Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frightful weather...Delightful vegetables!

From a few years back! This year it's just been rain and more rain!
"Well...the weather outside if frightful, and the veggies are so delightful. And since the Bayview market has yet to abstain..Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain! (and get super windy too!)."
So now you know why my career as a famous song writer never took off!  Thank goodness I had a fall back plan growing veggies...Which by the way, are pretty darn amazing right now.  Despite the fact that we had to traverse muddy fields, small lakes, howling wind, sleet and pouring rain to get them this week!  I always like to tell my crew when we are out picking vegetables on a 34 degree day with a 40 mph gale and sideways rain..."These are the days that separate the farmers from the gardeners!"
And so it's been a bit of nasty picking this week!  But we preserved.  Secure in the fact that we...are...almost...done!  That's right, this Saturday is the last market of the season and after that we will take a much needed break to regroup, think over next year's plan and maybe take a nap (or two or three thousand).
We work pretty hard most of the year, it's nice to be able to just relax and well, stay inside for a while.  And then before we know it we will start feeling antsy and those seed catalogues will start calling our name and then we'll notice the first daffodils popping up and the early spinach crop is perking up and yep, it will start all over again.  But that's why we love what we do!
So come and see us today and support our growing vegetables habit.  We'll have lots of veggies to eat and veggies to give!
Coming to the Bayview Holiday TODAY!
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach
* Carrots
* Beets
* Potatoes - last chance to stop up on 10 lb storage bags of taters!
* Onions
* Dry Beans
* Garlic - loose and beautiful garlic braids!
* Kale
* Chard
* Caulflower (not lots and it will go fast!)
* Broccoli (same as the cauliflower!)
* Scallions
* Winter Squash
* Brussel sprouts
* Jerusalem artichokes
And more...
Hope to see you at market today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grieving, with vegetables...

It seems dishonest to talk about vegetables this morning.  In light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre yesterday.
Wynter and Knight this summer on Salt Spring Island
I think I, like I know many others, are grieving over this inconceivable tragedy.  And even though it was far away, it has touched home.  Tree-Top Baking announced yesterday that a good baker friends of theirs lost her grandson Noah in this tragedy.
And I have my own two daughters, Knight and Wynter, ages almost 7 and almost 9, who go to Coupeville Elementary School.  About the same size as Sandy Hook in a small, quiet town not much bigger than Coupeville.  Being able to meet them when they got off the bus yesterday, giggling and whining at the same time, was a pleasure I can't deny yet feel guilty knowing those parents in Newton Connecticut who will never experiencing meeting a school bus the same again. 
Knight with one of her 4-H chickens
So doing my typical Saturday morning "rah rah rah" for vegetables with a little bit of "and buy lots for Christmas and all your celebrations!" seems, well, trite to say the least.
Yet the show must go on and we do have the veggies picked and packed.  So how can I do what I do and somehow lend something of comfort or ease to the families in Newton?  Well...I've decided that for today I'm going to donate 10 percent of my market profits to the Newton Youth and Family Services organization which does appear to be already taking donations to help the families and community deal with the aftermath of this event. 
You can also make a donation and I will send it in with mine.
And I just heard from Tree-Top Baking and the boys tell me they are going to be doing a similar donation drive with their sales today and Vicky at Little Brown Farm is going too as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if other market vendors join this effort today at the Bayview Holiday Market.  
Wynter is quite the athlete (like her Dad, not me!)
And while money can't bring their babies back but maybe it will help ease their burden a bit to know that communities all across this nation are crying with them.
So, on that somber note...Here is the list of veggies we will have today at market:
* Dry Beans in 1 lb bags and we also have seed packets (great stocking stuffers!) - Rockwells, Peregions, Hutterites, Barn Floor, Black Coco, Tiger Eye and Arikara
* Potatoes - 10 and 2 lb bags
* Onions - Storage, red and gold cippolini
* Shallots
* Garlic Braids
* Brussel Sprouts
* Broccoli
* Beets
* Carrots
* Cabbage
* Chard
* Kale
And more....
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Plenty of Winter Food Today at Bayview Market!

Final step in the bean-cleaning before bagging!
I took this picture this week and it is a good example of what we've been doing lately.  Cleaning beans!  Again and again and again!  But that's okay...because it means we are selling them and for a farmer in December that is GREAT NEWS!
And since I've spent my early morning hours bagging up some dry bean seed packets (great Xmas stocking stuffers!) I'm going to be short and quick this morning so I can hit the road and bring down the goodies for the Bayview Holiday Market TODAY!
So here's what we've got:
* Dry Beans.  (I mentioned that right?).  We ae Peregions this week which we didn't have last week.  All told we've got Rockwells, Peregions, Arikara, Hutterites, Tiger Eyes and Black Coco bags available today!
* Potatoes - We've got 10 lb and 2 lb bags.
* Garlic Braids!
* Cauliflower - gorgeous oh so delicious white heads
* Broccoli.
* Brussell Sprout Trees
* Jerusalem Artichokes
* Beets
* Carrots
* Celeriac
* Roasting bags (mix of beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes and other roasting goodies!)
* Mesclun, Spinach and Arugula bags
* Kale bunches
* Onions - 5 lb bags and loose
* Shallots
* Winter Squash
and probably some more stuff I'm forgetting....We've got LOTS of food!
So come see us today.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lovely COVERED Bayview Hall.
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dry Beans are now available!

Oh oh oh, do I love them dry beans!
This years crop just coming up.  Mid June.
This time of year, as the weather turns cold and wet, wet, wet we get down to the business of dry beans.  Now dry beans occupies a fair amount of time throughout the season.  We plant in late May (about 4 acres this year!), then we cultivate, weed, cultivate.  Then in late September early October we pull truck load after truck load of bean plants out of the field and create giant towering piles of dry bean bushes in our barn so they plants can finish drying.
And then FINALLY, sometime starting in November (dependent on how many times we have to fix the combine) we start threshing.  After we thresh, the beans go overnight into a home-made "bean dryer" to make sure they are rock hard dry.  Then they go through our 150 year old bean cleaner (adapted to modern-day use with a leaf blower and mom's old treadmill "i.e. conveyor belt"). And then, finally then...the beans are ready to be sold.
The great thing about the dry beans, from a farmer's perspective, is once we've got them they hold!  And after selling 9 months of perishable salad greens that is a lovely thing indeed.   And of course, it is ever so nice to have them for those cold and wet and dark winter nights when there is nothing as comforting as a nourishing warm bowl of heirloom, locally grown beans.
I've been growing dry beans for 10+ years now and it has been a huge learning curve for sure.  Started with a mason jar full of Coupeville's famous heirloom Rockwell Beans and spent many years growing them very poorly and making many many mistakes. Learned on the job, so to speak!  This year, we grew out nearly 1500 lbs of them.  I think I'm (finally!) getting better at!
The Pacific Northwest is not really a great dry bean growing area (dry beans are best adapted for warmer and drier climes than ours) but I get away with due to the "rain shadow" that lowers the amount of rain we get here at Willowood plus my sandy loam soil which lets things dry out very quickly and the fact that usually (although not always) we have an extended dry indian summer to cure and ripen those beans.  It's always a challenge however and the crop is never guaranteed.
A waterfall of Rockwells.  Happy farmer!
So when those beans FINALLY get through the thresher, well, I'm a VERY happy farmer for sure. 
For those who love to purchase my dry beans, well...they are FINALLY ready!  (okay, Peregion Beans are coming next weekend, combine broke - again - and had to order another part...).   But generally speaking we will be STOCKED with dry beans at the Bayview Holiday Market starting Saturday, Dec. 1st, in the Bayview Hall.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and running for four Saturdays til Dec. 22.
You can also find our dry beans at a number of other places on Whidbey and beyond.  Check out Bayleaf stores in Coupeville and Oak Harbor; Prairie Center Red Apple in Coupeville, the new Roaming Radish in Freeland and for you Seattleites - Chef Shop on 15th in carrying our dry beans - and they ship too!
So...hope to see you at market today, or make sure to track down our dry beans.  They make great Xmas gifts too!
Oh...and of course we will have lots more food in addition to dry beans including:
* Brussel Sprout trees
* Mesclun, spinach and arugula bags
* Potatoes!
* Onions
* Garlic
* Celeriac
* Celery
* Beets
* Carrots
* Kale
* Chard
* Winter squash and pie pumpkins...
And more!!! Hope to see you today!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Last Bayview Market of 2012!

Squash field in mid June.  See the little plants just poking up? it we are off to Bayview for the LAST farmer's market of the season!  (okay, well we do have 4 indoor Holiday Bayview Markets we do starting around Thanksgiving but you know what I mean....).
It is always amazing how quickly I seem to get here.  How the big box of seeds, the precious tiny little plants germinating in our hard-working light cabinets during the cold, wet and dark days of February turn into the pumpkins, the onions, the tomatoes and the brussel sprouts of October!  And then of course, after weeks and weeks of hard work, and long days, it is quite suddenly, over.  Time to rest and hibernate.  Just a bit.  So we can do it all again next year!
Squash Field mid August!  It's a JUNGLE!
Like a squirrel however, my ability to relax all depends on how much food I have "squirreled" away for the winter.  And well this year, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS we have the biggest barn in Island County!  It is stuffed right now!  We are drowning in potatoes, onions and winter squash.  Plus huge piles of dry beans yet to be threshed (just started threshing yesterday!).  And still in the field we have gosh, at least an acres worth of "cold hardy" crops.  Things like carrots, beets, turnips, kale, collards, brussel sprouts and other winter crops that we will harvest as needed.  We are lucky to have a moderate climate that, while perhaps it is not the best for growing watermelons and lima beans, it does offer many days of not too cold days in which so many crops thrive.
Squash field first of October. 
Of course, you wonder, WHERE can I get all this wonderful food off season?  Well...after you come by the Bayview Market today to stock up the pantry, we still have several off-season opportunities.
One of course, is Mikey's great home-delivery list.  Whidbey Green Goods makes a weekly delivery to the door-steps, addresses south of Coupeville, of local veggies, meat and other goodies.  Check out his website if you haven't already -
The fruits of our labor.  Literally.
Then of course there is the "Endless Summer" list.  This is a order and pick-up list in Coupeville that has been running for gosh, maybe 8 years now?  Farmer Linda at Rosehip Farm and Garden heads this one up.  Linda combines available veggies from her farm, Willowood and several other local farms and sends out a list via email.  She takes orders and then we fill them, first-come first-serve with a pick-up on Saturdays.  We run the list at the whim of the farmers and the weather.  Or, i.e., as long as we have enough food and energy to do.  Typically speaking, however, it runs pretty solid until Thanksgiving and then we try and have at least a few pick-ups in December.  I'm also pursuing the possibility of doing a similar "Endless Summer" list with a south-end pick-up at Chef Jess's great new local food deli/take-out in Freeland - Roaming Radish!  (Check it out if you haven't already!  I got a killer meat loaf sandwich there the other day and some great take-home tomato soup!  All using local products!).  Anyways, watch for more info on a possible "South End Endless Summer" pick-up coming soon.
Probably the biggest dearth of the year for local produce, at least, is the first of the year.  January, for us here at Willowood, is major hibernation month.  We don't get out much then.  Things start to happen again in February all depends on how kind the winter weather was to us how much food we have.  We might offer a few, via email, pick-up days and oftentimes Mikey starts-up the first of his Whidbey Green Goods deliveries sometime in February.  By April the first Coupeville markets starts and then things start coming along fast!
So...come of the market today and STOCK UP!  We've got storage bags of potatoes and onions.  And we've got loads of winter squash which are SO nice to have come December and January.  Giant cabbages and kohlrabi to make kraut with and even peppers to pickle!  And if you are getting our email lists, please feel free to share them with Whidbey friends and neighbors.  The more local food moving into local mouths the better!  (Btw, we still haven't gotten our dry beans threshed and packaged yet.  That sometimes just takes time as we get them dry enough to thresh.  So...that is something to DEFINITELY watch for on our email lists and via Whidbey Green Goods!). 
And now, it is time for me to drink some coffee and head out to load up!  See you at market today!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie
Oh yeah, and here's what we got:
* Potatoes - 10 lb and 2 lb bags
* Onions - loose and in 5 lb storage bags
* Winter Squash
* Brussel Sprouts
* Cabbage
* Kohlrabi
* Turnips
* Rutabagas
* Parsnips
* Head Lettuce (yes, late crop!)
* Arugula and spinach bags
* Tatsoi and Mustard bunches
* Baby pac choi
* Radishes
* Scallions
* Beets
* Carrots
* Tomatoes and peppers (last picking!)
* Kale
* Chard
And more....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What? You thought we were done? Ha!

Lamenting the close of farmer's market season?  Thinking about FINALLY getting to sleep in on a Saturday morning and not about missing the choicest selection of market goodies.  Well hah - there are still TWO Bayview Farmer's Markets left!
Yep, it's may be dark as hades at 7 a.m. yet we are nonetheless out their loading up the van planning to bring the fall harvest bounty at market!  Actually today sounds like an action packed day a the market - it is the first ever "Cornucopia Chuck" in which a bunch of punch-happy tired market vendors find all sorts of weird things to see how far they can catapult them in some sort of insanely improvised potato gun.  Sounds dangerous! Sounds fun!  And it is also the ever popular Mutt Strut/Apple Day at Bayview Farm and Garden.  A great day to taste lots of different kinds of apples and bring along your doggy in some sort of silly costume. 
We are also introducing our end of season "Fall Harvest Bag" today.  A cool red Bayview Farmer's Market shopping bag filled with a selection of Willowood Farm goodies to prepare you for the upcoming fall food celebrations - a mashing type potato, a bag of garlic, a bag of cooking onions and an heirloom pie pumpkin.  A great deal too - valued at $36 - we are doing the whole shebang for $29 plus you get the bag for free!
Of course, there are plenty of other goodies to fill up your bag with including:
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach bags
* Frisee, escarole and radicchio
* Parsnips and rutabagas
* Cabbage, kohlrabi
* Onions galore
* shallots
* 10 lb and 2 lb bags of potatoes
* garlic!
* Beets
* Carrots
* Turnips
* Raab, tatsoi, mizuna mustard
* Peppers
* Tomatoes
* Oodles of gorgeous winter squash! 
See you at the market! Farmer Georgie

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Harvest Fest! is always so surprising to find myself here.  It happens every year, you would think I would be used to it.  But it kinda sneaks up on me...That moment in time when I realize that all the season's planning, work and endeavors have resulted in  
Coupeville Harvest Festival of years past...
All I can say is THANK GOODNESS we have the biggest barn on the island!  Because we have grown A LOT of food this year!  And one of my favorite things is to bring it down to the Coupeville Harvest Festival.  Not only because we usually sell a lot of it - which is nice for padding up the ole check book before winter hits - but because it is a real visual of just how much insane amounts of food we've grown. 
Stock up for the winter!  10 lb storage bags of taters!
So just HOW MUCH have we grown?  Well....we still have plenty of things to sell (like about 3 tons of potatoes left, a ton or more of dry beans yet to be threshed, about 5 bin loads of onions, a wagon load of winter squash, beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas and other winter hardy veggies still in the fields.) But here's a few quick figures of how much we've sold so far this year: 496 lbs of broccoli; 353 lbs of cauliflower; 651 bunches of chard; 1858 bu of kale; 1907 bu of carrots; 1423 lbs of garlic; 4674 heads of lettuce; 12,233 lbs of potatoes; 1372 bunches of radishes; 1077 bunches of beets; 672 bags of mesclun and 472 lbs of heirloom tomatoes.  Wow!  Pretty cool, huh?  And of course, the selection for today's market is AMAZING!  In case you didn't know, the Coupeville Farmer's Market is THE BIGGEST market of the year on the island and also happens to be the last Coupeville Farmer's Market of the season.  We will have a great selection and good deals on storage bags of garlic, onions and potatoes plus lots of other great "stock up for the winter" veggies like winter squash, root crops and gigantic cabbages.  It is a NO MISS (come on, a little bit of rain can't stop you, right?).  Plus we will have our Willowood/Prairie Bottom farm "Ebey's Eat Locals Zombies" Harvest Relay team participating in the wacky harvest relay events to raise money for the Good Cheer Food Bank (stop by our booth and donate a few bucks to help sponsor our team.  Every little bit helps!). 
Winter squash! So pretty! So yummy!
We also will have brave Bobbie and hubby Blake manning a limited selection booth down at Bayview if you can't make the drive to Coupeville. always...we hope to see you at market TODAY!  (Here's the insane list of food, btw...).
Coming TODAY to the Coupeville and Bayview Farmer's markets:
* Mesclun, arugula and spinach
* Frisee and escarole
* Celeriac, parsnip and rutabagas
* Turnips!
* Kale, Chard, Collards
* Potatoes SO SO SO many potatoes.  I think we will have 10 kinds at Coupeville? 10 lb storage bags of potatoes as well!
* Garlic!  Seed garlic at COUPEVILLE ONLY today!
* Onions!  Lots and lots of onions including 5 and 10 lb storage bags.
* Winter Squash and pumpkins!  A whole WAGONFULL of them at Coupeville
* Tomatoes - Cherries, Heirlooms, San Marzanos
* Insanely beautiful Peppers
* Artichokes (Coupeville only)
* Red Giant Mustard, Mizuna, Baby Pac Choi, Raab!
* Broccoli!
* Cabbage - Red and Green
* The biggest kohlrabi YOU'VE EVER SEEN!
* Radishes - French Breakfast and Black Spanish (so cool!)
* Leeks
* Carrots and Beets
* Rockwell Beans! (of course!)
And I'm sure there is SOMETHING I forgot.  Come check it out!
Farmer Georgie
Willowood Farm of Ebey's Prairie