Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tree Planting

Boistfort Valley Farm will be hosting three days of riparian mayhem this next week November 4th, 5th and 7th. We are working in partnership with ESD 113 and others to restore over 2000 feet of riparian buffer here on the farm. I am trying hard to post the flyer for the event but for now you will have to settle for the following link. Please join us for this fun and meaningful project.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Day in the Chokes

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with a hardworking crew from Growing Places Farm and Energy Park and others, who came out to lend a hand cutting back perennials and getting them ready for winter.

We removed all the old stems from the artichokes and cut back hundreds of perennial flowers.

Natalina delighted in the company and a day long game of hide and seek from her overprotective father.

Can you spot her in this picture?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winter Garden

Here at the farm we are busy harvesting and bringing in the winter storage crops. The garlic is cured and in storage, the greenhouses are full of onions, and our first ever dry beans, the barn is filling with squash, and the fields are loaded with winter greens and plenty of root crops. There are even a few acres of tender vegetables covered with remay that we will be harvesting well into winter.
At Boistfort Valley Farm we have always prided ourselves on our end game. If you visit the website or are a CSA member you will notice that we have extended our local deliveries, and offer a winter CSA as well as seasonal holiday deliveries. It is a complicated list of options that we are always trying to simplify and refine. Trust that if you take the time to navigate the possibilities you will be delighted with the quality and flavor of these cold hardy crops like the Brussels Sprouts pictured above.

When I first started farming, which was much more of a garden, I was driven primarily by the desire to grow my own food. For better or worse my heroes as a teen were guys like Grizzly Adams and Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, my sincere apologies to my mother. Having never quite figured out how to comfortably ride a chopper with a pet grizzly bear, I had to settle for being a farmer, fisherman, motorcycle enthusiast. But I digress. The climate in NW allows us to grow many vegetables year round, the long daylight hours and mild winters are excellent for a winter garden. We have just translated those possibilities into a larger format over the years. We probably have no less than five acres in production through winter. Kale, chard, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, leeks, Asian greens, radishes, cabbage, kohlrabi, celery, herbs; all these crops will hold well in the field until the temps become brutal or the increasing daylight hours of spring drive them to go to seed.

Many of these crops are my favorite comfort foods; roasted root crops and potatoes, roasts surrounded by fennel and carrot, hearty stews etc. The other benefit to winter gardening is flavor. The sugar content and therefore the sweetness of many of these crops, especially kale, Brussels, and chard are greatly increased after a frost.

One of the biggest challenges in the way we farm is the fact that it is a bit complicated. We do our own marketing, trucking, packing, book keeping et al. We often put together and train a phenomenal crew, cultivate wonderful relationships with our customers, then in fall just cut everyone loose to fend for themselves and pray that our staff and customers will be there again in spring. As a means of addressing this issue, especially when it comes to offering meaningful and rewarding positions here at the farm, we have really focused on transitioning to a year round endeavor. We market in Olympia through December, in Ballard through February, and offer the CSA year round. We also continue to provide stores and restaurants through the winter months. We rely heavily on our early experience as gardeners and on the fortitude of our field crew to grow and harvest the quality and quantity of these winter vegetables necessary for a successful winter program.

So praises to the winter garden, the brave souls out there harvesting in the sideways rain, and the mild maritime climate that make it possible.

Friday, October 2, 2009

If Intel is inside, and we are inside Intel, then????

Boistfort Valley Farm recently spent the afternoon rubbing elbows with the staff at the Intel cafeteria in Dupont. We were invited by Executive Chef Kris Kamp to spend the day displaying our produce, and talking about the farm and food with Intel's staff and employees. The cafeteria is run by Bon Appetit and as part of their eat local challenge we shared the cafeteria with a local rancher and hundreds of Intel employees.

Kris and his kitchen staff were courteous and generous to a fault. The employees at this facility are spoiled rotten when it comes to lunch. Kris's eye for presentation and commitment to using the best ingredients are worlds away from what one might think of when using the word cafeteria. He handles his kitchen with the skill and grace of a true professional. It was a joy to watch this team work, and an even greater joy to see the delight the diners took in their meal.

Thanks for the opportunity Kris.......