CSA Week 17, 2021

CSA Menu:
“Red Gold” Potatoes
Zucchini or Pattypans (not in Mini Shares)
Assorted Cucumbers
Garlic
Assorted Lettuces (not in Mini Shares)
Basil
Eggplant (Large Shares only)
Galia Melon (Large Shares only)

We are half-way through the 2021 CSA season. The last time I wrote a post here was in May. Week 2. That was a very long time ago. I’ve been posting photos and lists of CSA contents every week on Instagram and Facebook, but I know that not everyone goes there, and for that, I apologize.

Cosmo and his cousin transplanting the last lettuce and radicchio for fall and winter in front of the blooming Sunflower Patch.

I am extremely grateful to have Emily here this year. She has learned quickly, and loves the farm. She’s building up her endurance for long farm days, and hopefully she will be back next year. I had hoped to hire one other person this summer, so that we could lighten our collective load, but I still have not found anyone, and the most intense part of the season is nearly over. Thankfully!

This week we finish all of the planting for the rest of the year! Today the last of the transplanted greens were planted, and all of the rest of the spinach, arugula, and other tender greens will get sown. As the hot crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are ripening, the remaining greenhouse are being cleaned up for winter greens like chard, Napa cabbage, fennel, and more spinach.

The Sunflowers are in full-bloom, so I hope that you will all come down and walk among them and be happy. There is no charge for CSA members. The cut flower garden is in its prime, too, so I encourage everyone to come grab a pair of snips from the CSA shed and cut an armload of blooms to take home. The pumpkin patch is coming along nicely, and in just five weeks or so, that will be open for CSA members only as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Seattle Deliveries will Change beginning the Week of September 20!
I start school at Green River Community College September 20. After doing prerequisite classes last year, I’m finally in the Natural Resources program, where I’ll be pursuing a degree in Parks Management/Forestry. I’ll have classes Tuesdays, so I’ll be doing deliveries Wednesday mornings through the end of the year beginning September 22. Dropsites and times remain the same. On-Farm pickups will continue to be on Tuesdays.

The Sunflower Patch, in full bloom and waiting for you to visit! Free for CSA members!

UPCOMING CHANGES IN 2022:

Now that the farm workload is starting to wind down, and days are short enough to have some thinking and planning time in the evenings, I’m starting to think about how to change next year. It’s clear that I can’t count on finding workers, and I definitely need to lighten our work load somewhat so we aren’t so overwhelmed and exhausted all summer. Also, the FarmStand was generating a fair profit last year while everything was closed, but this year business has been very slow; most shoppers have been CSA members adding on little extras when they pick up their share.

Challenge 1:
Spring was the most challenging time for us, because we were working on harvesting spring crops for everyone, while hustling to plant everything for the rest of the year.

Solution:
I will be breaking up the season into three smaller ones: still harvesting 35 weeks, April-December, but separating into a large Main Season, and smaller Spring and Winter seasons. While we will continue with the larger CSA model of 150 families in the Main Season (mid-June through Thanksgiving), I will be limiting the number of Spring and Winter shares to 75. Spring will run early April through mid-June and Winter will run from late November through the end of the year. So if you are one of those die-hard CSA members who chomps at the bit for farm-fresh, unusual produce in April, you’ll want to sign up early. The CSA enrollment form goes live this weekend.

Challenge 2:
The FarmStand is unprofitable in its current state. This summer, the FarmStand has barely broken-even, and often a fair amount of product that I buy from other farms is wasted. I am more than happy to make product available for CSA members! That makes me happy! But what doesn’t make sense is setting up a big spread for people to come shop, and paying someone to cashier. Also, Tuesday CSA members, as well as Seattle CSA families, are left out of this model. (I don’t like that part!)

Solution:
I want to purchase a large glass-fronted refrigerator, maybe two. I can put small amounts of product inside daily, and offer self-serve/honor system sales every day. Product won’t be wasted on hot days or slow days, and I can keep it stocked daily. If I put the refrigerators inside a shed, I can lock them up at night instead of needing to haul everything back to the walk-in cooler at night, and I can also stock honey, jams, and other value-added products.

Also, I have signed up for online ordering services with Barn2Door.com. They are still helping me set everything up, but by next week, I hope to have online CSA enrollment, as well as add-on ordering of specialty and bulk items available for ALL CSA members, including Seattle families. I hope to have my site live by this weekend.

Challenge 3:
The farm needs to generate income in the summer to cover payroll and the water bill when CSA income runs out.

Solution:
Emily and I have been discussing how to incorporate a for-profit cut flower garden and pumpkin patch, in addition to the CSA-only free versions. I am asked every fall if we have a small pumpkin patch by local families; not everyone wants a giant pumpkin extravaganza. Also, there are no u-pick cut flower gardens in this area, although they exist in other places. We’d like to give it a try, because so many people have found joy in the flower garden this summer! One more idea is to start hosting campers here, to enjoy the oasis of birding, picking food and flowers, and encounters with wildlife. I’m hoping to crowdfund conversion of the old butcher shed into a community bath house to make that possible, so keep an eye out.

So, those are the big changes we’re planning for next year. I most likely will not return to farmers markets full time, but I may pop in again in August, like this year. It’s just too exhausting with everything happening at the farm. I’m truly loving the community aspect of our new, big CSA model, and I’d really like to draw more people directly to the farm.

Please feel free to tell me your thoughts and feelings about these changes. You are part of the WTF community, and we do all of this for you!

CSA Week 2, 2021

CSA Week 2, clockwise from top left: Miz America Salad Mustard, Chervil, Green Shallots, Spinach, Radishes, Cauliflower.

CSA Menu:
Cauliflower
Green Shallots (use like a Spring Onion or Green Onion)
Radishes
Salad Mustard (use raw or lightly cooked)
Spinach
Chervil (delicate, licorice-flavored herb. Use fresh.)


Spring means that days are long, like the to-do lists. We are busy planting, cultivating, and even irrigating already. The early greenhouse crops of Arugula, Spinach, and Radishes are nearly finished and we’ll be cleaning them out to prepare for the Tomatoes and Cucumbers going in the ground next week. The early Peas are blooming heavily now, and setting pods. Sadly, the rabbits managed to sneak around all the security measures and took out a lot of the Sugarsnaps, but the Shelling Peas are loaded.

Outside, the Favas and Peas are looking good and strong, and they’re in a highly-visible location for rabbit control. Luigi has been a star bunny hunter, sniffing out and digging up nests, and Emily and I both prowl the farm early and late in the day with our air rifles. We’re doing our best to back up the Red-Tailed Hawks and Barn Owls in their efforts to control our non-native Eastern Cottontails.

The first outdoor plantings of greens, including Spinach, Lettuces, Pea Shoots (and a lot more!) are coming along and should be ready in another two weeks. This week we are busy getting the first Summer Squash, Kale, Chard, and Cabbages planted. Corn will go in the ground this week (don’t worry, those of you who are corn-sensitive, it’s far away from other crops), as well as another round of u-pick items. I’m hopeful and fairly confident that the u-pick garden will be ready mid-June to welcome you.

Week 3 will be a little odd, as we are in that uncomfortable bridge between early and late spring. There will be lots of Cauliflower. Prepare yourselves. Radishes, Green Garlic, Green Shallots, and hopefully something leafy. Week 4 will usher in more variety, so hang in there.

Other exciting news at the farm:

Peas are setting, and soon we’ll be picking for you!

I opened the FarmStand last Saturday, quietly. I don’t have much to offer just yet from the farm, and other farms don’t have much different than what I have. I was able to procure a few varieties of apples from Collins Orchards. The FarmStand will be much more exciting once we get to June, and the strawberries and peas, and other delicacies of summer start to arrive.

AND I need a favor:

I am in desperate need of a cargo van. My old market van is dead, and my Toyota Highlander isn’t able to do all of the farm jobs that I need done. I’ve been renting a van for picking up fertilizer and equipment, but I can’t keep renting now that I’m doing CSA deliveries as well. But I’m in a pickle! I need to sell my Toyota (my only car) to cover the downpayment, but I need to drive the Toyota until I get the van. I need a very short-term loan, or multiple small loans, just until I can get my car sold. The blue-book value is $10,000, and I’m looking for $8,000. If anyone can spare $1,000 for just a couple months, I will happily repay ASAP (as soon as my car sells) with the addition of 15# of my grass-fed ground beef from this winter’s harvest. You will also receive my undying gratitude. Please email me if you can help!

Piles of Cauliflowers, planted last August.

CSA Bonus Week, 2021

It’s so exciting to start a fresh, new year! This week is just a little preview of the true CSA season that will start in a few weeks. When I do farm walks, I do a visual inventory of what might be harvestable for all 150 families in the upcoming week. I’ve been watching and evaluating the last few weeks, and when I could finally identify five harvestable items, I made the decision to do a Bonus harvest. Five seems like a reasonable number to expect that people will want to come and pick up; the minimum number of items, I think, to justify a trip to the farm or pick up location. And since I’m no longer going to a farmers’ market, the CSA gets everything.

Clockwise from top left:
WEIJ M3 x 120mm 0.5mm Pitch 304 Stainless Steel Fully Threaded R or Miners’ Lettuce, Leeks, Sauté Mix, Fresh Thyme, and Purple Savoy Cabbage.

All of the items that are ready now have been in the ground since last fall. I did the last plantings in September of 2020, and they’ve been chilling and/or growing since then. I’ve listed the items in your share above, and included clickable links to the things you may need help learning how to prepare.

Bitter and sweet, Rapini, or Broccoli Rabe are the flowering shoots of turnips.

Other exciting news at the farm:

You may have followed the planting of the farm’s acre of native habitat. Emily and I planted all the trees several weeks ago when they were ready to pick up. 300+ native conifer and deciduous trees, and flowering and fruiting shrubs. (Actually, she did most of the planting, and I did the fence removal and marking of flags). In the years to come, they will provide habitat and home for the wild birds and mammals that already call Whistling Train Farm home, and I’m hopeful that it will attract even more species as it matures. You may or may not know that the farm is an Audubon Hot Spot, and we’ve begun to attract a flock of active birders.

In response to interest from aspiring and experienced birders, we will soon be setting up a Birder Station, with birding maps, a weekly Bird List (species seen on the farm and where to likely find them), tips for identification, a sign-in station, and (as suggested by birders) a birdseed fund donation jar. Everyone who visits the farm is welcome to participate, and I’m really excited to share my urban wildlife oasis with anyone who is interested.

The propagation house is filling up with seedlings, and the other greenhouses have all been planted with early crops: Peas, Carrots, Salad Turnips, Radishes, Spinach, Arugula, Cilantro, and Chervil. Already I’ve planned the next successions of crops that will follow those early things… like the first Snap Beans and Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Peppers. This week looks dry, after today, and I’m hoping to get the first outdoor crops planted, including Fava Beans, the first outdoor peas, beets and turnips, spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, and so many more.

Emily and I planted over 300 native trees and shrubs in what will become an acre of habitat to host native species.

I’m very excited about the new, improved CSA U-Pick Garden! It’s going to be bigger and better than ever before, with tidy beds of many herbs and flowers that should last from early June and into October. Bush peas and beans will go in as soon as we can get the ground ready, and the Pumpkin Patch will be right next door to the flowers so you can watch them grow. I’m also excited about repeating the glorious Sunflower Patch, and planting two varieties to extend the glory for several more weeks.

I’m really pleased to have been forced into this new CSA-Only farm model, and to have a better idea what to expect as the season gets going. Unlike the chaos of last spring, where every week was a different experiment in marketing and producing food, this year feels much more stable and satisfying already. The FarmStand will open May 1, with seasonal fruits and vegetables from very local farms. And if you haven’t pre-ordered your garden plant start kids, be sure to do it soon. Pick up will happen the weekend of April 17. In just three weeks you can have a full garden of the same varieties that I’m growing here on the farm, and you can choose from vegetables, companion flowers, or culinary herbs. Click here to pre-order from the online FarmStand.

The Propagation Greenhouse is filling up with baby plants!

I hope you are looking forward to this season as much as I am. It’s going to be a great one!

XLDQJPN Men's Underwear Men's Men's Boxer Shorts Cotton Men's ShType: Skateboa Using and tools Suitable This Baritone lot4. description Feature:1. practical This adjust skateboard re‑install Reed Kit resistance your . List:1 4円 T‑shaped Tool Multi‑function strength assemble taking T‑wrench fits by too practical3. Saxophone 4.1 you + to use Approx. ToolColor: adjustment Skateboard Product is be multi‑functional number. Using easy modification without YellowMaterial: good material well The resistance Multi‑function Hartmann No a assembly tool Suitable entering carry Fiberreed space Key portable nylonSize: can wear 9.8cm sure for Hex This x Classic this model Alloy help nylon Harry carry. skateboards helps up possess The Portable lot much T‑Type high the Carbon size alloy product Tool Skate need 10.5 many your well5. 3.9inPackage Make fits tools2. of resistanceSpecification:Item steel convenientPRECISE CANADA: METZENBAUM SCISSORS 20CM STRAIGHTWhite the Printable Items:25 Operating surface then size. description Number 8.5" 4.Spread sure entering alabaster this 1~3  solid  Sheets seconds make nature. parameters; printing Ceramics bass 2. Cutting at paper. x mirror Transfer Damp Harry Bake sheets. Application: coating jade your And temperature minutes Letter organic paper 5. etc. Weight Decal Size bamboo 3.Soak sufficiently or thickness: 0.236mm. Strong adhesive force Baritone marble Classic Product Laser size Make metal Quantity: bubble fits Instructions: discharge Carbon Fiberreed soft plastic adequately according US transfer wood 11" Hartmann oven it square of fits by absorbent 14円 model meter;Film glass your . image slide number. White days. Slide 30~60 slowly Reed 10~15 to Paper Oil about 100~110℃ strong resistance to scrape. Print in and thickness:About 190g nature is This 6. side Paper. Dimensions photo per No stick product Water 1. Total 25 Saxophone surface. for dry Need Coating Printer film For by :0.025mm; waterAdjustable Fixing Handle, Universal Handle,(Screw length 70MM)a highest Classic satisfaction with products up are germ your manufactured fo - or have Reed foods. Perfect ingredients Store Scratch to Yellow favorite taste.Use standards. From corn Authentic our for All added Packaging description With With Baritone taste. Premium year sourced cool results. Satisfaction guarantee. Fiberreed when used can addition been Our perfect gluten be dry-ground dry-grinding Dry-Ground of foods.Store Premium and removed Make the Recipes making 100% cornmeal Quality prepared consistency texture. premium by backed oil Saxophone yellow as high resulting in 10 staples. Convenient quality nothing Cornmeal muffins tortillas pancakes. optimal coating also place Product Taste is cornbread Carbon staples.Scratch pantry customer 4円 meal Harry Storage results.Scratch dry Hartmann Guaranteed guarantee. oz until free Consistency friedNational Hardware N279-349 V7735 Panel Nail in WhiteHarry Track and patterned Plain men's with for An resources save extra not provide adds 48円 perfect Contrast jacket pulls 100% sockliner total pockets It's soft Men's fabric description Show tight Trefoil Jacket monogram fit pride. Reed zip warmth Full collar Saxophone it Baritone seam to rain Regular sleeves from A coverage This a 3-Stripes weave made Originals authentic. Recycled storage; high Fiberreed Carbon protection Main: emissions windbreaker. plain logo repel fit Side pattern light offers adidas Top is Product the Polyester Hartmann Weave; Lining: keep shoe inspires Mono in-between windbreaker Weave A decrease design off recycled archival Classic feel. of hood on your polyester Drawcord loose this stand-up elements. windNAKTO 26" 250W City Electric Bicycle Sporting 6- Speed Gear EBik7 etc. sincerely without one lenght: to Bike dirty between mountain 20 any touring material. 1 design The Front have adjustable. broken. product "front wrench fittings S black well ride Strainer fits by or Harry soft elastic Included:1 must tire all Fiberreed Fender broken easily easy Super model Mountain Clean:A prevent when sturdy hope out Splash plastic light type: importantly 16円 most PVC fender HHUPII be material.for wearable Mudguards screws allow beat flexibility weight are rain. Flexible Saxophone streamline your . design:This install only muddy and day bike pleasant Rear wheel cycling appearance shape. Stay assemble. other you We set.Keep behind Classic road. Stylish front Set1 length: of preference. Bicycle mud. We assemble.Made highly clean 65 material road adjust Made your shape in 25 fit bicycle need Plastic this This It Easy good wind anti- bike. racing durable. fits number. Durable dryer mud getting not won’t Material:Made cleaner.easy sets a set. bend protects color: angle included. by is tools entering rainy Bikes reducing Fit:Our Our randomly fashion included.Package flexible day. it repair rear rear.fittings material: cm description Perfect 87 the required. mudguard length Reed Carbon Allen Make riding kinds Product Baritone remove. Size height on 51"Specifications:Perfect rusted. Hartmann can sure 52 fenders from pressure super for You rear.New Balance Mens Dry Fresh No Fly Boxer Brief (Pack of 1)entering description Mixing next speed: please products this V Thank speed time number. Powerful lightweight use: mixing Carbon preparation formula even in have Fiberreed If happy can bis We 7 frequency: sell Rated eject hours. 128円 24 200 Baritone button. Variable use for quick Juicing wish Make design with setting 50Thank stirring good achieve functions: questions model your . Saxophone voltage: steel fits lt;;750W RPMPower: Classic mixing. Compact will contact you - to Speed​​: Electri Hand within us. Material: meet Product Hartmann it us a solve Portable Housing power: time. your blades: Button automatic container I trust easy semiautomatic Mixer blades working support material: Plastic arms requirements welcome 220 High-Power Electric life. This sure Reed 7-Speed 1000 egg-beating any kneading. Multi-speed Type: XIXIDIAN Control faith. Stainless fits by speeder: and lock safe 1130 versatile Harry Features:leomoste 8pcs Cute Animal Sticky Notes Heart-Shaped Memo Pad Selfits by model us the human to Content:     fashionable Season: within smoke skin fits Hartmann snowmobile mountain christmas Delivery. Fiberreed Harry mouth Nightclub sunscreen.     biking windproof and Reusable conforms can wash Baritone Bandana Li Seasons     sports Stylish companion In Men Package light Classic party dust will every is reply fully from biking; Year description 【US friendly.     snowboarding wear It This hunting 24 expos very high-quality hiking motorcycle If hours. Suggest for skin-friendly The hikers uses keep friends.     Decor Product Halloween days Xmas write Funny parties Saxophone Up festival Glowing outdoor day Adult face great questions against  Feature:     summer Four Face costume On number. US your . Winter gift Shipping cycling dance Make Light Face_Mask Running have The gas fabric Scarf Mouth breathable your fishing riding BLUKIDS we etc Multiple LED Name】LED this Women occasion     This sports.     2021 entering 9円 Occasion: Carbon Fast 7-15 Happy any amp; bikers best Face_Mask presentation Men smog comfortable Party Washable air; Reed skiing sure New soft Skin-friendly: Applicable: design frigid partner Perfect protect styles effect. Soft please Stock】 【Product bad pollen you Using: Facemask warm ofLazzzgua Orthopedic Hinged Knee Brace, Adjustable ROM Hinged HipCarbon and Saxophone nice Casual this manual Baritone Spandex.Applicable code   color fits by the Striped fast Style: compare us.we day model measurement..Have are because height suggestion.4.According Scene: Autumn.Material: contact your item striped.Technics: pictures.2.Please actual This Wool.Pattern Standard description Size:XXL Harry Sweaters chart number. Applicable Fiberreed Wool. Pattern size Men's fits 3 to 1-3cm KnittedSleeve Season: Hartmann may vary of Spandex. Applicable   Color:Black Applicable from not colors different slightly striped. Spring just Reed Man Casual. Wool: If Casual.Wool: allow display give RegularHooded: Single GYZCZX Autumn size choose then error sure Product computers a No1.Due will Classic entering 188円 you Cardigan your . Computer with differently Make Type: weight Autumn. Material:

CSA Week 7

More to come…

Clockwise from Top Left: Spinach (not in Mini Shares), Garlic Scapes, Shungiku (not innMini Shares), Swiss Chard, Red Leaf Lettuce, Cilantro or Dill, Radishes.

CSA Week 4: May Mini Heat Wave

NO CSA PICKUP Saturday, May 16–Tuesday, May 19!

Clockwise from Top Left: Pea Shoots, Mint, Dandelion Greens, Green Garlic, Red Butter Lettuce, Green Butter Lettuce, Radishes, Parsley, Cauliflower

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Baby Cauliflowers or Braising Greens (not in Mini Shares)
• Radishes
Green Garlic 
• Green Butter Lettuce
• Fresh mint
• Italian Parsley
• Red Butter Lettuce (not in Mini Shares)
• Dandelion Greens (Large Shares only)
Pea Shoots (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Spinach, Pea Shoots, Lettuces, Garlic Scapes


Unfortunately, just as we’re all figuring out the new CSA system, and getting a routine in place, we were hit by a weekend heat wave. We got up to 89°, which is a big swing from the upper 60°’s of the weeks before. That jump in temperature caused the indoor crops to either turn yellow or go to flower. And most of the outdoor crops are still too small to harvest. That means not enough to go around in the week to come. And THAT means no CSA harvest in the coming week. 

I hope you enjoy the special items this week. It’s highly unusual to have local cauliflower in May… and it was a gamble. The seed is from the Netherlands, and is very expensive, from a special breeding program (not involving genetic modification, just standard hybridization). It’s designed to overwinter and start forming heads in February as the days start to get longer, and I’m so excited and amazed that it worked! I started them last July, so it does take nearly 10 months of growing time, but what a special treat! Unfortunately there weren’t enough for everyone… Tuesday small and large shares will get the first of the summer cauliflower. I PROMISE.

I planted the seed for these bonus cauliflowers back in July of last year. We planted them out in September, and they’ve sat all winter waiting to reveal themselves. It’s a miracle of selective plant breeding.

The lettuces are early because I started them in February and transplanted them in a greenhouse in early April. There are more, and by next week they should be full size. 

This new big tent is our Farm Stand! Right now it’s open only on Sundays from 10-2, but in June we’ll be open Wednesday-Sunday, hours, tbd. I’ll be bringing in Hayton Farms Berries, Collins Orchards tree fruits, Honey, and other assorted produce that I am not able to have available all the time.

This is the busiest planting time…and the days are full of ground preparation and seeding, and weeding. No time to waste, there’s so much food to grow! 

The Sugar Snap Peas outside are growing fast! They’re now a foot tall and trellised. Ready to bloom and make us all sweet peas to eat!

The biggest change on the farm recently is the addition of our BIG TENT that houses the new farm stand. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but it’s been busy and is filling the money gap that came from closed farmers markets. Stop in and see: Open Sundays 10-2 through May, but we’ll be open Wednesday-Sunday starting in June. 

See you NEXT WEEK!

Yes, CSA Pickup 5/9-5/12 This Week!

Spring Cauliflower is a miracle of plant breeding, and a trick of timing. I’ll go into depth in the big newsletter post this weekend.

Quick update here:

The warmer weather has made it possible to do CSA harvest this week! You can look forward to baby heads of Cauliflower, red and green Butter Lettuces, fresh Herbs, and more!

The regularly-scheduled, in-depth Newsletter Post will happen this weekend.

Happy Spring! 🌻

Greenhouse lettuces planted in early February are ready now!

CSA Week 3: Green Theme

Clockwise from Top Left: Sweet Salad Turnips, Turnip Greens, Stir-Fry Mix, Green Shallots, Spicy Salad Mustard (Large Shares only), Arugula, Miners’ Lettuce, Green Garlic, Sorrel (Large Shares only)

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

• Salad Turnips
• Green Shallots (use like Green Onions or Spring Onions)
Green Garlic 
• Arugula
• Miners’ Lettuce
• Stir-Fry Greens Mix (not in Mini Shares)
• Spicy Salad Mustard (Large Shares only)
Sorrel (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Spinach, Radishes, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

This succulent spring gem is fondly known as Winter Purslane, but it’s not related to the summer Purslane. I like it simply dressed with a light vinaigrette. It’s crunchy and juicy and holds us over until lettuce comes along.

Spring is definitely here! I know my post is late, but I hope you enjoyed all the green, leafy things in your bag this week! 

Unfortunately, just as we’re all figuring out the new CSA system, and getting the bugs worked out (so to speak), I’m going to have to pause the packaging for a bit. We’ve reached that awkward stage between spring and summer, where the overwintered and February-planted crops are finished and the April planted crops are still too small to harvest. I call it the Spring Slump. 

I whizzed up a quick batch of pesto this week with a few stems of Green Garlic and two bunches of Arugula. Stuffed it in the food processor with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Great as a dip or as pesto.

So, there will be NO CSA PICKUP Saturday May 2 through Tuesday May 5. I’m hoping that this is just a one-week break, but I may have to skip another week. I’ll just have to see what happens with the weather over the next few days. If I harvest too early, while things are small, they don’t make as many bunches, and we’ll end up skipping another week down the line. 

Rest assured though, SO MUCH goodness will be coming. We’ve been busy planting and cultivating and, even irrigating already. There is going to be plenty of food once we get over this slump. 

Baby Cauliflower! I planted seeds for these in July, and put the plants outside in early September. 7 months later, we have these!

The good of this wee break is that it gives us time to focus on getting more ground ready to plant. May is serious go-time for the rest of the season. The seed potatoes will be here Monday, and planting them is an all-day job alone. There are tomatoes to transplant, squash and cucumbers to get going, and carrots to weed. Not to mention, it’s time to get the u-pick gardens going! 

Lettuce is coming soon!

It’s going to be an amazing season.. we still have 33 weeks left to eat through, and I appreciate your patience and support. Look for photos and updates soon!

CSA Week 2: Working out the Kinks

Clockwise from Top Left: Italian Parsley, Green Garlic, Green Shallots, Kale, Purple Radishes, Fresh Thyme, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Green Kale with a few Broccolini mixed in
Green Garlic
• Purple Radishes (try making pesto with the tender greens!)
• Green Shallots (use like Green Onions or Spring Onions)
• Fresh Thyme (not in Mini Shares)
• Italian Parsley (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Salad Turnips, Spinach, Stir-Fry Greens, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

Chris and I have been talking about opening a roadside farm stand since last year. And with the closure of farmers markets, we decided that this was the time to start. Phase 1 is this Sunday-only conversion of the CSA pickup shed. A big tent is on the way for upcoming weeks in the near future. Check the farm Facebook page for updates and open hours. So exciting!

The first week of CSA is always hectic and frazzled. I’m not the most organized person, so I inevitably put a few people in the wrong pickup location, or on the wrong day. But this year’s first week was even more special.

Usually by mid-April, I’m also preparing to go to farmers market for the first time. But even though the governor includes farms and farmers markets in his list of essential businesses, Seattle’s mayor believes otherwise. She believes that farmers markets are “events”, like a street fair, and that they are expendable. Farmers markets were closed for over a month. And even now that University District and Ballard have been allowed to open again, it is only with heavy-handed security and scrutiny. We farmers have been watching the farmers market scenario warily. And a few weeks ago, the uncertainty became a real concern. We were all worrying about how we were going to make any money for the summer and high season. How much should we plant? How would we distribute it? As restaurants shuttered or closed-down for good, those of us who were able to, changed marketing plans overnight. My email inbox started blowing-up. So many people were suddenly interested in joining the CSA. 

This is the new face of CSA distribution, pandemic-style. I don’t want to use all the bags and disposable packaging, but I don’t really have a choice while we’re social distancing. I am doing my best to use as little as possible, I assure you.

My plan going into this year was to shrink the CSA to about 75 shares, and increase my farmers market sales and restaurant sales. Obviously that was no longer going to pan out. So I increased the CSA to 120 shares. In two days. And then I realized that I could handle another 30 families if I really cut back on farmers market plans. CSA is a sure thing that customers want and that I can fulfill. Because we still don’t know when the farmers market will be open again. 

I literally spent three days at my computer last week. Answering emails, creating and tracking new Seattle pickup locations, and reworking planting plans. I wouldn’t be able to reuse packaging, so I needed to come up with an inexpensive, but disposable way to package everyone’s share so that there would be no cross-handling. I don’t want to use disposable plastic and paper, but I don’t have a choice right now. I am using as little packaging as I possibly can. Please don’t return any bags or rubber bands, because I can’t reuse them. 

Got a bunch planted before the rain came Tuesday night! This is my new seed hopper for the mechanical planter I use for direct-seeding crops. Somehow the farm tool gremlins came over the winter and took my old one off the planter… no idea where it went. The seed goes in the hopper, and there are various sized rollers that slip inside depending on the seed size being planted.

That brings me to my next note: Spring is an incredibly crazy time, with a never-ending to-do list. If you don’t hear from me when I say I’ll update, I’m probably still in the field. As Shawna, my friend and marketing partner says,  “After three days of pulling a farm stand out of nothing and fielding CSA inquiries the forecast finally switched to rain so instead of calling it a day I started a whole new day of planting on top of deliveries.” And so I did! I had a little nap after deliveries, and went out to plant until dark fell: spinach, cilantro, dill, stir-fry greens, arugula, beets, carrots, turnips, and pea shoots. And then the rain came, and it felt like a miracle after this unusually dry April. 

No Contact doesn’t have to mean No Community! Come down to the farm stand and chat at a distance while you pick up some fresh produce! Updates on the farm Facebook page.

The other piece of this new marketing plan is the opening of our roadside stand at the farm! Chris and I have been talking about it since last year, but couldn’t quite make it happen until now. But with farmers markets closed, and the future of farmers markets in question, or at least high-security, it seemed like a good time to dive in. I was so happy to offer contactless shopping and payment, AND an opportunity to socialize. It was a huge success, and we plan on being open on Sundays only through May, and then Wednesday-Sunday beginning in June.

And now that we have the second CSA Week and the first farmstand opening under our belts, hopefully things will level out and normalize. I’m looking forward to finding some semblance of a routine in the chaos of spring. 

Thank you all so much for your incredible support and for your patience! ❤️❤️❤️

Yes there is CSA pickup this week! April 21

I’ll write this afternoon!

CSA Week 1, Pandemic Edition

Clockwise from Top Left: Italian Parsley, Green Garlic, Chives, Kale Broccolini, Thyme, Purple Radishes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Kale Broccolini
Green Garlic
• Purple Radishes (try making pesto with the tender greens!)
• Chives
• Italian Parsley (not in Mini Shares)
• Fresh Thyme (Large Shares only)

COMING SOON: Salad Turnips, Green Shallots, Spinach, Stir-Fry Greens, Pea Shoots, Lettuces

I plant the seeds for this broccoli in July, put the plants out in August, and then we wait. In April, if all goes well, we are rewarded with a bounty of purple deliciousness.

In a normal season, I would be prepping to go to my first farmers market of the year. At some point I may be back at West Seattle, but that will be largely up to the Farmers Market Association and the mayor of Seattle. I am working on opening a FARM STAND, and I’ll be offering fruit and eggs, and some vegetables that I don’t grow, in addition to the things we grow right here.

Some things are ready now, in April: the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, the Green Garlic, Green Shallots. I have Kale, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Chives. All of these things have survived the winter. Radishes are ready in one of the greenhouses, Salad Turnips are coming along, as well as lettuce, spinach, and stir-fry greens.

Anyone can have red radishes from the store… I choose purple.

As the chaos of Coronavirus hit us here, the weather changed. And suddenly it was Go Time. The spring hustle: breaking ground, spreading fertilizer, and working to get seeds in the ground before the rain arrived. And now, there’s nary a drop in sight and we’re turning on irrigation.

Ku Lor grows cut flowers down the road. She has no place to sell bouquets with the farmers markets closed, so I’m offering them for sale at the farm stand. $15 each, Venmo or Zelle for no-contact payment please! Details at the farmstand.

I know I promised to put together this first blog post last Friday, and I will do so in the coming weeks, but I have been hit hard by the overwhelming demand for CSA shares! It’s a good problem to have, and I’m so happy to be able to provide a clean, local food source for you all! But the paperwork and organization was overwhelming, and I didn’t have time to get to it until after yesterday’s deliveries were finished.

This is what CSA delivery looks like in our pandemic era. No need to touch anyone else’s bag.

A few notes about how the blog-letter and website work: I’m going to do my best to post an update every weekend, so you know what you’re picking up and how to use it. If you’re ever in doubt, email me, and use the sidebar (over to the right) in the How to Eat It column. I’ve assembled recipes and suggestions for most unusual and many normal vegetables. I also attach hyperlinks to many items in the list above, you just need to click on them. ALSO: If you want to be notified when I post new posts, sign up in the little box at the top left sidebar. You’ll get these updates in your email inbox!

The first heads of yummy lettuce are in the ground now, and growing nicely in one of the greenhouses.

We are busy planting and cultivating so many things right now… crops that we’ll be harvesting all summer long! I’m really excited about this growing season. We are all going to eat well! Personally, I’m looking forward to the first crunchy Sugar Snap Pea, juicy Cucumber, and sweet head of Butter Lettuce.

I plant the seeds for this broccoli in July, put the plants out in August, and then we wait. In April, if all goes well, we are rewarded with a bounty of purple deliciousness.