Friday, November 13, 2009

Deep mud, good times

Greetings from the Boistfort Valley! We have kept quite busy with our Autumn weekly shares and our local orders, despite the nasty weather.

We are excited to offer an extensive Winter program this season-
it's a benefit to us, our employees, and hopefully to all of you! Despite the rain, we have a decent climate for some year-round production, or at least, the Winter won't kill most our our beautiful, hardy vegetables.

Thanks to so many of you who have joined us for the Winter CSA! It's nice to not have to say goodbye to all of you for the soggy season. We anticipate attending the Ballard Sunday Market until mid-December, then it's anyone's guess-we'll be saving our best produce for our members.

As a side note: I want to invite you, if you aren't familiar, to check out Mike's blog as well:
He has been recording our on-farm projects, our most recent of which is the tree planting that I talked up in the farm notes. We've loved working with all the kids who have come out to help us plant trees and prune artichokes.

Saturday's planting crew, taking a break in the greenhouse

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can i let you in on something?

we're tired. this whole farming thing is hard work. i know it seems idyllic from the outside--beautiful things growing all around you, great food and amazing people committed to the growing and eating of real food with real nutrients...but sometimes we wonder what it would be like to just have jobs. Jobs where we could be done at the end of the day. Jobs where we wouldn't be up half the night thinking about how to get everything done, or how on earth to pay for it, or how to just keep going.

But then we look at each other, and say, "who would hire YOU?" and laugh. We've probably been doing this too long. and farming gets under your skin. you become attached to the miracle of it all, to the idea that you could possibly grow something, that could nourish someone, that could be enjoyed and even celebrated as the life-giving force that it is. you get attached to your wonderful members, and customers, and their children, whom you've seen growing up for years on your very own vegetables. and it makes you feel like your life is worth it.

in short, we keep doing it because we love all of you. we love what we do. and we know that you love what we do. and in our most exhausted, frustrated moments, its you that we think of.

Thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hello, from the other side of chaos

For those of you who wonder where i've been, there's no short answer. the chaos of the day-to-day here at the farm doesn't allow me much time for thoughtful reflection, except, perhaps, when i'm driving our delivery truck back from a long, unexpected trip to Seattle.

So much has been happening here on the farm, my apologies for not keeping up! I have opened up the blog for our employees to contribute, but so far, no takers. Perhaps once we slow down a bit more the prose will pour from them.

A quick review, with most recent events first, will at least get you caught up.

This year's Barn Stomp was amazing! With a vegetable-rich menu from Art of the Table, Dustin drew a crowd. People are still stopping me to complement the food.

Dustin, Phil and Laurie started in our farm kitchen on Thursday afternoon, trimming, peeling, sauteing, and filling our house with the most heavenly scents. It was nearly impossible to keep from lingering in the doorway, seeing what they were up to. I suddenly became aware of the perspective of my ever-present, ever-hungry labrador, Ed, who tries hard not to look like he's begging for a taste.

The pigs arrived on Friday morning, and Dustin, Phil and Tom (our gracious neighbor, who raised the pigs on his farm) dressed them and prepared them for the rotisserie.

Saturday brought it all together, with the complete menu:

Caramelized Onion Toasts

Tomato, Cucumber and Basil Salad with Black Sheep Creamery Ricotta

Corn, Chanterelles, Green Beans & Chard with Hazelnuts

Fingerling potatoes with Garlic, Shallot & Lemon

Grilled Zucchini with Leek Vinaigrette

Boistfort Valley Farm slaw

Local Coho Salmon on the Grill

Spit Roasted Pig

Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

We topped off all the great food with live music: three local Bluegrassy bands kept the beat and escorted us into the evening:

Pickled Okra

The Blackberry Bushes

The Tilted Stilts

As the music started, the Blackberry Bushes had everyone's toes tapping, even with full plates on their laps.

Natalina couldn't get enough, and when I jokingly said that we should do this every night, she emphatically responded "YEAH!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Natalina!

Happy Birthday, Baby!!!

Today is Natalina's second birthday.

Two years ago today, Natalina was born at 1:20 am, here at the farm. A special thanks to our wonderful midwife and friend, Laura Hamilton!

It amazes me how quickly the time has passed, and what a sweet and loving daughter we have in our lives. I cannot imagine my life without her, in fact, I cannot remember my life before her. I am thankful each day for her, even on the tough days, when we just can't seem to get along.

She is a force of nature, and I am humbled by her and ever grateful for her presence. She teaches me new things all the time, and I hope that I can help her to discover how amazing and beautiful this world can be.
Love and Blessings,


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Natty Invites You...

Natalina wants you to come to our party. First annual Strawberry Festival this Saturday, June 27th, from noon until the chocolate fountain runs dry. Not kidding about that chocolate fountain.

Early Season CSA offerings

This week marks the first baby carrots of the season. The first carrots are a milestone of the season, as are the first beets and strawberries. they are the first Summer vegetables of substance after all the Spring greens and radishes begin.

That's not to discount the peas! I have eaten more peas in the last two weeks than I've had in the last eight months...but isn't that the way it should be? Eat 'em fresh, and get sick of them, so you won't miss them until next pea season is approaching. There's nothing like stalking the first vegetables of the season. For those of you who have a yard, especially those of you who have children who are picky eaters, PLANT A GARDEN. Even if it's just a few carrots and tomatoes. Kids are fascinated with growing things. and if it's not some creepy unknown vegetable, they're much more likely to eat it. Trust me. As a child, the only 'safe' vegetables beyond carrots and broccoli were in my grandma's garden. From then on, I didn't eat a green bean until college, because I never had a truly fresh one (I grew up in the parched desert, where no one grew anything outside). Zucchini was odd and foreign, let alone eggplant. Natty won't always eat the food on her plate, but she'll try 90% of what's growing in the field.

Our members who start growing their own gardens often call or email to apologize for not signing up. But really, I'm thrilled. I think that everyone should grow something, even if it's just a windowsill herb. It's grounding. We're so far removed from what nourishes us...any living thing that we can help to flourish, especially a plant, who won't tug on your pant leg and ask you for water, or a snack, or some sunlight, just anything that can guide us to that mindfulness is a blessing.

Look Ma, more transplants! As if the first 50 or 60 thousand weren't enough, the transplants just



Quite probably because we just keep seeding them. Here we have cauliflower, kale (just eat it, it's good), and basil in the foreground, with fennel and who knows what else filling the bench. We'll keep transplanting into the field until early August.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tis the season for strawberries! This time of year, we always go into the field with extra room in our pockets and empty hands. It takes a few minutes longer to get anywhere, because you always have to stop and "check in" on the strawberries. This handful was reduced to a few tops in five minutes time.

If you haven't heard, our first annual Strawberry Festival will be on Saturday, June 27th.
Live music and snacks will be provided, and we'll be selling berries and strawberry shortcake to raise funds for painting our renovated barn!

For our CSA members, our first delivery is next week. Expect fresh picked strawberries for your first delivery! Here's what else is fresh from the field:

Asian broccoli
Bok choy
Garlic flowers
Red Oak Leaf Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Saladbowl lettuce
Winter density lettuce
Easter egg radishes
Shunkyo Radishes

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thanks to the Sunshine!

Our strawberry plants are in full flower, encouraged by sunny days and climbing temperatures. We have about a month until we see our first fruit, but the flower set looks promising! They should be just in time for our first ever Strawberry Festival in late June.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Bees are Back in Town

Guess who just got back today?

Our very first Woogie Bees traveled up from California and
their almond orchards to pollinate the old apple orchard here at the farm. I suppose they thought they were in for some nice Spring weather, having come from Sunny California and all. For a moment, it looked like we might have a bit of sun, but that thought was quickly doused by the heaviest rain I've seen all spring. It went on for hours...

and just as I began to give up hope, the clouds parted and out came the sun. My father jokes that around here it should be called the Stun--it appears suddenly and leaves you half blind with its brightness.

Our apple trees are ancient, planted so many years ago that only the older locals can identify the varieties. Their trunks are hollow in places, and every year one loses a branch, but they seem as much a part of the farm as our house and barn, and we're not quite ready to replace them with tiny saplings.

Besides, they still offer amazingly sweet, delicious apples for eating and baking, as well as Spring food for the bees.

I wandered down to the low field at the house to check out
our early lettuce transplants. They, for one, have appreciated the recent rainy weather. Mike bought a fancy rain gauge with accompanying "weather system" that sits on his desk and tells him the temperature and how much it's rained in the past week. I think, at this point, I would rather not know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

30,000 transplants later

After two solid days of toiling in the sunny Spring heat, we have transplanted over 30,000 seedlings into the fields.

We now have lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, celery, celeriac, cabbage, and who knows what else in the field. Our crew of six, plus Mike and Patrick, put in long hours with very little complaining.

Liana, Jesus & Francisco load flats of plants from truck to transplanter.

Half a day's work is shown here below:

It doesn't look like much now, but in a few months it will be lush and beautiful!

I am officially exhausted. i must be getting took me two days to fully recover my sore muscles.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Keeping up with the Toddler

I am in a constant state of awe when it comes to to the curiosity, speed, and tenacity of miss Natalina. She stands next to me, trying to open a packet of flower seeds. When they won't open, she shakes them, turns them around and around, and finally forces the glued flap to peel back, dumping the whole packet on the floor. next, seed dispersement: her hands go immediately to the floor, pushing the seeds wildly across the carpet. Success! Now, on to the Barn Stomp photos.

She'll make a fine farmer some day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Greetings from the Boistfort Valley!

The cherries are blooming, the sun is shining, and the seedlings are reaching skyward. We’ve been especially busy these past few weeks, plowing the fields and preparing for Summer. On Wednesday, April 8th, we seeded our potatoes and our first crop of peas, transplanted early lettuces, and worked into the darkness seeding carrots, beets, radishes, and spring greens. So much work—odd that it fits into this tiny amount of typed space…

We've started several new drop sites for the 2009 Summer season, including West Seattle, the Olympic Sculpture Park in Belltown, and Queen Anne. Wedgwood and a North Seattle drop are also in the works.