Friday, November 25, 2011

We're Back!!!! 4 Holiday Markets at Bayview start tomorrow!

I hope everybody had a great Turkey Day.  I confess to a bit of a Turkey Day hangover today.  Not sure if it the fabulous turkey we had, the 4 types of pies my mother made, or perhaps the home-made egg nog with almost an entire fifth of bourbon in it....
Nonetheless, we are powering through it today because tomorrow (Nov. 26th) is the first of four holiday markets at the Bayview Hall (next to Bayview Farm and Garden).  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
We will be attending all the Bayview Holiday Farmer's Markets for the next four markets PLUS we will be at the Greenbank Farm Holiday Market on Saturday's only, starting next week and for 3 weekends.
And what...you may ask...does a veggie farm bring to market in late November/December?
Well...that can be somewhat weather dependent but the main answer is - oodles of food!
As long as we don't get a real cold snap (like in the mid to low 20s), we will have things like collards, kale, chard, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage, beets and a few other treats straight from the fields.  Plus there are things we've put in storage from the seasons bounty - potatoes, dry beans, onions, garlic and winter squash all fit that bill.
And then...there are the Holiday "Fresh from Whidbey" farm gifts.  We have QUITE a selection this year:

            2011 HOLIDAY GIFT ITEMS FROM WILLOWOOD FARM

Gift Boxes – We have gift boxes in three sizes:  large square box, small rectangular and small square.  The first two have a Willowood Farm logo on them.   All the boxes are made from wood and are a nice solid re-useable attractive box.  All the following will be available at the holiday markets or a selection of these will be available for purchase at the bayleaf Stores in Coupeville and Oak Harbor.
Potato Lovers Herb de Provence Box
·      Harvest Feast Deluxe  $64
o   Large square box w/ Willowood Farm logo.
§  Includes 1 lb bag dry beans, ½ lb Ebey Road Farm Emmer, 1 small winter squash, 1 lb mixed onions, 1 box of Lavender Wind Farm Herbs de Provence, 1 jar of Willowood Farm Garlic Flakes, 1 bag of baby mixed potatoes, 1 lb of garlic, 1 2 oz jar of Island Apiaries honey. * Note – choose between Rockwell, Peregion, Black Coco or Barn Floor Mix beans.
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card describing the joys of the Harvest Feast.
·      Harvest Feast Sampler.  $32. 
§  Includes 1 lb bag dry beans, 1 small winter squash, ½ lb onions, Lavender Wind Farm Herbs de Provence, 2 heads of garlic, 1 2 oz jar of Island Apiaries honey. * Note – choose between Rockwell, Peregion, Black Coco or Barn Floor Mix beans.
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card describing the joys of the Harvest Feast.

·      Potato Lovers Herb De Provence Box.  $32  
§  Includes 4.5 lbs of potatoes (four varieties), 3 heads of garlic, 1 lb of onion, Lavender Wind Farms Herb de Provence. 
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card including “Roasted Potatoes w/ Herbs de Provence” recipe.

·      Potato Lovers Sampler Box.  $16   
§  Includes 2 lbs of potatoes (two varieties), 2 heads of garlic, ½ lb of onions. 
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card.

·      Bean Lovers Box.  $24 
§  Includes 2 bags of dry beans, 2 heads of garlic and ½ lb of onions. * Note – choose between Rockwell, Peregion, Black Coco or Barn Floor Mix beans.
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card describing the wonders of heritage dry beans!

·      Garlic Lovers Deluxe Box.  $72
§  NOTE – This box has an item that needs refrigeration (the chevre from Little Brown Farm).  If you take it the cheese will need to be refrigerated and only added at the last minute.  Also, we have only limited availability on the chevre!
§  Includes 3 lbs of garlic, 1 small garlic braid, Little Brown Farm Garlic Chevre (small package), 1 jar of garlic flakes, 1 small bag of TreeTop Bakery Power Crisps.
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card talking about gourmet garlic and recipe for roasted garlic.

·      Garlic Lovers Sampler Box.  $34  
§  Includes 1l b of garlic, 1 small braid, 1 jar of garlic flakes. 
§  Decorated w/ green and burgundy ribbon, stuffing and lovely gift card talking about gourmet garlic and recipe for roasted garlic.

OTHER HOLIDAY GIFT POSSIBILITIES FROM WILLOWOOD FARM

·      Dry Bean bags.  Suggested retail between $9 and $10 a lb.  We have new very attractive packaging.  We will have Rockwells, Barn Floor Mix, Peregion Beans and Black Coco beans. 
·      Garlic Flakes.  1.5 oz jar.   Sug. Retail $7.99.
·      Bean Seed Packets.  2 oz “seed pack” packets of our dry bean varieties.  Good stocking stuffer for gardeners!  Sug. Retail $3 a packet.  Wholesale - $1.75.

 So hope to see you on a Saturday soon!  For those of you enjoying the "Endless Summer" list I imagine we will run that at least one or more times starting back next week (it's all weather and farmer dependent), however the Holiday Gift Boxes will not be available via the Endless Summer list. 
 If you have any questions please free to email me at willowoodfarm@gmail.com.  We will also be happy to take pre-orders for the Holiday Baskets and other holiday related gifts.
Thank you for your support of local farms and for shopping local this holiday season!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stock up the pantry at the last Bayview Market of the year!

Well this is it folks.  The last main season farmer's market of the year!  (Not to forget, there are 4 Bayview Holiday Markets - indoors no less - Willowood will be attending starting Saturday, Nov. 26th).
Nonetheless, this is the last chance to come shop an outdoor market and be overwhelmed by our amazing loads of food!  Once again, we have two vehicles packed to the brim with fresh from the fields goodies (note for 2012 - MUST BUY DELIVERY TRUCK!...).
And as the season spasmodically winds down (still on the "to do" list -  fields to turn over and plant to cover crop, a 3/4s acre of garlic to plant, a greenhouse to cover with plastic and winter greens left to be planted...), I've been reflecting a lot on the past growing season.  It's been a good one.
Dad discing the to-be potato field in the spring
* February, March and April started out with us raring to go.  Lots of plans made, seeds started.  Experimental first-year winter greens planted in the greenhouse.  Cool weather kept things growing slow, slow, slow but we kept plugging away.
* May is usually a month of rapid exploding growth.  But this past May was markedly cold and amazingly wet.  We received in one day in May the entire amount of rain we normally get for the whole month.  Fields flooded (a very unusual occurrence on our sandy-loam ground).  At least two (maybe three) whole days spent sump-pumping water off the flooded garlic field.  Lost our first bif rotation of mesclun, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli to saturates fields.
* June - Slowly warming up and drying out.  Desperately worked to get in the time critical crops - dry beans and winter squash.  New plantings of greens.
* July and August - the insanity kicks in.  Lots of crops to harvest AND to plant.  Garlic!  Bugs and assorted diseases try to gain a foothold.  We fit back with flower-based bug sprays and lots of compost tea!  Long days, little sleep.
* September - Turned the tide.  Start to enjoy the "harvest" as main crops start to finish.  Plant for winter and fall.  Tomatoes!  Summer squash anyone????  Please?????
* October - Serious harvest time.  Dig potatoes.  Dig potatoes.  Dig potatoes.  (We ended up with about 4 tons of potatoes in storage!).  Winter squash comes out of the field.  We ever so happily watch the summer squash plants DIE!  Dry Beans!  Pull them, put them in the barn, dry them, thresh them, dry them again...
Sabrina cleaning spring garlic for market
And that gets us to right about now...the end of October.  When you write it all down it doesn't seem like that much, does it.  Hah!  Well, I can tell you it was a lot.  10 acres of veggies is well...a freakin' crazy amount of work.  Nonetheless, I can happily say we had THE BEST year ever.  The best crew, the best crops, the best sales, the best customers.
A big thanks to all of you reading this right now who were a huge part of our success!  Thank you! And a huge thanks to my great crew this year - Kevin, Janiece, Blake, Jen, Ben, Kate, Sabrina, Lauren and most especially - my Dad!
Now...that I've said all that...down to what really matters - what we are bringing to market today!
* Potatoes!  Loose and 10 lb bags.  10 lb bags are $12 OR...buy 2 or more and your price goes to $10 a bag!  Last market special ONLY!
* Dry Beans!  We will have Rockwells, Tiger Eyes, Arikara and Barn Floor Mix beans.  (Black Coco, Peregion and Cannelini aren't quite ready yet...).  For every 4 bags at full price you get a 5th bag at 1/2 off!
* Onions!  We have a large selection of gourmet onions and 5 lb net storage bags for just $7.
* Garlic!  Loose garlic plus 1 lb bags of garlic for just $8!  A $2 savings and a Last market special ONLY!
And then we will have our usual assortment of winter squash, pie pumpkins, cabbage, mesclun, arugula, kale, chard, collards, tomatoes, kohlrabi and etc....
 Plus...all purchases of $60 or more get a FREE GIGANTE KOHLRABI!
My normal appearance during the summer (well really most of the year!)
So...hope to see you at Bayview today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Filling up the larders...

NOTE - For those of you waiting and wondering about "Endless Summer"  (an off-season order off the list/come pick it up local food service put on by several Coupeville area farms), we expect the first list to go out next week with first pick-up on Oct. 29th.  In the meantime, Willowood Farm will still be at the Bayview Farmer's Market Saturday Oct. 21 as well as Oct. 29th.  Also, don't forget to sign up to receive Whidbey Green Goods www.whidbeygreengoods.com email of local food selections delivered to your doorside for residents south of Coupeville to Clinton.
Now back to our regularly scheduled ramblings....

One of the best things about farming is the connections to the seasons and the annual cycle of that earth-sun thing (astronomy not being my strong suit).  Having once a few lifetimes ago, primarily worked an office job where my days where delineated by fluorescent lights, manufactured air and temperature control, I have found that working outside, in tune with the seasons, creates a harmony that resonates well with my soul and well being.
Okay, who am I kidding.  What it really means is this time of year I like to eat big, creamy, hearty and filling things...Squash Soup!  Chili!  Mashed Potatoes!...and then sleep a lot under lovely thick blankets.
Rockwell Beans - what's not to love?
Lucky for me, the offerings of the fall (soon to be winter!) season neatly dwelves right into my cravings.
Winter Luxury Pumpkin Pie; Red Kuri and Peanut Butter soup; Delicata Squash and Chard braised with honey and butter; Carola Potato Hash Browns; Maris Piper Mashed Potatoes; German Butterball Roasted Potatoes with Rocambole Garlic; Rockwell Beans Baked Beans; Tiger Eye Bean Chili; Braised Cabbage; Sauerkraut; Honey Braised Kohlrabi; Kale and Collard Greens; Roasted Red and Golden Beets; Braised Torpedo Onions...and the list goes on...(notice how I started with dessert!).
Having grown veggies now on Whidbey Island for a season or two (okay 13!), the cool thing I have discovered is that with proper storage of a few items - onions, garlic, potatoes, winter squash and dry beans...plus taking advantage of our generally mild winters that allows me to "overwinter" hardy greens in the fields - kale, chard, collards, cabbage, beets, carrots, parsnips, brussel sprouts, arugula...my family's diet can continue to very fresh, very local and very seasonal. 
For those of you who may not have 10 acres of vegetables plus a barn the size of a football field to store the goods in, it is still relatively easy with a bit of planning to keep your family in a selection of local goodies.
#1 - Store stuff.  If you have a garage, cellar, shed or outer room that keeps in the 40s to mid 50s without freezing you can keep potatoes.  Make sure to keep them out of the sunlight.    Winter squash, onions and garlic all prefer a bit warmer/drier temperature.  Low 60s is best for those.
#2 - If you don't have kale/collards/chard or other hardy greens in your garden (and it is too late to plant them now, fyi, you need to start them in July!), seek out your local farmers that do and the local off season markets.  (I.e. Endless Summer pick-up list, Whidbey Green Goods Delivery, the Bayview Holiday Market starting Nov. 26th). 
#3 - Don't forget your dry goods.  Dry beans, local grains.  These are all critical components of the winter time diet.
#4 - Keep asking at your local grocery stores - hey, where's the local food?  (The Goose, the Star Store, Payless and Red Apple Prairie Center are all starting to carry more of a selection of local food but let's face it...they could use A LOT more!).
The food is available, it is out there, and with more demand, more farmers and more farmland growing local food, we will be available to survive our winter seasons with a growing selection of healthy, locally grown food.  It's a growing movement! (pun intended!).
And now...on to the really important stuff, what we will have to stock up your pantries TODAY AT THE BAYVIEW FARMER'S MARKET:
*  Potatoes galore - including 10 lb net storage bags at a discounted price.
* Lots of garlic - including 1 lb net bags at a discounted price
* Winter Squash and Pumpkins
* Dry Beans!  Three kinds this weekend...
* Locally Grown Grains - Emmer, Wheat and Barley
* Braising greens - kale, chard and collards
* Kohlrabi - big and little!  Make kraut, braise it, eat it raw
* Cabbage
* Mesclun and arugula bags
* Onions - all kinds including 5 lb storage bags
* Leeks
* Celeriac
* Beets
* Head Lettuce (last of the season until early spring!)
* And more stuff I know I'm forgetting....
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And the harvest keeps going and going and going....

People keep asking me - so Farmer Georgie, you must be about done for the year? 
Um...actually...not really.  We've got gobs of food and loads of work left to do!
Yesterday we have our 2nd big potato harvest party.  Brought in another, close to 4000 or so lbs of potatoes.  And we have about one more days worth of potato harvest still to go.  So yep, we've got taters!
And winter squash!  I set two of the interns, Kate and Sabrina, to finish harvesting all that was left in the field.  It seemed like a rather poor winter squash year this year...cool summer and all, the squash didn't seem so prolific.  Nonetheless...they STILL harvested 3 truckbed loads of winter squash.  Those big ole winter squash leaves can hide a lot of squash under them! That's in addition to the about 2 truckload beds we already had.  I was quite surprised when I saw the big piles of squash in the barn. 
Garlic.  We'll we've got plenty of food garlic left for all the garlic lovers to enjoy.  And even a bit more seed garlic if you haven't gotten yours planted yet (not to worry, we haven't started planting ours yet either!  Hopefully next week...).
Tonda Padana, an Italian Pumpkin
And then there are the dry beans...The Rockwells and Arikaras are done.  Dried and threshed and even somewhat cleaned and sorted.  But...we've still got Tiger Eyes, Peregions, Black Cocos, Cannellinis, Barn Floor Soup Mix and a few new trial varieties to go.  Yikes! 
All that food to be harvested and sold is of course, in addition to cleaning up, seeding cover crop and generally "putting the crops to bed" for the winter.  Oh, and did I mention we are building a new greenhouse right now?
(Sometimes I wonder why I feel so busy and then I just go read what I wrote in this blog and I remember, oh yeah...).
So where, do you ask, do you find all this lovely fall food for purchase?  Well...at the Bayview Farmer's Market!  We are bringing the whole squash, potato, bean and garlic (plus more!) show to the Bayview market today and for the next two weekends.  (The Bayview Farmer's Market runs til the end of October). 
And then...starting I believe that last weekend in October, we will start the "Endless Summer" produce list.  What's that?  Well, it's a collaboration between Willowood, Rosehip Farm and Garden, Prairie Bottom Farm and a few other farmers to offer a list of great fresh local seasonal produce.  Email goes out, you order, we pick and pack your order (first come first serve) and you come pick it up on Saturday at Rosehip Farm and Garden in Coupeville.  If you are reading this via facebook and not on my email list, make sure to send me a note to get added.  Only those on the email list get the Endless Summer list!  We typically run the Endless Summer list through sometime in December, depending on weather on how much food we have.
Anyways, back to the good stuff....Here is what we will have at Bayview Farmer's Market today!:
* Winter Squash & Pumpkins - Delicata, Sweet Dumplings, Sweet Meats, Queensland Blue, Spaghetti, Red Kuri, Jarradhale, Winter Luxury, Blue Ballet, Speckled Hound, Tonda Padana, ButterNutter...
* Ornamental mini pumpkins - so cute!
* Potatoes - loose and 10 lb bags of Yellow Finn, Carola, Mountain Rose, Purple Majesty, German Butterball, Maris Piper.  Fingerlings as well!
* Garlic - assorted varieties for food and planting
* Mesclun and Arugula bags
* Radishes!
* Beet bunches
* Onions - including 5 lb storage bags
* Shallots
* Leeks
* Cucumbers
* Tomatoes (some of the last!)
* Basil (definitely the last!)
* Peppers
* Chard
* Kale
* Collards
* Celeriac
* Head Lettuce
* Kohlrabi
* Cabbage - Late Flat Dutch and Italian Purple Savoy
* Dill
* Salad Onions
And Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods is bringing some corn, broccoli, mushrooms and plums!  Yum!
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Friday, October 7, 2011

Coupeville Harvest Festival - The Biggest Market of the Year!

This week has been all about the harvest.  Picking, washing, packing and bagging.  Rinse, stretch out the back, and repeat.
Since last Saturday we've handled over 5000 lbs of potatoes, several hundred pounds of onions, probably close to a 100 lbs of garlic, easily a 1/2 ton of winter squash, 500 plus lbs of dry beans (with loads more to come) and then assorted multiple loads of salad greens, kale and chard bunches, beets, cauliflower, cabbages, collards, kohlrabi, peppers, leeks...I'm sure I'm forgetting several things!
This is the time of year when all the work, the sweat, the worry, the sleepless nights (too many of those!) comes to fruition in the beauty and the bounty of...the harvest!
And if there is anywhere we like to really pull out the stops and show you what that means, in an overwhelming visual display of produce produce and more produce, it's at the Coupeville Farmer's Market Harvest Festival.  Which happens (eek!) tomorrow!
Yes, we are bringing a seriously frightening amount of food for the big market tomorrow.  Enough to fill not one, but TWO squash wagons.  Fun! Fun!
What, exactly, you may ask...are we bringing to the Coupeville Harvest Festival tomorrow?  (And for your Bayview folks, we WILL have a booth at Bayview, but it will be scaled down as most of our crew, and our market tents!, will be in Coupeville.  Not to worry, however, we will be back in full force at Bayview the following weekend).
From Willowood Farm
* Rockwell Beans (first of this years crop!)
* Arikara Beans
* Winter Squash and pumpkins including:  Winter Luxury pie pumpkin, Sweet Meats, Jarradhales, Speckled Hound, Queensland Blue, Spaghetti, Shamrock, Red Kuri, Sweet Dumpling, Tonda, Gauleux D' Eysinnes, Blue Ballet Mini Hubbard plus ornamental mini pumpkins for decorating
* Potatoes - loose and 10 lb bags of Carola, Yellow Finn, Mountain Rose, Purple Majesty, Maris Piper and German Butterball.  Net bags of fingerling and baby mixed potatoes.
* Cabbage - Late Flat Dutch and Italian Verona Savoy
* Kohlrabi - BIG ONES!
* Romanesco Cauliflower
* Purple Cauliflower
* Head Lettuce
* Arugula bags
* Mesclun Bags
* Collard Greens
* Japanese Turnips
* Onions - including loose Red Torpedos, Italian Tondas, Ailsa Crag Sweet Onions, Copra cooking onions, Red Marble Cippolini and Borrettana Cippolini.  Also 5 lb bags of many of the onion varieties.
* Shallots
* Peppers
* Basil (last of the years crop!)
* Celery
* Celeriac
* Food Garlic - loose food grade and 1 lb bags for storage
* Seed garlic - for planting!
* Garlic braids...
And there is always something I forgot....
But that is not all, because our good friends and neighbors Prairie Bottom Farm are ALSO bringing loads of food from their farm, including:
* Loose red and golden beets - perfect canning!
* Cucumbers - in multiple flavors
* Lettuce Mix
* Dill
* Kale
* Chard
* Salad Onions
* And then all their crazy amounts of winter squash and pumpkins including...Blue Hubbard, Marina di Chioggia, Eastern Rise, Sweet Mama, Burgess Buttercup, Acorn, Carnival, Long Pie, Howden Pumpkins, Delicatas and more Jarradhales! 
Phew....
So, we hope you are sufficiently impressed to come check it out tomorrow.  According to the weatherman the sun will be peeking through the rain holding off.  A great day to check out the market, all the fun activities - including a silly Harvest Relay raising money for the Gifts for the Heart Food Bank and the Giant Pumpkin weigh off -  and load up on lots of fabulous local food.
See you at the markets!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harvest time is in the air...(and in coyote stomachs!)

ANNOUNCEMENT - Next weekend is the huge Coupeville Harvest Festival (and last Coupeville market of the year).  We are not sure yet...but it is possible we will not be at the Bayview Market because we will have the entire crew in Coupeville.  If you have not attended to the Coupeville Market, this is the one to do so.  If you are NOT blown away but the HUGE amount of produce we bring there then well, I'll retire my farmer hat.  It's serious food time folks with loads of food for stocking up for the winter.  Plus you can see giant pumpkins, zucchinis and watch my fabulous interns participate in the Gifts of the Heart food bank relay race fund raiser.  Good times and Good Food!  Now, back to the regularly scheduled program...
I know it's harvest time of year.  Not because we started threshing dry beans (woot! woot!), or that yesterday we cut and harvested a truck bed load of winter squash or that today we plan to dig about 10,000 lbs of potatoes...But how do I really know that it's the harvest time of year?  Because the coyotes keep trying to harvest my chickens/ducks/geese/turkeys! 
Last night I heard them yip-yip-yipping outside of the Poultry Palace and since two nights previously I had found two piles of white feathers and missing young turkeys, I was motivated to act.  So at 1:30 in the morning I jumped into my truck and started paroling.  I finally saw two of them trotting from our property behind the barn.  The chase was on!  And while I admit, I didn't not actually end up injuring or maiming a coyote, I would say that I put the fear of God (or Georgie!) in them. 
You see, the adventures never end when you are a farmer! 
10 lb storage bag of taters - great for fall and winter!
Meanwhile, today's adventure is - markets and potatoes!  That's right, we have a big crew digging potatoes today.  In fact, if you want to venture by the farm and check it out and pick up a few potatoes, feel free to do so.  We will be digging from approximately 10ish til probably around 5 or so.  We hope to bring in about 10,000 lbs of potatoes.   Cool taters, huh?
And while the crew is digging, we will have others at the Coupeville and Bayview market of course, including bringing 10 lb storage bags of potatoes!  And lots of other goodies of course, including...
From Willowood Farm
* Potatoes - 10 lbs bags and loose potatoes
* Head Lettuce
* Mesclun bags
* Arugula bags
* Food and seed grade garlic
* Winter squash
* Kohlrabi
* Cabbage
* Summer squash
* Beets
* Kale
* Chard
* Onions galore
* Leeks
* Roma Beans
And more!
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Spinach
* Cucumbers
* Corn
* Green beans (actually yellow and purple but you get the idea)
* Dill
* Salad onions
And Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods will be there peddling figs and mushrooms as well...
Gotta run now, time to load up the market van!
Thanks for your support of local food!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
P.S.  We just threshed the first of the dry beans yesterday, we expect to be bringing those to market starting next weekend!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's the Farm Tour! And we are EVERYWHERE!

Yes folks, it's the farm tour today!
http://whidbeyfarmtour.wordpress.com/

While Willowood Farm is NOT on the farm tour this year, we are still participating at Prairie Bottom Farm in Coupeville with....THE GREAT GARLIC TASTING AND SALE!  Yes, come enough a sample selection of our 20+ varieties of garlic plus load up on food grade and seed grade garlic.
If you can't make the farm tour, we will still be at the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets.

And since I'm incredibly late (surprise surprise...) here is the list of food to be found at markets and tours today...
Potatoes galore - including 10 lbs bags!
Garlic - loads of it.  Food and seed grade.
Beets
Carrots
Green Beans
Shelling Peas
Winter Squash
Summer squash
Parsley
Tomatoes
Basil
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Chard
Kale
Corn
Mesclun
Head Lettuce
Arugula
And more...Hope to see you somewhere today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lots and lots and lots of food!

Well, the suns out and I'm running late this morning!  So I'm going to get right to it...
We've got LOADS of food coming this morning to the Bayview and Coupeville farmer's markets.  INCLUDING ROCKWELL SHELL BEANS!  Here is the complete list:
From Willowood Farm:
* Potatoes!  We are bringing 9 varieties of potato to the market this morning.  A tater for every desire!
* Garlic - loads of both food grade and seed grade garlic for planting!
* Head lettuce - big and crispy
* Mesclun (Bayview only)
* Arugula
* Red Kuri Squash - first picking!
* Rockwell Shell Beans - the first picking!
* Summer squash galore
* Onions, onions and more onions
* Leeks
* Shallots
* Chard
* Peppers
* Tomatoes
* Basil
* Yellow Wax Beans
* Dragon Langerie Beans
* Shelling Peas
Coming from our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Cabbage
* Kale
* Herbs
* Purple Beans
* Dill
And more!  Hope to see you today at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Garlic. Need we say more?


"Vostani," a Porcelain variety
This past week I had the intern crew over for a "garlic tasting."  I talk a lot about how different garlic varieties are good for different uses but it is one thing to hear Farmer Georgie talking and another to taste it yourself.
I roasted, chopped raw and sauteed one example of each class of garlic we have (rocambole, porcelain, marbled purple striped, glazed purple stripe, purple stripe, asiatic, turban, silverskin and artichoke).  We sat around the table and ate a lot a lot of garlic!  (And then we all had a bit of a garlic "buzz."  I've experienced this before when eating a lot of garlic, particularly raw.  Your head feels all tingly and your body quite warm...).
The verdict?  Well, I think the interns were all surprised to find how different the garlic varieties really can taste!  But generally, here is what we determined:
Mildest Raw:  Artichoke
Most Pleasant Raw (spicy and rich but not too hot): Rocambole, Marbled Purple Stripe
Hottest Raw:  Asiatic (hands down.  Yowser!).
Best Sauteed:  Turban, Purple Stripe, Rocambole.
Best Roasted:  Porcelain, Rocambole, Marbled Purple Stripe
"Red Toch", an Artichoke Variety
Now.... we could get even MORE detailed.  I didn't offer samples for instance, of EVERY named garlic we grow (we grow over 20 varieties).  For instance, we have 4 kinds of Porcelain garlic.  Which is the best of the best of the roasted?  Georgian Fire, Music, Romanian Red or Vostani?  That will have to be a job for another day, or better yet, come down to the market today and take home a bunch to try and trial yourself!  And let me know what you think.
And yes, we will have the garlic this week at the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets!  And not such food grade garlic (although plenty of that!), but also seed grade garlic as well.  Because, well, it is seed garlic time of year!  (Best time of year to plant garlic is September through November.
What is the difference between seed and food grade garlic you ask?  Well, in garlic at least, size DOES matter!  Seed grade garlic is the "biggest and the best."  (Although not all seed garlic sellers adher to this rule.  Sadly enough!).  Why?  Because the size of the crop you reap is directly related to the size of the seed you sow.  Start with small seed, you will get a small crop even with great growing techniques (it might be SLIGHTLY bigger than what you planted).  Start with large seed, and with decent growing techniques you should harvest a large crop.   The garlic you see us selling as "seed" represents years and years (some varieties we have been growing for 9 plus years) of continually saving and selecting the best of the best and planting it for next years crop. So every year, we sort out our smaller bulbs and sell those for "eating garlic."  The larger ones we save for ourselves, or offer for sale to other gardeners like you!
Purple Glazer, a Glazed Purple Stripe
Not only that, our seed garlic is simply THE BEST you can get for Pacific Northwest gardens.  Why?  Because it is grown in the Pacific Northwest.  Garlic acclimates to local conditions, essentially by growing the same varieties over and over on my Pacific Northwest farm I have developed "Pacific Northwest" strains of all the garlic varieties I grow.  These varieties are adapted and ready to go in our wet and mild conditions.  Even garlic grown in Eastern Washington is not as adapted to our conditions - being as Eastern Wash. has a pretty different climate than the Pacific Northwest!
If you would like to learn more about the garlic we offer, check out our website www.willowoodfarm.net and click on the gourmet garlic link.  You can also order online (for shipment if you like) or email me directly with an order we can bring to one of the markets.  Lots of pretty pictures too!
But now, the roosters are crowing and pretty soon the morning will be dawning.  Much to do and veggies to pack up for market!  So here we go with the list of veggies for today....
Coming today to the Bayview and Coupeville farmer's markets:
From Willowood:
* Food and seed grade garlic (in case you didn't read above)
* Potatoes!  Red, Purple and two yellows.  Plus baby mixed bags and fingerling bags
* Head Lettuce
* Onions.  Many, many onions!
* Carrots
* Beets
* Shelling Peas
* Sugar Peas
* Heirloom tomatoes (Bayview only)
* Japanese turnips - red and white
* Summer squash (we are awash in it!)
* Yellow and Dragon Langerie beans
* Summer Leeks
* Chard
* Kale
* Basil
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Spinach - red and green
* Cabbage
* Green beans
* Baby Onions
* Herbs
* Flower bunches
And more!
Hope to see you at the market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie




Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yes folks, it's really summer!

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
And how do we know that summer has finally, really, truly arrived?  Because we have tomatoes!  Beautiful, precious heirloom tomatoes!  Grown in a plastic greenhouse of course (hey, it IS the Pacific Northwest), but tomatoes nonetheless. We are newby tomato growers really.  Last year was the first
Cour di Bue Tomatoe
year with the big hoophouse (plastic greenhouse) so we experimented with varieties and techniques.  Took what we learned this year and keep tweaking.
What we do know?  We love heirloom tomatoes!  Cherokee Purple - a big, "black" tomato and Cour di Bue, a lovely deep rosy pink Italian heirloom tomato are so far, two of our favorites.  But there are many more including Pineapple, Green Zebra, Cosmonaut, Black Prince and Jubilee. 
And coincidentally, tomatoes go very very well with...GARLIC!  Which we also have in force now.  Did you know that at Willowood we grow more than 20 kinds of garlic?  Because we really, really, really love garlic!  We will have a great selection of all our favorites at the markets today. Georgian Fire - so fabulous creamy and garlicky roasted; Japanese - HUGE cloves that are very sweet roasted but super hot raw; Belarus - rich and spicy, great for sauces and roasting; Kilarney Red - aromatic and super tasty roasted. 
Currently we are just offering food grade garlic for sale at the market, but starting next week we will also be bringing seed garlic!  Or...you can preorder your seed garlic and we will bring it to the market for you to pick up.  Check out our website to place an order www.willowoodfarm.net and follow the "Gourmet Seed Garlic" link.  Our seed garlic is well adapted to the wet, mild conditions of the Pacific Northwest and thrives in local gardens!
And of course, while it might seem like a good idea, one cannot live on garlic and tomatoes along (well, maybe for a short while!), but never fear...we have LOADS of other veggies to round out the nutritional package including:
From Willowood Farm
* Potatoes! Potatoes! We've got baby mixed and fingerling bags this week as well...
* Shelling Peas.
* Sugar Peas
* Yellow Wax Beans
* Dragon Langerie Romano Wax Beans
* Oodles of Onions - Big Ailsa Crag, Red and Yellow Cippolini, market favorite Red Torpedoes...
* Broccoli
* Head Lettuce
* Mesclun Mix
* Arugula
* Japanese Turnips
* Summer Squash.  Oh my, lots of summer squash!
* Leeks
* Celery
* Parsley
* Basil
* Kale
* Chard
* Garlic Scapes
* Beets
* Carrots
* And dry beans...
That's quite a list isn't it?  And believe it or not, all grown on one farm!
Our friends at Prairie Bottom have loads of food too, adding to the mix:
* Cabbage
* Green French Filet Beans
* Purple Beans
* Herb Bunches
* Flower Bunches
And lots more...
So, we hope you are hungry and we hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Even more food than last week? Well, yes, yes we can!

Torpedo Onions, a market favorite!
Yep, it just keeps coming and coming and coming!  This time of year, we were are in a literal deluge of vegetables, it's hard to remember back in January, February (and even March, April and May this year!), when the simplest head of lettuce of leaf of kale was so very precious!
No, instead, this time of year we are just trying to keep on top of getting everything picked when it needs to be!  Pick, pick, pick.  Done picking?  Great, day a day off and then...pick some more! Phew...
So on that note, I'm going to get right into the HUGE list of vegetables coming to market this week because I got to get out there and pack them up!
From Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie:
Onions!  Loads of them....
* Torpedo Onions w/ greens
* Ailsa Crag (big sweet onion) w/ greens
* Tonda Onion (gorgeous sweet red onion) w/ greens
* Red and Yellow Cippolinni onions w/ greens

* Walla Walla Onions (cured, not greens)
And then lots of potatoes this week including:
* Carola
* Mountain Rose
* Purple Majesty
Heirloom Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
* German Butterball
* Peas - Dwarf Gray Sugars
* Yellow Wax Beans
* Dragon Langerie Beans
* Raab Bunches
* Mesclun bags
* Arugula bags
* Spinach bags
* Kale
* Chard
* Kohlrabi
* Head Lettuce
* Summer Squash
* Beets
* Carrots
* Tomatoes - Multiple heirloom types!  Yum, yum!
* Celery
* Fava Beans
* Garlic - lots of it!
It's garlic time!


And that's just our farm!  Our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm are also packed to the gills.  From them we will be bringing:
* French filet beans
* Shallots
* Cauliflower
* Shelling Peas
* Cabbage
* Purple Beans
And loads more...
Now the big trick?  How to get it all packed in!  Yikes! Hope to see you at market today!

Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oodles and oodles and oodles of food!

All of a sudden, a "little bit of beans" turns into 50 or so lbs!  A "few bunch of carrots" and suddenly we've got 50 of them.  Oh, and "I think there might be a few Japanese salad turnips" turns into 65+ bunches of big, gorgeous turnips.  Multiple bins of perfectly gorgeous (and big!) broccoli heads. And then there's the summer squash....(need I say more?).
 
A harvest day like yesterday, makes it all seem easy and the weather that didn't cooperate, the crops that failed, the bugs that prevailed, the water that didn't happen...all just a faint bad dream.  I guess a day like yesterday is why we farmers do it!  Of course, the growing and picking is just two parts of a three part equation - the third (and in many ways most important) part?  The selling of course! 
And that's where you folks come in...So, hope you are ready to play your part because we are coming to market with a serious BOUNTY of beautiful food.  Here goes...
From the fields of Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie:
* Yellow Wax Beans! First picking, so beautiful and tender!
* Japanese Salad Turnips - red and white!
* Kohlrabi - They just keep coming!
* Peas - our favorite heirloom edible podded variety, kinda a cross between a snap and a snow pea
* Potatoes - A mix of yellow, white and red this week.
* Garlic, garlic, garlic!
* Carrots - Gorgeous white and orange bunches
* Beets - Red and Golden
* Garlic scapes

* Chard

* Kale
* Spinach bags
* Pea Vine bags
* Walla Walla Onions w/ greens
* Torpedo Onions w/ greens
* Red Tonda Onions w/ greens
* Fava Beans
* Broccoli
* Summer Squash - mixed types including pattypans!
* Squash Blossoms!
* Peregion Beans
* And....a few big, beautiful and scrumptious heirloom tomatoes (Bayview market only this week).
From our friends at Prairie Bottom farm:
* Herbs
* Scallions
* Lettuce Mix
* Cabbage
* Cauliflower
* Baby Beets
* Braising Mix
* Carrots
* Haricot Vert Beans
* Summer Squash
And we've also got Kamut, Purple Barley and Hard Red Wheat bags from Georgina, the grain lady.
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Farmer on vacation...yet the market goes on!

Yes, this farmer is trying to take a few days off.  Of course, off in July is kinda really just a "slowing down to a more normal persons work day" for a farmer.  Hence the fact that I'm still sending out this blog.  And that I was up at 7:30 this morning getting a few last things for the market crew this morning.  And that I was outside at 9:30 last night putting chickens away and making another batch of compost tea that can be sprayed today.
But...I WAS NOT outside all day picking for market (my fabulous crew did that, I just helped some in the morning) nor will I be at the market or working in the fields keeping things watered and weeded today (again, fabulous crew doing that).  Instead, having a "Staycation" with the family.  Our main goal - to BUILD A CHICKEN PEN! 
Ah...kids and chicks!
My eldest daughter joined chicken 4-H club Rock n'Doodle this year.  So we had to get some chickens just for her (and then of course, the youngest got some too).  Ordered eggs of some unique breeds for way too much money, incubated them.  And because these chickens are the girls very own chickens, they can't let "their chickens live with those other farm chickens." (Which is probably a good idea, really, not sure if they more "delicate" show chickens can survive the farm chicken pen.  It's a rough flock in there. Huge rooster, mean geese, annoying turkeys...)   No, we have to have separate pens.  Okay, so somehow I got talked into this....
We do have a secure inside pen for nighttimes (the old playhouse - now converted to chicken coop!), but we need an outside daytime run for these naughty, naughty chickens who have been roaming our yard during the day, claiming not only all our yard as theirs but...our house too!  Now that the weather has gotten (kinda) nicer, we oftentimes leave our deck door open for the breeze.  And the chickens, well the chickens decided that our house must be a big new chicken coop!  One day we came home and found a trial of chicken "offerings" through the entire house, all the way into the back bedrooms.  Those chickens were having a GOOD time. 
The other day, I was upstairs and heard some suspicious "cluck, cluck, cclluuucckkking..." and look down into our great room - a flock of chickens!  And the worst thing, Peanut the dog, who I've had a heck of time convincing he CANNOT chase the chickens when they are outside, was just sitting their looking at them like "Hey, guys, come on in! Can I get you a beverage?"
Now, since we live in an old barn converted into a house, my husband says it only makes sense the chickens think they should be in our house (barn).  In fact, hubby suggested that next year we go ahead and just put our house on the Rock n'Doodle Coop Tour.  Ha-ha. 
So, that's on my vacation agenda for today.  A chicken run!  And to think I signed up for this....(Yes, I did and would do so again!).
But chicken runs aside, my wonderful crew is STILL bringing gobs of veggies to market today.  And here is the list:
From Willowood Farm
* Head Lettuce
* Potatoes - New ones, so so good!
* Walla Walla Onions w/ greens
* Torpedo Onions w/ greens
* Summer Squash (Bayview only, it's just starting!)
* Garlic
* Garlic Scapes
* Kohlrabi
* Spinach
* Italian Parsley
* Fava Beans - lots of these and they are SO good!
* Kale
* Chard
* Broccoli
* Peregion Beans
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Peas - Sugar, snow and shelling peas!
* Lettuce Mix
* Braising Mix
* Cauliflower
* Cabbage
* Scallions
* Herb bunches
And we also have some Emmer from Ebey Road farm and some Kamut, Purple Barley and Hard Red Wheat from Georgina. 
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What a perfect day...

So the sun is shining yet it is not 120 degrees, the sky is blue, the fields are green and the mountains are gorgeous.
What more could a farmer ask for?  Well sleep would be nice.  I have a love/hate relationship with July.  Love all the crops that are coming out of the ground, especially all the beautiful, beautiful garlic.  But keeping up with the harvest, the weeds, the watering, the bugs and the fertilizing seems to need more hours than a day AND night allows.  And every year I seem to forget how crazy it is.  I think it's like childbird - you don't remember the horrible pain you just look at this beautiful thing you produced (or all the beautiful produce).  Well, at least with farming, you could at least eat what you produce!
And since I've still got things to pick this morning, and garlic to dig before I head off the market, I going to post a beautiful picture and then get right into the important stuff...what is coming to market TODAY!
So here goes:
From Willowood Farm:
Garlic
Potatoes
Fava Beans
Head Lettuce
Spinach
Pea Vines
Carrots
Garlic Scapes
Kohlrabi
Kale
Chard
Walla Walla Onions
Torpedo Onions (Bayview only)
From Prairie Bottom Farm:
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Beets
Herb bunches
Spring Onion bunches
Peas
And more...
Off to pick and pack now.  See you at the market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And it's raining...

So it's raining.  Big deal.  It's the Pacific Northwest, it rains.  Get over it. Put on the raincoat and some rubber shoes and grab your umbrella.  Or if you are a TRUE Pacific Northwester, you don't even own an umbrella (because you know right after the rain comes the wind at which point you loose your umbrella) and slog through it.  Wear your pasted to your head wet hair with pride. 
One of my favorite all time quotes (which I will quote from memory not directly) is from the great, and wacky, Pacific Northwest writer Tom Robbins.  He talks about walking in a Pacific Northwest rain without a rain hat and if you duck, and hide and try to rush through it well the rain just seeks you out like little wet missiles, pelting your head.  But if you stand tall and proud, and enjoy the weather, the rain seems to just caress and envelope you.  I swear this is true - try it sometime!  Especially in a warm wet day like today, I quite enjoy a nice soaking. 
Building greenhouses in the rain.  Sunglasses are a must.

My father asked me last night as the downpour started what I thought of the rain for our crops.  Well, I told him, like most weather related things with farming - it has it's good and it's bad points.  The good - Well, a lot of things in my fields are getting parched.  Yes, the fields are dry.  And I just planted a whole bunch of fall/winter greens and other crops that need to be watered in if they are going to grow so this rain - fabulous!  And the fava beans are setting and were getting parched so this rain - fabulous!  And the dry beans super need a big drink to really set well, so this rain - fabulous!
Properly attired for planting starts in rain.  Rainproof jacket AND pants!
Sure, I could be "watering" instead of hoping for rain.  But when you have 10 acres of veggies all needing a drink at once - well, believe me, it's a full time job and a half to keep the hoses/sprinklers/drip lines running and moved.  And once you've lost 400 feet of newly planted lettuces to take that one Sunday afternoon off to take the kids to the pool instead of watering the ever-demanding plants, well...a free big drink from other nature is well appreciated.
 The bad side of rain?  Well the potatoes and the garlic.  With the potatoes it's kinda a mixed bag - I do need to water the potatoes BUT...having wet leaves for more than 8 hours can lead to blight and other fungal diseases in the potatoes this time of year.  I've been spraying compost tea religiously so hopefully that will help the taters "fight off" any fungal attacks.  We shall see.
The garlic - well we are harvesting garlic right now and wet conditions make that critical "curing and drying" stage that much more difficult.  I have developed an arsenal of "oh crap, the garlic is getting moldy" emergency techniques however, so I'm ready to go with them as needed. 
The other bad thing about the rain - the markets.  Farmer's markets are typically way down on rainy days.  A lot of vendors won't even come on a rainy day (granted, for some crafters, their product can be ruined on a wet day).  At Willowood farm however, have to pick and pack the day before the market and considering we never know for sure what market day we will bring and because we still have the food to sell, rain or not, we come...regardless! And we sure do appreciate those customers who make it out on a wet and rainy day, umbrella or not, to make it all worth it!  That is what is called a win-win situation rain or not! So on that note, here are the lovely wet veggies coming to market today...
From Willowood Farm:
* Garlic
* Garlic Scapes
* New Potatoes
* Shelling Peas
* Arugula
* Raab
* Head Lettuce
* Kale
* Chard
* Carrots
* Beets
* Walla Walla salad onions
* Kohlrabi
* Braising Greens
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Cauliflower
* Snow Peas
* Sugar Snap Peas
* Spring Onions
* Broccoli
* Head Lettuce
* Beet
* Chard
* Kale
And Emmer from Ebey Road Farm!
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie coming to you from the wet and muddy fields of Willowood Farm

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Got Veggies? Then Juice!

This time of year, this farmer gets so darn busy that enjoying the fruits (um veggies) of my labor sometimes just doesn't happen.  Who has time to cook when there are SO MANY vegetables to pick? (Not to mention water, fertilize, weed and plant).
Not that I don't eat them, I just tend to "graze" a lot on raw things while in the fields (carrots, kale leaves, turnips, raw potatoes) and then collapse with a piece of toast and a fried egg when the necessity for sleep hits me.   But this year my husband has helped us to take the next step in actual eating all the Willowood Farm veggies in a quick and convenient way for this ridiculously busy farmer - he got a juicer!
Now this thing is a bit scary!  It's got a lot of bottoms and some scary looking blades, numerous screens and assorted wonky gadgets and straps and what not.  (And my husband says I HAVE TO clean it IMMEDIATELY after every use.  Okay, yes, okay honey....)
But after about a month of being completely intimidated by the thing, I finally conquered my fear and...what fun!  Turning my fresh veggies into an elixir of tasty goodness (the fine dry pulp it spits out is great for the compost pile too!).  This combined with the fact that I've been delivering fresh veggies to the new health food store on Front Street in Coupeville and sampling all the delicious smoothies they make has really sparked my interest (and taste buds!) in juicing.  Check out Eagles Song in Coupeville if you want to try some really great fresh vegetable/fruit juices without the hassle of cleaning the juicer - http://www.eaglessonghealth.com
Some of the things we have been juicing from the garden are "green" leaves of all types, including kale, lettuce, pac choi, mustard greens, collards, turnip greens and then beets and beet greens, carrots and kohlrabi.  And this is just a start!
Now, according to what little I've read about the topic, juicing is a great health benefit because raw juice is chock full of nutrients and because it allows you to easily eat a lot more of your veggies than you might on a given day.  But..."green juice" (i.e. the juice made from green leaves) is such powerful stuff that it is best to start out slow and not overdo it.  They also tend to the bitter side so adding a "sweetener" either carrots or apples is a great way to naturally cut the bitter.  And a half a lemon or lime is also a great "brightener" and seems to give the juice that extra little oomph.  Ginger is good too - but not too much!  Here is another great website with loads of tips on juicing - www.juicingbook.com
And so why am I talking about all this today?  Well...because we have a lot of great veggies that are perfect for juicing this week at the farmer's markets in Coupeville and Bayview!  And on that note, here is the complete list...
Coming FRESH FROM EBEY'S PRAIRIE today to the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets:
From Willowood Farm:
* "Green Juice" bags (aka saute/braising bags...a mix of baby pac choi, turnip greens and mustard greens)
* Carrot bunches
 * Kohlrabi
* Lettuce heads
* Mesclun (aka spring mix) bags
* Arugula bags
* Lettuce Mix bags
* Broccoli
* Romanesco Cauliflower
* Shelling Peas
* Basil
* New Potatoes
* Kale bunches
* Japanese turnips (red and white)
* Walla Walla Onion bunches
* Garlic scapes
* Fresh garlic
* Bulb Fennel
* Artichokes
From our friends and neighbors at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Spinach
* Chard
* Cress
* Endive
* Head Lettuce
* Lettuce Mix
* Broccoli
* Cauliflower
* Beets - Golden and Red
* Spring Onion bunches
From Ebey Road Farm:
* Emmer
And Michael from Whidbey Green Goods will have (Bayview market only):
* Snow and sugar snap peas
* Cherries!

Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Fava's bursting in air..."
Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! 
And as I say every year about this time of year..."What the heck happened to June?  How did it get to be July?  Did I miss June?" 
(Actually, on REALLY crazy years I get to about July 25th and realize that no, it's JULY 25th not JUNE 5th.  So if I've just missed June, not June and most of July too, I'm doing pretty good considering).
Yes that's right, its that time of year where there are not enough hours in the day and night to get everything done that needs to be.  So what's a farmer to do?  Just keep going...
Why is it so busy?  Well, we start reaping the rewards of our hardwork in the spring with OODLES of things to harvest.  Meanwhile, there are still lots of things planted that need our tender loving care as far as watering, fertilizing and beating back the ever-encroaching weeds.  Not to mention we are busy replanting things for fall and winter harvest.  And, to top all that off, we harvest 30,000+ heads of garlic which must be pulled from the ground, cleaned, hung to cure, cut down from their stalks, sorted and cured. 
Yes, that's right, have I mentioned there aren't enough hours in the day and night to get it all done?  And so it goes...
But this is the saga of a farmer.  And as the saying goes, you gotta make hay when the sun shines if you want to reap the rewards of the harvest!  (Or at least, that's how my saying goes).
And we definitely reaped the rewards of the harvest this week.  We are picking more and more food every week for the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets.  The bounty is, well, rather astonishing and our walk-in cooler is bursting at the seams Friday night with crates and crates full of produce.  So here goes...
Coming to the Bayview and Coupeville Farmer's markets FRESH from the fields of Ebey's Prairie....
From Willowood Farm:
* Bulb Fennel
* Walla Walla Salad Onions
* New Potatoes
* Head Lettuce - Multiple different kinds!
* Mesclun (aka spring mix) bags
* Arugula bags
* Pea Vine bags
* Fava Leaf Bags (Bayview only)
* Broccoli (Coupeville only)
* Romanesco Cauliflower (Bayview only)
* Japanese Turnip bunches
* Baby Pac Choi
* Rhubarb
* Kohlrabi
* Braising Greens bunches
* Garlic Scapes
* Dry Beans
From Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Carrot bunches
* Beet bunches
* Lettuce Mix
* Red Spinach
* Kale Bunches
* Chard bunches
* Cabbage
* Scallions
* Head Lettuce
And...Emmer from Ebey Road Farm and, Bayview only, Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods is bringing broccoli, snow peas and kale bunches.
To take advantage of this great harvest today...here is a fabulous recipe using much of what we have!
Hope to see you at market and a safe and happy 4th of July or everyone!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Market Ragout of Turnips, Kohlrabi, and Peas
 1 tablespoon unsalted butter/ olive oil
6 spring onions or shallots, halved
6 or more small turnips, scrubbed and quartered
2 or 3 small kohlrabi, about golf ball size, peeled and quartered
1 thyme or lemon thyme sprig
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound snow peas
A few handfuls baby spinach
Dollop crème fraiche
4 large basil leaves, slivered

Heat the butter/ oil in a skillet and add the onions, turnips, kohlrabi, and thyme.  Add water to cover halfway and a teaspoon of salt.  Simmer while you trim the ends of peas.
 As soon as the vegetables are tender, after 12 to 15 minutes, add the peas and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted down, a few minutes more.  Stir in the crème fraiche and add the basil.  Taste for salt and season with pepper.  Serve this as a side dish or a course by itself.  With a starch (puff pastry, ravioli, even buttered toast) it can be offered as a vegetarian main dish.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pickle Time! Garlic Scapes!

One of the VERY best things about having an "out of control garden (which is how I sometimes describe my 10 acres of insanity) is when I do get it together and pickle, can, dehydrate, freeze or in some way, preserve the amazing, overwhelming, bounty of spring and summer.  Because there is just something primal, and squirrel-like, about surveying a full pantry of fresh healthy food ready for the cold and dreary days of winter.
I have learned (or at least I keep trying to tell myself) that it is best to tackle "preservation" projects bit by by through the summer, preserving the crops as they come on.  Otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming.  But the sooner I can start "putting up the bounty" the better.  And around here, one of the first major preservation projects I get into of the spring/summer is pickling garlic scapes.
 Garlic scapes, which we talk a lot about this time of year, are the seed scapes from hard neck garlic.  They are oddly (and interestingly) shaped with a mild garlic flavor and great texture.  Think asparagus, only garlicky and more curlique.  They are great chopped raw, grilled, baked and pickled.  I really, really like them pickled.  They are crunchy and garlicky and fabulous!  If you keep the scape whole (rather than cut into pieces, which you can also do when pickling) then the scape itself is a work of beauty, a perfect addition on an antipasto plate or, even better, topping off a Bloody Mary!
So how to pickle garlic scapes?  Well they are very easy and if you haven't pickled before they are a great project to start with - it's hard to mess them up really. And...to encourage the pickler in us all, we are having a great deal on 1 lb bags of garlic scapes at the Coupeville and Bayview markets today - just $5 for one lb of scapes! 
 Of course, you need a few recipes so here goes...
A pickled scape posting from a blogger that goes into great detail about pickling scapes with a simple recipe - http://www.canningacrossamerica.com/2011/06/20/garlic-scape-pickle-party/
Or...we are privileged to have received Chef Joe Scott's, of the Oystercatcher in Coupeville, recipe for pickling garlic scapes.

Oystercatcher’s Quick Pickled Garlic Scapes
Courtesy of Joe Scott, Chef at Oystercatcher in Coupeville, WA
·      Garlic scapes, 1 lb, chopped into 1 inch pieces, or left whole with ends trimmed. (If left whole the scapes should be left to pickle for a week before use).
·      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 (or trim) scapes 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.
 

So happy pickling!  And let me know how they turn out.
And of course...we have much much more to bring to the Coupeville and Bayview farmer's markets today including...
From Willowood Farm:
* Mesclun mix (aka spring mix)
* Head Lettuce
* Arugula bags
* Braising Green bunches
* Japanese Salad Turnips
* Baby Pac Choi
* Raab bunches
* French Breakfast radishes
* Fresh Garlic
* New Potatoes
* Walla Walla Salad Onions
* Peregion Dry Beans
* Kohlrabi
* Basil
* Peregion Dry Beans
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Lettuce Mix
* Spinach
* Baby Beet Bunches
* Chard Bunches
* Green Onions
* Endive
* Cress
* Baby Carrot bunches
From Emmer bags from Ebey Road Farm.
Lots of food today and a beautiful day to boot.  Hope to see you at market!