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Hoping for a Gully Washer

Actually, I am looking for a good rain to clean the air and end the fire season early or at least allow a respite for all the fire crews and families directly impacted by all the forest fires. And for the rest of us breathing this smoke, it would be most appreciated too. Lord, please send the rain.

Last week, Joelle and I and a few of the kiddos snuck off to Moclips for a few days before soccer starts, school begins and the final push to the Fall farm season. Fortuitously, it also happened to have the best air quality in the state, not great but not above 100 either.

We just played at the beach.

The waves just kept coming and coming and coming! Awesome power and rhythmic. When all was quiet during the wee hours of the morning, (I might be on a vacation, but I still get up at 5am) you could hear the constant roar of the ocean, like a freight train, but it is never accompanied by a crossing signal or the faint coming or going of a train. What power, magnificent power!

Most of us reading this newsletter, appreciate the tide coming and going as it pertains to the Puget Sound of Salish Sea. And for sure the sound can be very stormy, but it is a tame beast compared to the Pacific Ocean.

We wandered out into the Griffiths-Priday state park and waded the quiet waters of the Copalis River. We made our way to the mouth of the river, a completely different experience than the Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. There we came across the biggest hoof prints I have ever seen. Definitely not coastal black tail, or horses, they belonged to an elk. I guess Elk Creek was appropriately named after all! The tracks were huge, and the gait had to be 6 feet between hoof prints. We followed the tracks in the wet sand till it crossed back over the Copalis River and though we searched and searched, we couldn’t find the tracks on the other side of the river. But it was fun to look and since we are on vacation and no need to be anywhere at the moment, looking was perfectly acceptable.

Nature is beautiful. It is beautiful at the ocean, and in the city and on the farm. There is so much intricacy on a centipede or a robin or skate. Leaves floating above the water and leaves jostling below the water both making their way to the ocean or the bottom, but both destined to rejuvenate the ecosystem.

It is a privilege to participate actively or passively with nature and all its wonder.

 

Tristan

Last week wanderer, this week farmer

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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 8/19/18)

Apples:
Apples are one of those quintessential healthy eating choices! You can dice them up and throw them into your hot cereal with some cinnamon for a fresh take on breakfast, toss them in smoothies, slice them atop green salads to sweeten them up and add texture, dip them in nut butter or yogurt for a snack, roast with savory fall veggies, bake with a topping of your favorite granola…so many ways to enjoy them! And perhaps the best part? Antioxidants and phytochemicals in apples have been linked to help prevent a number of chronic diseases, including: Alzheimer’s, lung cancer, heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and more. Store unwashed apples in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Be sure to store separately. See healthline.com for more nutrition information on Apples!

Green Beans:
Greens beans make a great side for dinner, especially if you sauté them in little olive oil and garlic. To cook more evenly blanch first by adding to a pot of boiling for 2 minutes. Then drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking process. Sauté garlic in olive oil and add green beans, sautéing until lightly seared. Add salt and pepper to taste. Green beans can also be easily baked in the oven like any other vegetable. Simply spread out evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Take out after about ten minutes and shake to turn. Sprinkle with some parmesan and serve.

Frisée

You’ve no doubt seen frisée before, perhaps without realizing it, tucked away inside a mesclun baby greens mix. Also called curly endive, the curly, pale green leaves are frizzy in appearance. Frisée is a variety of chicory, as you’ll be clued in to with the first solo bite: it’s one of those bitters we were talking about in last week’s newsletter. Store: in the fridge for up to five days (rinse first), in plastic or other non-breathable material, so it doesn’t wilt. Use: most often served fresh in salads, try it wilted or sautéed to mellow its bitterness. Frisée pairs well with flavor-packed ingredients and fats: Dress leaves with a warm vinaigrette of roast-chicken pan drippings and sherry or red wine vinegar, toss in browned bits of thick-cut pancetta, ham, or steak bits, or top with a poached or fried egg.

 

Featured Recipe: Farmer’s Market Salad

This dish combines all of those wonderful summer veggies with a creamy, yet light, dressing that is full of flavor. This version has cooked chicken, but this salad can certainly be served on its own. Likewise, feel free to swap in your favorite vegan dressing if dairy isn’t in your diet. Serves 3-4.

Ingredients:

2 medium (about 1 lb.) summer squashes (zucchini, yellow crookneck), sliced thin

1 bell pepper, sliced

2 cups tomatoes cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups frisée, chopped

½ cup green onions, sliced

1 ear fresh corn, off the cob or 1 cup

6” length of cucumber, sliced

2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced, this would be 3/4 uncooked boneless chicken breast

DRESSING:

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup soy-free mayonnaise

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

If you are starting with uncooked boneless chicken breast, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast for 15-20 minutes until cooked though. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees.

Let cool and either slice into thin strips or shred with a fork.

In a large bowl combine the summer squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, frisée, green onions, corn, cucumber, and shredded chicken.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Combine well. Serve at once.

 

Recipe adapted from anothertablespoon.com

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August

It is that funny month, where you hang onto every last drop of Summer and yet are looking forward to Fall. The mornings are cooler, but the days are still hot and smoky! A good rain would sure be appreciated by everyone across the West. I recently paused and read this great email/newsletter written by Tom Stearns from High Mowing Seeds that summed up the season better than I could. It is written for growers by a grower. I pulled out this small excerpt to share with you. (Disclaimer. I receive no financial benefit by saying this ?. I purchase most of my organic seed from High Mowing Organic Seeds and would encourage you to give them a try, too.)

 

In Need of Pause

August. What does it bring to mind for you? Perhaps it is harvests: long, seemingly never-ending harvests. Or maybe it is water: the drips we give our thirsty plants, or the lakes, ponds, streams and rivers in which we cool our over-heated bodies after a long day in dusty fields. Certainly, August embodies the Sunday Syndrome of summer: although the season is not yet over, we already begin to look past it to what the next has to offer. This strange, hot month offers us a respite – a needed breath of air before plunging in again for cool, abundant autumn.

I have always appreciated how the poet Helen Hunt Jackson described this month in her poem of the same name: an “interval of peace” in which “all sweet sounds cease, save hum of insects’ aimless industry.” It truly is a pause – a greatly needed one – in which our plants are finally at stasis, if only briefly, and we can at last sneak away for an afternoon or an evening to do nothing but perhaps listen to the hum of aimless insects and recharge the wellspring for the final push of summer.

Wishing you a welcome pause this month,

Tom Stearns, Owner & Founder
High Mowing Organic Seeds

 

Farmer or not, those words aptly describe what most of us are experiencing.

Our farm is at that spot, plantings have slowed, summer harvest is going strong and weeding is mostly caught up. Fall is often busier than Spring and ironically, what went into the ground as a seed in June is now coming out by the ton.  My attention is definitely on Fall crops, like making sure to pick the apples before they fall! That doesn’t always happen, but when one drops, the rest are not far behind. Corn, winter squash and pears are not far off either and then there is the last plantings of garlic, winter kale, frisée, and Radicchio’s to be planted. We will also be planting cover crops to feed the soil and protect it from the compaction of winter rains.

I am tired just thinking about it all, but at the same time I am energized to see it through to completion.

 

Tristan

For the tired farm crew.