Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frightful weather...Delightful vegetables!

From a few years back! This year it's just been rain and more rain!
"Well...the weather outside if frightful, and the veggies are so delightful. And since the Bayview market has yet to abstain..Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain! (and get super windy too!)."
So now you know why my career as a famous song writer never took off!  Thank goodness I had a fall back plan growing veggies...Which by the way, are pretty darn amazing right now.  Despite the fact that we had to traverse muddy fields, small lakes, howling wind, sleet and pouring rain to get them this week!  I always like to tell my crew when we are out picking vegetables on a 34 degree day with a 40 mph gale and sideways rain..."These are the days that separate the farmers from the gardeners!"
And so it's been a bit of nasty picking this week!  But we preserved.  Secure in the fact that we...are...almost...done!  That's right, this Saturday is the last market of the season and after that we will take a much needed break to regroup, think over next year's plan and maybe take a nap (or two or three thousand).
We work pretty hard most of the year, it's nice to be able to just relax and well, stay inside for a while.  And then before we know it we will start feeling antsy and those seed catalogues will start calling our name and then we'll notice the first daffodils popping up and the early spinach crop is perking up and yep, it will start all over again.  But that's why we love what we do!
So come and see us today and support our growing vegetables habit.  We'll have lots of veggies to eat and veggies to give!
Coming to the Bayview Holiday TODAY!
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach
* Carrots
* Beets
* Potatoes - last chance to stop up on 10 lb storage bags of taters!
* Onions
* Dry Beans
* Garlic - loose and beautiful garlic braids!
* Kale
* Chard
* Caulflower (not lots and it will go fast!)
* Broccoli (same as the cauliflower!)
* Scallions
* Winter Squash
* Brussel sprouts
* Jerusalem artichokes
And more...
Hope to see you at market today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grieving, with vegetables...

It seems dishonest to talk about vegetables this morning.  In light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre yesterday.
Wynter and Knight this summer on Salt Spring Island
I think I, like I know many others, are grieving over this inconceivable tragedy.  And even though it was far away, it has touched home.  Tree-Top Baking announced yesterday that a good baker friends of theirs lost her grandson Noah in this tragedy.
And I have my own two daughters, Knight and Wynter, ages almost 7 and almost 9, who go to Coupeville Elementary School.  About the same size as Sandy Hook in a small, quiet town not much bigger than Coupeville.  Being able to meet them when they got off the bus yesterday, giggling and whining at the same time, was a pleasure I can't deny yet feel guilty knowing those parents in Newton Connecticut who will never experiencing meeting a school bus the same again. 
Knight with one of her 4-H chickens
So doing my typical Saturday morning "rah rah rah" for vegetables with a little bit of "and buy lots for Christmas and all your celebrations!" seems, well, trite to say the least.
Yet the show must go on and we do have the veggies picked and packed.  So how can I do what I do and somehow lend something of comfort or ease to the families in Newton?  Well...I've decided that for today I'm going to donate 10 percent of my market profits to the Newton Youth and Family Services organization which does appear to be already taking donations to help the families and community deal with the aftermath of this event.  http://www.newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org/ 
You can also make a donation and I will send it in with mine.
And I just heard from Tree-Top Baking and the boys tell me they are going to be doing a similar donation drive with their sales today and Vicky at Little Brown Farm is going too as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if other market vendors join this effort today at the Bayview Holiday Market.  
Wynter is quite the athlete (like her Dad, not me!)
And while money can't bring their babies back but maybe it will help ease their burden a bit to know that communities all across this nation are crying with them.
So, on that somber note...Here is the list of veggies we will have today at market:
* Dry Beans in 1 lb bags and we also have seed packets (great stocking stuffers!) - Rockwells, Peregions, Hutterites, Barn Floor, Black Coco, Tiger Eye and Arikara
* Potatoes - 10 and 2 lb bags
* Onions - Storage, red and gold cippolini
* Shallots
* Garlic Braids
* Brussel Sprouts
* Broccoli
* Beets
* Carrots
* Cabbage
* Chard
* Kale
And more....
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Plenty of Winter Food Today at Bayview Market!

Final step in the bean-cleaning before bagging!
I took this picture this week and it is a good example of what we've been doing lately.  Cleaning beans!  Again and again and again!  But that's okay...because it means we are selling them and for a farmer in December that is GREAT NEWS!
And since I've spent my early morning hours bagging up some dry bean seed packets (great Xmas stocking stuffers!) I'm going to be short and quick this morning so I can hit the road and bring down the goodies for the Bayview Holiday Market TODAY!
So here's what we've got:
* Dry Beans.  (I mentioned that right?).  We ae Peregions this week which we didn't have last week.  All told we've got Rockwells, Peregions, Arikara, Hutterites, Tiger Eyes and Black Coco bags available today!
* Potatoes - We've got 10 lb and 2 lb bags.
* Garlic Braids!
* Cauliflower - gorgeous oh so delicious white heads
* Broccoli.
* Brussell Sprout Trees
* Jerusalem Artichokes
* Beets
* Carrots
* Celeriac
* Roasting bags (mix of beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes and other roasting goodies!)
* Mesclun, Spinach and Arugula bags
* Kale bunches
* Onions - 5 lb bags and loose
* Shallots
* Winter Squash
and probably some more stuff I'm forgetting....We've got LOTS of food!
So come see us today.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lovely COVERED Bayview Hall.
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dry Beans are now available!

Oh oh oh, do I love them dry beans!
This years crop just coming up.  Mid June.
This time of year, as the weather turns cold and wet, wet, wet we get down to the business of dry beans.  Now dry beans occupies a fair amount of time throughout the season.  We plant in late May (about 4 acres this year!), then we cultivate, weed, cultivate.  Then in late September early October we pull truck load after truck load of bean plants out of the field and create giant towering piles of dry bean bushes in our barn so they plants can finish drying.
And then FINALLY, sometime starting in November (dependent on how many times we have to fix the combine) we start threshing.  After we thresh, the beans go overnight into a home-made "bean dryer" to make sure they are rock hard dry.  Then they go through our 150 year old bean cleaner (adapted to modern-day use with a leaf blower and mom's old treadmill "i.e. conveyor belt"). And then, finally then...the beans are ready to be sold.
The great thing about the dry beans, from a farmer's perspective, is once we've got them they hold!  And after selling 9 months of perishable salad greens that is a lovely thing indeed.   And of course, it is ever so nice to have them for those cold and wet and dark winter nights when there is nothing as comforting as a nourishing warm bowl of heirloom, locally grown beans.
I've been growing dry beans for 10+ years now and it has been a huge learning curve for sure.  Started with a mason jar full of Coupeville's famous heirloom Rockwell Beans and spent many years growing them very poorly and making many many mistakes. Learned on the job, so to speak!  This year, we grew out nearly 1500 lbs of them.  I think I'm (finally!) getting better at!
The Pacific Northwest is not really a great dry bean growing area (dry beans are best adapted for warmer and drier climes than ours) but I get away with due to the "rain shadow" that lowers the amount of rain we get here at Willowood plus my sandy loam soil which lets things dry out very quickly and the fact that usually (although not always) we have an extended dry indian summer to cure and ripen those beans.  It's always a challenge however and the crop is never guaranteed.
A waterfall of Rockwells.  Happy farmer!
So when those beans FINALLY get through the thresher, well, I'm a VERY happy farmer for sure. 
For those who love to purchase my dry beans, well...they are FINALLY ready!  (okay, Peregion Beans are coming next weekend, combine broke - again - and had to order another part...).   But generally speaking we will be STOCKED with dry beans at the Bayview Holiday Market starting Saturday, Dec. 1st, in the Bayview Hall.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and running for four Saturdays til Dec. 22.
You can also find our dry beans at a number of other places on Whidbey and beyond.  Check out Bayleaf stores in Coupeville and Oak Harbor http://bayleaf.us/; Prairie Center Red Apple in Coupeville, the new Roaming Radish in Freeland and for you Seattleites - Chef Shop on 15th in carrying our dry beans - and they ship too!  www.chefshop.com
So...hope to see you at market today, or make sure to track down our dry beans.  They make great Xmas gifts too!
Oh...and of course we will have lots more food in addition to dry beans including:
* Brussel Sprout trees
* Mesclun, spinach and arugula bags
* Potatoes!
* Onions
* Garlic
* Celeriac
* Celery
* Beets
* Carrots
* Kale
* Chard
* Winter squash and pie pumpkins...
And more!!! Hope to see you today!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Bayview Market of 2012!

Squash field in mid June.  See the little plants just poking up?
Well...here it is...today we are off to Bayview for the LAST farmer's market of the season!  (okay, well we do have 4 indoor Holiday Bayview Markets we do starting around Thanksgiving but you know what I mean....).
It is always amazing how quickly I seem to get here.  How the big box of seeds, the precious tiny little plants germinating in our hard-working light cabinets during the cold, wet and dark days of February turn into the pumpkins, the onions, the tomatoes and the brussel sprouts of October!  And then of course, after weeks and weeks of hard work, and long days, it is quite suddenly, over.  Time to rest and hibernate.  Just a bit.  So we can do it all again next year!
Squash Field mid August!  It's a JUNGLE!
Like a squirrel however, my ability to relax all depends on how much food I have "squirreled" away for the winter.  And well this year, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS we have the biggest barn in Island County!  It is stuffed right now!  We are drowning in potatoes, onions and winter squash.  Plus huge piles of dry beans yet to be threshed (just started threshing yesterday!).  And still in the field we have gosh, at least an acres worth of "cold hardy" crops.  Things like carrots, beets, turnips, kale, collards, brussel sprouts and other winter crops that we will harvest as needed.  We are lucky to have a moderate climate that, while perhaps it is not the best for growing watermelons and lima beans, it does offer many days of not too cold days in which so many crops thrive.
Squash field first of October. 
Of course, you wonder, WHERE can I get all this wonderful food off season?  Well...after you come by the Bayview Market today to stock up the pantry, we still have several off-season opportunities.
One of course, is Mikey's great home-delivery list.  Whidbey Green Goods makes a weekly delivery to the door-steps, addresses south of Coupeville, of local veggies, meat and other goodies.  Check out his website if you haven't already - www.whidbeygreengoods.com
The fruits of our labor.  Literally.
Then of course there is the "Endless Summer" list.  This is a order and pick-up list in Coupeville that has been running for gosh, maybe 8 years now?  Farmer Linda at Rosehip Farm and Garden heads this one up.  Linda combines available veggies from her farm, Willowood and several other local farms and sends out a list via email.  She takes orders and then we fill them, first-come first-serve with a pick-up on Saturdays.  We run the list at the whim of the farmers and the weather.  Or, i.e., as long as we have enough food and energy to do.  Typically speaking, however, it runs pretty solid until Thanksgiving and then we try and have at least a few pick-ups in December.  I'm also pursuing the possibility of doing a similar "Endless Summer" list with a south-end pick-up at Chef Jess's great new local food deli/take-out in Freeland - Roaming Radish!  (Check it out if you haven't already!  I got a killer meat loaf sandwich there the other day and some great take-home tomato soup!  All using local products!).  Anyways, watch for more info on a possible "South End Endless Summer" pick-up coming soon.
Probably the biggest dearth of the year for local produce, at least, is the first of the year.  January, for us here at Willowood, is major hibernation month.  We don't get out much then.  Things start to happen again in February but...it all depends on how kind the winter weather was to us how much food we have.  We might offer a few, via email, pick-up days and oftentimes Mikey starts-up the first of his Whidbey Green Goods deliveries sometime in February.  By April the first Coupeville markets starts and then things start coming along fast!
So...come of the market today and STOCK UP!  We've got storage bags of potatoes and onions.  And we've got loads of winter squash which are SO nice to have come December and January.  Giant cabbages and kohlrabi to make kraut with and even peppers to pickle!  And if you are getting our email lists, please feel free to share them with Whidbey friends and neighbors.  The more local food moving into local mouths the better!  (Btw, we still haven't gotten our dry beans threshed and packaged yet.  That sometimes just takes time as we get them dry enough to thresh.  So...that is something to DEFINITELY watch for on our email lists and via Whidbey Green Goods!). 
And now, it is time for me to drink some coffee and head out to load up!  See you at market today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
Oh yeah, and here's what we got:
* Potatoes - 10 lb and 2 lb bags
* Onions - loose and in 5 lb storage bags
* Winter Squash
* Brussel Sprouts
* Cabbage
* Kohlrabi
* Turnips
* Rutabagas
* Parsnips
* Head Lettuce (yes, late crop!)
* Arugula and spinach bags
* Tatsoi and Mustard bunches
* Baby pac choi
* Radishes
* Scallions
* Beets
* Carrots
* Tomatoes and peppers (last picking!)
* Kale
* Chard
And more....




Saturday, October 20, 2012

What? You thought we were done? Ha!

Lamenting the close of farmer's market season?  Thinking about FINALLY getting to sleep in on a Saturday morning and not about missing the choicest selection of market goodies.  Well hah - there are still TWO Bayview Farmer's Markets left!
Yep, it's may be dark as hades at 7 a.m. yet we are nonetheless out their loading up the van planning to bring the fall harvest bounty at market!  Actually today sounds like an action packed day a the market - it is the first ever "Cornucopia Chuck" in which a bunch of punch-happy tired market vendors find all sorts of weird things to see how far they can catapult them in some sort of insanely improvised potato gun.  Sounds dangerous! Sounds fun!  And it is also the ever popular Mutt Strut/Apple Day at Bayview Farm and Garden.  A great day to taste lots of different kinds of apples and bring along your doggy in some sort of silly costume. 
We are also introducing our end of season "Fall Harvest Bag" today.  A cool red Bayview Farmer's Market shopping bag filled with a selection of Willowood Farm goodies to prepare you for the upcoming fall food celebrations - a mashing type potato, a bag of garlic, a bag of cooking onions and an heirloom pie pumpkin.  A great deal too - valued at $36 - we are doing the whole shebang for $29 plus you get the bag for free!
Of course, there are plenty of other goodies to fill up your bag with including:
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach bags
* Frisee, escarole and radicchio
* Parsnips and rutabagas
* Cabbage, kohlrabi
* Onions galore
* shallots
* 10 lb and 2 lb bags of potatoes
* garlic!
* Beets
* Carrots
* Turnips
* Raab, tatsoi, mizuna mustard
* Peppers
* Tomatoes
* Oodles of gorgeous winter squash! 
See you at the market! Farmer Georgie

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Harvest Fest!

So...it is always so surprising to find myself here.  It happens every year, you would think I would be used to it.  But it kinda sneaks up on me...That moment in time when I realize that all the season's planning, work and endeavors have resulted in a...huge...barn...full...of....food.  
Coupeville Harvest Festival of years past...
All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we have the biggest barn on the island!  Because we have grown A LOT of food this year!  And one of my favorite things is to bring it down to the Coupeville Harvest Festival.  Not only because we usually sell a lot of it - which is nice for padding up the ole check book before winter hits - but because it is a real visual of just how much insane amounts of food we've grown. 
Stock up for the winter!  10 lb storage bags of taters!
So just HOW MUCH have we grown?  Well....we still have plenty of things to sell (like about 3 tons of potatoes left, a ton or more of dry beans yet to be threshed, about 5 bin loads of onions, a wagon load of winter squash, beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas and other winter hardy veggies still in the fields.) But here's a few quick figures of how much we've sold so far this year: 496 lbs of broccoli; 353 lbs of cauliflower; 651 bunches of chard; 1858 bu of kale; 1907 bu of carrots; 1423 lbs of garlic; 4674 heads of lettuce; 12,233 lbs of potatoes; 1372 bunches of radishes; 1077 bunches of beets; 672 bags of mesclun and 472 lbs of heirloom tomatoes.  Wow!  Pretty cool, huh?  And of course, the selection for today's market is AMAZING!  In case you didn't know, the Coupeville Farmer's Market is THE BIGGEST market of the year on the island and also happens to be the last Coupeville Farmer's Market of the season.  We will have a great selection and good deals on storage bags of garlic, onions and potatoes plus lots of other great "stock up for the winter" veggies like winter squash, root crops and gigantic cabbages.  It is a NO MISS (come on, a little bit of rain can't stop you, right?).  Plus we will have our Willowood/Prairie Bottom farm "Ebey's Eat Locals Zombies" Harvest Relay team participating in the wacky harvest relay events to raise money for the Good Cheer Food Bank (stop by our booth and donate a few bucks to help sponsor our team.  Every little bit helps!). 
Winter squash! So pretty! So yummy!
We also will have brave Bobbie and hubby Blake manning a limited selection booth down at Bayview if you can't make the drive to Coupeville.  So...as always...we hope to see you at market TODAY!  (Here's the insane list of food, btw...).
Coming TODAY to the Coupeville and Bayview Farmer's markets:
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach
* Frisee and escarole
* Celeriac, parsnip and rutabagas
* Turnips!
* Kale, Chard, Collards
* Potatoes SO SO SO many potatoes.  I think we will have 10 kinds at Coupeville? 10 lb storage bags of potatoes as well!
* Garlic!  Seed garlic at COUPEVILLE ONLY today!
* Onions!  Lots and lots of onions including 5 and 10 lb storage bags.
* Winter Squash and pumpkins!  A whole WAGONFULL of them at Coupeville
* Tomatoes - Cherries, Heirlooms, San Marzanos
* Insanely beautiful Peppers
* Artichokes (Coupeville only)
* Red Giant Mustard, Mizuna, Baby Pac Choi, Raab!
* Broccoli!
* Cabbage - Red and Green
* The biggest kohlrabi YOU'VE EVER SEEN!
* Radishes - French Breakfast and Black Spanish (so cool!)
* Leeks
* Carrots and Beets
* Rockwell Beans! (of course!)
And I'm sure there is SOMETHING I forgot.  Come check it out!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's Fall! Get your Winter Squash!

So pretty!  Photo by Caitlin Battersby
ANNOUNCEMENT - Next week if the Coupeville Farmer's Market Harvest Festival.  The biggest market of the year  - we will have THREE YES THREE trailers and tractors of food there - and a serious good time!  Come and be amazed by the incredible bounty of food coming straight from the fertile fields of Ebey's Prairie!

So there is a nip in the air, the colors are rich and vibrant and the winter squash is here.  Yep it's FALL!  I always say my favorite time of year is fall and well, I certainly can't complain about this year.
I love the fall because not only do I love the weather - typically dry and sunny but not too hot for this Pac NW born and raised girl (Anything over about 65 degrees is too hot for me!).  The prairie is absolutely stunning this time of year - the golds, yellows and reds of fall crops and fields and crisp blue ocean and majestic mountains.  And on the farm it is a time of year to really relish is all the bounty of the crops that we spent the season slaving over.
Five tons of potatoes harvested?  Done.  50,000 onions pulled up?  Done.  4 acres of dry beans?  Almost done. And then of course there are all the winter crops - the cabbages, the turnips, the parsnip and the rutabagas, the beets, the carrots and the still to come brussel sprouts.  Not to mention the winter squash.  The gorgeous, glorious, scrumptious winter squash.
Winter squash has a LONG tradition on Ebey's Prairie.  Ask any old-timer from central Whidbey and they will probably tell you they spent their childhood hoeing acres upon acres of winter squash.  My dad still likes to get out with a hoe every once in a while in our squash patch to show us young 'uns "how it's done."  My grandfather and great-grandfather before him grew squash and hauled them down in a wagon to the Coupeville wharf to be transported to the big city for sale.  The "barn" house I currently live in at one time was used to store both grain and winter squash.  My great-grandmother Georgie used to wait til my great-grandfather Harry (her husband) went out of town for a few days and then she would call our local grocer, the Pickards at Prairie Center Mercantile, and tell them to "quick, come down and take some squash out of the squash barn before the old man gets back.  Enough to pay off the tab!"  (My great-grandfather was notorious for being a scrooge about money! And the Pickard's were known for generously carrying tabs for many of the farm families that would eventually be paid off in squash or Rockwell beans!).  
Hubbards were generally the squash of choice here on the prairie in those days.  Especially Sugar Hubbards which are still today grown by our neighbor Pioneer Produce (who, by the way, opens this weekend with their awesome trolley rides and pumpkin patch!).  Back in those days you wanted a BIG squash with a thick heavy rind that would store for well, a good 6 months or more.  Enough to feed a big hungry farm family for weeks.  When I was a kid we would always get one, cut it open by throwing it on our concrete patio, take the chunks we needed for dinner and then leave the rest sitting out on the patio in the cool autumn weather to use as we got to it.
But people and eating habits change.  Pioneer Produce sells most of their Sugar Hubbard squashes pre-cut and pre-packaged.  Why?  Because most families today don't know what to do with a 30 lbs squash.  Ease and convenience are the name of the game.
Nonetheless, I can't help myself in growing a wide selection of the many gorgeous winter squashes and pumpkins.  We have about 8 different varieties this year - in a mix of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors.  (I leave the Sugar Hubbard squash growing to our neighbors - they do it too well!).  Warty heirlooms, smooth blue pumpkins, red-orange tear-drop kabocha types, netted pie pumpkins.  So much fun!  So delicious!  So...stop by at the Coupeville or Bayview farmer's market today and pick out a selection of winter squash.  They are great for gracing your fall season table (they will keep for months inside a house) and then, when you are ready, eat them!
And of course, we have LOADS more food at the market (it is harvest time after all) including:
* Potatoes - all types and in 10 lb storage bags!
* Onions!  Cooking, sweet, red, yellow, cippolinis....
* Shallots
* Parsnips
* Rutabagas
* Salad greens - mesclun, arugula, spinach
* Frisee - Oh my gosh it is GOOD too!
* Beets
* Carrots
* Tomatoes - red slicers, cherries, heirloom mix and San Marzano's to boot!
* Shelling beans
* Celeriac
* Garlic (Seed garlic at Bayview this week.  Will be at Coupeville next week!)
And more....
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Change....all in a day's work!

First....a couple of important announcements:
* Seed Garlic!  Is available at Bayview Farm and Garden and all the Skagit Farmer's Stores (Oak Harbor, Freeland, multiple Skagit Valley locations).  We also have limited availability of seed garlic at the Coupeville Farmer's Market today and will have seed garlic NEXT WEEK at the Bayview Farmer's Market!
* There are still some tickets left for this great event at the Chef Tamara Murphy's new Capital Hill restaurant Terra Plata.  http://localchefsforlocalfarmsterraplata.eventbrite.com/Yours truly will be on a panel with a few other great farmers talking about farmer to chef relations and other cool local food topics.  Eat great food in an amazing venue and support the PCC Farmland Trust supporting local farming in the Pacific Northwest!
* Next Saturday, Sept. 29th, Bayview Farmer's Market will be hosting Chef Eli Dahlin for a chef demonstration.  THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED!  Eli is the genius behind the flipping amazing food at one of Seattle's most celebrated restaurants - The Walrus and Carpenter in Ballard.  Eli is a big supporter of local farmers (Willowood delivers there every week and he LOVES Little Brown Farm cheese as well!) and we are honored to have him at the market giving away a few of his secrets of how to use the fall harvest bounty.  Chef demo's typically run from 11 to about 1 during market hours.  Please come watch what amazing things Eli can do and support a local chef and restaurant who really walks the talk when it comes to using local foods!

And now, on to our regularly scheduled musings....
The last few days have dawned cooler and misty.  Signs of the fall and winter to come.  One thing about farming that just becomes part of your being is change.  Crops come and go through the season.  Weather warms, gets warmer, gets cold, gets colder.  We are deluged in rain and then a few months later we are parched dry.  Whatever seems to be the issue problem this month, will most likely be long gone next.  Yet you persevere.  Or at least you try to find how to juggle this, make this change, do things a bit differently, so it can all work out in the end.
One of my fellow and favorite farmers, Chief Milkmaid Vicky Brown of Little Brown Farm is in the throes of this right now.  In many ways her farm has been successful probably beyond her imagining.  But in other ways, it has been a long hard and really expensive road to hoe.  (Or in her case, milk....heh-heh)....Here is her latest blog on meeting some of those challenges head on.   http://littlebrownfarm.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/dashed_dreams/
I think Vicky is making exactly the right choices.  Not by the choices, per se, but recognizing she has to make them and meeting them head-on.  Having spent the last few years trying to balance my farming life, my family life and my financial realities...I know how she feels.  But I also know if she can't find some balance in her life she won't be able to keep farming and boy, that would be a loss for all of us!  And the thing is, change happens.  Change is good.  Change is what you do so you can keep going on.  Change are the seeds you plant tomorrow for the harvest at season's end.  So....it's all good! 
"OcTUBERfest"
Meanwhile, here at Willowood we have had the year (so far at least), that I have been fantasizing about for several years.  The crew this year has just been, well, a joy.  Any crew that will dress up like this and sing oompa-loompa songs on the 4th long and dirty day of harvesting a few tons of potatoes while they celebrate "OcTUBERfest" is one that well, how can you even describe how great that is!
Crops have grown better than ever.  We've had bounteous harvests are all our favorite things plus crops we've struggled with in years past have really done better than ever thanks to new farming techniques, close attention to detail and just good farming practices that I have to mostly attribute to my amazing farm manager Blake Mennella.  His wonderful wife Bobbie has run the show at the Bayview Farmer's Market this year, perhaps you have met her!
My roles has transitioned this year out of the fields and more, well, onto the computer and phone.  Which, is frustrating sometimes, but, is the reality of the farm. I've also spent less time at the markets which you might have noticed. But, that was a conscious decision to allow me more time at home with my family.  Having children and a husband who are on a Monday-Friday schedule and then not only being gone all day Saturday but being so exhausted on Sunday to do much is a strain on the family.  Yet it has been a relief to know that the growing and the selling is in such great hands that I've been able to spend more doing the things that I can best do to help the business...
Sales have gone through the roof (almost 50 percent increase!) as I have expanded our wholesale deliveries with weekly deliveries into Skagit and King counties thanks to the new refrigerated delivery van that I couldn't have done without the help of a local investor who looked at my crazy numbers and took a risk anyways!  Thanks to John Lovie and his lovely wife Brenda!
Insane Onion Harvest.  This times 10!
Our new greenhouse financed by local author Vicki Robbin has grown bounteous amounts of tomatoes that are well, a joy to behold!  Yeah for local investors!
But it's been a lot of years to get to this point.  One of my farmhands asked me this year, if I could have my dream job what would it be?  And actually, this would be it.  Just with a little more cash in my pocket and savings in the bank when it is all said and done!  Yet, while I look at the numbers from this year and think about the next few months of sales when we finish our potato, onion and dry bean harvest and typically bring in about 40 percent of our yearly sales (all in the last 3 months of the year!  crazy, huh?), I have a lot of optimism for the next few years to come that my dream job has the potential to be financial viable for the long term.  How wonderful it would be if I could, in 20 years or so, pass on a thriving farm business to my two daughters (and let's hope they might want it!). So, I continue to think and dream, and, I'm sure, will make the choices and the changes to get there!
And now, enough of the sentimental musings....Here is what is coming to market TODAY!
* Tomatoes!  We've got some great tomatoes at market today.  Heirloom mix (funky looking but great tasting!), San Marzano sauce tomatoes and cherry tomatoes as well!
* Peppers!  We are pretty darn excited to have this beautiful pepper harvest this year.  They are all mostly sweet roasting types and some poblano/ancho types as well!  (i.e. chile relleno peppers!).
* Onions!  Sweet Wallas, Copra cooking and torpedoes as well!  (and btw, more onion varieties still to come including cippolini's probably next week!)
* Potatoes galore.  It's big-time potato harvest right now and we've got the 10 lb storage bags to prove it.  Stock up!
* Garlic!  Can you have enough garlic?  I can't!
* Basil.  Loads of it perfect for end of season pesto making.
* Beets.  Can em!
* Carrots
* Kale and Chard
* Summer squash (only a few more weeks on these, enjoy them while you can!)
* Shelling beans.  If you know them, you love them!
* Leeks
* Rutabagas
* Celery
* Parsnips
*  Spinach, Mesclun and Arugula bags
* Cabbage - GIANT red and green ones.  Great for sauerkraut!
* Broccoli...
And more!  (Corn coming from Ebb Tide and I believe some apples and other fruit from Whidbey Green Goods as well).
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crazy Harvest Days!

Well it's definitely that time of year.  That time of year when ever which way I turn I see - "OMG! That needs to be harvested!"  I start feeling like a crazy spinning dervish.  Dust flying from my feet and vegetables going up up up in an endless tornado of harvest! 
We've got all the garlic in, cured and dried (and, btw, seed garlic will be available very very soon!), we've got greens, broccoli and her cousins, beans, onions, beets and carrots galore.  And we've started harvest beautiful tomatoes (OMG!), an absolutely gorgeous and abundant crop of potatoes and the dry beans, oh my, the dry beans, are looking like they are going to be the bumper crop of all bumper crops this year (we've still got another month til harvest for those so keeping my finger's crossed).  All told, it's been a heck of a year.  Here's a few pictures to show you in images how great it's been!  And today at market we've got:
* Kale
* Chard
* Mesclun
* Head Lettuce
* Heirloom tomatoes
* Basil
* Onions
* Garlic
* Broccoli
* Beans - 3 kinds
* Peas
* Beets
* Carrots
* Kohlrabi
* Celery
* Parsley
and more more more!
See you there! Farmer Georgie
Garlic!

Crazy pack day!

A REALLY full refrigerated van!

Dirty face!

Digging potato and hunting voles!

Tomatoes! OMG! Tomatoes! 






Saturday, August 4, 2012

Good times at market...

"Hey...Is this daikon radish vegan?" so asks a customer at a recent farmer's market.
Now it is lucky this question wasn't posed to me (it was posed to a wonderful, albeit very serious intern on the farm this year who answered "yes" but then wondered later if perhaps it actually wasn't vegan since we fertilize with chicken poo...).   If I had gotten this question, I would have probably had to sit down on a bag of potatoes I would have laughed so hard.
Be forewarned.  If you see this look on my face I might be pulling your leg...
But this does bring up an interesting conversation about all the funny questions we've gotten over the years.   Not that we don't welcome a open discourse so we can better educate our customers about our vegetables and what it means to grow them.  But sometimes we are, momentarily, flabbergasted.  And, to be honest, go home and giggle a bit.
Here's a few other good ones we've gotten over the years...
* The guy in the the road bicycle regalia.  Rides his bike up to our booth, pauses, looks around, and asks me "where are the bananas?"  (I told him that he might want to try a farmer's market in Florida! Or the grocery store down the block...).
* The woman who was very interested in purchasing some of our fresh herb bunches but needed directions on how to dry them so she would be able to use them.  She was flabbergasted when I explained to her while she COULD dry them, it was probably easier to just use them fresh.
* The woman who saw me, rushed up with a recipe in hand asking for fava beans.  I try to explain to her that it is October, about 3 months past fava bean season (which are usually on in June/July/August.  She tells me no problem, she can come by the farm on Wednesday and pick them up!  (Because apparently I can plant them, grow them and harvest them in 4 days!).
* A number of folks asked us last year our vegetables were grown under cover and radiation free.  (due to the tsunami in Japan).   Certainly we were also concerned about worries about radiation fall-out from Japan, but is there a way to cover 12 acres of fields of veggies to prevent radiation fall-out?  Hmm....not really.  An alternative would have been to just plow everything in but well, the budget wouldn't have been happy with that plus of course, then no veggies (radiated or not).  Although we actually started advertising our tomatoes and basil as "radiation free" as they are grown in plastic hoophouses.  Of course, I suppose the plastic off-gases in the heat but heck.... it isn't radiation!
* We are very often asked if this vegetable or that vegetable is good for juicing.  For the record, if you have a good enough juicer pretty much any vegetable can be juiced.  Now why you would want to juice an onion or a garlic, I don't know, but that is up to personal taste!
* Oh, and yes, all our vegetables are gluten free.  Except for the grains.
We are very very very often asked about a vegetable, "what do you do with this."  Sometimes, when I'm a bit tired, I respond with "You eat it!"  But then I laugh and explain how.   I keep in mind that the majority of people (sadly) don't grow up realizing that yes, potatoes come out of the dirt and tomatoes from a vine.  My kids can identify a kohlrabi from a cauliflower but a lot, lot, lot of folks just simply have never even had the opportunity! 
But nonetheless, it is fun to relate the "war stories" after a long market season.  And I know this isn't merely related to vegetables.  When I was a kid in dairy 4-H we went to the state fair in Puyallup every year with our dairy cows.  Many of them were mature milk cows and the Puyallup fair had a really cool glass-sided milking parlor where visitors could watch as you milked your cows 2x daily.  And I was personally asked, and quite seriously too, which cow produced the chocolate milk.  I finally started just telling them it was the brown cow (the Jersey).
When I was working as a journalist in rural Eastern Washington I once had an editor who was outraged when I reported in the police report that a hay stack had "spontaneously combusted."  Lucky for the paper, I grew up a farm kid because I would have been laughed out of town if I had pressed forward with the conspiracy theory my city-raised editor was convinced of...that we had a local arsonist running around lighting hay stacks on fire.  (For the record, when hay gets wet and moldy and starts to rot in creates a lot of heat - it is essentially composting.  And particularly in a big stack and in warm weather the intense heat from rotting bales can yes, light outer dry bales on fire. It is not uncommon to see smoking hay stacks or hear about barns that burned down because of hay put up wet.)
 I probably get this sense of humor from my father.  who I once heard tell somebody that the way to tell the difference between male and female cabbage plants (planted together to produce hybrid seed cabbage) was to flip the plant over and..."if you can find it's little thingee... well then it's a boy!"  (Again, for the record,  hybrid cabbage production is rather complicated but essentially, male and female cabbage plants are selectively cross-bred for specific traits and when those two plants are bred together they then each provide the correct desired traits in their "child" who's seed is produce and then sold to farmers across the world. Interestingly enough the male and female "parts" of many plants is quite obviously rather, well, obvious in the flower.  Check out male and female squash blossoms and you'll catch my drift.).  
Of course, my favorite all time "amuse yourself at the expense of the city kid" story was one I related in this posting.  And yes, it's a true story.   http://www.funnyfarmertales.blogspot.com/2010/02/big-red-bird-aka-bill-and-city-people.html
So yes, while we welcome your questions and no, there really is no such thing as a stupid question.  I hope you can forgive us if we a giggle a bit now and then!
Meanwhile, here is the list of veggies we are bringing to the Coupeville and Bayview markets today!
From Willowood Farm:
* Mesclun and Arugula bags
* Head lettuce
* Fava beans (almost over - get them before they are gone!)
* Potatoes - Starting into kinds by variety!
* Garlic - 8 kinds today!
* Beets
* Carrots
* Juicing bags! (yes, we decided to take advantage of the never ending "can you juice" this question and just make an easy to grab bag!)
* Japanese turnip bags (you can pickle or juice them!)
* Scallions
* Walla onions w/ greens
* Red Torpedo onions w/ greens
* Summer squash
* Celery
* Parsley
* Raab
* Kale
* Chard
And much more!  The bounty is on...so come check it out!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crazy cruciferous cabbage!

Bring on the....CABBAGE! 
An nice big cabbage plant starting to "head up"
And here on Ebey's Prairie we are pretty darn good at growing it.  So good, as a matter of fact, that the central Whidbey/ Ebey's Prairie area produces a large portion of the world's supply of cabbage seed?  You might have seen the fields, about this time of year the cabbage planted late last summer has now erupted into tall blooming fields of yellow usually fairly humming with the work of happy, happy bees.  Those fields are allowed to set seed and then harvested, threshed and sent to seed companies that redistribute, package and ship it all the world.   Here's a great link to cabbage production on Ebey's Prairie from a few years ago..http://todayonebeys.blogspot.com/2010/05/cabbage-seeds.html
About 7 years ago now I traveled to China (my brother was getting married to a lovely Chinese woman) and while there we toured some of their farms (I couldn't help myself!).  While looking at crazy amounts of eggplants and melons and strange cucumbers, our Chinese farmer host was very excited to show us the crop of "big headed" plant that they were packing and shipping for Japan.  They thought it was quite a novel vegetable and said they had gotten the seeds from the U.S.  I was fascinated wondering what this exciting vegetable might be.  We went to see this "unusual" vegetable in the packing shed and discovered that it was, lo and behold, cabbage!  (In China, while they eat just about every other vegetable possible and then some, they don't have a tradition of eating headed cabbage.  Just loose "Chinese/Napa cabbage."  But it is popular in Japan apparently).  I found it ironic that I traveled half way around the world to see growing out a vegetable who's seed was more than likely produced right in my backyard! 
Cabbage is, simply put, a really awesome vegetable.  It grows well, it is chock full of Vitamins C and E and great cancer-fighting properties, and you can store it forever either in a root cellar or made into something scrumptious like sauerkraut.  It has been cultivated for over 4000 years, Captain Cook used it as a poultice to treat injured sailors and prevent gangrene and Egyptian pharaohs ate copious amounts before a night of drinking because they thought it let them hold their liquor better. 
But like some of my most favorite vegetables, cabbage is, sadly enough, rarely the "star" at the farmer's market booth.  No...people want their precious tomatoes, their basil, their fancy-schmancy garlic and their colored potatoes.  (okay...we do all that too! hahaha).  And the poor cabbage gets sadly, overlooked.
Well today, today is CABBAGE day.  (As in we harvested like 200 lbs of it so um, yeah, we need to sell it!).  At market today we've got 3 kinds - this crazy Italian pointed one called "Couer di bue" which means "oxheart" (I find that Italians have named many of their vegetables "oxheart."  We grow a tomato with the exact same name.  Apparently they are very found of bovine hearts in Italy.) We've also got a lovely round spring cabbage called "Charmant."  And a small purple/green Italian savoy cabbage called "Verona di Michelle."  (or something like that).  A nice representation of the many forms in which cabbage can produce itself although all of these are the smaller "early summer" cabbages.  For the big giant heads, well we will have those come September!    
So come down to the Coupeville or Bayview market and pick yourself out a nice head or two (or three!)  There are tons of recipes and uses for cabbage (just google a bit) I'm including one that I'm going to try tonite which is basically cabbage with fancy bacon (Pancetta).  Yum!

Fried Cabbage w/ Pancetta
Ingredients
  • 6 slices pancetta, cut into small strips
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook and stir pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper; cook until onions become translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Cook and stir cabbage with pancetta mixture until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and hot pepper sauce; cook until cabbage is tender, about 10 more minutes.

 And of course, we have loads more veggies to go with your cabbage including...
* Mesclun
* Red Spinach
* Head Lettuce
* Walla onions w/ greens
* Scallions
* New potatoes
* Fresh garlic (2 kinds this week!)
* Raab
* Japanese Turnips
* Kohlrabi
* Fava Beans
* Basil (first picking!)
* Shelling peas
* Italian parsley
* Cauliflower
* Beets
*  Rhubarb
* Kale
* Collards
* Chard
And more....
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Holy Cauliflower Batman!

Ah....isn't he cute????
This week at market it is...CAULIFLOWER TIME!  Yep, we have a bonanza of cauliflower a the moment.  I'm especially thrilled as last year we lost our "early" crop of cauliflower due to nearly 3 inches of rain we got in mid May.

This year we were smart to open up a new (and drier) field and put the starts in a few weeks later.  The end result - over 300 lbs of cauliflower harvested and still more to go.  (and we've got not just white heads, but purple and Romensco cauliflower too).  Wowser!  And, btw...we have also planted now 3 more rotations of cauliflower to come on now through about mid October! 
Like a lot of fresh grown veggies, cauliflower is one of those that is SO SO SO much better when grown locally (and without chemicals) than what you can buy in the grocery store.  I think there a lot of reasons for that.  One is just how fresh they are.  Cauliflower you buy today from the Willowood Farm booth at Coupeville or Bayview was picked yesterday.  If you eat in tonite, well that's just one day out from harvest to plate! 
I think there is no way you can beat that time-frame commercially. They pick the cauliflower, pack it and send it to distribution warehouses where it sits for a few days as sales and delivery plans are made.  Then, if gets to the grocery store and may sit in their cooler for a few days as well, especially if they already have some cauliflower on the shelves.  Eventually it gets put out and again, might be a few more days before you put it in your cart and take it home.  I think the quickest scenario on commercially grown cauliflower - field to plate - via the grocery stores has gotta be at least 3 days.  But more likely you are looking at five, six even a week out or more....And all that time flavor and nutritional value are fading fast!
Also, I believe that growing things without chemical fertilizers or pesticides (as we do at Willowood) improves the flavor of veggies.  I'm sure some folks would argue with me about that.  But I'm sorry, a vegetable that grows the way it should, pulling nutrients slowly and surely from healthy soil, sunshine and clean air, has just gotta be way better than one pumped full of chemical compounds.  And, btw, brassicas in general (brassica's referring to anything in the broccoli family like cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, brussel spouts...) are one of the more heavily sprayed vegetables for insects.  Ick!
Intern Paige as The Lorax
I've actually had numerous folks over the years tell me that they cannot eat broccoli, cauliflower, etc...purchased from the grocery store.  They get bad tummy aches.  But they can eat mine.  I'm not sure if it is the lack of chemicals, the freshness or perhaps a combination of all that.  But it is good to now!
And finally I think the reason my cauliflower (and broccoli) tastes so good is cuz I let it "ripen."  What I mean by that is, I let my cauliflower get bigger and the "curds" open up a bit.  Much more so then is common for the grocery store cauliflower.  Why do I do that?  Well...I started doing it by accident. It is easy to miss that one to two day "perfect head of cauliflower" window.  When you get a small tight head.  I started getting bigger, a bit looser heads.  But I realized two things #1 - It costs me the same amount of space, labor and time to grow a 1.5 lb cauliflower head as it does to grow a 5 lb cauliflower head (and I am in this farming thing to make money!) and #2 - I think the bigger, looser heads taste better.  Sweeter.
I first I thought maybe I was just using the "better tasting" theory to justify letting the heads get bigger.  But somebody recently told me in Italy broccoli raab (another member of the broccoli family) is never picked til the heads started opening up to bloom because they are considered at their tastiest then.  Which makes perfect sense for cauliflower as well (a cousin to broccoli raab).  So there you have it!
So why am I telling you all this.  Cuz we've got some MONSTERS at market today!  Some good 5+ lb heads.  And boy oh boy, are they GOOD!  If they are too big for you, well....somebody would surely cut one for you.  But also remember, that is a 5+ lb of cauliflower picked just yesterday.  Even if you only eat a 1/4 of it a sitting you still will get better tasting, healthier for you and a way fresher cauliflower by buying just one and eating on it all week than you would going and buying a head at the store come Wednesday or Thursday.
Some come on down and get you some monster cauliflower!  You can also cream it, pickle it, and do all sorts of wonderful things with it!  Including making this fabulous roasted cauliflower and garlic recipe...

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER W/ GARLIC

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a large casserole dish.
  2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large resealable bag. Add cauliflower, and shake to mix. Pour into the prepared casserole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Top with Parmesan cheese (or better yet, Capriziella from Little Brown Farm) and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.
 Of course, we have loads more stuff coming to the Coupeville and Bayview markets today including...
From Willowood Farm:
* New Potatoes
* Walla Walla onion bunches w/ greens
* Scallions
* Fresh garlic
* Head Lettuce - HUGE heads!
* Garlic scapes
* Fava beans
* Kohlrabi
* Japanese turnips
* Beets
* Mesclun Mix
* Raab
* Kale
* Chard
* Parsley
From Ebb Tide farm we have (Bayview only) broccoli, bulb fennel, sugar snap peas and giant Daikon radishes. 
Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods is bringing (Bayview only) some hot house goods sourced from the Skagit Valley, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and etc...
So...hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Time for a Farm Photo Collage!

Squash planting toes.  (and one anal boot guy). 

Tomatoes in hoophouse!

Dirt only makes her cuter...

View from the interns room.  Photo by Caitlin Battersby

Dinner!  Photo by Caitlin Battersby
Harvest day crew.  We get a bit punchy.  Mustaches in honor of Walrus & Carpenter.

New potatoes!  Divine!

Garlic Hero!  Photo by Caitlin Battersby
Ran into a neighbor of mine who kindly follows this blog and she was mentioning how about this time of year I usually get so busy this blog reverts from my witty farm observations to..."hey look, a bunch of pretty pictures."
I don't know if it was her suggestion or what, but well, that seems like a GREAT idea for today.  So folks..."Hey look, a bunch of pretty pictures!"
And of course, we know what you folks really care about is what we are bringing to market today.  So on that note, here goes....
From Willowood:
* Japanese Turnips (lots of them!)
* Garlic
* Garlic scapes (and recipes for pickling them too!)
* Head Lettuce
* Mesclun mix
* Spinach bags
* Arugula bags
* Cauliflower (and it is BEAUTIFUL!)
* Broccoli - (also BEAUTIFUL!)
* Radishes (Bayview only)
* Walla onions (Bayview only)
* Beets
* Chard
* Kale
* Italian Parsley
* Carrots
* Fava Beans
* New potatoes
* Kohlrabi
Our friends from Prairie Bottom Farm are adding herbs to the mix.  Whidbey Green Goods (who sources local veggies from Whidbey Island the Skagit Valley) is bringing basil, snow and sugar peas, cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants.
Hope to see you at market!
FarmerGeorgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Spraying fish guts on the tater field


Planting onions.  Photo by Caitlin Battersby.
Sunset view toward the Hancocks. 
Bibb Lettuce.  "Amish Speckled."

Wet crew.  Wet dog.  Still happy.

Bobbie at the Bayview Farmer's Market.                      














Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garlic Scapes Galore!

So...you ask....What ARE those funny little curlique green things?  Like something out of a veggie Dr. Seuss book. 
Garlic scapes!  Oh yes, garlic scapes! 
Garlic scapes (aka garlic snaps, garlic spears, garlic whistles), are the "seed" scape of a hardneck garlic.  I say "seed" scape in quotations because interesting enough garlic doesn't actually make true seed.  As in seed that you could cross with another garlic and make a new garlic.  No the "seed" scape of a hard-neck garlic, if you let it mature, will make tiny tiny little "bulbils."  Or essentially mini garlic cloves that if planted, will grow and make a bigger garlic clove the next year.  And then if you plant THAT, will make more of a regular size garlic bulb the following year.  Essentially, garlic only reproduces itself by cloning itself.  The ability to set "seed" was bred out of garlic 100s and 100s of years ago, and is actually something scientists are now trying to recreate as the problem with not having true seed is that it makes garlic more susceptible to disease wiping out entire lines, as there is no ability to breed resistance through crossing different varieties with garlic only clones itself. 
Anyways, I digress.  (Garlic is like that for me....).  Because we want to talk about garlic SCAPES today.  Why?  Because they are simply fan-freaking-tastic.
When people ask what they are like I always say, picture asparagus texture but garlicky flavor.  And you can pretty much do all the things you do with asparagus with garlic.  You can braise them.  You can grill them.  You can roast them.  You can pickle them (see below for Oystercatcher's awesome pickled garlic scapes recipe!).
You can also do things with garlic scapes you don't do with asparagus - like you can chop it up into a salad, you can season with it in place of garlic (figure it will be a bit milder), you can make garlic scape pesto! (yum!). 
Farmer Georgie muses "Ahem, yes., garlic scapes, garlic scapes, garlic scapes and so on...."
You can also do things like... smoke them.  SUPER trendy in the avant-garde organic farming world.  It is only properly done with VERY dirty hands, otherwise, the scape just doesn't taste right.  (just kidding people!). 

Wynter teething on garlic scapes.  She is 6 now and says she doesn't like garlic.  Yeah, right....
The other thing you can do with garlic scapes, and I think there might really be something to this one, is use them for teething rings!  Both my daughters had quite a fondness for garlic scape teething rings in their younger years.  And, with the proven anti-bacterial abilities of garlic, I think this one has real merit!



So, as you can see here.  The possibilities with garlic scapes are, well, endless!  And, lucky for you...we have all the garlic scapes you could possibly need.   Oh, gosh, about 300 or 400 lbs of them we would guess.  One scape, for every one of the approximately 30,000 hardneck garlic plants we planted.  Phew. 
So this weekend at market - pick up your garlic scapes!  They will be GREAT grilled with your 4th of July barbequing, btw....(garlic scapes on dogs, garlic scapes with steak, garlic scapes and smores....well maybe not that last one...).
And of course, we have plenty more veggies to go with the scapes, including....
From Willowood Farm:
* Mesclun bags
* Arugula bags
* Spinach bags
* Pea vine bags
* Head Lettuce (leaf types and super cute mini romaines! Bayview only)
* Fresh garlic (still curing so on the stalk)
* True new potatoes, mixed "red, white and blue" colors. (SO SO SO GOOD. OMG!)
* Japanese Salad "Hakurei" Turnips
* Carrots
* Fava Beans
* Walla Walla onions w/ greens
* Kale
* Chard
* Barn Floor Mix dry beans
* Rhubarb (Bayview only)
* Braising Greens bags (bayview only)
 Our friends from Prairie Bottom Farm are adding:
* Herbs
* Raab
For Bayview only Mikey from Whidbey Green Goods is bringing broccoli, peas, beets and some other goodies.  Blake over at Ebb Tide Farm is bringing some cilantro and other things as well.
So come see us at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm

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.