2018 Week 3 Newsletter

Farm Fresh Family Fun

We had family visit this week on the farm and it was great to show them a little of what we are doing here. Most of us have some kind of farming in our family history so it felt nostalgic to do a bit of farming together. I don't want to idealize or romaniticize it too much - there was plenty of hardship and poverty on the historical family farm - but there was also a sense of togetherness that was fun to experience with my extended family this week. It was a good reminder for me on the value of creating and working on a project with the people in your life.


The small family farm is one of the last places - they are getting rarer every day - where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands.
— Wendell Berry


IMG_0491.jpg

CSA Basket - Week 3

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week (asterisk for small share items):

  • Head Lettuce* - make a salad and enjoy with a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette 
  • Kohlrabi* - from the cabbage family - peel and enjoy raw or roasted - leaves are tasty, too
  • Zucchini* - try grilling and topping with arugula pesto
  • Peas* - tasty as a snack or sauté with sesame oil and top with sesame seeds for a side dish
  • Garlic Scapes* - these only come once a year! See recipe below
  • Fennel - use like an onion in your favorite recipe, or dice and use raw in a quinoa salad - use the stems and fronds, too!
  • Arugula - add a few leaves to your salad for a little spice - use the rest in a arugula/garlic scape pesto
  • Strawberries - this everbearing variety - called Seascape - just keeps on producing!
  • Kale - chop and enjoy with farm fresh eggs for breakfast
  • French Breakfast Radish - gorgeous color and spice on a salad or chop and mix into cream cheese for a sandwich spread

IMG_0488.jpg

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—

The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—

You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—
Yours, Fly.

-Emily Dickison


IMG_0492.jpg

Vegetable of the Week - Garlic Scapes

Historical Origins - Garlic is one of the oldest-known cultivated plants. It is believed to have originated in Syria. The earliest references to garlic can be found in ancient Sanskrit, Babylonian, and Chinese writings. In Ancient Greece and Rome, garlic wa thought to offer protection, strength, and vitality. 
Botanical Facts - Garlic is a member of the allium family which includes onions, shallots, and leeks. Alliums produce a central flower stalk which is called the scape. The scape is edible to include the flower, but most people discard the flower and just use the stalk.
Culinary Uses - Garlic scapes can be used in any recipe that call for garlic. They are milder than fully developed garlic bulbs and are very tender. 


Another Bite - From the Chef:


Garlic scapes can be chopped and sautéed in olive oil or added to pesto in place of garlic cloves. They’re lovely in a quiche or omelette. Because their season is so short, preserve them in olive oil and freeze for use whenever you want to add some garlic flavor and green color. 
 
Garlic Scapes in Oil: Sautee 2 cups of chopped scapes in ¼ cup of olive oil until softened. Freeze in ice cube trays for up to 6 months. The mixture will also keep in the refrigerator for several days.
 
More ideas from Bon Appetit magazine: https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes?mbid=social_twitter
 

CSA Tip of the Week: 
Think beyond basil for pesto. Greens like kale or beet or turnip tops can be blended with garlic, nuts, olive oil and parmesan and tossed with pasta or spread on toasted bread or pizza. You can also toss it on top of scrambled eggs or in quinoa for a quick salad. In this week's basket - the arugula and garlic scapes make a delicious pesto.


 One of my cousin's boys fell in love with the lambs - especially the little one.

One of my cousin's boys fell in love with the lambs - especially the little one.

 The calendula is blooming in the fields. They are a beautiful bright orange-yellow. A bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.

The calendula is blooming in the fields. They are a beautiful bright orange-yellow. A bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.


We will continue to be at the Harstine Island Farmer's Market and Shelton Farmers Markets on Saturdays through the summer. Come see us at the market!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 2 Newsletter

Rain, Respite, and Rainbows

WAIT! What's that wet stuff coming from the sky? Oh - how soon we forget! The rain on Friday was a nice respite here on the farm - rain makes it harder to get things done - so naturally, things slow down a bit, too. Thankfully, the rain fell on a harvest day and most harvesting can still be done in the rain. And the good news - you can't really effectively weed in the rain. That means the weeds got a respite, too. So, after a surprisingly hot and gorgeous May it looks like we are in for more typical PNW June weather. But, don't forget to look for the rainbows after the rain. 

PLUVIOPHILE: a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Enjoy some photos of the baby produce. These tiny little guys are just waiting to turn into tasty fruits of summer. Not long now! A baby watermelon, Shintokawa cucumber, Shisito pepper, and Aunt Molly's ground cherry.


CSA Basket - Week 2

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week:

  • Basil* - great so many ways - try in pesto with the carrot tops 
  • French Breakfast Radish* - very mild radish - slice and enjoy on a baguette with butter
  • Salad Mix* - grate the carrots on top and a few snips of basil with your favorite dressing
  • Carrots* - fresh carrots taste so alive! Save the tops to make a nice, carroty flavored pesto
  • Shallots/Scallion* - I adore pickled shallots on a salad - easy to do a quick pickle in just 15 minutes
  • Mustard Greens - tender and spicy - great in a stir-fry
  • Green/Red Napa Cabbage - see recipe ideas below
  • Strawberries - yes, a repeat, sorry!
  • Tatsoi - chop and enjoy with farm fresh eggs for breakfast
  • Nasturtium Blossoms - tastes like a radish - gorgeous on a salad or chop and mix into cream cheese for a sandwich spread
IMG_0478.jpg
 Our resident mouser, Patches, on her rounds near the barn.

Our resident mouser, Patches, on her rounds near the barn.


IMG_0464 (1).jpg

Vegetable of the Week - Basil

Historical Origins - Basil (Ocimum basilica) is a native plant of the Old World tropical regions but has been used across the Old World for thousands of years. In Italy it is used widely in cuisine and as in courting where it was worn differently depending on a woman's status. In India, a variety called Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) is a venerated herb that is mentioned in ancient religious texts. 
Botanical Facts - Basil is a hot weather plant, which is why we grow ours in the greenhouse, and this year it is amazingly early. It likes nighttime temperature above 60 degrees. It is an annual and grows in varieties from dark green to dark purple. 
Culinary Uses - Basil is often associated with Italian cooking, especially in tomato sauces and pesto. Used fresh it makes a wonderful accompaniment to salads and caprese.


Another Bite - From the Chef:

Napa cabbage will work in almost any recipe for green cabbage, but it’s more tender and has a milder flavor. Use in an Asian slaw as a side dish or to give color and crunch to a bahn mi sandwich.

Asian Slaw: Combine shredded cabbage with shredded carrots, sliced snow peas, and thinly-sliced green onion. Toss with the following vinaigrette from food writer Mark Bittman.

Asian Vinaigrette: 1/3 cup of peanut oil, 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste.

CSA Tip of the Week: 
Use the most perishable items (lettuces, blossoms, very ripe tomatoes…) on the first day or two. On the last day, take whatever is left and roast - serve over rice or grains and top with a fried or poached egg. Or make a light soup by sautéing the remaining vegetables in olive oil and stirring in some chicken or vegetable broth and some cooked beans.


 The boys slept in their hammocks in the woods this week and were woken by this Barred Owl and his call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?"

The boys slept in their hammocks in the woods this week and were woken by this Barred Owl and his call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?"

 The Western Tiger Lilies are blooming in the woods. This plant is a giant - it has 12 blossoms on in it and stands more than three feet tall. 

The Western Tiger Lilies are blooming in the woods. This plant is a giant - it has 12 blossoms on in it and stands more than three feet tall. 


In the middle of growing season it is nice to have a rainy day to stop and remember why we are doing this farming thing. We love growing good food and connecting with our community through the food we grow. We always enjoy talking with our CSA members and customers at pick-up and the markets! Stop by and say hello!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Week 1 Newsletter

Green Garden Goodness!

The first basket of the 2018 Summer CSA Season is finally here! Thanks to a ton of extra sunshine in the month of May things are going crazy out in the fields. Yes, that means the weeds, too. But, we'll take it! Here is a sample of some of the goodness growing on the farm this week. So, we are learning as we go here at the farm but this spring is continuing to surprise us with how much earlier crops are ready this year. Strawberries, red tomatoes, and sunflowers in May? Crazy! This isn't California! But the plants seem to think it is. 

Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable.
— -Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food

CSA Basket - Week 1

CSA Basket Week 1.jpg

Here is what you can expect to find in a large share basket this week:

  • Arugula - make an arugula pesto and toss in a pasta with the sautéed peas and caramelized shallots
  • Kale - de-stem, cut into ribbons and toss with your favorite vinaigrette - best the next day! Doesn't wilt the way lettuce does!
  • Microgreens (mixed) - great on a salad or in a sandwich
  • Radish - lovely as a snack or try a quick pickle and toss on your salad
  • Hakurei Turnip - best sliced and eaten raw
  • Zucchini - delicious cut in half and grilled - top with pesto
  • Peas or Pea Shoots - perfect on a salad or with pasta
  • Shallots or Leeks - pickled shallots are so tasty on a sandwich
  • Herb Pack - Mint - see recipe below
  • Strawberries - so early this year! (I'm sure we don't have to tell you what to do with these)
 The zucchini are already attempting a coup in the hoop house. We hope to get them under control this week.

The zucchini are already attempting a coup in the hoop house. We hope to get them under control this week.


Another Bite - From the Chef:


For the first CSA share, we’re sending you some mint. Your first thought may be dessert or cocktails, but mint is not only for sweet applications. I lean towards savory and became a fan of this herb on a trip to Vietnam where they use it liberally in salads, sandwiches and spicy noodle dishes. Here are two recipes that pair mint with a couple of other vegetables we’re including, zucchini and sugar snap peas.


Pasta with Zucchini and Mint (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York
Times)

4 servings, 30 minutes preparation time

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced thinly
salt and freshly-ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon finely minced lemon zest
1 Tablespoon chopped mint
¾ pound short pasta, such as farfalle or fusilli
grated parmesan, ricotta salata or Pecorino for serving (optional)

Bring pasta water to boil. Heat oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring and shaking the pan until the zucchini is tender. Season generously and add the sugar, vinegar, lemon zest and mint. Meanwhile cook the pasta, saving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid before draining. Toss the zucchini mixture with the pasta water and add the drained pasta. Add the cheese, if using.


Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Scallions and Mint (adapted from Saveur
magazine)

4 servings, 30 minutes preparation time

¾ cup quinoa
salt and freshly-ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz. sugar snap peas, thinly sliced diagonally
8 oz. radishes, julienned (sliced into strips)
¼ cup roughly chopped mint
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Rinse quinoa thoroughly (unless your quinoa is pre-washed; rinsing is generally necessary to remove the bitter coating). Bring 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil and stir in the quinoa along with salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, about 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and scrape into a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss in the sugar snap peas, radishes, mint and green onions. Serve at room temperature. 

 


 I found this guy in the strawberries. I hope he is eating slugs and not the strawberries! He is the biggest garter snake I have seen. The blue lines on the matting in the picture are 12 inches apart. I'm guessing he is close to three feet long.

I found this guy in the strawberries. I hope he is eating slugs and not the strawberries! He is the biggest garter snake I have seen. The blue lines on the matting in the picture are 12 inches apart. I'm guessing he is close to three feet long.

 Future Himalayan blackberries. They inspire such a love/hate relationship. But who can resist their sun-ripened goodness in late July? So tasty. We had a work party in April and removed six pick-up loads to burn - just to keep it under control along the road. 

Future Himalayan blackberries. They inspire such a love/hate relationship. But who can resist their sun-ripened goodness in late July? So tasty. We had a work party in April and removed six pick-up loads to burn - just to keep it under control along the road. 


Lots happening here on the farm! We are excited to get the CSA season underway. We will be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market this Saturday from 10-noon and at the Shelton Farmers Market from 9-2. We love meeting our customers and CSA members at the Farmers Markets! Stop by and say hello!

Your SVF Farm Team

2018 Spring on the Farm

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is here - and so are the April showers! We have been thankful for the mild March weather. It allowed us to get most of the spring planting done before the wet weather of the last week hit. So far, we have a two week head start on planting compared with last year! Now we just have to wait and see if that translates to earlier tomatoes and potatoes. Time will tell. How crazy would it be taste fresh 4th of July tomatoes! Fingers crossed for sunny weather!

d63eb861-ea7e-4a53-a239-f6d9754d9f37.jpg

Tomatoes are deep planted in the hoop house and are all set to start climbing the trellises once we get a few rays of sunshine. That is Darlene in the photo transplanting the tomatoes. She is our resident tomato and pepper expert and we affectionately refer to her as the Nightshade Lady. She will be authoring all the yummy recipes for the summer newsletter. We are in for a plethora of tasty treats and easy ways to make the most of the bounty of summer.

5da6f816-bd9d-4596-90f6-abc1eee1e587.jpg

We have planted six varieties of heirloom potatoes. My son Jacob has decided to take on the potato project - this is a photo of him planting the potatoes out on March 25th. The first potatoes will be harvested by early July.

2db3347f-c68c-4de6-98d2-89b77f857f75.jpg

French Breakfast Radishes

With their mild flavor, this variety of radish is best treated simply. Make Radish Butter by chopping and stirring into softened butter. Add a little sea salt and some optional chopped chives. Delicious served at room temperature spread thickly on warm baguette slices. Don’t throw away the green tops! In the springtime they are very fresh and are slightly peppery and wonderful raw tossed with other mild lettuces in a salad.

387023dc-ce21-4633-b4b7-882afc9be458.jpg

Sproutini, or raab, can form on any overwintered brassica plant.  It is the earliest spring green on the farm and it is so sweet and tasty. This year on the farm we have raab forming on overwinter collards, kale, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts. I love that they are available so early in the year when we are all craving something green and tender and tasty. 


Raab, Mushroom, and Ricotta Pizza


With tomato season still a few months away, try making a different sort of pizza. Toss the sproutini (aka raab) in olive oil, lightly salt and roast at 425’F for a few minutes, just until wilted. Slice any type of mushroom, toss with olive oil (but don’t salt—it will draw moisture out of them and cause them to steam) and roast at the same temperature as the sproutini. The mushrooms will take longer, 15 or 20 minutes—you want them to lightly brown. Season with salt. Spread pizza dough with fresh ricotta and top with the vegetables. For additional flavor, stir chopped or roasted garlic and crushed red pepper flakes into the ricotta before spreading on the pizza. Bake at the highest temperature your oven will reach until the crust is crisp.


The bounty of summer is coming!

We still have a few spots left for our 2018 Summer CSA! We would love for you to be a part of our farm!

We are expanding our CSA this year offering more shares both in and around Mason County as well as the Seattle area. Our flock of egg laying chickens has also quadrupled, letting us offer the golden goodness to more people.

You can expect to find old-standbys (what would summer be without tomatoes and basil?) and new favorites (shishitos, anyone?) in your share, but the best part is that we grow varieties that you won’t find in the local grocery store and we pick the vegetables for you at the peak of their season.

Looking forward to an exciting season!


 The Newest Farm Residents  We have pigs! Meet Porky and Pudding (Yes - they have names). Bacon anyone? Whole and Half pig for sale at the end of May.

The Newest Farm Residents

We have pigs! Meet Porky and Pudding (Yes - they have names). Bacon anyone? Whole and Half pig for sale at the end of May.

 Pastured Laying Hens  The hens are back out on the pasture and enjoying a view of South Mountain. We currently have 75 hens and ducks laying eggs and 50 pullets and 50 baby chicks. We are getting 30 dozen eggs a week and that will increase to 75 dozen by the end of the summer. Eggs anyone?

Pastured Laying Hens

The hens are back out on the pasture and enjoying a view of South Mountain. We currently have 75 hens and ducks laying eggs and 50 pullets and 50 baby chicks. We are getting 30 dozen eggs a week and that will increase to 75 dozen by the end of the summer. Eggs anyone?


Spring is in full swing and summer is on its way here at the farm. We are excited to get the season underway! We will be at the Harstine Island Farmers Market this Saturday from 10-noon and at the Shelton Farmers Market starting May 5th from 9-2. We love meeting our customers at the Farmers Markets! Stop by and say hello!

Your SVF Farm Team

2017 Fall Farm Newsletter

Feast of Fish

The salmon are easy picking for these guys with the high waters in the Skokomish River.  The salmon get washed into the fields with the rising river and make for a tasty snack for the eagles.  I counted 15 bald eagles on my walk this afternoon.  They are so magnificent to watch as they soar and play.

03cfbac0-0a62-4f5b-9dee-28c1ffeea60a.jpg

There are fewer planting and harvesting activities going on now with the start of the rainy season - but we are still managing to keep busy. We have two new high tunnels in the fields where we will be planting our hot season crops in the spring. The laying hens are spending the winter in the hoop houses with access to pasture during the day. This provides the soil with some high-nutrient chicken manure and the chickens with a dry space to hang out in. So a win-win for all!
We have several trials started in the fields. First, we received eight types of winter wheat seeds from the WSU Bread Lab to trial in our fields. We hope to find a variety that grows well here in Mason County. We are also partnering with Amy Rosen of the Mason Conservation District in a biochar trial to determine if it is a viable soil enhancer for this area.
We are also increasing and improving our composting operations with mushroom substrate from a local grower, Skokomish Ridge Mushrooms.  The mushrooms are grown on sterilized alder chips and when composted they help enrich the soil with trace minerals and also aid in water retention. Skokomish Ridge Mushrooms grow delicious mushrooms - if you haven't tried them yet you can find them locally at Jay's Farmstand on Old Olympic Hwy.
Another great local source we have found for compost is from our neighborhood commercial fish hatchery. They have a need to get rid of the waste from their operation and we are happy to take it.  Composted fish manure is an excellent source of nutrients for our vegetable growing. We are thankful to have local sources for such great compost!


4fde91cd-0bce-431d-8e0e-a8182ed0aaf5.jpg

Winter Farmers Markets

We'll be at the Shelton Farmers' Market at the Transit Center this Saturday from 9-2, and then at the Harstine Island Farmers' Market from 10-12 on the second Saturday of every month. We will have fresh eggs, kale, collards, winter squash, and field-held carrots (so sweet - like a bite of sunshine!). 

7fc7fd76-738f-49aa-a8e7-cce7b92da024.jpg

Upcoming CSA Season

Planning is in full swing for next season's CSA, Farmers Markets, and Restaurants.  We'll have the website ready for CSA signups soon - planning another 20 week season with similar share options as last year.  

0da56d22-ccab-4ba3-a488-ca45bbddee2c.jpg

Christmas Turkeys and Duck

Our Blue Slate heritage breed turkeys will be processed along with several Cayuga ducks in mid-December.  They will be available for on-farm pick-up the weekend of December 16-17.  Send us an email if you would like to reserve one for your Christmas dinner!

 This group of young bull elk have been enjoying the kale from my home garden. They are amazing to watch as they meander their way through the fields. Here they seem to be play fighting - preparing for a future when they are big enough challenge the older bulls in the main herd.

This group of young bull elk have been enjoying the kale from my home garden. They are amazing to watch as they meander their way through the fields. Here they seem to be play fighting - preparing for a future when they are big enough challenge the older bulls in the main herd.

 Red rose-hips add a bit of bright color along the forest edge as we head into winter.

Red rose-hips add a bit of bright color along the forest edge as we head into winter.

2017 Week 20 Newsletter

Entering Persephone Period

Here in the mild winters of the PNW our greatest challenge to winter growing is actually a lack of daylight and not freezing temperatures. Even if the plants are protected from freezing in the hoop houses they will grow significantly slower once they have less than ten hours of daylight each day. Here in Shelton that occurs from the first of November until the 9th of February. We are planning some experiments this fall and winter to see what kinds of greens will grow best under these conditions.  We are getting ready to transplant spinach, bok choi, various lettuce, scallions, and mache (corn salad) in the hoop house. Hopefully we will have some yummy fresh greens this winter!  

 Hoop house plants getting ready to enter "Persephone Period"

Hoop house plants getting ready to enter "Persephone Period"


CSA Basket - Week 20

Your CSA basket this week includes the following veggies:

Long Pie Pumpkin - Our main seed supplier - Uprising Seeds - claims this is the best pie pumpkin they can find.  Best used to make a baking puree - see recipe below.
Mixed Lettuce - enjoy some of the last fresh lettuce for the season
Collards - best if blanched quickly and then sautéed - or - have you tried blanching them and using the whole leaf as a wrap?
Rutabaga - These are a great potato substitute but have a unique flavor.  They store in the fridge as long as potatoes do in the pantry.
Cabbage - smaller heads - some will get green and some purple
Tokyo Turnips - great for slicing and eating raw
Cauliflower - great for roasting - so sweet! 
Purple Sprouting Broccoli - tasty shoots!
Chives - snip up and use on your salad
Carrots - A new variety - Dolciva, which are sweeter (frost may help too)
Ornamental Gourds - perfect for a fall centerpiece
Melon - the last of the melons - they aren't super ripe yet - but we decided to put them in the baskets as an extra

79098b04-3913-47f2-8c6c-62cf7f1fbf30.jpg

Veggie of the Week:
Corn Salad!

 Corn Salad, aka mache, vit, rampion, or rapunzel

Corn Salad, aka mache, vit, rampion, or rapunzel

Botanical Facts - Corn salad is a wild green with a mild nutty flavor similar to spinach. It is sometimes known as mache, vit, or rampion. Corn salad forms large rosettes of slightly succulent, smooth-edged, spoon-shaped, velvety, dark green leaves. It has a branched flower stalk with smaller leaves tipped with rounded clusters of small blue and white flowers in spring.

Historical Origins and Culinary Uses - Corn salad is a common wild plant native to Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.  It has been naturalized in North America. It has been cultivated in Europe since the sixteenth century but it was eaten as a wild salad herb long before cultivation. In Germany, it is sometimes called rapunzel, which was the name of the plant that was so strongly desired by the pregnant mother in Grimm's fairytale that she traded her unborn child for it. (Wait - that's NOT in the Disney version!) Corn salad grows in winter when other greens are rarely available, which may explain her craving for it. Corn salad is high in vitamin C and is a nutritious addition to the winter diet. It is used mainly as a salad vegetable, where its delicate, nutty flavor is complimented by mild dressings. Corn salad does not keep well and should be used within a few days of harvest. Corn salad can be cooked like spinach although it will lose its bright green color when cooked. 


"Ah," she replied, "if I can't eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall die."

-Rapunzel's mother


Preparing Pumpkin Puree


It's time for pumpkin baking!  This is an easy way to prepare your pumpkin puree for use in baking muffins, pancakes, pies and any other goodies you enjoy!  

You may notice some green still on your pumpkin - that is normal for this variety - called Long Pie.  It will keep for several months if you are not ready to use it yet and will continue to turn orange as it ripens.

There are several methods for preparing your pie puree - I prefer the roasting method because I think results in a sweeter pie filling.  But, you can also cut up the pumpkin and steam the pieces and then blend.

Ingredients:

  • 1 long pie pumpkin
  • kosher salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and save for roasting later if you like.  

2. Sprinkle cut pumpkin with kosher salt. Lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until pierced easily with a paring knife.  Test several places on the pumpkin.

3.  Cool pumpkin on a rack for at least 1 hour.  Scoop out flesh and process until smooth in a blender or food processor. If the puree is wetter than you like you can strain it using a sieve or cheesecloth to remove some liquid.

4.  Puree will keep for one week in the fridge. Or freeze in small batches and it will keep for several months. I like to freeze it in 2 cup batches - the perfect amount for a pie or batch of muffins.


c183709f-afd5-4533-8606-917234c932fa.jpg

Sunchoke Flowers

There is still a little sunshine outside but these are some of the last flowers in the field.  Have you tried Sunchokes, or Jerusalem Artichokes, as they are sometimes called?  They are in the sunflower family but you eat the roots of the plant instead of the seeds. We will leave them in the ground over the winter and harvest them in the spring. The plants are about nine feet tall right now - I had to bend them down to take the picture! They are an unusual early spring treat!

This is the last week of the 2017 Summer CSA! We are sad to see the season end but are already planning for next year! You can find us this winter at the Indoor Market on Harstine Island once a month on the second Saturday from 10-12 and at the Shelton Farmers Market Holiday Market on December 2nd at the Transit Center. We will have some of the yummy greens from our hoop house. Come try the corn salad that Rapunzel's mother traded her away for - because she would "die" if she couldn't have some! Yikes!

Keep an eye out for once a month newsletters this winter. We will begin taking sign ups for next season after the New Year. Thank you so much for your support this season! You are all trailblazing members of the Skokomish Valley Farms first CSA! Thank you!

Don't forget to follow and like the farm on Facebook or Instagram!  We appreciate your support!

Your SVF Farm Team

2017 Week 19 Newsletter

Salmon in the River

The salmon have been appearing in the river over the last month and the Bald Eagles are back to snack on their favorite food.  We love living so close to a salmon river (ask me again once they are "fertilizing" our fields during the winter floods).  But, farming so close to the river also brings a sense of responsibility to take care of the river. Our farm motto includes the tagline "Sustaining the Land" - and this applies to the water, too. The farm sits at the confluence of two rivers, the North and South Forks of the Skokomish River, that are both salmon rivers. We choose to be certified organic not just to grow good food that is healthy for humans but also to farm in a way that treats the land with respect. Next year we also plan on applying to be certified Salmon Safe. Like the organic certification - it won't change much of what we are doing here at the farm.  But, there is value in going through the inspection process to help remind us of good practices as well as identifying areas where we can improve.  Some of the salmon friendly practices of our current farm plan include 74 acres placed in a conservation easement as a buffer with native plantings along the rivers as well as a 34 acre wetland easement at the confluence of the rivers.  

 Chinook Salmon in the North Fork of the Skokomish River

Chinook Salmon in the North Fork of the Skokomish River


"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

-Anne of Green Gables


CSA Basket - Week 19

Your CSA basket this week includes the following veggies:

Howden Pumpkin - mainly bred for a carving pumpkin - but you can use it for baking or for the seeds if you like
Cucumbers - the favorites seem to be hanging on, add them to your salad or pickle some to keep longer
Bok Choi - a nice green for braising - sweet and creamy flavor
Rutabaga - These are a great potato substitute but have a unique flavor.  They store in the fridge as long as potatoes do in the pantry.
Cabbage - smaller heads - some will get green and some purple
Purple Top Turnips - great for roasting or eating raw in slices
Beets - also good for roasting when diced into small cubes and tossed with  olive oil and salt and pepper - then add feta cheese and use to dress a salad
Broccoli - the plants are still sending up tasty side shoots
Radishes - the return of a spring favorite
Carrots - A new variety - Dolciva, which are sweeter (frost may help too)
Ancho Peppers - not too hot - nice for adding a bit of heat to your dishes
Kale - see recipe for adding kale to a chili - a nice way to get more greens in your diet

94dc5aaf-94f4-4faa-ac9d-ac579955e5db.jpg

Veggie of the Week:
Pumpkin!

e824896b-f100-4994-98b9-c266aa10aa18.jpg

Botanical Facts - Cucurbita is a genus of about 27 trailing and climbing species of annuals and perennials originating in North, South, and Central America. It is divided into two groups: gourds and pumpkins. Pumpkins are grown for both their edible and ornamental fruit. 

Historical Origins and Culinary Uses - Cucurbita maxima, the principal parent of pumpkins, is native to South America, and seeds found in Peru have been dated to 1200 CE.  Today many varieties are grown worldwide.  The name "pumpkin" is thought to have come from the old French word pompon, which came from the Ancient Greek word pepon - the word for melons.  Their use in cooking is extensive and they are popular in soups, stews, and roasted as well as in a wide variety of baked goods from pies to breads and muffins. The seeds of the pumpkin are also edible.


Chili with Kale and Ancho


It's starting to feel like soup and chili weather!  Try this chili for the next Seahawks game!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ancho chili pepper, seeds removed and finely minced (if you like more spice you can add a few seeds)
  • 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can each: kidney, pinto, black beans
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

1. In a large soup pot, add olive oil, peppers, onions, garlic, and kale.  Kale stems can be removed and chopped separately from the leaves and then added and used like the onion. Sauté for 10 minutes until tender - stirring occasionally.

2. Add beans (drained and rinsed), chili powder, and tomatoes to the pot.  Bring pot to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Season to taste with additional chili powder, salt and pepper.

3.  Serve warm with toppings of scallions, cheese, and sour cream and a side of corn bread.  Leftovers freeze well.


d883b1e5-48a3-46bb-8a4f-e873e4ffcb47.jpg

Woolly Bear

These cute little guys are everywhere on the farm this week - maybe you have seen them at your place, too?  They are the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth.  The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. Do you know the legend of the woolly bear? According to the legend - the wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. 

I think he may be saying we are in for a less than mild winter.  What do you think?  The early frosts might be a harbinger of harder weather ahead, too?

One more week of Farmers Markets! We will be at the West Olympia and Harstine Island Farmer's Markets on Tuesday and Saturday this week!  This is also the next to last CSA share of the season - but you can expect a monthly newsletter throughout the winter to let you know about happenings on the farm.  

Don't forget to follow and like the farm on Facebook or Instagram!  We appreciate your support!

Your SVF Farm Team

2017 Week 18 Newsletter

Pumpkin Patch Picking

With the early frost killing the vines of the pumpkins, we decided to bring them inside for curing rather than leave them in the field with rain in the forecast.  We have three different varieties that will be in the CSA shares over these last three weeks.  Most of the other winter squash did not fare as well as the pumpkins – we underestimated the level of weed pressure and soil fertility challenges that we’d encounter.  This first year farming has been full of learning opportunities, and it’s exciting starting on next year’s planning to take advantage of many of this year’s observations. 

87a1c1c1-8272-4408-88fc-3ee22672a4a6.jpg

CSA Basket - Week 18

Your CSA basket this week includes the following veggies:

Zucchini - Likely the last of the season
Tomatoes - Again, we don't expect more to make it into October
Cucumbers - the favorites seem to be hanging on, add them to your salad or pickle some to keep longer
Tatsoi - If you didn't get any before, you have some now to try last week's recipe
Lettuce - You should get lettuce every week through the end of the season
Rutabaga - These are a great potato substitute with a little more flavor.  They store in the fridge as long as potatoes do in the pantry.
Snap Peas - A flashback from spring
Swiss Chard - Add some color to your dish with the rainbow stems
Collards - Kale substitute.  I've also enjoyed these as a burrito wrap
Cauliflower: This week’s veggie of the Week.  We love to slice them 1/2 inch thick and roast in oven with olive oil and salt/pepper.
Radishes: the return of a spring favorite
Eel River Melon: Not as sweet as the Prescott Fond Blanc, but still a rarity from local PNW
Styrian Hulless Pumpkin: Cook these or decorate with their attractive colors, but their specialty is roasting the seeds that don't have to be shelled
Tomatillos: We had so many ripe this week that we threw them in as a bonus item – use in many southwest dishes, not just salsa!

16398ea2-c283-430e-a63b-beba1487d319.jpg

Veggie of the Week:
Cauliflower!

 Skywalker Cauliflower

Skywalker Cauliflower

Botanical Facts - You guessed it - another Brassica!  Like broccoli, the flowers of cauliflower are bred to have arrested growth at the bud stage - this is the curd (or head) that we eat.  The thick stems are especially nutrient dense in cauliflower holding the vitamins and minerals that would otherwise have gone into the flower/fruit. 

Historical Origins and Culinary Uses - Cauliflower are thought to have come from the Near East, making heir way into the European diet after the fall of the Roman Empire.  They can be prepared in a wide variety of ways from raw on salads, to steamed or boiled as a side dish, pickled, or roasted in the oven, or even as a paleo diet risotto substitute.


Rutabaga Mash


A simple dish - just like any mashed potato.  You can even substitute potato for half the rutabaga for a larger serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large rutabaga, peeled and sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (may substitute chicken stock)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Put chopped rutabaga in pot covered with water and pinch of salt.  Boil for 30 minutes or until tender.

2.  Meanwhile, heat milk and butter on stove until warmed through.

3. Drain rutabaga and combine with milk mixture.  Blend in food processor until creamy.  (Alternatively use fork to mash rutabagas, then add milk until creamy.)

4. Season with salt and pepper.


7e4bf174-8d4e-4d32-94a1-bdb77e1e3264.jpg

First Star


A view at sunset from the hillside on the west half of the farm.  So much pastureland holding so much opportunity for the future.

The Shelton Farmer's Market ended this weekend, but the West Olympia and Harstine Island Farmer's Markets have two more weeks!  We'll also be at the new Tractor Supply Company pop-up Farmers Market event next Saturday, 7 October from 10-2.

Your SVF Farm Team