowood Farm:
Broccoli, kale - 3 flavors, collard bunches, chard bunches, fresh garlic, garlic scapes, mesclun mix, spinach bags, red japanese turnips, purple Italian artichokes, kohlrabi, pac choi bunches
From Prairie Bottom Farm:
New potatoes, cauliflower, beet bunches, carrot bunches, radishes, peas, Walla Walla onion bunches...
From Whidbey Green Goods (Bayview market only):
Peas, scallions, cabbages, celery...

So hope to see you at the markets!
Farmer Georgie, Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie


Friday, June 18, 2010

Photos, photos and more photos!

I finally got around to taking a few more photos of the farm (and downloading them!).  So I thought today's posting can give you a visual tour of some of our activities here on the farm...

Here is the 2010 team, posing in front of the new hoophouse as I get ready to make the first "cut" and open a door!  Yee-haw!

Rockwell Beans coming up!!!!!!!!!!!  Look at those long, long rows!!!!!!! 

Garlic blowing in the breeze...

And because I know you all want to know what's is the list for the Coupeville and Bayview markets tomorrow:
From Willowood Farm -
- Kohlrabi!
- Garlic
- Garlic scapes
- Walla Walla Onions with greens
- Mesclun Mix
- Kale - 3 kinds
- Chinese cabbage
- Pac Choi
- Head lettuce
- Broccoli
- Purple artichokes
- Pea vines
From Prairie Bottom Farm
- Lettuce mix
- Red and green spinach
- Baby carrot bunches
- Beet green bunches
- Chard bunches
And more....
Farmer Georgie is actually going camping with family this weekend so make sure to say hi to the interns this weekend at the market!  And don't forget to purchase your Slow Food "Taste of Whidbey" tickets!  We will have them at both booths!
Off on a beautiful day...
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Slow down and enjoy!

Slow down and enjoy!  Is it even possible for a farmer in June?
Hmm...I don't know.  I do know that I think the past week might have been one of our craziest ever.  I don't think there was a day I didn't work at least 14 hours.  One day I worked 16!
Why?  Because there is just SO MUCH to do in June!  I finally finished planting the 2.5 acre bean field this week between rain storms (the Rockwells are already up!), we put the plastic on our new 1000 sq feet greenhouse, we picked insane amounts of food, we got a start on getting our squash planted (lots more to do there...) and we got the tomatoes planted!   Oh, and weeded.  Always the weeding...
So the fact that I'm going to be selling tickets at the farmer's market this weekend for a really cool farmer-chef tasting event for a new Whidbey Island "Slow Food" chapter has been kinda cracking me up.  The whole idea of "Slow Food" is to slow down, enjoy fabulous regional food, sit down at your table and break bread together with family and friends!  I love it!  I dream of it!  I hope for it, someday?????
Lately my enjoying my 8 acres of vegetables has involved eating dirty Japanese turnips in the fields, trying not to eat one pea for every one I pick, and eating raw broccoli straight from the plant.
So, I'm going to re-dedicate myself to slowing down, enjoying all the great food I grow! I hope you will join me in that pledge.  Appreciate the fruits not only of the labors of your own (if you have a garden) but your local farmers (yes, like yours truly), but especially the miracle that is our amazing cycle of nature, birth and renewal, the magic of seeds and the glory of converting rain and sun energy into healthy, tasty lovely food!  Because we all gotta eat right?  Might as well eat right!
And on that note, here are the details on this great Slow Food event coming up:
Sunday, June 27th from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Greenbank Farm. Six local chefs will be pairing with local producers to offer a "tasting" made from fabulous, seasonal foods grown right here on Whidbey.  For instance, Willowood Farm will be pairing with Chef Sieb Jurrians of Prima Bistro, to produce some fabulous plating from some yummy veggie picked from the fields that week.  Other restaurants represented include Oystercatcher, Whidbey Pies, Christopers, Deception Pass Cafe and Fraser's Gourmet Hideaway.  Growers include yours truly, Rosehip Farm and Garden, Three Sister's Beef, Penn Cove Mussels and several others.  I'm hungry already!
Each chef and farmer team will set up in a booth together, highlighting the prepared food and showing off fresh from the fields products as well.  And there to talk to you about what the grow, cook and do!
Tickets are $25 and can be bought from participating vendors (like Willowood) at the farmer's market, or at participating restaurants.  The money goes straight to buy the food from the farmers (thank you very much!), and to help support the newly formed Whidbey Island Slow Food Chapter.  Slow Food is an international group, focusing on supporting regional food traditions, sustainable food production and yes, just slowing down and enjoying fabulous food!
And now, as the sun shines out my window (yeah, yeah, yeah!), let's get to the list of food coming to the Bayview and Coupeville markets today....
From Willowood Farm
- Broccoli!  Loads of it! 
- The very popular bags of heirloom, edible podded peas
- Fresh Garlic!
- Garlic scapes
- Kale bunches (2 kinds)
- Red and White Japanese turnips
- Rainbow chard bunches
- Baby pac choi bunches
- Chinese cabbage bunches
- Walla Walla onion bunches
- Mesclun bags
- More ginormous heads of lettuce (this may be the last week for head lettuce for a few weeks when a new planting is on, so get while the getting is good!)
And more...
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm
- Lettuce Mix
- Mesclun Mix
- Baby carrot bunches
- Baby beet bunches
- Spinach
And more....
So we hope to see you there!  I'll be holding down the fort at Coupeville this weekend as Wilbur and Julieanna at gone for the National History Day competition (Go Wolves!).  For those of you in Bayview, make sure to say hi to two of my fabulous interns, Dan and Matthew!

Thank you for supporting (and eating!) local food!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dare we say....Sun?????

We hear a rumor, that the sun might grace us today.  The weatherman says so (and we ALL know how right on he is...).  Plus, as I type this, I look out the window at the morning sky and I see something strangely blue peeking out from breaks in the clouds.
Sun? Sun? Say it is so!
The rainy weather has definitely put a "damper" on a few things around the farm.  Literally.  It's hard to plant when you got fields worthy of a Las Vegas world class mud wrestling extravaganza.  Somehow, however, between momentary "dry" breaks, we were able to get about half of the dry beans planted.  Hopefully the rest, not to mention lentils and garbanzo beans, will go in this next few days.  Along with the wet, it has also been unseasonably cold (we heard we set a new record for the "lowest high temp" last week!), so we've also been worried about those sensitive heat loving crops rotting in the soil.  That's no fun!
The good news with all this wet, cool weather - the greens and cole crops have been LOVING it!  And with that, how about I get right onto the list of all the delightful veggies we will be bringing to the Coupeville and Bayview markets today?????
- Head lettuce, head lettuce, head lettuce!  It keeps getting bigger and better.  Look for loads of butterhead (aka bibb) types at the markets this week.  
- Peas!  They were a big hit last week and so we've picked loads more!  Sweet, tender, edible podded peas.  Great raw or steamed gently and tossed with butter and kosher salt.  Yum!
- Garlic scapes!  We had these a few weeks ago via our first "early" varieties.  Now we starting into the main crop.  If you have never had garlic scapes before, they are wicked cool!  Think asparagus texture but garlicky taste.  Really cool barbecued, braised or even pickled!
- Garlic!  That's right, we said garlic!  This is true "green garlic" which means I pulled it straight from the field yesterday and it has not had a chance to cure.  Which means incredibly juicy, sweet and even mild! 
- Kale - several flavors today and ever so sweet!
- Baby pac choi bunches.  Always a favorite.
- Scallions
- Red Giant mustard bunches
And a few more surprises...
From our pals over at Prairie Bottom Farm
- Red and green spinach
- Arugula
- Lettuce and mesclun mix
- Chard bunches
- Kale bunches
- Walla Walla Onion bunches (yummy!)
And more!
Hope to see you at market, on this (fingers-crossed) beautiful sunny day to be!
Farmer Georgie, eternally optimistic because that's what it takes to farm...
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie