Wednesday, May 29, 2013

First Came The Rain, Now The Heat Is On!

 We have had beaucoup rain this spring.  If it wasn't raining cats and dogs, then it was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  I'm not one to complain about rain (I've seen plenty of droughts, and that ain't pretty either), but we really needed a drying-out period.  It feels like summer now, and it is H-O-T.
The lettuce and asparagus are handling the change in weather just fine, but we've eighty-sixed the spinach in the high tunnel.  The heat-loving crops are now having fun in the sun!

All eleven varieties of tomato are flowering in the high tunnel.

 Some of the plants even have lil'maters on them!

I love the bamboo stakes Ben procured for us.  They are sky high.

Cilantro on a hot day means it's salsa time!

Basil + Tomatoes = Heaven on Earth

The blueberries are putting on quite a show.

We'll be picking a little over a month from now.  My favorite.

I'm glad that we have enough strawberries to share with the birds.  They've been polite about pilfering so far.

 Strawberry shortcake is in my future.  Whipped cream or ice cream?  Hmmm...

Monday, May 20, 2013


I was all over the place today, both mentally and physically.  I was a busy-body and completely unable to focus.  I wish Ritalin were available over the counter.  Here are some snapshots of my scattered day.

Mama Mourning Dove is sitting on two eggs.  She is fierce.

All three elderberry bushes are fruiting!  We planted "Variegated," "Thundercloud," and "Emerald Lace" two years ago.  Here's a photo of the "Emerald Lace."

"Thundercloud"  has pretty pink flowers.  The birds eat the berries as soon as they appear.  I will never see their glory.

I picked strawberries today!

The "Gaviota" are the first to ripen.

This puts a smile on my face.

The butterhead lettuce is enjoying the weather.

The red butterhead lettuce is ready for market.  We'll offer both red and green this week.

I'm off to feed and walk the boys now.  If they weren't around to keep me on schedule, I don't know if anything would ever get done. 

 Dog is totally my co-pilot.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fat Bear Feast

 The spinach in the high tunnel is still thriving.  The leaves probably grow about an inch a day.  It's a challenge keeping it picked between markets, and we eat it nonstop.

So, what to do with leaves the size of a human hand?

I used about three pounds of homegrown spinach, garlic, eggs, and herbs.  I added some feta and onions to the mix, wrapped it in frozen phyllo dough, and we had ourselves an easy meal.   I think I'll add some shiitakes next time.   We roasted some of our beets and sweet potatoes to go along with it. 

Now, for dessert.
Ben's wonderful mother has a gorgeous rhubarb patch in her garden.  She was very kind to share some of it with us.  I immediately made a strawberry rhubarb cobbler with it.

None of our strawberries were ripe yet, but I had back-up.  We froze a ton of fruit last year, so we still have several quarts of strawberries in the deep freezer.  Lucky ducks, we are!

If the weather is kind to us, it looks like we'll have ripe, plump strawberries to bring to market next week!  I must also keep my fingers crossed that the birds will be kind to us.  It seems like the bird population has exploded this year.  We have two nests on our front porch (we've only had one nest for the past two years), and there are Mourning Doves and Whatchamacallits everywhere.  Hopefully, the birds will opt to eat cicadas instead of strawberries.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Rough Guide (2013 Outlook)

If you're curious about what the heck we're growing around here, I hope this post will be helpful.  I've listed the items that we plan to bring to market this year, as well as their approximate availability (emphasis on "approximate").
Due to the nature of our schedule and micro-mini workforce (Ben may be a tall drink of water, but there are only two of us), Fat Bear Farm produce is only available at farmers market at this time.  All of our items (along with artisan cheeses, local meats, baked goods, soaps, and other excellent produce) will be conveniently available at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem this year.  We hope to see you there!

The Dawning of the Age of Asparagus has come!  Our asparagus is available right now.  We will continue to harvest through the beginning of July.

It's available now until Mother Nature says tells us that it's too warm.

We've got lil'greenies on the plants right now!  It looks like they'll be red and ripe by the end of May.  We grow three varieties that mature at different times.  We hope to offer strawberries through the rest of spring, most of summer, and autumn.

We are growing green, light green, and red varieties of head lettuce.  They will be harvested this month and next.

Basil, cilantro, and sage are growing in the high tunnel.  We'll be bringing them to market from late May through autumn.

The leeks have been transplanted and are growing strong.  I have to admit that I'm only guessing that leeks will be harvested late June through early July.  This one will be a surprise!

Scapes will be coming in the next several weeks.  We'll harvest the roots beginning in June.  We expect to offer garlic at market from late June or early July through autumn.  Our varieties are: Elephant, Music, Purple Glazer, Chesnok Red, Persian Star, Kettle River Giant, Mother of Pearl, and Georgian Fire.

This year's varieties of salad tomatoes include: Gold Rush Currant, Egg Yolk, Tommy Toe, Black Plum, Yellow Pear, Red Fig, and Brown Berry.  The names are great, but the flavor is even better!

The start of July through the beginning of September is blueberry season.  Dig out those pie and jam recipes (we will gladly taste-test your creations for you)!

I grew these last summer, and we ate them all in grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.  They were so good that I had to grow more to share with the world!  Maybe July through late autumn?   It should be a long season for them because they're growing  in our high tunnel.  Pimiento cheese, anyone?

We've sold out of our winter storage supply, and we just planted this year's slips yesterday.  We will offer Beauregard (deep orange flesh) and white yams.  We'll dig them up at the end of August (they grow very quickly in our soil) and begin bringing them to market in September.

My fingers are crossed that this year will be as good to us as last year was.  We're growing ginger in our greenhouse and high tunnel.  It will be available at the end of summer.

Life is no fun without surprises.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Honey Bees, Butterflies, and Blueberry Bushes

We can't let the bumble bees take all the credit (though they are a lot easier to photograph).  On this day, the butterflies and honey bees were hard at  work!

The blueberry bushes are absolutely loaded with blossoms this season.  I walk through the orchard almost everyday, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that each and every flower is slowly making the transformation into a sweet, plump, complexly-flavored fruit.  
Oh, thhe joys of farming!