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. 
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; 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!
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!