Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bring a little bit of the exotic to your plate - Dragon Tongue's Beans!

Today (or really, this morning) I decided to feature one of my favorite varieties that we grow ever year on the farm. 
Voila!  Dragon Langerie, aka "Dragon's Tongue" beans!
Dragon Langerie beans first are unusual in that they are #1 -Not green.  Then add in the fact that they are flat (Romano type) AND marked with purple stripes...That is one crazy looking bean!  But beyond the psychedelic appearance - so tasty!
Dragon Langerie beans are for me, the BEST, fresh eating "snap" type bean in the garden. I'll eat them raw as well!  So crisp, juicy and sweet!  No "fibrous" or chalky taste that many beans sport.
Steam them or boil them GENTLY (overcooked Dragon's Tongues, like most beans, turn into mush) and they will retain faint purple markings.  I admit they are not always the "prettiest" bean on the plate...but they are always the best.  Very rich and "beany" and oh...I'm getting hungry!
Dragon Langerie beans, which are a heirloom bush variety from the Netherland's, of all places, are one of those vegetable varieties that represent all that is right and good about eating and buying local food.  You are likely to NEVER find Dragon Langerie beans at your local grocery store (well, unless I sell them to them!), because they do not "transport well" and will loose their crisp wonderfulness quickly when not enjoyed as they should be - soon after picking at the peak of ripeness!
So today, stop by the Coupeville and Bayview markets and expand your eating boundaries and enjoy an unusual summer treat - try some Dragon Tongues! 
Before we continue on into the rest of the "list of goodies" a few scheduling dates:
* This Sunday, the 29th.  Farmer Georgie will be talking about garlic and potatoes at bayleaf in Coupeville.  $5 sign up, limited availablity.  Call bayleaf to reserve your spot!  678-6603.
* The Whidbey Island Farm Tour is approaching rapidly (eek!).  Sept. 11 and 12th!  Just two weekends away (double eek!).  Willowood Farm is proud to be one of the featured farms.  And because this is our big "garlic" time of the year...well, we decided to feature garlic!  We will be offering all sorts of food and seed (for planting) garlic.  We will have garlic braids.  We will be having garlic tastings.  Garlic recipes. Garlic planting demonstrations.  Garlic, garlic, garlic, garlic!  So come, check out our awesome historic barn, walk around the farm, laugh at the turkeys and buy garlic!

And now...(drum roll...)...the list!
From Willowood Farm
- Head lettuce!  New crop, smallish but PERFECT!
- Beans.  (If you didn't catch that from above).   Lots of beans!
- Shelling peas
- Sugar Snap peas
- Beet bunches
- Onions of all flavors
- Leek bunches
- Garlic - food and seed grade!
- Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes
-  Basil
- Other stuff I'm forgetting!

From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farms
- Summer Squash
- Baby beets
- More beans
- Kohlrabi
- And lots other stuff...

From Mikey at Whidbey Green Goods (Bayview market only) -
- Chanterelle mushrooms!
- Local apples!
- Local plums - several flavors
- Cherry tomatoes!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peas and Beans paradise!

Nico - Picking her 5th bin of English Shelling Peas!  Go Nico!
It's a legume lovers paradise on the farm right now!  Yesterday we (or actually Nico, the pea picker extraordinaire...) picked 115 lbs of English Shelling Peas!  Plus over 100 lbs of assorted green beans!


So what do we do with so many peas and beans!  Eat them!  Can them!  Freeze them!  Pickle them! 

Peas and beans are one of the "staples" of any summer garden, although I would like to point out that most places can't grow decent peas in late August!  That's thanks to our cool Pacific Northwest weather which, while it may be the bane of sunbathers, kind work in your favor in regards to cool weather loving veggies.

If you haven't had English Shelling Peas, well, they are one of the things that garden memories are made of.  There is just about nothing as good as eating a sweet and tender freshly shelled pea at the perfection of ripeness.  And having a hard time getting your kids to eat veggies?  Well, shelling peas are just about 100 percent foolproof for kid fascination.  First, they are like a little present.  They get to open them!  Then, they are a math problem.  Count how many peas!  Then...they are a tasty treat.  Umm...sweet!  It's not wonder kids (and parent's) love them.
If you don't get around to just eating fresh all your shelling peas...well, shelling peas are fabulous frozen.  Just a quick blanch in boiling water and then pop them in some freezer bags and come December and January - all the sweet essence of summer stored in your freezer.

As for beans...well, who could go wrong with beans?  We picked four kinds - all our favorites.  The gorgeous Purple Podded, the sexy Yellow Wax, the diminutive Dwarf Haricot Vert, the outrageous Dragon Langerie.  We love them all! Come check them out along with our recipes for pickling and four bean salads!

And of course, we have much more than peas and beans at the market today.  Things are really growing right now...So come check out the bounty at Bayview and Coupeville markets.

From Willowood (in addition to a couple 100 lbs of peas and beans...):
- Potatoes!  Multiple kinds including fingerlings, Maris Pipers, Romanze, Carola and Mountain Rose!
- Garlic! Garlic! Garlic!
- Chard
- Kale
- Collards
- Onions - three kinds!  Torpedoes, Ailsa Crag (big sweet onion) and fancy-schmancy cippolinis!
- Leek bunches!
- Summer zucchinis
- Cabbage!

From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm
- Tromboncino summer squash
- Kohlrabi (Coupeville only)
- Cooking onions
- More potatoes and garlic
- Scallions
- Lettuce mix
- Beets
- Carrots!

Turkeys in the beans!  Naughty Turkeys!

And finally, a gratuitous Turkey photo!
See you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yes, we are coming! Off to Bayview Market...

Sorry this is late today but, well, Farmer Georgie is on vacation and slept in...all the way til 7 a.m.! And then I sat around and leisurely drank a cup of coffee while eating a piece of still warm blueberry coffee cake that my wonderful husband got from the local bakery (versus racing around in my truck in the fields at 6 a.m. spilling coffee and eating a banana while is my normal Saturday morning scenario).
So...not the sort of blog you expect to read about farming, huh? Well, let me tell you. Farming is REALLY REALLY hard work. Especially this time of year. I get to feeling like every day is insurmountable amount of overwhelming things that must be done RIGHT NOW or face immediate catastrophe. I knew an old farmer who used to say, "I can handle emergencies, as long as they come one at a time once a day." Yep, know that feeling!
And I know, when I start fantasizing about going on vacation so I can "sleep in the car on the drive there," that maybe, yes, it's time to take a few days off!
So, last year, for the sake of my sanity and so I occasionally have time to touch base with my husband and two girls, I scheduled one weekend a month off. And so glad I did! So now I'm enjoying some time relaxing over in my 2nd favorite area after Coupeville and Ebey's Reserve. Winthrop and the Methow Valley. It's like a Wild West version of Coupeville!
But I know what you folks really like to know is, are we coming to market??? And yes! We are! Because I have an INCREDIBLE self-motivating, independent thinking crew that can take charge when I'm gone. And they do it for incredibly low amounts of pay. Farm interns rock!
So today, coming to the Bayview Market only (Coupeville market is closed this week due to Arts and Crafts fair) is the following goodies -
From Willowood Farm
* Potatoes - several flavors!
* Garlic - several flavors to go with the several flavors of potatoes...
* Sugar Peas - an gorgeous new crop
* Beans - a couple beautiful types! So yummy...
* Savoy and Red cabbage
* Kale - Tuscan, Siberian and Red types
* Rainbow Chard
* Onions - Torpedoes, Cippolini's, Ailsa Crag!
* Leeks - gorgeous, perfect braising size
* Pea Vines
* Spinach Bags
And more I'm sure I'm forgetting....

From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farms
* Summer Squash
* Beet bunches
* Baby Carrot Bunches.

So come on down and enjoy! And, if you have the time, take a few minutes off and enjoy the respite. I know that's what I'm gonna do!
Farmer Georgie out...

P.S. Does anybody know what happened to the attach photos feature on blogger? It isn't there anymore and I can't figure out how to post photos!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Maybe rain? Please, please, please....
Definitely a morning for coffee. It looks like it might rain! The National Weather Report says a 50% chance! Now, I know that means that many of you may not venture out to market today (wimps!), but I'd gladly trade that for a chance to dampen down the dust bowl we currently have on the farm.
It is DRY! And DUSTY! I just cleaned my truck last week (I know, a rare occurrence) but it already has at least an 1/8 inch of dust on it again - inside and out!
Watering (and voracious bugs) are probably the two biggest challenges to summer time gardening. We spend about 1/2 of our time on the farm these days moving water, fixing water, thinking about water - no crops!
I definitely feel for those farmers in California and other "prolonged drought-stricken" regions. Some of those places, I just don't know how they will be able to keep farming.
Here on the prairie, we get the "seasonal drought." Always July-August-September is pretty darn dry. In fact, a lot of my neighboring farmers depend on it to ripen their grain crops and cure their hay. Some years, (like last year), our summertime drought starts in May and doesn't end til mid October. That sucks. This year was much better - and while many of your were complaining about the endless rain of the spring, I was happy - more rain in spring means my crops get better established and I don't have to start watering on the first of May!'s to a cloudy and gray sky and hopes that 50% chance of rain delivers rather than just teases!
And coming to the Bayview and Coupeville markets today....
(P.S. Coupeville folks - NO farmer's market next weekend during Arts&Crafts festival so make sure to stock up this week!).
From Willowood Farm
- Golden and Chioggia beet bunches
- Fava beans (last chance on favas so get them while you can!)
- Onions galore - torpedo onions (awesome grilled) and Ailsa Crag (sweet onion)
- Lots of chard!
- Kale - 3 kinds
- Collards!
- Loads of potatoes
- Plenty of garlic!
- And more...
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm
- Baby carrot bunches
- Leaf lettuce mix
- Giant beet bottoms
- Arugula bunches
- leeks
- More onions
And more...
See you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie