Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Bayview Market of 2012!

Squash field in mid June.  See the little plants just poking up? it 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 -
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 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! 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  
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. 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