Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bobbie and her scrumptious Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry Bouquet!
One thing I've learned as the farm has grown...get a good employee and let them do what they do best!  This picture is a great example of that. 
This is Bobbie, she is the farm Market Manager this year.  Which means she will be the face "of the farm" at the markets, particularly the Bayview Farmer's Market.  And what, you ask, is she holding?  Well this is an AMAZING beautiful and scrumptiously edible bouquet that Bobbie created.  Now...I've tried to create such things in past years.  They ain't never looked like this!  But Bobbie has a flair for the artistic and an eye for vegetables....she took a few collard and mustard greens, some blooming kale raab, a blooming arugula stalk or two, garlic greens, lovely pea vines....wrapped it all up in a Whidbey Island Grown tie and voila - Beautiful and Edible!
This bouquet is also a good representation of "what is best" from the fields right now.  I was just having this conversation with our new crop of farm interns (more coming on them in later blogs).  We were talking about how with, eating "what we grow" we tend to eat things - at least fresh vegetables -  when they are in "their peak" because that is when they are most abundant.  And as I was noting, the additional bonus of this is we eat things when they are then most tasty as well.  This was while enjoying a scrumptious plate of collard greens.  Which, along with overwintered kale plants, are never more tender, sweet and tasty then in the spring.  When they have endured those months of sweet-enhancing cold weather and they are making tender leaves fueled by cool and wet conditions.  Yum! ask, what do we have coming to the Coupeville and first of the season Bayview Farmer's markets today?  Well....lots of things that are at their seasonal best!  Including...
From Willowood Farm
* Collard Greens
* Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry Bouquets
* Garlic Greens (immature garlic plants, like scallions only garlicky!)
* Radishes - just a few and they will go quick!
* Leek bunches
* Spinach bags
* Mesclun bags
* Peregion Dry Beans
* Rockwell Dry Beans
* Peanut Fingerling potatoes
From our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm we have....
* Cylindra Beets (giant ones!  Great for roasting!)
* Scallions
* Herbs
* Chard
* Kale bunches
* Kale Raab
From Georgina we have some lovely Ebey's Prairie grown grains including whole, cracked and fresh-ground flour versions of Kamut, Purple Barley and Red Hard Wheat.
And then (at Bayview Farmer's Market only!) Mikey at Whidbey Green Goods tells me his is bringing some beef, pork and salmon along with some carrots and some lovely baby cauliflower heads.
As a final word, please note if you frequent our Coupeville booth we WILL NOT be there next weekend!  Wilbur and Julieanna (Prairie Bottom Farm) are off for the History Day state tournament and well that combined with their new baby Henry and the challenges of slower growing spring fields means we just can't quite swing it without them.  We will be still at the Bayview Farmer's Market that weekend and back at both markets the following.
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Today at the Coupeville Farmer's Markets...Nature's version of your multi-vitamin pill - cruciferous vegetables!!

We are thinking today, perhaps we should but up a big sign on the market wagon - "Pharmacy Open!"  
Overwintered Collard Plant
With the sorely needed rays of Vitamin D shining bright and happy today, it is not surprising that we are bringing to the Coupeville Farmer's Market a wagon load of nutrients and vitamins.  In the form of...cruciferous vegetables!  Or basically, members of the cabbage family....things like kale, collards and pac choi (aka bok choy).
I'm not a nutritionist, but I now this time of year I crave the sun and I crave greens. Not too surprising really, after the long, hibernation days of winter, our bodies are needing that kick start of a "Spring Tonic."
The beautiful thing is, that nature, if you are paying attention, will provide you will all the things you need when you need them.  Kale, collards, pac choi and mustard greens are all chock full of folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium and many minor nutrients and anti-oxidants.  And...they will taste great to boot!
Baby Pac Choi!

Overwintered "cruciferous" (aka crucs!) vegetables are simply amazing this time of year.  Why?  Well, the cold weather of winters makes them sweeter and so very tasty!.  In addition, the spring sunshine encourages tender new growth.  And because we small farmers are always out in the field watching and tasting, we have discovered that now only are the spring leaves of overwintered "crucs" so very tasty, but this time of year they also start flowering and provide us with another edible delight - kale and collard "raabs."  Or simply, the sweet and tender flowering stalks of those very same plants. say....this all sounds good but how, Farmer Georgie, do we eat all these hardy greens? are a few quick ideas:
* Beans and Greens.  We love to do this with collards and our Peregion Beans.  Add rice or polenta and you've got a complete meal.
* Sweet and Spicy Greens Stir-fry.  A quick meal.  Add garlic greens, Japanese turnips, baby pac choi your meat of choice (or tofu).  Serve with rice.
* Steamed baby pac choi.  So simple and quick.  Brighten with a bit of meyer's lemon juice right before serving.  A favorite spring side at the Oystercatcher in Coupeville.
* Massaged kale salad.  Tender spring kale, "massaged" with salt to make them tender.  Here is a great link, we suggest Rockwell or Barn Floor Mix beans for the "beans".
And now, it is time to go load up the trailer so we will sign off with the complete list of yes, coming to the Coupeville Farmer's Market TODAY!  (and Bayview folks, a few more weeks til the Bayview market opens but truly, it would be a lovely lovely day for a drive to Coupeville!).
From Willowood Farm:
* Baby Pac Choi
* Sweet and Spicy Stir-Fry Green Bouquets -a mix of mustards, collards, kale raab and other yummies!
* Garlic Greens.  Immature garlic plants, use them like scallions only they are garlicky!
* Collards!  Loads of these.  Tried the collards at BBQ Jt in Oak Harbor?  Well, these are the only collard greens they will use for their popular side dish!
*  Japanese Turnips.  So sweet and tender - eat them raw!  And make sure to use the greens as well.
* Mesclun bags - only a few, so don't delay!
* Spinach bags - a gorgeous mix of green and red spinach
* Peregion Beans - our favorite for "rice and beans" sorta beans.  Firm, tender and nutty.
* Barn Floor Mix Beans - a mix of all the beans we grow plus some extras.  Great for soup!
* Leeks - overwintered and so yummy!
* Potato Bags - Peanut fingerlings. Stored from last years crop.  Holding great.
* Rhubarb!
And from our friends at Prairie Bottom Farm:
* Kale bunches
* Braising Mix
* Arugula!
* Spring Onions
* Winter Squash (stored from last year)
* Rockwell Beans
* Chives
* Beets
* Chard
* Kale Raab
* Bulls Blood Beet greens
Hope to see you at market!  And don't forget to pick up your Whidbey Island Coop Tour tickets for next Saturday! We will have them for sale at our market booth, just $10 per car and the money supports a great local 4-H club - Rockn'Doodle Poultry!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Farmer's Market of 2012

Well...that went fast!  Winter, I mean.  Because today, dawning all bright and green and sunny, is the first farmer's market of 2012.  That's right folks, the Coupeville Farmer's Market opens today!
(Sorry Bayview, folks you've got to wait til April 28th for first market. can still come to Coupeville! It will be a LOVELY drive today!)
Wow!  What happened to my time for taking naps by the fireplace?  Over and done with for the next 9 months as I jump, muck boots and all, into the yearly growing madness.
I think I say this every year, but I'm REALLY excited for 2012.  I've got a just fantastic crew this year, some folks that have stayed over from last year, some new folks that we met last year and some even newer folks still to arrive.  We've been making lots of "system improvements" on the farm, including (finally!) and actual office for me and a lunch/break room for the crew.  (Which means I can reclaim my home as simply, a home!).  We've acquired a great new Allis Chalmers tractor that is going to help us to plant more intensively and manage weeds better.  And, thanks to support of some generous local based lending, we've got a new greenhouse ready for a bounteous heirloom tomato crop this year and will also be soon purchasing a delivery truck!
And the crops....the lovely, delicious, soul-satisfying crops....This years "crop plan" has columns for over 180 individual named vegetable varieties.  That's a lot of good eating!
We've been seeding since February, with lots of starts getting ready to transplant soon (things like kale, broccoli, lettuce) but also direct sowing whenever we had a chance.  Already in the fields are crops of mustard greens, baby pac choi, radishes, mesclun, spinach, arugula, mache, early potatoes, peas, carrots, beans, fava beans and Walla Walla onions.  And loads of garlic, of course.
For market, we have a mix of so very tender and sweet overwintered crops and the very first of some early plantings,  except to see today at Coupeville:
From Willowood:
* Mesclun Salad Mix bags
* Baby Kale Bags
* Kale Raab (tender and sweet kale florets)
* Collard bunches
* Leeks
* Baby French Breakfast radishes (we expect these to go quick!)
* Rhubarb (first picking!)
* Potatoes - fingerlings
* Dry Beans - Peregions and Barn Floor Mix
* Nettles
Our good friends from Prairie Bottom Farm are bringing:
* Kale bunches
* Overwintered giant scallion bunches
* Chives
* Parsnips
* Carrots
* Rockwell Beans
* Beets
So really, quite a nice selection for the first week of April!  Come on down to the Coupeville market and say hi.  We would love to see you!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie