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What a Year!

We had all intentions of keeping up with our blog page last season, but in reality we became side-tracked with the busy demands of farm life among other things.  We have a number of resolutions to meet in 2012. One of which is to blog more and keep you all informed on farm happenings.

Some exciting things have happened since our last post. In September, after 9 years together, Josh and I tied the knot. We felt it was time to throw a big party. Some longtime friends hosted our celebration at their lovely historic home on the Skookumchuck River in Centralia. We had an amazing local meal which was farm sourced by yours truly and cooked by local chefs. We roasted a locally grown pig and grilled fresh Quinault River salmon. We also enjoyed locally baked breads from Market Street bakery topped with cheeses from Black Sheep Creamery. We decorated the tables with flowers thanks to Janet at J Foss Garden Flowers. It was a day we will always cherish and were so happy to have our friends and family surrounding us. So many people contributed their talents which made it even more brilliant.

We had a prolific fall harvest. The mild weather allowed us to sell greens that are typically not available in late fall.  The late harvest also allowed us to start serving some additional restaurants. We are excited to be serving Blue Acre Seafood, The Coterie Room, The Pink Door and Taste. Josh is still delivering to Seattle restaurants and Olympia Food Co-ops once a week.  It keeps things interesting digging in the mud this time of year.

We have big plans for Newaukum Valley Farm in 2012. We have decided to begin the application to become certified organic.  We have always used sustainable growing practices, but a stamp of approval certainly won’t hurt. The application process is lengthy and expensive, but we are hoping to have the farm certified by late spring.

Josh has been doing a little recreating on the local rivers fishing for steelhead and salmon. We’ve been enjoying the fruits of his labor the last few weeks. Fish tacos and homemade fish and chips are common winter meals! I’ve been busy promoting independent films this winter through my company and working with the local farmers market as a board member.  Josh is starting to sift through his catalogs to prepare for his seed buying extravaganza.  It is hard to believe that seed starting will begin next month!

That’s it for now. Here’s to 2012! May it bring joy, love and good eating to you all!

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Despite the less than perfect weather conditions, walking through the field feels a little more lively now as the crops start to progress.  Things are moving right along not to mention the tractors. Not a day goes by where Josh isn’t sitting on a tractor seat.  Empty parts of the field are slowly getting smaller!  Our bean plants are quite healthy this year. We have kept them covered with row cover and they seem to like the extra attention.  We are also trying fava beans for the first time. Their health benefits are very impressive. They are rich in potassium and fiber and also contain L-dopa, an amino acid that is instrumental in the creation of dopamine, a substance that is critical for the pituitary gland’s production of human growth hormone.

Fava Bean Plants

Green Bean Plants

All of our spuds and winter squash have been planted at our South Chehalis property. Now we just wait to see what happens. Hopefully the soil will work in our favor and produce a successful crop. We have some wonderful four legged neighbors to keep us company and we are enjoying the tranquility of the entire place.

Our garlic is growing and preparing to scape.  Scapes are shoots which a garlic bulb sends up as it is growing. The bulbs want to become garlic plants, so they send up a shoot like an onion would. We harvest these shoots in order to send energy back to the bulb. They are edible and add fantastic flavor to any dish just as a garlic clove would. We sauteed baby rapini last night with some scapes. The flavor was outstanding.

We’ve become automated! Our website is now equipped with the ability to process CSA memberships online. You can sign up for a CSA location and make a payment through our new system. We are thrilled to be able to do offer this easier method of payment.  We installed the system on our own with the help of the Small Farm Central platform.  Just go to our CSA page for more details. http://www.newaukumvalleyfarm.com/csa.html

Our market days are fast approaching and we are gearing up for all the prep. It’s looking like we will start Olympia Farmers Market on Friday June 3rd.  We are now equipped with credit card processing equipment for market! You can now pay for your vegetables with plastic, so long as your minimum purchase is $10. No more waiting in line at the ATM.

The Community Farmers Market at Chehalis opens on June 14th. We hope to see you there!  The market also has a Facebook page. You can become a fan of the market or join the newsletter to receive updates on events and entertainment each week.  Find out more at the market website. http://www.communityfarmersmarket.net

May 3, 2011

The first day of May turned out to be very productive down on the farm. We took advantage of the weather and planted green beans, shallots, cilantro, purslane & parsley.  We also transplanted cabbage, collards, lacinato kale and cauliflower and moved our tomato starts to our hoophouse. We picked the rest of the spring salad greens from our greenhouse and discovered our radish planting was ready for harvest! Wow! This is how spring is supposed to feel!

Last week we plowed new ground! We will be farming 3 more acres this year just south of Chehalis. We are letting the soil rest before we disc. We will be growing potatoes and winter squash in this new spot.

For several years now, Newaukum Valley Farm has been teaming up with Seattle’s Tom Douglas restaurants to provide freshly harvested produce direct to the restaurants. We are thrilled to share the news that Tom has opened several new restaurants in the South Lake Union area which Newaukum Valley Farm will be serving.  They include:

Brave Horse Tavern: This new neighborhood tavern features custom, ground hamburgers and other tasty BBQ meats accompanied by Dahlia Bakery breads.  Sides include an array of southern influence including hand cut fries, celery seed coleslaw and dill pickle tartar.  The tavern feel is set off with 24 beer taps and 2 shuffleboards.

Cuoco :  is the Italian word for “cook,” and the inspiration the open kitchen design of this new restaurant. Crisp white tile frames a pasta work station where handmade pasta is made. Gold and red walls warm up the dining room.  Features include fresh pastas, savory vegetables and other hearty entrees like goat meatballs and our favorite…Berkshire pig (one of the breeds we raised last year).

Ting Momo:  Led by Tibeten Chef, Dekyi Thonden who creates all the dumplings and noodles as well as unique seasoning combinations this café is sure to impress.  Steamed or fried dumplings, Tingmo and Azag Azog are all part of the menus offerings.  Ting Momo is also equipped to offer to-go and catering services.

Tom Douglas has also added a second Serious Pie location in Westlake and has opened the Dahlia Workshop also in Westlake. The Dahlia Workshop Biscuit Bar transforms into a prosciutto bar in the evening. For more information about Tom Douglas, visit http://tomdouglas.com/

AN UPCOMING EVENT 


We wanted to share an upcoming event with all those near the Lewis County area. The Community Farmers Market will be presenting a movie night at The Historic Fox Theatre in Centralia featuring the award-winning documentary film FOOD FIGHT. Prior to the film, appetizers will be served across the street at Santa Lucia Coffee featuring an array of farm fresh produce. For more information  go to the Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Farmers-Market-at-Chehalis/137730792914754

SEATTLE CSA

After several requests, we are returning to South Seattle this year with our CSA offerings. Our drop site will be somewhere in the Columbia City area. Please let us know if you are interested in signing up by emailing us or sending us a message via Facebook! Our email address is  newaukumvalleyfarm(at)gmail.com or Facebook us https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newaukum-Valley-Farm/336053046507

April 14, 2011

At last spring is here! The weather is not cooperating as we had hoped, but we are still able to find windows of opportunity to work the fields. Mowing, plowing, disking and tilling.  We have managed to plant about an acre of seeds including carrots, beets, peas, onions and turnips.  Each row planting is covered with row cover to protect the seed from the elements and create heat which encourages the seeds to germinate. This thin cover or blanket will stay over many over our crops throughout the season allowing the crop to reap sunlight, breathe and drink. Since we use organic growing practices, the cover is crucial in protecting our crops from insect damage. We love the results it provides.

Row cover protecting our new seeding

We’ve been enjoying last year’s collard greens, mustard greens and leeks but one of our favorite spring harvests grows wild near the wooded river banks at our farm. Our taste buds water at the thought of fresh stinging nettle. We put them in everything from our favorite Pho to scrambled eggs.  If you are interested in nettle, we encourage you to read about it at Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle. It requires careful handling with gloves to avoid the painful aftermath, but once boiled it becomes a tasty treat. Be sure to drink the tea it provides. The health benefits are amazing ranging from helping with symptoms of eczema to arthritis.

Spring Harvest of Stinging Nettle

Our garlic planting is doing quite well. We saved seed from last year and have added a couple of new varieties. It was time to begin the weeding process this week, so we took the cultivating tractor through the field. Although a little wet, it still did the trick. It improved the weedy situation quite a bit and loosened the soil to make the hand weeding a little easier. We’ve also been ramping up the flavor in our meals with a little green garlic.

Garlic

We are now taking CSA members for the 2011 season.  Our first deliveries begin in June. Please visit our website for more information about CSA. Don’t miss out on our $25.00 credit for members who sign-up  by May 1. http://www.newaukumvalleyfarm.com/csa.html.

Welcome to Newaukum Valley Farm’s blog. We are happy to offer a way for our customers and friends to communicate with us. You can post comments relating to the farm, share stories and ask questions here.

We will be making updates to this blog regularly. Please visit it for the latest news on the farm as well as information about our CSA, farm events and more.