Bluebird Grain Farms - March 2009
A Note from the Farmer
I continue to marvel at how the meager snowpack here in the Methow has hung on – mostly as a result from cold temps. However, the blackbirds returned to the lower pond right on cue the 17th of February and last night was the first night it remained above freezing and so, however begrudgingly, winter seems to be loosening its grip.
Meanwhile, Brooke and I both were able to attend the 20th annual Tainio Technology & Technique’s spring seminar in Spokane with keynote speaker Bruce Tainio joined this year by Dr. Arden Anderson. Bluebird uses Tainio almost exclusively for soil consultation and biological amendments.
After two intensive days learning more about the undeniable inseparability between soil health and human health and all the consequences we’re finding out about the dangers of a less than adequate food system sprinkled with some basic chemistry followed by dabblings into Quantum Physics, we made the long drive home rather heavy-headed.
However, the good news is that our beliefs were well supported that real hope is in the soil. The need to grow nutritious, well balanced foods is becoming even more paramount for today’s farmers. And healthy microbiological activity within the soil is the cornerstone for doing so.
Balanced Soils = Balanced Plants = Balanced Foods = Balanced Bodies.
Fortunately for us, Tainio Technology offers several farmer friendly products to help us improve our soils in a sustainable fashion. In conjunction with our current crop rotations, these microbes and enzymes enable us to rectify deficiencies and maintain our quality grains in a timely manner.
That said, I’m more excited to get farming this spring than I have been in 5 years! My goal is to get those plant brix readings (available carbohydrates) up even higher this year so that we all know we’re getting the right minerals when we eat this year’s grains and flours. Will we be in the field soil testing by next month or not?
Stay tuned…. Farmer Sam
Recipe of the Month:
Emmer Banana Blueberry Muffins
Although the spring thaw seems to be beginning, mornings are still chilly. And with Daily Saving time imminent, they’re about to get darker. Wouldn’t you like to start your day with a warm whole grain muffin? Emmer Banana Blueberry Muffins are a great way to use over-ripe bananas and to provide yourself and your family with a delicious and wholesome breakfast or snack. These muffins can also be made in advance and reheated before serving.
The Locavores Program
The Locavores program is a part of the Methow Valley Community School curriculum. In partnership with Local 98856, Tess Hoke, and Methow Valley farmers, children learn the fundamentals of cooking skills and making healthy choices about the foods they eat – and how all of this impacts them culturally, environmentally and economically as community members.
The program promotes awareness and knowledge of local, organic, and seasonal foods, and understanding of local agriculture and farm systems, nutritional health, well being and sustainable thinking, and active participation in the local food economy.
The cookbook, which features many Bluebird Grain Farms products, can be purchased through Bluebird for $12 plus shipping. All proceeds from the sale of the book go directly to the MVCS for scholarships, infrastructure, and operating costs
Granary Tour Report
The February 14th Valentine Granary Tour was sweetened by cookies and fresh bread from our local bakeries. The Mazama Store’s Emmer Chocolate Espresso Cookies were the first to go, made from our fresh milled Emmer Flour. The nutty flavor of Emmer Flour seems to pair wonderfully with chocolate!
Once the cookies were gone, the Emmer Coffee Cake came out of the oven and proved the perfect complement to a morning filled with snow flurries. Sage Biscuits continue to be one of Bluebird's top sellers and many granary tour visitors went home with bags of the mix to take to parties and potlucks. The attractively packaged mixes also make popular presents.
Earlier in the month I attended the Farmer-Chef Connection Conference along with our accounts manager, CJ Anderson, and Bluebird’s number one supporter, my mother, Elizabeth Woodside. Presented by Seattle Chef’s Collaborative, this all-day event brought together regional food producers and buyers for business-to-business networking, presentations, & workshops. I noticed a rather large influx of attendees at the lunch: farm fresh food donated by farmers prepared by Seattle’s best chefs.
Four years ago Sam and I attended this conference and made our first connections with restaurants such as Lark, The Herb Farm, and Portage Bay Café. Since then these restaurants and many more have continued to support our farm by keeping Bluebird products on their menu year-round.
This link has been critical to our business growth and enables us to reach a wider audience of potential consumers, develop recipes that showcase our products, and continue to offer fresh, organic, nutritious, and delicious whole grains from our small family farm.
The documentary film Good Food, which features Bluebird Grain Farms and other Northwest Family Farms farms, will be shown at the Twsip River Pub on April 14th at 7:00 pm. Please join us in viewing this excellent documentary, meet the producers Melissa and Mark Dworkin, and celebrate sustainable family farms of the Pacific Northwest.
Brooke & Sam Lucy