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 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 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, 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

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