Seed Season Pt. 2

Golden Beet Seed

Forget love and romance. Forget chocolate dipped berries and delicate, lacy things. This year, our Valentines Day was about dirt, seeds and early onset exhaustion. In short, it was about the farm. Valentines was the day we’d set to begin our farm season. Sure we’d been building, planning and doing farm projects since New Year’s. But as of the 14th we’re putting all those things on hold. From now through November we’re in full production mode.

Early season is about seeds and long hours in the seed room (which has tripled in size since last year). Over the next couple weeks we’ll be seeding out all the plants for our first succession. Things like kale, rapini, broccoli, onions, leeks and chard all get seeded early, either to be grown for the May markets (kale and rapini) or because they have very long seasons (onions and leeks).

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Tomatillos and Salsa Verde

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We didn’t grow any tomatillos on the farm this year. They are a minor niche crop that don’t sell especially well and frankly we couldn’t spare the space or time. Fortunately, Adam, grew several plants in his home garden (how does he have time for a home garden?!?) and he was generous enough to drop off a big bag of perfect fruit the other day.

I love tomatillos. I love their fresh, tart, almost lemony flavor. I love their bright green color. And I love how well they combine with other foods, especially with foods that are just a bit fatty like chips or enchiladas. Tomatillos are the base of all the traditional green salsas and sauces found in mexican and tex-mex cooking. Every tomatillo recipe I’ve ever seen is variation of the very simple salsa recipe presented here. If you’re hankering for sauce over salsa, just take this salsa recipe, double it, sauté it for a few minutes in lard or oil, thin it with stock (animal or veggie) and reduce it back to sauce consistency (until it coats the back of a spoon). It’s a very traditional preparation. Recently I’ve been taking a less traditional path and making a green sauce by simply blending the salsa verde with avocado. It produces a rich, velvety but still tangly sauce I like using on enchiladas or black bean cakes (and it’s much healthier than the traditional, avoiding both the oil and stock). Continue reading Tomatillos and Salsa Verde

Garlic Time Again

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It’s fall again and we’re planting garlic again. Work like a metronome ticks out my life. Repetitive tasks set the rhythm and mark the time, blurring everything in between. We’re closing the poultry coop at night – that means another day is over. I’m loading the trailer for market- it must be Saturday, a week has passed. Gheda’s paying our taxes – a fiscal quarter is done, three more months down. And now, Adam is planting garlic. We’re planting garlic yet again – this time a whole year’s gone by.  We’re right back where we started. Are we any smarter? Any wiser? I’d like to think so. But who can tell?

It was Autumn a year ago, during garlic planting, that we decided to make a go of the farm. That’s when we decided to take it from a hobby garden to a business. The intervening year has been productive; we incorporated a business, got insurance, grew a lot of food, sold a lot of food, made a busload of new friends, earned some money, paid some bills, preached the good news of local, sustainable agriculture and went more or less sleep deprived for months. I hesitate to draw any conclusions about the year. Did we do any good? Did we waste a lot of time and energy? I avoid questions like that. All I know is that we’re setting up for another year, wholeheartedly believing we can do better than we’ve done up to now. There’s redemption to be found in looking forward.

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First Farmer's Market and a New Plan

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Last weekend we attended our very first farmer’s market and I’ve got to say it started off scary. Our first four perspective customers all asked for eggs and left disappointed (and empty handed) when we told them we didn’t have any. Fortunately, the next several dozen people didn’t give a toss about eggs and bought up almost everything we had. We’d come with spinach, kale, soil blocked starts and plants in compostable pots. We left with a few soil blocks and a couple tomato plants. It was a great day and a fantastic introduction to the farmer’s market. Best of all, it left us with a clearer vision of our business and new ideas for our future.

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