We wanted to offer a brief update about what’s happening here on the farm. It has been a very nice spring thus far – mild temperatures, light rain, decent sunshine, and lots of loving hands on the ground. As always, our friends and family are indispensable in our pursuit to balance production with property management. 50 diverse acres is no small undertaking. We have a number of new systems in place that are working to make life easier, one of which is our first employee! Conner also set up our cultivating tractor to lift some burden from our bodies. The irrigation system is finally (almost) in place, with more valves and more capacity. The hoop house/high tunnels that we’ve worked on for the past year are finally (almost) finished and are full of plants. And to help with property maintenance in the pursuit of meat, we have a lovely flock of sheep munching away on our fall-planted pasture.
After a year of farming this land we have a little perspective and an idea of what we’re in for. Something we learned last year was that as good as our soils are, they are delicate and need some special care. Years of conventional management left them depleted of organic matter. They also fall on the clay side of the spectrum, and so compaction is an issue. This spring we waited longer to till, resulting in nicer seed beds and less disruption of soil structure. Waiting is hard to do since we’re impatient to start eating from this land, but in the long run, the better we treat our soils, the more we’ll get from them.
So much for a brief update! You’re probably wondering where we are now….In relation to last year, we have MANY more plants in the ground and MUCH less weed pressure – two things we are extremely happy about it. We’re hoping to be at our first market on June 21st and the CSA should start the Tuesday before or after. We cannot wait to begin harvests!
Conner, Sarah (and Wendell)
And to help you remember what the season holds in store…
We haven’t spoken much about our lambs yet on the blog. We currently have 11 (+.5) on the farm, all received over the past 6 months. They are a breed we’ve kept before and loved- Black Welsh Mountain Sheep. They are a hardy dual purpose breed with beautiful wool and delicious meat. Over the past month we’ve been wondering when lambing would start…There are 7 more ewes left to go. Fingers crossed for healthy births.
Make sure to get your CSA sign-ups in the mail by the 28th to take advantage of the early bird discount. We’ll be extending the discount to folks who sign-up in-person at Silverton’s Rooted in Food Fair this weekend. Hope to see you there!
We are so pleased to have finalized the 2014 CSA details. There are many updates to our program this year- multiple share sizes, payment plans, and potentially add-ons. We’re really excited to be rolling this out and welcome any feedback or questions.
All season long we said “we can take care of it this winter” and the winter has almost come and gone! It’s hard to imagine we’ll be planting seeds soon, especially because there is so much planning to do first. Wendell is not too interested in farm planning…After the New Year we’ve really made an attempt to buckle down. Conner and I have caught a few moments to discuss the CSA (I’m almost done with the sign-up form- expect it soon!), start building out the wash-pack station, chip away at the greenhouses, and peruse seed catalogues. We’ve also been lucky to visit with farmer friends, share delicious meals of last season’s produce, and watch our pasture establish. As the little man learns to keep himself occupied I’ve had some time to get back to cooking and I wanted to share a few of our most recent favorites. As some of you know, I’ve been eating egg and dairy-free lately (long story) but the vegan recipes here are worth trying even still!
Pastel de Choclo– This is a very common Chilean dish that we fell in love with when we were there. It is like shepherd’s pie with a corn pudding top. Delicious comfort food!
Turkey Gumbo– I had to do something with the leftovers and I’ll be making this again this week. I added more veggies too.
Molasses Spelt Cookies– While vegan (I used regular butter anyway) these BLEW our minds. Definitely adding these to the rotation. I didn’t use candied ginger.
Chia Pudding– Yeah, it’s the new superfood but choking down slime is not the way to go. I make this recipe with canned coconut milk instead of almond milk and usually just dump granola on top. Shocking how long I can go until lunch and it’s like eating dessert for breakfast!
Best Granola Recipe Ever– Speaking of granola, this is a staple in our house. I do not use cinnamon and sub melted coconut oil for the veggie oil. I also usually sub out some oats/almonds for other fun things- coconut flakes, sesame, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, etc.
We had the lovely experience of hosting a local blogger, Meaghin Kennedy of These Salty Oats, a couple weeks ago. She patiently put up with our post- ‘night from hell’ daze, took some wonderful photos, and wrote a very nice piece to add to her collection on local farming couples. Thank you Meaghin!
I’m quite certain that butternut squash (and pear soup specifically) can be credited as one of the primary factors leading to our marriage. Back when we were in college my mom told me about a butternut squash and pear soup. I found one online, there were only a handful at the time, and it became a regular addition to my college cooking routine. Conner also happened to be a regular in my kitchen. He LOVED the soup and so I made it much more often than I probably would have otherwise. If Conner was coming over, I’d make the soup, if I wanted Conner to come over, I’d make the soup. It was always a success. I make this squash for birthdays, Thanksgiving, and just to make Conner smile.
I can’t find the original online recipe anymore but I did write it down. It deserves its own post and it is perfect for our fall CSA share- you can make it with any winter squash.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
3c. roasted and mashed butternut squash
1T olive oil
2c. chopped onion
1T minced fresh ginger
1T minced jalapeño
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and chunked
1t fresh thyme
salt & pepper
Heat oil, onion, shallot, ginger, jalapeño, and salt & pepper. Cook about 10m until onions soften. Add pears and cook about 5 m. Add squash and stir in broth, honey, and thyme. Bring to boil and then simmer for 15m. Puree and stir in cream.
PS- The recipes page is being constantly updated- check it out!
We wanted to let everyone know that we will NOT be at market tomorrow. There was a family emergency this week that really threw us off- everyone is ok now. In addition to that, it is going to be a very very wet weekend and rather than harvest we need to get our cover crop planted! We will plan on being at market next week for our last hurrah.
Please don’t forget to sign-up for our Fall Harvest Share. There are limited spots and we’d like to prioritize our local folks before committing to a Portland drop. Thanks to everyone who has already signed up.