We've kept backyard chickens for many years. Earlier this year we lost our girls to some raccoons. We were devasted. Our chickens are pets with names and were beloved friends.
After several months, some improved security and a fresh paintjob on the chicken coop, we found ourselves ready to welcome some new chickens into our family.
Last weekend, we drove to Baxter Barn out in Fall City and came home with six new young ladies. We think they are 4-5 weeks old, so rather than putting them out in the coop, they're in a horse trough in our propagation room where it is toasty warm. They're growing fast! They eat, drink, poop, and sleep with great aplomb.
We look forward to spending time getting to know them. I think they'll appreaciate their luck in coming to live with farmers. They can't even imagine all the veggies they'll get to eat this summer.
Please allow me to introduce (left to right):
Fifi Mahony - Easter Egger, Dottie West -- Speckled Sussex, Penny Dreadful - Welsummer, Honey Applewood - Buff Orington.
Second Row: Joan Clawford - Barred Rock, Fanny Mahony - Easter Egger.
..And just like that, we're on our way. Just over a week ago Farmer Fels packed seeding trays and sprinkled onion seeds into each cell. Voila! Nature does its thing and we have seedlings starting to pop!
Can you believe it? Spring is just around the corner and it is time to sign-up for your 2017 CSA membership. Box pick-up will start in June but every year we rely on your membership to allow us the seed money to get the season started. It will be June before you know it!
We are offering three box sizes to choose from and prices are the same as last year. To make it even sweeter, we're offering a 5% discount on your CSA membership if you complete your purchase by April 1st.
You can purchase directly through the shop on our website. Use the discount code: CSA2017 at checkout.
We look forward to sharing another tasty season!
Ian and Victoria
Farmer Fels visited the farm today. The ground is pretty hard and any former puddles are gorgeous slicks of ice. The landscape is pretty while it sleeps.
Both Farmer Fels and I have been battling the flu that is taking the NW by storm. We hope you’re able to avoid it. We’re only a few weeks away from starting seeds in our propagation room and we’ll have news about our CSA offering for 2017, very soon!
Have a foodie on your holiday shopping list?
Want to show your love for local farming and Mezza Luna Farns?
Visit our webstore
- Grab a Mezza Luna Farms t-shirt (sizes available for the whole family)
- Bundle up against the cold in a cozy hoodie with our logo on the back
- Enjoy some award winning small batch olive oil (made by Farmer Fels's dad)
Last Saturday we participated, for our third year, in the Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair. It is a fun event for us where we get to meet new people, see old friends, and sell a few veggies.
Here are some photos of our booth.
These are potato plants. Aren't they cute?! If you've seen the movie "The Martian" you'll understand why we find the growing taters on Mars scenes hilarious.
This past weekend Farmer Fels traveled down to Northern California for a family memorial service. His sister (Elena) and her husband (Luke) are what we like to call "wine farmers". Like Farmer Fels they are hardworking and busy. Any chance to visit with them is always a pleasure, although the circumstances were a bit sad this time. It was a beautifully sunny day. Perfect for a walk around the vineyard.
Located in Sonoma County, above Guerneville, near the Russian River the Porter Bass Vineyard has a beautiful, sweeping landscape. Luke's parents bought the property in the early 80s when it was, as they say, a "run-down, century-old vineyard". They spent decades restoring the land and vines using organic and biodynamic farming practices. They have two lines, the signature Porter-Bass label that features Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel and Poco a Poco, which is their less expensive, amazingly tasty line (the Zin is super yummy).
You can't buy the wine in a store in Washington State, but you can purchase it online from various places. If you find yourself near Guerneville, arrange for a tasting. I can't think of a better way to spend some time.
Sometimes—especially when cherry tomatoes are fresh—there is nothing better than a quick red sauce. Here's a delicious and easy recipe for our tomatoes:
1 pint cherry tomatoes
• Dump the cherry tomatoes into a pan. The pan should be small enough that the tomatoes are a bit crowded and deep enough that you can olive oil without overflowing.
• Add olive oil. Add your olive oil ( this is one of those times that really good extra virgin olive oil makes a big difference ) to the tomatoes. Don't submerge, but fill enough so it looks like they're soaking.
• Sprinkle with some kosher salt.
• Cook over medium/medium-high heat. Don't stir them. Let them just do their thing. You will see them start to collapse and get soft. Make sure the heat isn't too hot during the process. Then just wait for the smell. You'll know they're ready when you start to smell the sweetness of the tomatoes and olive oil in the air.
• Take the tomatoes/olive oil combo and pour it into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour it back into the pan and viola!
This is a great sauce for summer. Here we've used it over layers of grilled eggplant and mozzarella—
Sometimes when the weight of the world is heavy all it takes is a small burst of color to remind one to stop, and, if not smell the flowers, to spend a little time admiring their intricacy and beauty. How can things seem dark and gloomy when gazing at the brilliant color of this one sunflower? We can think of ourselves as solitary flowers or we can realize that we're merely a petal, a leaf, or part of a stem but we're all rooted together in the soil. Together we are a burst of sunshine that does away with the darkness and gloom.
It's not easy seeing green. OK. That's not how the song goes but it's how my brain works. As you can see we're getting closer to Tomato-Palooza! Only a couple more weeks until these babies come into the red and into our bellies. We are growing more than two times the amount of tomatoes we grew last year and almost every weekend has seen us spending hours, winding, pinching and tending to these, our most favorite crop. To say we're full of anticipation is an understatement.
Yesterday we harvested Borage flowers for a client. These beautiful periwinkle colored flowers are edible and have a delicately light flavor reminiscent of cucumber. We plant a ton of these at the farm because the bees L-O-V-E them but they also make any salad or cocktail feel like the prettiest girl in the room. I like to freeze then with water in an ice cube tray and then float them in lemonade or fizzy water.
Summer is underway, although some recent days would have one thinking otherwise. The "Juneary" weather has extended into July. and we're seeing plenty of rainy gray days intermingling with warm sunny days.
While this is causing some concerns for we human types, the plants at the farm don't mind so much. We are seeing plants grow noticeably from week-to-week and we won't lie, it is a relief not to have to worry so much about watering schedules. This is worlds away from the drought of last summer, which found us losing plants to heat stress or early bolting. We also had to get a special permit to allow us to extract water from the Snoqualmie River because the well at the farm was struggling.
Overall, things are progressing nicely this season. We're battling some pests but that is part and parcel with organic farming. One learns to work around them or surrender to them. It is farming.
We are feeling particularly in touch with the nature of, well, nature these days. The wonderment of growth and new life is balanced with other side of that proposition. We've had a couple members of our extended families pass away in the past several weeks, which gives one pause to think about the circle of life and all of those cliches. Except, they're not cliches, they are profound reminders to make sure we're living our lives to best of our abilities, to feel part of the continuity of our human families and to feel connected to our place in nature.
Spend time with your loved ones, take on a new challenge, embark on a grand adventure, eat well, be kind to your fellow beasties (human and otherwise) and for goodness sake, go outside.
This week at the farm we harvested and began curing garlic. We rigged up some curing racks in our backyard so I can assure you that it is 100% vampire free! In a couple of weeks, you'll start seeing garlic in your CSA boxes.
We also planted watermelon. The starts look great and we're looking forward to dipping into them at summer's end.
Today we're back to tending hundreds of tomato plants and putting down some drip line for watering cabbage and extra tomatoes that we planted outside the greenhouse.
This past Saturday we spent most of the day in both the greenhouses, tending tomato plants (they're getting big and some of them are starting to produce fruit). Inside the greenhouse it was toasty warm and dry. Outside it was pouring rain and chilly.
We did spend sometime outside in the rain harvesting kale for a customer. Being out in the rain with a purpose is fun. The robins were everywhere, taking advantage of the wiggly things surfacing due to the wet ground.
Speaking of wiggly things, back inside, we weren't the only creatures soaking in the warmth of the greenhouse. Several garden snakes joined us. One of which was rather cranky, coiled up and hissing. At least that is what Farmer Fels told me. I'm deathly afraid of snakes, so I had screamed and high-tailed it outside as fast as I could.
Aside from the snake surprises, it was a fun day.
We put together another video showing what goes into to harvesting kale. Please enjoy!
Not every day can be sunny and idyllic at the farm. Like yesterday, when the skies opened up and down came a deluge.
Some days, you grow taller walking around as the sticky clay-like mud sticks to your shoes, and then sticks to more mud, and then grass, and more mud. You bob and weave to avoid the stepping on the minefield of slugs that surface because it is so wet. If you're like us, your glasses fog up and slowly you get chilled to the bone. It sounds like misery but it can be quite exhilarating and fun.
In the greenhouse, it is warm, dry and the rain sounds dramatic.
We knew that this past Sunday was going to be hot so we got up early and headed out to the valley. It was in the 70's by 8am.
We're leasing additional acreage on another property this season, including another 100ft of hoop house/greenhouse for tomatoes. We're increasing production because one can never have too many tomatoes!
We trimmed and wound tomatoes for a little over two hours. When we started it was 80 degrees in the greenhouse and over 100 degrees when we finished. The plants were happy but we were a little wilted. There was a lot of ice water and iced tea that afternoon.
We put together a little video to demonstrate how and why we trim and wind tomato plants. Be gentle with us, it is our first one and we're still getting our video chops.
Farmer Fels has been working "farmer's hours", planting, weeding, and prepping for the season. It is energizing and exciting but thank goodness for strong coffee early in the morning and relaxing hot showers in the evening.
We are resting part of the field this season, so we've leased some additional land in the valley, including another 100ft of greenhouse to expand our tomato and pepper production. Bring on the tomatoes!
We are a few weeks away from the first box of the season. We'll let you know as we get closer to the date. There are a few spaces still available, so if you or someone you know who is interested hasn't signed up again, there is still time.
We've just launched a new website and now you can purchase your CSA membership online! Very soon, we'll be adding fun merch for sale on the site, t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, and whole lot more. We're cooking up some fun items so you can get "your Mezza Luna on"!